The Main Stream

Oct 25, 2012 2:02 AM by Sam Salzwedel

West Side improves before streetcar construction finishes

TUCSON - The west end of the modern streetcar line is improving, even though the tracks are not finished.

Roger Pfeuffer bought a house in the Mercado District about 4 years ago. It cost about $550,000.

"Excellent decision," Pfeuffer said. "It is the best sense of community that I've ever had."

With hospitals, the university and Downtown offices, Pfeuffer expects more people will want to live in nice homes near the city's center.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is the new Foothills," he said.

Pfeuffer thinks the criticism of Downtown investment is scaring away businesses.

"We've got infrastructure in the city that needs work too," he said, "so everybody needs to pitch in to that."

Adam Weinstein is part of The Gadsden Company. He has invested time and money on the West Side. The Mercado San Augustin is one of his projects.

"It's been a work in progress," Weinstein said, "but we're quite pleased with the way it's going."

The Mercado has been open for about 18 months. It should be completely rented soon.

"People are starting to now understand that there's a big game on the West Side," Weinstein said, "and we want to be part of that."

Eddie Rocha lives by the Mercado District in Menlo Park. He is the 3rd generation of his family to live in the same house.

The neighborhood has no sidewalks and Rocha said their one streetlight does not work.

To the west, Avenida del Convento has new brick sidewalks and is well-lit.

"It's an insult to us here. It's a slap in the face," Rocha said.

The modern streetcar project will cost $196.8 million, according to the streetcar website.

"I don't see how that's going to benefit us," Rocha said, "not one bit."

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