Last week, the City of Phoenix Community & Economic Development Department announced the results of the panel recommendation on proposals for the best use of the Barrister Building and adjoining property on the southeast corner of Central Ave. and Jefferson Street. Positioned just south of Cityscape and a block and a half west of US Airways Center, this key property sits along the proposed corridor for a light rail extension to south Phoenix and is a geographic linchpin between downtown and the warehouse district.
The Barrister Building, originally built in 1915 as the 125-room Jefferson Hotel, was famously featured in the opening scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 film, Psycho (see the Phoenix sequence starting at 2:20. The Jefferson Hotel is featured at 2:50). Over the years, the now “Barrister” building was converted to office space. The City acquired the building in 1990 to use for office space and the Police Museum. It was registered as a Phoenix History property in 2005, and in 2010 the City relocated operations and prepared the building for long-term inactivity.
Because of the historic designation of the building and its pivotal location, there were three primary contexts that developers needed to consider in their proposals: historic preservation, public transit, and city plans and ordinances. Ultimately the development parameters included eight specific criteria, and four “additional considerations.” Complete details can be found in the full RFP.
The RFP for this property was issued on April 25, 2014 and the deadline for proposals was July 7. Three separate public meetings in May, and a final public meeting on June 27 enabled proposers to tour the property and City staff to answer questions and explain criteria. Ultimately, six eligible proposals were considered by the seven member review panel that included four City staff and three members of the public. It was heartening to see that several of the proposers were downtown neighbors: integral, local participants in the ongoing creation of a more vibrant downtown.
How are the panels for these RFP’s formed? “With the continued growth of our downtown neighborhoods and increased interest in city projects, the city has taken steps to increase the transparency of our process and involvement of community members over the last year,” CEDD staff explained. “In forming the evaluation panel, the city carefully considers several factors unique to each property and the adopted evaluation criteria for the RFP. For this RFP, the city staff on the panel included representatives of the departments that purchased and own the property, along with specialists in historic preservation and development.”
Panel members met three times to discuss how well each proposal met the criteria and the top three proposers were invited to present to the panel in person. This gave both the proposers and the panel members a chance to discuss the highest scoring proposals in greater depth. In the end, a consensus was reached and the panel recommended accepting the PB Bell/Davis Enterprises Collaboration proposal for an adaptive reuse renovation of the Barrister Building and the addition of two new buildings to create a residential/retail “urban composition” that combines historic preservation, residential density, walkability, and small business site opportunities with a practical, sustainable business model.
The PB Bell/Davis Enterprises Collaboration aligns two longtime, family-owned investment and development companies in Phoenix. Davis Enterprises has been investing and developing in Arizona since 1948 and is currently being managed by the third generation. Davis’ expertise is in retail and commercial office space, with the emphasis primarily on high density infill redevelopment and multi-tenant space. PB Bell Companies was founded by Phil Bell in the mid-70’s with a goal of becoming a leader in the multifamily acquisitions, development and property management industry. Similar to Davis, PB Bell has only acquired and developed real estate in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
What are the next steps? Again, according to CEDD staff, “City staff will review the panel recommendation and begin negotiations with the developer. If mutually agreeable terms are reached, a Letter of Intent will be signed and those terms will be presented to City Council for approval. Council approval is typically a two-step process, going first to Subcommittee for approval, and then to a Formal Council meeting for a final approval.”
In cases like this, where the City owns the property and seeks proposals that best embody City development priorities, the RFP process is an excellent mechanism for getting diverse and engaged responses that address those priorities in detail. Some plans may be bold and dazzling, but leave critical questions unanswered, while others may seem less imaginative, but answer the criteria with specific and thorough detail. In the end, it is up to the panel to wade through the pros and cons of each proposal to arrive at a consensus that offers the best opportunity to achieve a workable, desirable project that will provide a long-term benefit to the area.
It’s a balancing act.
As Eric Johnson of CEDD puts it, “The city is looking for every project to be successful, especially when they involve city property through the RFP process. There are many variables that impact the viability of projects and, in the end, it is the proposers who must demonstrate the viability of their projects through the proposal process and balance the risk of the project based on the financial, commercial and real estate markets.”
We’ll keep our eyes on this project as it moves ahead through the process and keep you up-to-date on the progress of this important corner of downtown.
Details at a Glance:
Proposers (for specific details on each proposal, contact CEDD):
- Jefferson Hotel 1915, LLC (Michael Levine)
- PB Bell/Davis Enterprises Collaboration
- RED Development
- Crescent Bay Development Services, LLC
- Windsor Jefferson LLC (Equus)
- Ventra Group, LLC
- Craig Mavis, City of Phoenix, Planning and Development
- Jodey Elsner, City of Phoenix, Planning and Development/Historic Preservation
- Bradd Holcomb, Green Street Realty/Rosson House Board
- Jim McPherson, Evans Churchill Association
- Mark Roye, City of Phoenix, Public Works
- Molly Ryan Carson, Ryan Companies US, Inc.
- Robyn Sahid, City of Phoenix, Community & Economic Development
This cool street art project caught our eye and we definitely wanted to share it with you, so we reached out to the artist, Pete Petrisko, to get the scoop on what it all means.
Shiny Happy People Happening is a city-centered conceptual art street project, where anybody can “experience tomorrow’s art of downtown livin’… today” by spotting one (or more) of 93 silver and gold one-inch figures, semi-permanently attached to our urban landscape throughout downtown Phoenix. There is no specific list of locations, just this loose direction: “(From) Jackson to Roosevelt Streets, between the 7s (Ave/St).”
But for those who like spoilers: the fewest number are nearest the 7th Ave/Jackson corner, and the sculptural “population density” increases as you approach downtown center (which, for the sake of argument, let’s say is somewhere near Chase Tower) and/or when you near higher “pedestrian traffic” areas.
While everybody loves the street art you can see from a block away in downtown Phoenix, let’s not forget the joys of finding art that’s literally hidden in plain sight. Providing a more detailed map would kind of defeat that purpose. As far as where they could be sitting or standing, discovery is often found in the urban details.
Remember, one-inch folks will avoid actual benches and public walkways, because they don’t want to be accidentally crushed by a giant! However, just look around. Where on or near buildings, or other urban objects in our downtown-scape, might they be… hidden in plain sight?
There are no exact answers, but the best plan might include bringing a child with you. They are much better at spotting tiny shiny objects than your average adult, and this public art is family-friendly because the fun of “discovery in the details” has no age limit!
Shiny Happy Factoids
Total number of new sculptural residents downtown: 93
Time spent to install ‘em: Four hours
Cost of project: Under twenty bucks
With the above helpful hints and useless factoids in mind, you might be asking yourself, “Is this downtown adventure for me?” “Are pictures allowed?” or “Didn’t I read about something like this in Mary Norton’s The Borrowers?”
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Is this a memorial to artists migrating out of downtown as their actually-affordable-to-artists housing options dwindle?” or even “Does this have anything to do with culture becoming an ornament for gentrification, like in Jamming the Gentrification Machine: A Manifesto?”
Or, more likely you’re thinking, “Why are you telling me this? Did I ever even once claim to be a fan of conceptual art of any kind?”
These are all excellent questions. The short answer is “Quite possibly.”
And it’s the best possible answer when the spectacle of Shiny Happy People Happening awaits discovery!
Photos by Pete Petrisko.
The following release was issued by the city of Phoenix Street Transportation Department.
EXTENDED PARKING METER HOURS COMING AUG. 18
Meters to operate from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
The city of Phoenix Street Transportation Department is notifying residents, commuters and business owners on changes to parking meter hours of operation, effective Aug. 18. The changes were adopted by the City Council in June.
Beginning Aug. 18, all parking meters will be enforced from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., including weekends and holidays.
The new hours were enacted to increase the turnover of parking spaces in central Phoenix and downtown areas where meters are most often used.
As part of the council action, parking meter rates will also be changing in November of this year. Under a new demand-based pricing system coming in November, rates at credit card enabled meters can vary from 50 cents to $4 an hour, with higher meter rates reserved for high demand-parking during special events. Until demand-based pricing is implemented in November, meter rates will remain $1.50 per hour. For the public’s convenience, the city has purchased and installed 598 new single space credit card enabled meters. With this upgrade approximately 1,500 of the city’s parking meters, or 81 percent of citywide maters, will take credit cards.
More information on the proposed parking meter changes is available at the Street Transportation Department website, phoenix.gov/streets/parking-meters.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
DOWNTOWN “SUPER PUB” SHOWCASES LOCAL ART, CHANGING DOWNTOWN
The original cover art depicts a bustling Saturday morning at Phoenix Public Market, in an increasingly vibrant and walkable Downtown.
Local artist Justin Queal, whose artwork can be seen all over Phoenix, most notably at CityScape’s Squid Ink Sushi, was commissioned to paint one of his favorite places in Downtown Phoenix for the new Downtown Phoenix Dining Guide & Directory, which hit the streets this week and represents the most ambitious publication Downtown Phoenix Partnership and Downtown Phoenix, Inc., have ever produced.
Queal’s painting is a colorful representation of what Downtown Phoenix has become—a place where people not only work but live, shop and play. Our community is diverse, artistic, passionate and strong.
Similarly the artistic “super publication,” which for the first time combines the popular annual Downtown Dining Guide with the traditional twice-yearly Downtown Directory, was made stronger by an expanded coverage area that includes the Roosevelt Row Arts District. The expanded coverage resulted in 125 new listings for a whopping 411 total businesses featured.
The Downtown Dining Guide & Directory, the must-have resource for visitors and urban explorers, is distributed throughout Downtown and Valley-wide and features a pullout map, expanded dining editorial, local photography, information about Downtown’s emerging music scene, and a walking tour that encouraging pedestrians to explore Downtown’s historic buildings and public art.
You can download the Downtown Dining Guide & Directory here or stop by and grab a copy at the Downtown Ambassadors Information Center, located at 101 N. 1st Avenue, Suite 190.
For more information about Downtown Phoenix please visit www.downtownphoenix.com.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal to Host Monthly Networking Series RadiatePHX
Join Downtown Phoenix business leaders, community advocates, and city officials at the launch of this free monthly networking series. Each month RadiatePHX will connect you to the people, projects, issues, and solutions that are building the Downtown we want.
Hosted by Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal, RadiatePHX provides a monthly opportunity to connect with a broad spectrum of Downtown advocates, receive key updates from guest speakers on what’s happening in the city core, and learn how you can connect and contribute.
On tap for August is David Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., with updates on Downtown developments, and Terry Madeksza, Vice President of Operations for Downtown Phoenix Partnership, on plans for Super Bowl Central.
Each month, RadiatePHX will invite you to “connect to the core:” meet fellow business people, community and civic leaders, and urban advocates for a friendly, informative networking event that will keep you in the know about every opportunity in Downtown.
What: RadiatePHX, a monthly networking event for business, community, and city leaders
When: Tuesday, August 26, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: FREE, with complimentary bites and bar from Downtown eateries
Where: Virginia G. Piper Auditorium, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, 550 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix 85004
RSVP: Visit RadiatePHX on Facebook
Featured image and map courtesy of University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.