Apache Boulevard

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History

Apache Boulevard is one of Tempe’s historic roadways. Formerly designated as U.S. Highway 60/ State Route 89, Apache Boulevard was one of the connections that people driving from the east would use to travel to California and other West Coast destinations.

The corridor along Apache Junction’s Apache Trail, Mesa’s Main Street, Tempe’s Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue and Phoenix’s Van Buren was a haven for travelers, as the roads were lined with tourist attractions, motels with newfangled swimming pools and air conditioning, service stations and restaurants.

The scenic road changed significantly when Interstate 10 opened, creating a fast-moving corridor for traffic that bypassed those businesses. Blight set in. Buildings became run down, abandoned and crime rose. These were hard times for a once-loved roadway.

During the early 1990s, responding to the concerns of area residents, the City of Tempe determined that the area needed help to break the cycle of slum and blight. The city invested in landscape improvements, undergrounding power lines, and locating a grocery store to the area. A redevelopment district was created to provide land use planning, promote economic tools for new developments and businesses and to help the community members create a vision for their future. Some of the worst buildings were torn down to fight crime as well as blight.

A plan for light rail transportation brought new life to the Apache Boulevard corridor in 2000 when voters approved a sales tax increase for its construction. The route opened in 2008 with several stations on Apache. With the road returning to its roots as an innovative transportation corridor, Apache is once again flourishing. New student housing like Campus Suites on the Rail, apartments like Apache ASL Trails and home developments like Newberry Terrace have revitalized the once struggling area with new residents. New businesses are thriving as well.

Parcels of land are still available in this now-desirable area. Business locations are also available. Contact Larry Schmalz at 480 350-8924 for more details or email business@tempe.gov to meet our Economic Development team.