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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007
The Face of the Beast

Yesterday Governor Napolitano signed HB 2515 which would penalize Valley cities that give tax breaks for retailers. For years, local city governments gave away millions in tax breaks to companies to build retail developments on their side of the city line.

Coincidentally I went to the movies on Sunday, but more on that in a minute.

Tempe Marketplace n at the corner of McClintock and the Rio Salado Parkway is a prime example of the problem HB 2515 tried to solve. Not only did Tempe use its power of eminent domain to force out local businesses so the proper amount of land could be assembled, but it also threw tens of millions in tax breaks at Marketplace. In short, the whole retail complex is a monument to the problems of municipal economic development policy.

It's also lousy.

Sunday night, I ended up at Marketplace to catch a movie and while the theater was about the only business open at this point, you can get a pretty good idea of what the development will look like... and it looks like crap.

I understand that Tempe like many Valley cities chases sales tax dollars and the developers that build those shopping complexes like safe bets when it comes to signing long-term leases. That means yet another Red Robin or Best Buy. Yet another power center dressed up as a southern version of Desert Ridge but without the saving grace of an In-N-Out Burger or decent beer.

Couldn't Tempe been a little more creative than this?