David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
What is the latest regarding DPI’s organizational capacity?
Financial Tracking. Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) and Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) have selected a new auditor: CBIZ Mayer Hoffman McCann. Our DPP/DPI controller, Nicole Friedrichs, handled the selection process with guidance from Ron Butler, Ernst & Young managing partner and DPP’s new board chair. Additionally, we put DPI’s Directors & Officers insurance policy in place and filed our annual report with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Our 501(c)6 application remains pending.
Welcome Aboard. By virtue of his new role as DPP chair, Ron Butler will join the DPI board. In addition, Ed Zuercher, acting city manager, and Ken Van Winkle, managing partner with Lewis Roca Rothgerber (a new DPI investor), will also join the DPI board. We are having discussions with three other potential investors, so there’s a good chance our board will grow even further.
Beefing Up. While the DPI staff remains lean (me), we have put in place three contracts to help with our growing work program. Long-time downtown advocate and “connector” Jim McPherson is working with me to craft our bimonthly communication with key downtown opinion leaders and prepare our 2014 DPI/DPP/PCA consolidated program of work. Jim, along with Jill Bernstein, Catrina Kahler, and Carol Poore, also helped draft the new Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) mission statement document. Dorina Bustamante, another well connected downtown advocate and entrepreneur, has been retained to assist with PCA membership development and programming. Finally, we have entered into a partnership with the Downtown Phoenix Journal to amplify our message. Given our start-up status we are trying to fill gaps in the most cost-effective manner.
What are some recent examples of downtown’s economic and cultural vitality?
Taste of the Trucks. Evans Churchill Neighborhood and Roosevelt Row CDC hosted the 2013 Taste of the Trucks two-day food gala on Saturday and Sunday. Each day featured the best bites on wheels with mobile fare from 25 trucks, local music, and a beer garden.
Here are just a few events through which to experience downtown:
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
Evans Churchill, Downtown
Zombie Walk 5. There was a feeding frenzy of a different sort happening Saturday at Heritage & Science Park. Zombie Walk 5 drew an estimated zombie horde of 20,000 who infiltrated downtown in search of live music, kid’s activities, beer and, of course, brains. This free, family friendly event was presented by DPP and featured a 1.2-mile undead shuffle through downtown and a performance from nationally known rockers and zombie enthusiasts Powerman 5000.
A Visual Feast for the Eyes. The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau (now known as Visit Phoenix) just released a snazzy new video showcasing downtown Phoenix… “where you go to dine beneath the skyline, see live music at a club or concert hall, shop for fashion or gifts at an independent retailer, watch pro sports teams, or take in the arts at a museum. All of this (and more) is within walking distance of downtown hotels, light-rail stations, and the Phoenix Convention Center.”
Leadership and advocacy are critical elements of effective community development? Where do you see this occurring?
Janette Sadik-Khan (transformational transportation guru) does an excellent job of pointing out community “assets that are hidden in plain sight.” Janette visited our region for the NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) Conference to see the seeds of urban progress that are the result of many years of hard work and investment from many partners working collaboratively to change the way our region grows and develops.
One of these successful multi-faceted partnerships, our own “asset hidden in plain sight,” is the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC). A regional effort led by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton in partnership with Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, the SCC’s 35+ public, private, and non-profit partners have toiled behind the scenes to nurture and implement: Complete Streets policies and outcomes; regional bike share; fresh and healthy food options in food deserts; new economic development models; transit-oriented developments connected to the 20-mile light rail corridor; and inclusive urban development decision-making that incorporates community and neighborhood expertise.
Downtown Voices Coalition. Downtown Voices Coalition (DVC) is a ten-year-old broad based advocacy group comprised of individuals from neighborhood groups, community based organizations, arts organizations, and neighborhood scale developers. They meet monthly and have been very helpful to DPI by acting as a sounding board for major new downtown initiatives. While the feedback tends to be very direct, we are eliminating surprises and building better relationships. At the last meeting, attended by Phoenix Mayor Stanton, ASU made a presentation on the design for the new Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and city staff discussed possible high rise private development of the Central Bus Station site at Central and Van Buren. Tim Eigo, a DPI board member, also serves as DVC’s steering committee chair.
Greening Downtown. DPP staff worked closely with the City of Phoenix to secure 15 permanent Chinese Pistache trees on First Street between Adams and Monroe streets. These permanent tree wells were not originally a part of the First Street re-design, however DPP’s Ray Cabrera worked with the City to fix the dormant street-level irrigation and secure the trees. This block was measured to be the hottest (as in warmth!) in downtown Phoenix during the Urban Form Project in 2008, and these trees should help transform this stretch into a pedestrian-friendly cool spot. Read more about the project here.
Greening More of Downtown. On Thursday, October 24, the City of Phoenix, Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and Evans Churchill Community Association held a small celebration with Councilman Mike Johnson at the site of the final tree planted on 5th Street north of McKinley:
What other items would you like to share?
I found this article that readers might like it. San Diego is about two years ahead of us in merging their downtown organizations, but we may be ahead of them in terms of connectivity with our neighborhoods. Read the article here.
I just learned that at their annual conference in Albuquerque, the board of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will be electing downtown’s very own Chevy Humphrey, executive director of the Arizona Science Center, to the role of ASTC board president. ASTC is an international organization representing science centers and museums with more than 600 members in over 40 countries worldwide dedicated to furthering the public understanding of science among increasingly diverse audiences. Congratulations Chevy!
Also, congratulations to the Grand Avenue Merchants Association for organizing a festive Grand Avenue Festival, and to the City for working with the neighborhood to design and implement an impressive streetscape improvement project. If you haven’t visited Lower Grand lately, I encourage you to do so.
View photos from the Grand Avenue Festival here:
Grand Avenue Festival photos by Steve Dreiseszun
1st Street Tree Planting photo courtesy of City of Phoenix
Featured screenshot image from Visit Phoenix “Downtown Phoenix” Video
Following last week’s Garfield Neighborhood’s Revitalization & Economic Development Committee meeting, the downtown community put their heads together to identify solutions for the proposed development of a new Circle K store on the southeast corner of Roosevelt and 7th Streets. The letter below reflecting this effort was sent to Circle K representatives and signed by no fewer than eight downtown Phoenix organizations, a striking level of alignment for our diverse community. Circle K must apply for a Use Permit from the City to sell alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a residential district. That hearing is Thursday, October 31, at 1:30 p.m.
Dear Mr. Cisiewski:
We, the undersigned community and business organizations, have come together in order to attempt to work with Circle K to find agreeable solutions to address our valid concerns over the proposed new store at 7th Street and Roosevelt, as well as other issues with regard to Circle K’s involvement in the downtown core. Our mutual goal for any and all stores is to prosper in a safe manner with respect to the urban nature of our community and our desire for continued growth, safety, and vibrancy in downtown Phoenix.
Clearly, as evidenced by the many public outcries against this proposal, our community has very strong trepidations about the ongoing issues at the current store and other downtown stores, including 7th Avenue and Roosevelt, 1st Avenue and Fillmore and 11th Street and Van Buren. The documented crime statistics, ongoing issues surrounding alcohol sales, and often unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the stores do not reflect well on our neighborhood or Circle K. These issues are not anecdotal, but instead the clearly defined crime statistics for the current store (171 calls for service in 7.5 months from January to August 2012); actual research conducted by Arizona State University in 2011; and reaffirmed in follow-up statistical analysis in 2012 (see attached update of ASU study) point toward a direct causation by Circle K stores. Instead of focusing on mitigating the issues, Circle K has hired lobbyists and police organizations to conduct meetings on their behalf to try to convince the community that everything is better without statistical proof to substantiate these claims. However, as a community which has clawed its way back by working together to attract $4 billion dollars of investment in the last seven years, we want to find a mutually beneficial solution that is in everyone’s best interest. We feel that we have worked hard to make downtown a substantially improved market for your business without any commitment on your part to this effect.
The organizations on this letter are prepared to support your use permit application and liquor license request if Circle K is ready to make some changes to the current proposal. We propose the following:
1. End/maintain the prohibition of sales of all single servings of alcohol at the stores at 7th Street and Roosevelt, 7th Avenue and Roosevelt, 11th Street and Van Buren and 1st Avenue and Fillmore. Circle K has already done this at the store at Fillmore and 1st Avenue with seemingly no impact on business. We also ask that Circle K end sales of 8%+ beer sold cheaply in six packs (i.e., Steel Reserve giant six pack for $4.29) at all downtown locations. Our neighborhood regularly feels the impact of the sales of this product with vagrants frequently inebriated or passed out in our community and urinating in public spaces.
2. Implement the stipulations in ZA-210-12 at the September 27, 2012 use permit hearing/follow up report of November 15, 2012. (enclosed)
3. Void all lease claims or any other claims to the existing leased site at the northeast corner of 7th Street and Roosevelt within six months of this letter. During this six month timeframe, remove all signage, underground storage tanks, gas canopies, and any other Circle K artifacts from the site. In addition, perform a full environmental remediation so the site passes a Phase II Environmental Test.
Create an urban design that mimics the placement of multiple historic buildings up and down 7th Street:
- Move the building to the property line on 7th Street and Roosevelt (corner) and place the parking and pumps directly behind (east of) the new store (note the modified site plan enclosed). This is a similar design that the city and neighborhoods worked with CVS Drug Store at Central Avenue and McDowell Road.
- Place 40-50 feet of clear glass along 7th Street and Roosevelt at the northwest corner of the building for safety and visibility. We understand the pedestrian entrance needs to be on the parking (east) side of the building. This would still allow for the necessary “blank” walls where coolers need to be placed, but make the store welcoming on both the street and parking lot sides. This would be an equal amount of glass as in your new model stores.
- As is good safety practice, the windows along the streets and entrance are not to be covered with signage.
- This design would also push the Roosevelt ingress/egress further to the east away from the intersection, reducing the likely conflicts that will happen with the current site plan.
We very much appreciate your proposed red brick façade and hope you continue using that material as well as potentially placing a higher “tower” at the immediate corner which will allow for better signage right at the intersection. We also appreciate the landscape plan (trees and wider sidewalks) for 7th Street and Roosevelt which is on your current site plan.
We understand your likely concern about placing the pumps on the east side of the building. However, the pumps will be clearly visible from both directions on 7th Street (which carries the vast majority of traffic 54,742 Vehicles Per Day-VPD) and westbound on Roosevelt (5,678 VPD, only 2,524 VPD eastbound). Signage will also help.
If this design triggers any variances the organizations below will fully support them within reason and note that they were forced due to Circle K’s desire to build a better community.
We believe these requests will not cost Circle K any money from a design perspective and in fact will make it more prominent. Furthermore, the good will generated from these actions will actually stimulate more sales for the new store.
We would prefer to not push this matter through the Board of Adjustments and Superior Court and understand that even the State Liquor Board at times denies liquor licenses as we’ve seen with similar cases, but are prepared to do this if deemed necessary. Rather, we would like to support your use permit and liquor license request at both the Phoenix City Council and State Liquor Board and welcome your new store into our community if possible.
We hope this can actually be a fruitful relationship that assists your business, instead of prolonging this mêlée which only uses the energy we all would rather be spending to continue to build a better downtown. We invite and welcome Circle K to become the strong community partner in not just promises but in actions and results moving forward.
We appreciate your willingness to work with us and look forward to your response. Please contact Kim Moody with the Garfield Organization at 602-253-7967 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Kevin Rille with the Evans Churchill Community Association at 602-625-1632 or email@example.com who will communicate to all of us so this process is much easier. Thank you.
Enclosed: Proposed new site plan for the store (download here), use permit stipulations from ZA-210-12 (download), Arizona State University, “A Multi-City Report on Crime & Disorder in Convenience Stores, follow-up report 2012 (download)
Cc: Mayor and City Council, City of Phoenix
Ed Zuercher, Acting City Manager
Rick Naimark, Deputy City Manager
Alan Stephenson, Acting Planning Director
Katherine Coles, Area Planner
Larry Tom, Zoning Administrator
Walter Crutchfield, Vintage Partners
Suzy Peel, Circle K
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
ZOMBIE WALK 5: A HALF DECADE OF BLOOD, GUTS AND GOOD TIMES
The zombie apocalypse is coming – and soon.
Zombie Walk 5, benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Rosson House, is a FREE day-long celebration that unites zombies in a walk, shuffle, limp or crawl through the streets of Downtown Phoenix in what has become the largest–and bloodiest–gathering of zombies west of the Mississippi.
“We’re expecting 10,000-15,000 zombies of all sizes, ages and stages of decay at Zombie Walk 5,” said R.J. Price, Vice President of Marketing & Zombie Relations at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, organizers of the event since 2009. “It’s hard to believe that just five years ago this was a 200-person event. With all the growth the event has experienced we’re extremely proud to have kept Zombie Walk family friendly and free to attend.
The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. with vendors, family activities, music and a beer garden featuring Four Peaks plus sangria and Italian food from locally-owned Crust Restaurants.
Don’t have a costume? Don’t worry. A donation of canned food items to St. Mary’s Food Bank gets you a 5 minute makeover from an Arizona Ghostbuster.
For the mini zombies, the Little Zombie Zone presented by Bookmans will feature free arts and crafts, snacks and appearances by the Arizona Ghostbusters, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Humane Society as well as a zombie preparedness zone from the American Red Cross.
The Zombie Walk Main Stage starts rocking at 3 p.m. and features performances from Free Ride in a Mason Jar, Soul Power, Recipe for Disaster and a live reading of The Raven from the actors of PoeFest. Zombie rockers Powerman 5000 will close the show at 9:30 p.m.
The highlight of the night, the annual shuffle of the undead, will commence at dusk (roughly 6 p.m.) when Zombie King and Queen Michael Aguirre and Breanna Reeser will join KUPD’s John Holmberg in leading 10,000 zombies on the 1.2 mile route through the heart of Downtown Phoenix. There will be surprises all along the route this year, including appearances by the Department of Zombie Defense, the United Zombies of America and many, many more.
Non-zombies are welcome, but strongly encouraged to keep at a safe distance. Zombies don’t run fast but they don’t quit, either.
Zombie Walk 5 aims to donate over one ton of non-perishable food items to St. Mary’s Food Bank. All attendees are encouraged to bring a canned goods or a small monetary donation.
For more information including zombie deals, photos, videos and zombie inspiration visit: downtownphoenix.com/zombie
Or stalk us on Facebook at: facebook.com/downtownphoenixzombiewalk #PHXZOMBIE
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
“Songs from St. Somewhere” Pre-Concert Party at Cityscape Phoenix
Thursday, October 24 – starting at Noon
Calling all local Parrotheads: We [CityScape] are closing Central Avenue and turning it into the Ultimate Margarita Beach Party starting at Noon and leading up to the 8pm Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band concert at US Airways Center.
The Pre Concert Party is Free and Open to the Public. Guests can dine at any of the fine Cityscape Phoenix restaurants plus there will be food vendors and drink tents in the street including beverages from Landshark Lager and Margaritaville Tequila. We are bringing in loads of sand to complete the experience. Take the day off work and join us for food, drinks, a local band, contests, sand volleyball and much more! Proceeds to benefit the 100 Club of Arizona.
“US Airways Center is extremely excited to welcome Jimmy Buffett for his first downtown Phoenix appearance. We welcome all Parrot Heads as we turn downtown Phoenix into the biggest beach party of the year” said Ralph Marchetta, SVP & GM of US Airways Center.
Jimmy recently released a new record, titled Songs From St. Somewhere, on Mailboat Records. The album, with 15 new songs plus a bonus track, was recorded this spring in various locales including Key West, Nashville, Miami, St. Barts and London. ”Too Drunk To Karaoke,” the first single, is a duet with Toby Keith and the video was shot in Nashville. Jimmy has been performing this song, as well as “I Want To Go Back To Cartagena,” “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Boat” and “Oldest Surfer On The Beach” on the current tour.
David Krietor has served as President/CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
What is the latest regarding DPI’s organizational capacity?
Now that affiliate agreements have been signed between DPI and the City of Phoenix, Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP), and Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA), work has begun to pull together a consolidated DPI program of work for 2014. I have been meeting with DPI board members and leaders from the City, DPP, and PCA to brainstorm ideas on strengthening core programs and eliminating duplication and overlap. My goal is to present a program of work by the end of November. (Read about recent changes to DPP’s board.)
What are some examples of downtown’s economic and cultural vitality?
Margaret T. Hance Park. Hundreds of residents, including many individuals associated with DPI and its partner organizations, participated in a series of community workshops to help re-envision the 32-acre Margaret T. Hance Park just north of downtown. Design professionals from !melk, Weddle Gilmore, and Floor Associates led the workshops and garnered good ideas and valuable feedback. The team will start to formulate an initial draft design plan to present to the public on November 20. For more information, visit the Hance Park Master Plan Facebook page.
An easy way to get involved? Attend or support an Event!
Here are just a few as event season kicks into high gear:
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
Project Rising Phoenix. Over one hundred downtown advocates attended the launch of Project Rising Phoenix, a non-profit urban infill incubator that will create a pipeline of viable redevelopment projects sourced from and for the benefit of the community. Matthew Meaker, a construction attorney with Sacks Tierney P.A., was named board chair and Leslie Lindo, CSBA, LEED AP was appointed executive director. I have been meeting with Project Rising Phoenix representatives and City of Phoenix staff to discuss priority projects that could benefit from Project Rising’s expertise and affiliations. For more information, visit the Project Rising website.
Adaptive Reuse. It was great to hear the Maricopa County is taking steps to support adaptive reuse of vintage buildings by approving a six-month trial permit for restaurants situated in buildings not specifically designed or constructed for dining. Several DPI board members have been long-time advocates of this economic development tool, most notably Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona who co-chaired a City of Phoenix task force on adaptive reuse. The task force’s recommendations were adopted by City Council and are now being implemented.
New Times Rankings. One indicator of the positive direction in which downtown Phoenix is heading is the significant number of “best of” rankings in the Phoenix New Times. It is gratifying to see “Best Farmers Market,” “Best New Gallery,” “Best Japanese Restaurant,” and many other “bests” right in our central city. You can view all of the downtown listings on the New Times website, and then jot down the winning shops, restaurants, and attractions to visit this fall.
Getting into the Holiday Spirit. For the second year in a row, JoMarie McDonald with Phoenix Community Alliance is spearheading a community-wide effort to brighten Central Avenue from Camelback Road to Baseline Road with winter holiday lights and decorations. Over 150 individuals and businesses have contributed to the cause. To contribute to the cause, visit the PCA website. In addition, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership’s “Holidays in Downtown” initiative is back for a second year. From the CitySkate Opening and Tree Lighting Spectacular to PJ’s In the Park and Spirits of the Season, these events are community builders and business drivers that are making downtown a destination for holiday activity. Terry Madeksza, Sara Anderson, and the entire DPP staff have worked extremely hard building holiday momentum.
What are some hot button topics emanating from this engaged downtown community?
Phoenix Bike Share. On September 25 of last year at a popular downtown Phoenix event – Pedal Craft – Mayor Greg Stanton announced the City’s intent to implement Bike Share, a healthy and affordable way for residents and visitors to make short trips around town. Making good on its promise, Phoenix is gearing up to launch bike share this winter. In the first phase, Cyclehop, the firm that won the local bid to implement the program, will distribute an estimated 500 bikes at kiosks near prominent downtown gathering spaces, recreation and cultural spots, light rail stops, and ASU campuses. The second phase calls for expanding the program in Phoenix and other cities, creating a regional system. Tempe and Mesa are moving forward to add 250 bikes in each of their communities in the spring of 2014. Corporate sponsorship is key to making Phoenix Bike Share happen, and I encourage anyone and any business reading this to support this important effort.
Improved Evans Churchill On Street Parking. Representatives of Evans Churchill Community Association and Thunderdome Neighborhood Association for Non-Auto Mobility have been working with City of Phoenix staff to finalize an on-street parking strategy for Evans Churchill. Based on a street-by-street analysis, it was recommended that the great majority of meters east of Third Street be removed and that many streets with “no parking” signs be corrected to allow parking. Sincere thanks to Ray Dovalina, Councilman Michael Johnson, Scott Logan, and Kerry Wilcoxon with the City and neighborhood advocates Greg Esser, Cory Kincaid, Jim McPherson, Matthew Taunton, Kevin Rille, Sean Sweat, and Nicole Underwood for working together to advance these much needed improvements.
Streetscapes. Significant streetscape improvements are now occurring in and around downtown on Grand Avenue from Seventh Street to Roosevelt, on First Street from Washington to Moreland, and on Fifth Street between Fillmore and Garfield.
Historic Preservation. Some unfortunate news in our Garfield Neighborhood… one more piece of our architectural history is gone. The owner of the historic W.L. Bobo House demolished the building, as she could not get her asking price for the property.
In closing… I was heartbroken to hear of the passing of Jerome Miller, a long-time colleague during my tenure in the public sector. Jerome was a gift to the City of Phoenix. He genuinely cared about the people he worked with and the people who lived in our city. He exemplified all the best qualities of what we should expect from our public employees.