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Jan 10, 2013 5:09 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Despite construction downtown sees boom

TUCSON - In the middle of the detours and John Deere tractors, the downtown business scene is booming.

"I think it's going to be wonderful," says Amy Pike.

Last March Pike opened up a store called "A Perfect Pantry" at the corner of Congress and Stone. "I fell in love with downtown and wanted to be a part of the growth and restoration of downtown," Pike says.

A Perfect Pantry is sort of like a general store. Pike says everything from antiques, to greeting cards, to kitchen utensils.

Despite all the construction that sits right outside the store, Pike says she's optimistic about the future. "I say you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet," Pike says.

And it seems she's not the only one with that belief.

In 2012 about a dozen new businesses opened up downtown and Michael Keith of the Downtown Tucson Partnership says that is just a warm-up for what is ahead in 2013. "It just keeps getting better and better down here," Keith says.

Keith says at least a dozen new businesses are set to open in 2013. "The streetcar is a big motivator," Keith says. "A lot of people think there are good investment opportunities along that four-mile corridor."

Combine that with the thousands of residents expected to move in to student housing and public apartments over the next year, and Keith says there is a lot of money being pumped into downtown. "We think there might be as much as $60 million in new investment this year and already we're looking at the possibility of another $50 or $60 million next year," Keith says.

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