2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE 27 business areas. Also popping up are high- rise condos in the urban centers of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe where resident walk to cafes, shopping and cultural and sporting events. It's even easier to get around now, too, thanks to a new light rail line that opened in December of 2008 linking Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. New businesses along the line are thriving, Scherer said, and will encourage denser housing. " We're becoming a real big city," Scherer said. An extensive freeway system with no toll lanes and several high- occupancy vehicle lanes — including new ones along the heavily traveled Loop 101 through Scottsdale and the East Valley — make commuting less painful than in other places. Extended welcome Big or small, getting involved is a key to success in business. Few places are as open and welcoming as the Greater Phoenix area. " People move here from all over the United States," Broome said. " We're accustomed to and comfortable with managing new people." Families and executives are immediately received in the community and welcomed on boards and in leadership roles. Foreign- born residents can find centers, temples, mosques, groups and businesses that serve their cultural needs. Resources are many, from chambers of commerce to mentoring groups for everyone, including specifically women and minorities, said Susan Lentz, associate director of the Maricopa Small Business Development Center. Grants are available, too. " I think that Arizona really is trying hard to give opportunities to everybody," Lentz said. In a good year, the Greater Phoenix area sees 12,000 new enterprises. And close to 50 percent of jobs are at companies with fewer than 500 employees, Broome said. Service, construction and tourism are still strongholds in the region, but solar, biotech, aerospace and defense all are big, too. Even in down economies, interest in the Greater Phoenix remains keen. " There is a tremendous dynamism in this region and state that's going to be a big draw for businesses," Broome said. " There is a tremendous dynamism in this region and state that's going to be a big draw for businesses." — Barry Broome, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council photoS: The ARizona Republic ABOVE: The U. S. Post Office building in downtown Phoenix was constructed in 1936. BELOW: The Hotel San Carlos opened in 1928.
28 2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE business by Chandra Graham and Andrea Markowitz I f you haven't been downtown lately, you're truly missing one of the most successful urban growth stories in the country. Today's downtown Phoenix offers a dynamic blend of business, education, culture and entertainment: a newly expanded convention center; Arizona State University downtown campus, an impressive list of museums, theaters and galleries; and an array of restaurants, clubs and sporting events. Changing landscape With more than 100 restaurants and entertainment options ranging from Diamondbacks baseball to children's puppetry, downtown Phoenix truly is lifestyle central. In addition to providing a great place to play for Valley suburbanites, Downtown Phoenix offers a great place for those seeking an urban spot to call home. photo: The Arizona Republic Right Place, Right Time Downtown Phoenix is truly the engine that drives the Valley's vision and potential