"Ew" was one of the first words I heard when I told people I was moving to Downtown Phoenix. Yep, seriously. They would ask, "Is it safe?" or "What's even down there?" My parents were even guilty of this vision of Downtown, two people who have lived in the Valley since the 1970s, and worked/played in Uptown Phoenix in its early booming days.
As unnerving as those questions sound now, at the time I really couldn't blame them. Downtown Phoenix was just starting to be "revitalized" after years of what seemed like dormancy. It didn't help that I grew up in Scottsdale and graduated from ASU – a school full of transplants who (7 years ago) would say, "Phoenix has a Downtown?" Yep – that comment also seriously
happened. Outside of sports arenas and concert venues, most of the people I knew seemed to see Downtown Phoenix as a barren wasteland.