New downtown housing projects point to higher demand - Tucson News Now

New downtown housing projects point to higher demand

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Downtown redevelopment is in high gear with new restaurants, bars and shops, and even a grocery store, expected to pop up in the next few months.

But one crucial component of a thriving downtown remains: places for people to live.

Michael Keith, CEO of non-profit group Downtown Tucson Partnership said he is aware of at least three new housing projects that are already in the planning stages.

The new plans could be a sign of higher demand for downtown housing.

Keith predicts future housing projects will cater to baby boomers, a generation he said contributes to a thriving downtown economy.

"A lot of them are not ready to just retire to some distant community, they want to be involved in culture, they want the convenience of downtown, get rid of the car, they want community. And they want to be able to walk out the door and attend the theater, or jump on the streetcar and go to a basketball game. They're actually driving a lot of what's happening downtown here and across the country," Keith said.

But an affluent group of residents is not the only group that downtown advocates hope to attract.

Keith said he's seen a recent influx of students who have moved into housing on the east side of Congress Street.

"For downtown to be vital, you need diversity. You need housing for all different residents, you don't want to drive the artists out, you need workforce housing, but you also need higher income people to support the businesses and eat at the restaurants and buy the clothing from the store, so you can't really socially engineer this, but you need all types," Keith said.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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