Throughout the 1970's the strategy of expansion and upscale shopping took over Tempe’s development plan. Expansion of expensive housing caused conflict between local communities such as Chandler, which resulted in the annexation of land in southern Tempe. As a result of the city being landlocked property prices dropped in the early 1970s enabled developers to purchase numerous lots along Apache Boulevard. These low priced apartment complexes largely catered to local residents.
Complexes such as the Hudson Manor West and University Village offered to lodge for low-income renters often associated with the “seedy” nightlife along the street. This trend continued until the ’90s when a new development evolved. During this time Arizona State University was expanding as well. To meet increased student housing needs, developers began a new phase of apartment construction along Apache Boulevard. These new “mega-complexes” were attractive to college students. Apartments like 922 Place and The District looked more like luxury hotels than the squat, multi-story complexes that previously built along Apache in the 70s. The University’s new-found attention to Apache Boulevard attracted other businesses that helped to reinvigorate the street. In the mid-2000s, Apache Boulevard caught the eye of major developers again, this time in relation to the new Valley Metro Rail system. As business redirected toward the street, developers began construction of new luxury high-rise apartments. These new complexes shared similar aesthetic qualities with the student-oriented apartments but were designed to attract young urban professionals employed at the major corporate buildings located around Tempe Town Lake.
The various apartments lining Apache Boulevard are an example of the many phases of modernization and urban living in Tempe: the sin and vice of the ‘80s, the growth of ASU in the ‘90s, and Tempe’s reclamation of Apache during the 2000s. Who knows what the future holds next for Apache Boulevard, and more importantly what does it have to offer in terms of affordable, rental housing?