WHAT IS UPPER WEST SIDE PHX?
A grassroots community movement encouraging specialty shops and restaurants to come to the Northwest suburbs of Phoenix. This includes zip codes 85383, 85382, 85310, 85308, 85083, and 85373. Our primary focus is development in zip code 85383 as that is the area with the most opportunity for growth.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The movement all started when founder Katie Roe decided to post on nextdoor.com about her desire for upscale development in the area in 2017. The post received over 450 responses from residents that shared the same sentiment. Since developers, business owners, city officials, etc. could not see all the posts on nextdoor.com, she decided to start a Facebook group as a way to have a central spot to gather community support and the rest (2 years and 12,000 members later) is history!
WHY SHOULD YOU OPEN YOUR BUSINESS ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE?
We want you on the Upper West Side! Residents have voiced their support for specialty retail shops, restaurants, and family entertainment venues! OUR NUMBERS SHOW WE CAN SUPPORT MORE RESTAURANTS AND RETIAL! The mean household income within a 3 mile radius of 83rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road is $123,372 with a median age of 36. There are 56,361 households, 153,546 residents, and 6,000+ homes currently being built within 5 miles. The average age of residents in Peoria is 37. Happy Valley Road is the dominant East/West arterial road connecting I-17 to the Loop 303. With close proximity to Lake Pleasant Regional Park and Cactus League Spring Training, this area continues to be a desirable place to live!
HOW CAN I HELP?
Follow, like, comment, and share on our social media accounts! Interaction helps Upper West Side PHX gain more exposure by working with social media algorithms We truly believe there is strength in numbers! The more followers we have the more influential we can be. A large collective voice of the community will help affect change and make this movement successful. Spread the word to help our community grow!
WHY DO WE SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT?
People tell us we’re crazy for trying to get all of these businesses to come to the area because it’s going to bring traffic, overcrowding, etc. but the reality is that the area is getting developed whether we like it or not. Commercial growth generally follows residential growth and with 7,000 new homes being built by the end of 2020, this area is going to be much more densely populated than it is today. There are tons of reasons behind why we believe development is inevitable (supply and demand, land owners selling investments, developers seeing the value in this area, city general plan, etc.). We want to make sure that the commercial growth that happens enhances our community rather than detracts from it and serves the needs/wants of our community. We worry that without advocacy from us (the residents), developers will put in more “junk” that residents don’t want and that won’t enhance our community. We’re very lucky that many developers have been open to working with us and are listening to our concerns and are now helping to advocate for the Upper West Side because they see the potential in our area. If we fight all of the developers, rather than work with them, we will deter them from coming to the area and get a reputation that we do not want new businesses in our community, which is not a good thing. In the end, if developers and landlords put in businesses that the community wants and will support, they will make money, which is their end goal. We might not always get what we want and there will definitely be compromises along the way but we won’t stop advocating for what is best for our community!
And keep in mind, your house was probably built on what was once open desert!
WHAT DO BUSINESSES LOOK AT WHEN CHOOSING WHERE TO OPEN?
Demographics, high traffic counts, industry/jobs, lunch crowd, residential density, if a location fits their business model, if there will be daily foot traffic from an anchor store, and how supportive a city is all play into their decision making. Clothing retailers often decide where to open based on where their sales are coming from. They track this through website traffic, online ordering, and asking for your zip code when you make an in-store purchase so be sure to give them your zip code when checking out.
WHY AREN'T WHOLE FOODS, TRADER JOE'S, AJ'S, FOX RESTAURANTS, POSTINO, ETC. COMING TO THIS AREA?
While our demographics are very favorable, the Happy Valley corridor doesn't yet have a ton of traffic, which we are thankful for as residents. In addition, we do not have major industry in our area, which is part of why residents love this area, however, restaurants do not believe they will have a lunch crowd without industry. They fail to see that the Upper West Side is unique with its close proximity to many active adult communities with retirees that enjoy going out to lunch often, a large contingent of stay at home parents, 4 large high schools, and many business owners and entrepreneurs that work from home needing places to meet for lunch. We are told by industry experts that Whole Foods and Trader Joe's look for locations in high traffic areas with close proximity (1 mile) to a major highway. We're exploring whether or not we meet all the of the real estate requirements for Whole Foods.
AJ's has not been expanding since their parent company Bashas almost filed for bankruptcy during the recession. Certain restaurant chains that failed during the recession will not come back to the "West Side" because they do not feel residents will support them. We feel that they do not recognize that their failure to thrive was due to the economic climate at the time. As a result they view the West Valley negatively, which we believe is a stigma we can overcome with advocacy, support, and exposure. Although large, the restaurant community is tight knit and many restauranteurs will not take the risk due to other concepts failing in the West Valley during the recession. They are missing out on huge opportunities since the Upper West Side is rapidly growing, affluent, and the residents are requesting them specifically and saying they can and will spend their money at their restaurants. Times have changed and so has our community.
Flix Brewhouse was unable to come to terms on a lease agreement and decided not to open in Peoria. Hash Kitchen, Sicilian Butcher, Jalapeño Inferno, Creamistry, The Living Room, etc. will be opening at Park West (101 and Northern Ave.) in the near future. Many businesses such as Chop Shop, Dutch Bros., Salad & Go, d'Lite, Bowlero, co-working offices, etc. are actively looking for West Valley locations and we hope they choose the Upper West Side! Unfortunately at this time there are not many commercial complexes in the area with move-in ready open spaces for restaurants so we have to wait for new centers to be built. Often times the open spaces we see cannot accommodate certain businesses due to parking requirements, zoning/permitting, or a non-compete clause in the contract of another tenant in the same shopping center.
WHY CAN'T WE GET A "KIERLAND COMMONS?"
Kierland is a "unicorn!" That is how it is referred to in the development industry. There are very few places across the entire country that have been as successful as Kierland. It is not realistic to think the Valley can support another huge shopping center like this. Scottsdale is a much older and more well-established city. The area is a major tourist destination with resorts, Old Town, multiple Spring Training facilities, and Scottsdale Fashion Square helping to drive tourism. Developers have tried to create similar centers on a smaller scale but they have not been as successful. Park West is currently bringing in multiple high-quality tenants and we hope that their success will help create change in the West Valley.
WE WANT YOU WEDNESDAYS
Every Wednesday in 2018 we posted a business that we want to come to the Upper West Side and the link or email address for that business so you could request that they come to the area. You can find the full list of businesses we featured as a drop down tab from our homepage. Please continue to contact these businesses in 2019 and let them know we want them on the Upper West Side! Please mention Upper West Side PHX and give them the link to our page in your request so they can see that we have the support of 12K+ residents. Please also mention zip code 85383 or one of the 6 zip codes we serve.
Take action! There is strength in numbers!
We continue to learn a lot on this journey and hope these FAQ's help explain a few things we have discovered thus far. Please get involved and take action to better YOUR community!