To many Tucsonans, Miracle Mile is a stretch of road that emphasizes the “old” in Old Pueblo.
In the decades since being the main highway to and through Tucson and the heyday of the motor-court hotel, the street earned a reputation as a den of illicit activity.
But recent efforts by the city are leading to a possible re-birth along the road.
“In 2006-07, we as the city identified the Miracle Mile and Oracle corridor as a specific area of revitalization,” said City Council Member Karen Uhlich.
The effort may be working despite it being notably smaller than similar efforts in areas like downtown Tucson.
An examination of values on ten parcels along Miracle Mile showed that, in a decade, values on eight went up, including higher values on vacant land and values rising because of owner investments in their properties.
Perhaps the most important development on the road came in the form of a new police station.
“Crime has decreased,” Uhlich said. “Our own police and folks in the area have worked hard at that.”
And reducing crime was absolutely necessary since the area was a hotspot for drugs and prostitution.
As crime rates dropped, some developers began to become interested in the area again.
“I’m always looking at every hotel and property that goes up here because this is a great location,” said Dan Eftimoff, a Tucson developer, who has worked with investors to rehabilitate properties along the strip. “This is the old entrance to Tucson, and it always was right off the expressway. I was just excited to do this on Miracle Mile because I love Miracle Mile.”
One of the most well-known revivals on Miracle Mile is Monterrey Court.
Greg Haver and his wife, Kelly McLear, bought the property three years ago, and spent a year renovating the old hotel into artist suites, a restaurant and outdoor music venue.
“When I came in here, people thought I was nuts to even try this,” Haver said. “It’s two years later and we’re still in business, and we’re building that business. We’re definitely positive about the future.”
He said he feels a key has been the work done by Uhlich to help get the neighborhood once known for drugs and prostitution back on its feet.
“She’s very supportive. She continues to be supportive including doing neighborhood meetings here to help revitalize the area and bring the business district back as a viable district," Haver said.