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The Arizona Mills shopping center and the Svob Park and Peterson Park neighborhoods occupy a suburban area of Tempe, Arizona, known as Contempo Tempe. The residential portions of the area primarily include planned developments comprised of small to medium sized bungalows and manufactured homes. The area also features apartment complexes and upscale mobile home parks. Situated about 6 miles southwest of Downtown Tempe, the district is a square formed by West Southern Avenue to the north, South Priest Drive on the east, West Baseline Road to the south and South 48th Street on the west.

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Rent Trends

As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in Tempe, AZ is $1,083 for a studio, $1,035 for one bedroom, $1,264 for two bedrooms, and $1,458 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Tempe has increased by 6.4% in the past year.

Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent
Studio
640
$1,083
1 BR
735
$1,035
2 BR
1,037
$1,264
3 BR
1,209
$1,458
Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent

Ratings

54 Walk Score® Somewhat Walkable
42 Transit Score® Some Transit
60 Bike Score® Bikeable

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Restaurants

Dining options in the immediate neighborhood tend to be restricted to the local malls and shopping centers. Arizona Mills has a branch of the Rainforest Cafe and many other offerings, and a Joe’s Crab Shack location sits just south of the mall.

Many of the local options center on authentic Mexican food served taqueria style. Poliberto's Taco Shop, Vaqueros Carne Asada and Taco Nazo all serve up no-frills homestyle Mexican treats at reasonable prices. Try the combo specials at Taco Nazo to fill up on enchiladas, tostadas, or tortas along with beans and rice and a drink for under $6.

When locals want to go Chinese, they often choose the Big Wa Chinese Restaurant, locally recognized for its outstanding Chinese and Asian cuisine and friendly staff. Authentic Chinese and chef’s specials such as yu shang chicken, beef and shrimp and spicy ma-la seafood can be ordered online and eaten in or taken out to go. Nearby, Incredible Subs builds sandwiches, soups and salads out of fresh-cut ingredients, serves a crowd of regulars, and supports the local art scene by providing display space for original artworks.

Although the neighborhoods of Contempo Tempe have a significant population of college students mixed in with the retirees and working folk, don’t expect to find much nightlife in this primarily residential area. Many of the nearest bars and lounges are associated with restaurants. Downtown Tempe in the ASU area or the blocks to the east on Baseline Road hold the majority of close-by watering holes. The Baseline Sports Bar, a down-home haunt that caters to bikers and sports fans with a 15-foot HD projector and 16 flat-screen TVs, also boasts the Baseline Babes. Further north on West Broadway, the Palo Verde Lounge holds down the local dive bar crown with 50 cent pool tables, cold beer and a good jukebox.

History

Tempe grew from early settlements along the Salt River where military personnel and Hispanic workers grew food and animal feed to supply Fort McDowell, established in 1865 on the river's upper reaches approximately 25 miles northeast of present-day Tempe. Two small camps centered around a ferry crossing represented the first permanent non-native communities in the Salt River Valley. They joined into one town and adopted the name Tempe in 1879. A flour mill and store, and later a river crossing for the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad drew settlers to the booming town.

The Contempo Tempe area has grown mainly since about 1970 as retirees and students attracted by reasonable housing costs and easy proximity to downtown filled mobile home parks and apartment blocks along with master-planned housing developments.

As the location of the historic Petersen House, Petersen Park provides neighborhood residents with education as well as recreation. The house, built in 1892, represents the oldest example of a Queen Anne-style brick residence in the Salt River Valley. The Tempe Historical Museum now operates the Petersen House as a historic house museum.

Transportation

About 80 percent of Contempo Tempe residents depend on cars to get to work. Most streets lie in the interior of residential developments, with light traffic and plentiful free parking. Interstate 10 and key surface arteries such as East Baseline Road and East Southern Avenue provide easy access to other portions of Tempe and the greater Phoenix metro area.

Several call taxi companies serve the neighborhood. Uber and Lyft also serve the area.

Valley Metro, the Phoenix regional public transportation system, provides bus services to the neighborhood with stops along the main arteries. Along with covering local routes, the buses connect with the Tempe Transportation Center, a transit plaza that supports METRO light rail connections, dozens of bus routes and the free Orbit local shuttle.

Despite a lack of dedicated bike lanes, dry weather, flat terrain, relatively light traffic, sidewalks along most streets and fairly easy access to several retail districts make the Contempo Tempe area favorable for bicycling. Additionally, a major multi-use path runs through the area along the Western Canal. However, most residential zones lie too distant from the commercial centers for practical walking, and the Interstate 10 corridor presents a major obstacle to east-west travel across the district.

Cost

The cost of living in the Contempo Tempe area runs nearly 2 percent higher than the average for downtown Tempe. A one-bedroom apartment averages $917 per month. Gas costs 23 percent less than the U.S. national average. A ticket to any place in the area on Valley Metro, the Phoenix regional public transportation, goes for $2. Domestic draft beer runs around $4 a pint, while a bottle of import costs $5 on average.

Shopping

The Contempo Tempe area boasts a significant amount of retail space, mostly in the form of large malls and shopping centers. Retail activity in the neighborhood is anchored by Arizona Mills, the state’s largest indoor, climate controlled outlet and entertainment mall. National chains such as REI and Home Depot lie nearby, and several other large shopping centers are only a few miles away.

With so much concentrated retail space in the neighborhood, and most of the remainder of the area occupied by residential developments rather than commercial districts, Contempo Tempe has relatively few independent or specialty shops. Beads Galore on South Priest Drive has been supplying jewelry makers and hobbyists with beads from around the world since 1986. A wide variety of old West African trade beads and thousands of other beading items make this a one-stop shop for bead lovers. For those plagued with bad hair days, Vineyard Center on the west end of Svob Park hosts Wig Land, retailer of hair pieces and wigs.

Area residents can buy groceries at Food City just west of the neighborhood at Southern Avenue and South 48th Street. On the southern boundary of the neighborhood, a Whole Foods Market can be found about a mile east of Arizona Mills along Baseline Road. Independent ethnic groceries such as the Carniceria Sonora butcher shop also dot the area. A farmers market operates on every other Tuesday in downtown Tempe on the Caddy Mall at Arizona State University.

Parks

Residents of Contempo Tempe enjoy access to varied and expansive park space including two neighborhood parks and a unique desert mountain wilderness reserve. One of the neighborhood parks, Petersen Park, consists of a 5-acre green space located at the corner of Southern Avenue and Priest Drive. Park amenities include grills, picnic tables and a playground.

Also named for one of Tempe’s notable early citizens, 8-acre Svob Park honors Robert M. “Bob” Svob. Bob served the Tempe community for many years as an employee of Arizona State University. From 1931 until his retirement in 1975, Bob lead efforts to beautify the campus with landscaping that included numerous trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. Svob Park lies on the south side of the Western Canal and features many shade trees along with plentiful open space, a baseball diamond and soccer field, basketball courts, a playground and picnic facilities.

The most notable park in the area, South Mountain Park sits on the southern edge of the Contempo Tempe neighborhood. The world's largest city park at nearly 17,000 acres, South Mountain Park is a Phoenix icon. South Mountain features awesome scenery and great 360-degree views in all directions. Eleven miles across, comprised of two mountain ranges and home to more than 150 animal species, this park contains some of the most popular hiking and biking trails in the city and also supports horseback riding.

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1600 W La Jolla Dr, Tempe, AZ 85282
1 / 71
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Apartments for Rent in Peterson Park Arizona Mills Svob Park, Tempe, AZ

The Arizona Mills shopping center and the Svob Park and Peterson Park neighborhoods occupy a suburban area of Tempe, Arizona, known as Contempo Tempe. The residential portions of the area primarily include planned developments comprised of small to medium sized bungalows and manufactured homes. The area also features apartment complexes and upscale mobile home parks. Situated about 6 miles southwest of Downtown Tempe, the district is a square formed by West Southern Avenue to the north, South Priest Drive on the east, West Baseline Road to the south and South 48th Street on the west.

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