By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
With plans at 60 percent stage, J2 Engineering & Environmental Design is moving towards a 90 percent completion next month, and the Tolleson is readying a fall groundbreaking for its $9.2M downtown revitalization project. The long-planned project will enhance its main street and create a well-lit downtown center. The city’s Paseo de Luces (Path of Light) will be the new brand.
Hunter Contracting and Valley Rain Construction will share GC duties to calm five-lane Van Buren Street into a main street with 18 to 20 foot wide sidewalks, on-street parking and bike lanes. The improved sidewalks will include social seating rather than conventional benches, free WiFi coverage, public gathering areas and space for vendor kiosks. Area businesses will be able to use the sidewalk for outdoor dining and merchandise displays.
Enabling the new heritage-based area to succeed, the city is creating a new zone for recognizing it as the new CORE—commercial, office, residential and entertainment—district. Design review standards will ensure future development conforms to the character in the new city center.
The Paseo runs down Van Buren Street from 91st to 96th avenues. The streetscape includes public art, shade trees and room to mingle. The city is working to reduce construction impacts on businesses. Construction will take more than a year to complete.
“We learned from the successes and failures of similar projects,” said Tolleson economic development director Paul Magallenez. “We’re doing this at a good time for the city. We’re excited; this will encourage other new development. This is a project we didn’t think would come together for another five years, and it’s starting in two months.”
Some local businesses have already started remodeling and upgrade projects to match the rest of the area’s enhancements.