There’s no magic formula to apply to Hance Park, but based on experience in other cities, a well-designed urban centerpiece park adds value to real estate within walking distance. With a $118 million potential price tag, there’s a lot of return-on-investment potential on the line between downtown and midtown.
It’s that knowledge driving the Hance Park Conservancy to line up private sector partners and donors to develop the park in downtown Phoenix that runs on top of Interstate 10.
“It’s been shown that parks add both value to real estate and desirability to nearby places to live,” said David Morley, senior research associate with theAmerican Planning Association. “There isn’t a specific formula, but there are plenty of examples of the benefits when it’s done right.”
The master plan for Margaret Hance Park won city of Phoenix its first national planning award last year. This year, the APA is holding its 5,000-plus attendee national conference in Phoenix and the city will show off the real life plans.
On March 10 Phoenix residents and businesses were treated to a virtual tour of the planned improvements for the park to be phased in over 10 years.
“When you have more traffic in a park area, it generates more business for (retailers and restaurants) located within walking distance,” said Morley.
Park boosters expect it’s that simple fact — increased foot traffic and light rail access — that will make the 32.5-acre urban park attractive for both events and as a living room extension for the more than 5,000 people living within walking distance.
“With the advanced design skate park and amphitheater, this is a park that will be able to support activities throughout the year appealing to the entire Valley,” said Marcia Karasek, executive director of the Hance Park Conservancy.
Phoenix Parks and Recreation Director Inger Erickson said the park’s multiple purposes also serve the more than 500 residences located around the site.
“(Hance Park) is essentially an extended living room or patio for people living in the area,” she said.
For businesses it’s an opportunity to consider partnering in the facility’s development.
“Proximity to a park attracts people to live in an area,” said Morley. “It also has been shown that a well-designed park adds value to area real estate.”
This week’s community presentation unveiled the full plans for the park, which backers have broken into phases to make budgeting more manageable.
Once the public input has been reviewed, the Parks and Recreation Board will be asked to approve the plan and move it forward. The Phoenix City Council will authorize a request for proposals in the fall.
Hance Park is located between Third Avenue and Third Street in downtown. The park is constructed on a series of 19 bridge decks, which is why the freeway underneath is called the “Deck Park Tunnel,” according to Arizona Department of Transportation.