By Diana Nelson
Chandler’s downtown is now both “hip and historic,” a revelation by observers that appears to be in full agreement with the slogan adopted recently by the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership.
The new branding strives to encompass the many shifts in an increasingly urban atmosphere.
From a diverse list of restaurants, bars, a brewery and a special coffee house—with beans sourced exclusively from a family farm in Brazil—it all blends into the recipe for a unique destination.
Arriving just in time to further capitalize on the downtown momentum is Mary Murphy-Bessler, who was named executive director of DCCP in April. Her varied local experience includes stints in Phoenix, Scottsdale and at the Downtown Tempe Authority.
Previously, she worked for 12 years as chief exec of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority in Longmont, Colorado and, earlier, in Burlington, Vermont.
With her acquired skills in economic development, special events and municipal government, Murphy-Bessler moves easily in this new, multi-faceted role, capable of responding to the needs of various organizations from the City to local business owners and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
Tracing DCCCP’s origins, Murphy-Bessler says the organization was created in 2006 as an enhanced municipal-services district.
The area is bordered on the north by Chandler Boulevard; the south by Frye Road; the east by Delaware Street; and the west through Dakota, California and Oregon streets.
“This type of district offers services beyond what the cities offer by helping to market the businesses through special events, and to make sure the downtown area is clean and safe,” noted Murphy-Bessler.
DCCP is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to mobilize leadership and resources to advance the development of downtown Chandler as a regional destination for shopping, dining, living, culture and the arts.
Murphy-Bessler says she’s excited to share the synergy of the upcoming developments, which are already on deck for downtown Chandler.
“We are looking forward to a new project called Overstreet that is expected to open this fall. It will be a 77,000 square-foot entertainment complex at the southwest corner of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard,” she said.
“It will include the state’s first Flix Brewhouse, a combination of theater and brewery. In addition, the city announced that more multi-family apartment complexes are being constructed to appeal to all age groups. So, the downtown soon will be home to new residential spaces in an urban setting.”
Murphy-Bessler talks about DCCP serving as a liaison between all the key downtown players.
As she explains her vision, she capably creates a mental white-board to translate her next moves in the new role.
“I had to hit the ground running in this job because there is so much new development and construction already taking place,” said Murphy- Bessler.
“At the DCCP, we’ve been busy meeting with all our stakeholders to learn how we can best support them and to develop programs to enhance their efforts to promote downtown Chandler.”
Murphy-Bessler, who has a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation from the University of Wisconsin, returned to Arizona in 2010 after working out of state.
She lives in South Tempe with her two children and her husband, who works for the city of Tempe.
She is enthused about the role DCCP can provide by attracting visitors, residents and new businesses to downtown Chandler.
“I see great potential in the city and I believe that I can serve as a facilitator for dialogue between downtown property owners, merchants and city leadership,” said Murphy-Bessler.