At last! Today was the day we got official word on the mysterious goings-on at the old Beef Eaters building at 3rd Ave. and Camelback Road.
Rumors have abounded and well over 100 people, including families from the neighborhood, business people, bankers, builders and just plain folks, gathered at 10 a.m. this morning to celebrate the plans to revitalize the site. The excitement was palpable on everyone’s smiling faces.
From 1961 through 2006, Beef Eaters was a central gathering place for Phoenicians to share meals, celebrate special events, and craft the business deals that shaped our Valley. When owner Jay Newton died in 2006, the restaurant shut its doors and the building sat empty. Now adaptive reuse developers Venue Projects have stepped up with a remarkable vision to bring the site back to life.
Central Phoenix-based Venue Projects principle Lorenzo Perez told the crowd of Venue’s dedication to finding and adapting buildings with history, a story to tell, and a strong sense of place. Jon Kitchell, another principle with Venue added, “We’re salvage hounds and love finding materials worthy of putting back into place, like black leather booths and the Queen Creek adobe bricks of this place.”
Working with John Douglas Architects, they’ll be uncovering the bones of the building and incorporating the treasures they discover back into the new uses for the site.
“Jay Newton’s Beef Eaters legacy will continue with a new interpretation of his iconic gathering place,” said Kitchell. To honor the past, the new complex will be called The Newton.
The Newton is co-owned by Venue Projects and two of the three businesses that will comprise the site. Co-owners include the nationally renowned, independent, community-based bookstore, Changing Hands, which will open its second Valley location at the site; and Justin and Michelle Beckett, current owners of Beckett’s Table, who will open a new neighborhood restaurant concept at The Newton. The third occupant will be The Lively Hood, a co-working space for creative professionals. Construction has begun and the goal is to reopen on November 1.
These three businesses will continue Jay Newton’s Beef Eaters legacy. Located just across the street from the light rail station, the bookstore, restaurant and co-working space will be active community gathering spaces that energize the neighborhood and encourage people to work together.
Shannon Scutari of Sustainable Communities Collaborative summed up the thrill experienced by everyone gathered when she referenced an old African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. This place,” said Scutari, “is going to be about going it with others.”
From the Wire | Phoenix Receives $2.9 Million Grant from HUD to Promote Transit-Oriented Development
(From the Wire includes press releases received from reliable sources that help tell the story of the many happenings in Greater Downtown Phoenix. Yep, they are ripped from our inbox.)
This morning, Ophelia Basgal, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced a $2.9 million Sustainable Communities Grant to the city’s Planning and Development Department to fund a program to promote transit-oriented development along the light rail line.
Congressman Ed Pastor, Mayor Phil Gordon, Mayor-Elect Greg Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos joined Administrator Basgal, community members, business partners and other stakeholders for the morning announcement at the light rail station at 24th and Washington streets.
“We chose the City of Phoenix’s proposal because the city not only had a great plan – but the right community partnerships and a vision for success,” said Administrator Basgal. “It is with partners like Mayor Gordon and Congressman Pastor that we’ve proven that small investments can yield big results for our economy – and that this debate isn’t about government that’s big or small. It’s about government that’s smart.”
The Reinvent Phoenix: Cultivating Equity, Engagement, Economic Development and Design Excellence with Transit Oriented Development Program includes area research, short- and-long-range planning, community engagement and development incentives to set the foundation that will encourage commercial and housing development along the light rail.
“Thank you to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for continuing its legacy of investing in the residents of Phoenix,” said Mayor Gordon. “This grant will continue Phoenix’s rise on the national and world stage – to become a model for innovation, sustainability and quality of life for all.”
The city of Phoenix received the fourth-largest grant amount during this funding cycle. HUD received more than $500 million in funding requests from communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for the $96 million in available funding.
During the next three years, the Reinvent Phoenix Program will promote, encourage and provide incentives for transit-oriented development along the light rail line to provide all residents with safe, convenient access to quality, affordable housing, well-paying jobs, education and training programs, fresh food and healthcare services.
Core partners include: Arizona State University, St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Luke’s Health Initiative, Mountain Park Health Center, METRO, Discovery Triangle Development Corp., Urban Land Institute, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects, Southwest Autism Research Center, Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, Phoenix Union High School District, Maricopa County Community Colleges, Art Link, Local First Arizona, Native American Connections, Gorman and Co., Inc., Cloudbreak Phoenix LLC, Bethel Development Inc., NRP Group, Desco Inc.
What would your day look like if you didn’t have your car?
Did you suddenly have a sense of panic or dread? What if I told you it could actually be possible, in Arizona? How do I know?
Because I’m living proof.
After learning how much driving was taking a toll on my emotional health, not to mention my pocket book, I decided to put my car in park – permanently – and venture on foot.
My commute: 16 miles. My solution: Public transportation.
Before I took the plunge, I evaluated where I drive and how often I honestly needed my car. Church, dinner with friends, the occasional movie… did all these places require my vehicle?
As for work, during rush hour I was spending an average of 45 minutes on the road, in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I would arrive at work disgruntled each day and by the end of the week, I would barely have enough money left over to celebrate the commuting conclusion at happy hour.
However, thanks to the Valley Metro Light Rail, the pay off to park my ride was much greater. I only needed to add minimal time to my commute while significantly increasing my “happy level” meter, financial freedom and connectivity to my community.
These are not new claims. Yet, some still hesitate. If you are considering making the switch, you wouldn’t be alone.
More and more people are kicking the car to the curb for an eco-friendly way to get to where they need to go. The Tour de Fat New Belgium tour encourages an individual from each city to give up their car for a year. A great blog called The Gubbins Experiment highlights another individual who hit the pavement for a year and the happiness it gave.
But, for some, resources such as carpooling, zipcars, the bus and (my favorite) biking do not seal the deal to ditch the wheels. So… let’s do the math.
According to AAA, the average person keeps a car five years and drives 15-20,000 miles per year.
Break that down:
20,000 miles. 1,000 gallons of gas/year. $4.00 = $4,000 dollars per year.
$4,000 dollars. Just in gas. Now the rest:
Per year: Maintenance and repairs: $500 – $1000. Insurance: $1200. Taxes, financing and other miscellaneous fees…
Grand Total: Over $6,000 a year ($500 per month)
This figure is just to maintain having a car, even if you own it free and clear. (Read more in this 2008 consumer report.)
Now does walking sound more attractive?
A main reason for I see for why people continue to commute is that riding a bike or utilizing public transportation is seen as unattractive and compromising to one’s independence. In reality, I beg to argue that minimizing car usage will increase your independent movement, while also increasing areas for social use. The alternative solutions shouldn’t be a last resort. Just because you have the money to maintain a car, doesn’t make it smart to continue driving down the street for a Starbucks. Why not walk?
Through walking, riding my bike, and using the light rail, I have:
1. Discovered local businesses (keeps money in the state!)
2. Become more fit & found free yoga classes in a park (fresh air and no need for gym membership!)
3. Located two conveniently-located farmer’s markets (healthy eating!)
And all the while, still maintaining friendships, attending events, and successfully doing my job.
Trust me, this is doable. But, you have to take the first step.
Local First Arizona (LFA) has launched “Shift the Way You Shop,” a campaign aimed at strengthening the local economy, increasing civic pride, and changing consumer buying patterns to increase the economic and cultural sustainability of the region. During this economic downturn LFA has identified a plan that will assist in economic recovery. It will also improve our environment, create jobs and enhance community development.
To celebrate all of the wonderful local businesses in the valley, Local First has partnered with METRO to create a light rail wrap and a full marketing campaign to run through the holidays that will include a mobile app which riders can use to find any locally-owned retail store, restaurant or entertainment within ½ mile of each light rail stop. The mobile app is free and is available at the mobile Shift the Way You Shop website.
“Many people don’t realize how many locally owned businesses are located near the rail,” explained Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona, “and that choosing a local businesses to patronize means residents are keeping more money right here at home in Arizona.” Lanning cites several studies that prove that buying locally actually increases community wealth and creates jobs.
For the launch, several notable people in the valley will identify their favorite light rail stops and join riders, local first fans, and others to ride and explore their community.
In Tempe, Councilmember and METRO Board member Shana Ellis will join Local First for a “ride along” where guests and riders will be encouraged to visit her top two light rail stops in Tempe: the Mill Avenue/Third Street station and the Tempe Transportation Center (Veterans Way/College Avenue). Kimber Lanning of Local First will act as tour guide and will offer up bits of history, interesting landmarks, and great new businesses that have opened in the Tempe area.
Those interested in joining the fun should meet at the METRO Light Rail Dorsey/Apache Boulevard station at 5PM and ride to the Tempe Transportation Center on October 12. The group will be visiting such Tempe establishments as House of Tricks, Here on the Corner, and Canteen and will learn about biking opportunities, community gardens and other little known gems about Tempe.
In Phoenix, Councilmember and METRO Board Chairman Tom Simplot will host stops at Osborn/Central Avenue and Washington/Central Avenue, which are his two favorite stops on the line. Guests will visit an urban living environment along with great infill projects like Hanny’s, Cartel Coffee and more. Again, Kimber Lanning will act as tour guide and will offer up little known facts and history about the Phoenix area. Interested riders should plan to meet the group at METRO Light Rail Central Avenue/Cameback station at 5 PM on October 18th.
Local business hero Craig DeMarco will also be doing a “ride along” which will visit his two favorite stops on the rail, Van Buren/1st Avenue and Central Avenue/Camelback. Some of the businesses on DeMarco’s tour include the Crescent Ballroom, Civic Space Park, Cowtown Skateboards and more. Interested riders should plan to meet the group at Phoenix Public Market at 5 PM on October 20th.
Prizes will be given away to some lucky riders, so join in the fun and explore the community by learning more about the local businesses that make us proud to call the Valley home. Lanning says, “We’ll even be spreading the word about great local deals like where you can buy a great locally made lunch for only $5.99.”
”Local businesses are assets to our line,” said METRO CEO Steve Banta. “The partnership with Local First Arizona is another opportunity for us to connect with these businesses and provide value to our transit riders.”
Shift the Way you Shop was inspired by a study that was recently completed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that examined the spending patterns of residents and businesses. The study determined if all 600,000 people in Grand Rapids county simply shifted 10% of their spending from national to local businesses, the result would be 1600 new jobs, an additional $130 million invested in the local economy and an increase of $50 million in local wages within one year.
(Ripped straight from our inbox)
In just five days, an exciting beginning to the Fall season opens up with a twist of a cork and the sensual smell of an understated Merlot or the vibrant, fruity aroma of a Chardonnay. Urban Wine Walkers will get the chance to whet their whistles by sampling wine and soaking in the atmosphere at 17 participating locations in Phoenix and Tempe on Saturday, September 24 beginning at 11 a.m.
The Downtown Phoenix Partnership organizes this twice annual wine walk to give participants a taste of the high life at a great price. An incredible variety of restaurants and bars will offer up to three wine samples and snacks from $2 to $4 to everyone participating in the Urban Wine Walk. And if you’re one of a lucky 600 to stop off at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, you’ll be treated to a goodie bag filled with freebies, coupons and the latest dining guide to help you fully experience the flourishing urban dining scene.
This unique experience provides a chance for wine novices, connoisseurs and everyone in between to gather with friends, enjoy good company, sample new tastes, find new favorite wines and restaurant spots, and have a great time in a vibrant urban setting. This year’s event has some exciting new additions to the program, including restaurants such as the Arrogant Butcher and Nobuo at Teeter House featuring Sake and delights from the James Beard award-winning Chef Nobuo Fukuda. Of course, many of our old favorites like Kincaid’s Fish, Chop and Steak House and Sam’s Café will also be offering wine and food that will please any palate!
It couldn’t be easier to participate. All establishments taking part in the event are a short walking distance from three central light rail stops in Phoenix, Central Corridor and Tempe. And with a full day light rail pass costing only $3.50, it’s a great way to enjoy this exciting event! Get going at any time after 11 a.m. at the location of your choice. The walk wraps up around 6 p.m. Special thanks to Mix 96.9 for getting the word out.
So, come on down to Downtown Phoenix this Saturday. It’s time to Live It Up!
Urban Wine Walk Participating Establishments
- Hula’s Modern Tiki
- 1130 The Restaurant
- Arrogant Butcher, The
- Brick Pizzeria & Wine Bar
- District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
- Icon Lounge at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel
- Kincaid’s Fish, Chop and Steak House
- Networks Bar & Grill
- Nobuo at Teeter House
- Phoenix Public Market
- Rose & Crown, The
- Sam’s Café
- Steve’s Greenhouse Grill
Tempe Mill Ave. & 3rd St.
- Caffe Boa
- My Big Fat Greek Restaurant
Urban Wine Walk At a Glance
Who: Downtown Phoenix Partnership
What: Urban Wine Walk
When: Saturday, September 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Phoenix, along the light rail line
Cost: Free, participants must be at least 21 years old. Wine samples cost between $2 and $4
Urban Wine Walk maps and all the details for upcoming fall events are available online.