There are two infill advisory groups – Phase One and Phase Two. The Phase One group is comprised of design professionals, builders and city staff. This group looks at the more technical issues related to the interpretation and application of City Code and Building Code requirements.
- Alan Stephenson, Planning & Development
- Cindy Stotler, Planning & Development
- Ray Dovalina, Street Transportation
- Brandy Kelso, Water Services
- Jack Ballentine, Fire
- Kate Krietor, Neighborhood Services
Design Professionals & Builders
- Ben Patton, Tiffany & Bosco
- Bill Smith, Smithfield Properties LLC
- Sean Tonge, John F. Long Properties LLLP
- Dan Klocke, Downtown Phx Partnership
- Mike Rumpleton, RSP Architects
- Jeff McBride, Dibble Engineering
- Eric Zobrist, Ayers, Saint, Gross Architects
- Leslie Kland, Kland Civil Engineers
- Jason Morris, Withey Morris
The Phase II group membership includes neighborhood representatives, some design professionals, zoning professionals and city staff. The Phase II group is assigned the issues related to neighborhoods and quality of life.
Phase Two Advisory Group
- Alan Stephenson, Planning & Development
- Cindy Stotler, Planning & Development
- Ray Dovalina, Street Transportation
- Kate Krietor, Neighborhood Services
Residents, Design Professionals & Builders
- Jennifer Boucek, Historic Preservation/Residents
- Ken Cheuvront, Small Business
- Cindy Dach, Downtown Phoenix
- Steve Dreiseszun, FQ Story/Residents
- Tim Eigo, Downtown Phoenix
- Jasper Hawkins, Residents
- Charley Jones, Pierson Place Historic District
- Jennifer Longdon, Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities
- Jim Mapstead, Local First
- Jason Morris, Whithey Morris PLC
These infill development advisory groups were asked to assist staff in creating a pilot area for removing infill development barriers and incorporating flexibility in standard development requirements. The group’s goal was to promote growth and development in areas served by light rail and existing public infrastructure.
Over the summer, six public meetings were held and just over 200 citizens participated in conversations about the future of infill development in downtown Phoenix. Wednesday night’s presentation will talk about the progress the groups made based on the public input, and provide insight on the next steps in developing the pilot area.
If You Go
What: Overview of Progress on Infill Development Plans for Downtown Phoenix
When: Wednesday, October 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: A.E. England Building, 424 N. Central Avenue. (Located between 1st and Central Avenues, just north of Van Buren Street. Transit station at Central Ave and Van Buren St. Parking available at Central Ave & Filmore St.)
After years of dividing staff time and resources between separate offices and rehearsal space, Arizona Opera has at last consolidated most of its operations in one location, thanks to the capital culture bond approved by Phoenix residents in 2006. The company’s new home, formerly a space for office furniture belonging to Walsh Bros., is directly across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum and near the light rail on the northwest corner of Central and McDowell.
Singers and administrators alike are enjoying the novelty of in-house rehearsals at Arizona Opera’s new center, says General Director Ryan Taylor. “Now we’re all under one roof,” he explains. “We’ve got our costume shop…our wig and makeup department…marketing…development…” Taylor pauses and smiles. “Everyone who needs to know exactly what’s going on with the art form can just wander in and see what’s happening that day.”
This weekend offers everyone that rare behind-the-scenes opportunity with plenty of great music, beginning at 6 p.m. this evening and continuing through Community Day celebrations on Saturday, October 5. First Friday options include a professional makeup demonstration in preparation for the Zombie Walk, tours, food trucks ranging from Short Leash Hot Dogs to Paradise Melts to Paletas Betty, and rehearsals of H.M.S. Pinafore, which opens Arizona Opera’s season.
Be sure to grab a spot for tonight’s performances of Craigslistlieder, written in the spirit of classical German art songs but using mature-audience-only lyrics from online ads with tongue tucked firmly in cheek. This offbeat 2006 work for voice and piano was composed by Gabriel Kahane, son of pianist/conductor Jeffrey Kahane, and includes titles like “You Looked Sexy,” “Neurotic and Lonely,” “For Trade,” and “Half A Box of Condoms” performed by baritone Chad Sloan.
Seating is somewhat limited in the new center, since the flexible performance area seats only 235. This allows greater intimacy between audience and performers, says Taylor, hopefully eliminating not only physical distance but also the stereotypical formality of opera. “I think the other thing that I like is just the sunlight,” Taylor adds with a laugh. “Here it’s just a joy, and the acoustic is so good in this new hall; we’re rehearsing in a space that…really is an integral [part] of that downtown corridor in the center of the…arts district.”
Saturday begins with an 11AM presentation from Steinway & Sons, more tours and food trucks, and ongoing performances by members of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, the Arizona School for the Arts Middle School Chorus, and six singers from the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio. The evening brings Opératif, a $25 behind-the-scenes preview with Taylor and a glass of wine at the final rehearsal of Pinafore.
Sir Arthur Sullivan and Sir William S. Gilbert wrote Pinafore as their fourth collaboration in 1878, creating a burlesque satire of nautical melodramas. The British operetta features veteran baritone Robert Orth, young soprano Sara Gartland, popular Arizona Opera regular Curt Olds, and Grammy-nominated conductor Rob Fisher, while English supertitles projected above the stage make it easy to follow along.
General Director Taylor enjoys casting young artists appropriate to the age of their roles, and rising star David Portillo is a fine example in the role of Ralph Rackstraw, the hero of the piece. Portillo is a Mexican-American tenor from Texas, still in his mid-30s but already boasting appearances with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Washington National Opera, along with performances in Switzerland, Japan, France, Italy, and Luxembourg. He previously sang Beethoven’s ninth symphony with The Phoenix Symphony, and he’s been praised by Opera News as “a sharp performer” with a “warm, sexy lyric tenor.” Portillo also delivers a Spanish-language recital on Arizona Opera’s voiceLab series at the Musical Instrument Museum on October 27.
Arizona Opera stays with a maritime theme by following Pinafore with Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman in November. Shorter than most of Wagner’s famous Ring operas, Dutchman is a thoroughly enjoyable spine-tingling romance soaked with plenty of supernatural forces and the composer’s trademark musical sound effects, from spinning wheels to storms. Soprano Lori Phillips sings the heroine role of Senta, in which she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera.
Dutchman’s title role showcases another Metropolitan Opera favorite: baritone Mark Delavan, who grew up in Phoenix and earned a degree in art at Grand Canyon College (now Grand Canyon University) before studying music in Oklahoma. Delavan’s parents were both major figures in the Valley’s choral music scene. Over-the-top reviews for the singer — especially in performances of Verdi, Wagner, and Puccini — include praise for his “half-divine, half-human voice” (and really, who could resist that quote). Intriguingly, Delavan crafts knives as a hobby.
For 2014, Arizona Opera’s season includes Symphony Hall performances of Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème – the inspiration for the musical Rent — in January along with Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic La Traviata in February and March, and nine April performances of Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale in the new Opera Center.
1636 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Grand opening weekend: Oct. 4 First Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Oct. 5 Community Day begins at 11 a.m.
- H.M.S. Pinafore
Oct. 11-13 at Symphony Hall
- The Flying Dutchman
Nov. 15-17 at Symphony Hall
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.