What’s in a Name? Mill Avenue District changes name to Downtown Tempe


The Mill Avenue District—and Tempe as a whole—is in the midst of a major facelift. Or rather, Downtown Tempe, as it’s now officially called. The name change took place during the State of Tempe address late last month.

The area, with Tempe Town Lake to its north, University Drive to its south, and bookended by College Avenue and Farmer Avenue to its east and west, is looking to become less of a college and nightlife hotspot and more of a cultural center for everyone.

Tempe is known as the college-aged hub due to its proximity to Arizona State University. Naturally however, with nearly 55,000 undergraduate students and more than 10,000 graduate students, it’s no surprise that the vibe is more collegiate than one that attracts masses of affluent, young professionals and families.

ASU—listed as both one of the largest student populations and biggest party schools in the nation—the young, hip vibe is ever-present. However, rebranding plans have been set in motion. But, does a rebrand mean wiping out the student energy all together?

No, not exactly. The goal isn’t to push out the collegiate stereotype; rather, it’s more about helping Arizonans and others view this part of the city as more than a student stomping ground.

In addition, capitalizing on population growth in this section of metro Phoenix and encouraging more progressive, vibrant and diverse populations will likely help the city stay up with changing times, making it a competitive choice amongst other major cities.

“No other central city area in Arizona is experiencing the explosive growth like Downtown

Tempe,” says Kate Borders, executive director of Downtown Tempe, in a press release. “Our new brand identity, exciting additions to the area’s events and the overall vision for the next years to come will push Tempe further into the national spotlight.”

“The rebrand effort allows us to express—in as few words as possible—the vision and potential for our city, moving forward,” Borders says. “Our buildings are growing taller, and our businesses, expanding. From corporate world employees to cool kids and creative types, everyone can flourish in the multi­faceted destination that is Downtown Tempe.”

Leading the rebranding campaign, local public relations firm Awe Collective, in partnership with the DT executives, will begin to implement changes throughout the downtown area.

“The rebranding effort will include an intuitive new website, bold district way finding signage, branding of everything from maps and street banners to uniforms and merchant marketing collateral, as well as annual events new and old, and social media endeavors that will take that will help make Tempe the most social media savvy city—anywhere,” the Awe Collective says in a press release.

As Mill Avenue “graduates” into Downtown Tempe, the city’s clientele will, too. With State Farm building a massive, $600 million facility along Tempe Town Lake, expect a grown up, professional customer base to be commonplace in Downtown Tempe.




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