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.
A few weeks ago I visited with long-time Garfield Organization board members, Dana Johnson and Kim Moody, and had the chance to see the transformation of 11th Street in their neighborhood. Residents and community members can be extremely proud of the input they provided and the completed enhancements that now span 11th St. between Washington and Moreland streets, including: wider sidewalks with new accessible ramps to meet ADA specifications; 114 pedestrian-level street lights; 18 LED street light fixtures; shade trees to reduce radiant heat along the entire corridor; upgraded bus shelters with new seating, trash receptacles, and bicycle racks; specialty pavement with 10 historical elements related to the neighborhood around six bus stops and four seating areas; upgraded landscaping and irrigation system throughout the corridor; and new bike paths on 11th Street, running the entire length of the project. The endeavor was funded by a $2.4 million Federal Transit Administration Discretionary Grant with a local match of $600,000.
STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE
Downtown Phoenix Journal has introduced a “Conversation” series penned by Jill Bernstein and featuring Downtown Phoenix, Inc. board of directors and other downtown stakeholders. These interviews are an excellent way to introduce downtown Phoenix leadership to the community, and to learn their respective views on Phoenix. Here’s the interview line-up to date: Jeri Jones (United HealthGroup), Kimber Lanning (Local First Arizona), Mo Stein (HKS, Inc.), Ed Zuercher (City of Phoenix), Ed Zito (Alliance Bank) and Don Brandt (APS, pictured right). More to come, here on DPJ.
A CULTURALLY RICH MARCH
Let’s just say that early March was one for the record books for downtown Phoenix…with an amazing “VIVA PHX” music festival, First Fridays artwalk, and one-of-the-best-ever “Art Detours.” All on one weekend.
The Walter Studios Creative Art Center at 7th Avenue and Roosevelt held their grand opening and threw pies for a good cause. The Arizona Artist Collective which aims to connect businesses with artists has forged a new partnership.
On Saturday, March 15, the film “Cesar Chavez” was honored with an Audience Award in the Narrative Spotlight category at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, the annual music, film, and interactive conference in Austin, Texas. “Chavez” had its world premiere at Phoenix’s Orpheum Theatre on March 13. An estimated 1,400 people attended.
WELCOME SUPER BOWL XLIX
On Tuesday, March 18, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee announced several major initiatives that will take over 12 city blocks in downtown Phoenix and together will serve as the hub of fan, sponsor, media, and NFL activities for Super Bowl XLIX. This is a new addition to Arizona’s line-up of Super Bowl activities since the state last hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, and one million visitors are expected to participate.
COMING DOWNTOWN IS A SMART MOVE
In Mayor Greg Stanton’s State of the City Address, he included several references to downtown Phoenix, most notably two revolving around education: (1) a renewed commitment to supporting elementary and secondary school partnerships in and around central Phoenix and (b) news that the nationally ranked University of Arizona Eller College of Management will move to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus at 7th Street & Van Buren. To read the mayor’s full remarks, click here.
Help us tell the downtown Phoenix story with your Instagram account. “Project: Downtown Phoenix Stories” captures the hidden gems and beauty of Phoenix that you discover. Each weekend a new hashtag will be released on the Downtown Phoenix Instagram account. Take a picture in the theme, use the designated hashtag and share with the world. Selected photos will be featured each Monday on DowntownPhoenix.com.
Several friends and associates we have worked with closely at City Hall are moving on in their professional careers: John Chan in Community & Economic Development (CED) is returning to the Phoenix Convention Center (PCC). Hank Marshall is taking John’s position in CED. Debbie Cotton is moving from the PCC to Information Technology. Brendan Mahoney, Senior Policy Advisor to the Mayor, is heading back to the private sector and his law practice. Wylie Bearup, Street Transportation Director, has announced his retirement. And new to City Hall is Gail Brown, Administrator in the Office of Arts & Culture.
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“We’ve had some opportunities come along and we’ve capitalized on them.”
Donald Brandt is Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle West and Arizona Public Service (APS), one of the largest employers in the state and the largest in downtown Phoenix. APS has about 1800 employees in their downtown office on 5th Street, and another 200 or so just south of downtown. Brandt moved from his hometown of St. Louis to Phoenix in 2002. He got involved in downtown in 2007, when Jack Davis, (also of APS), invited him to join the Downtown Phoenix Partnership board. Last October, Brandt then transitioned to Board Chair for the new umbrella organization, Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
We asked him to describe his first impressions of downtown in 2002 and how much has changed since the mid-2000′s. “I didn’t even know there was much of a downtown. I walked around and kind of expected to see a tumbleweed. So much has been developed in the last ten years….You look around and it’s a dramatically different city. I don’t think anyone’s going to expect to see a tumbleweed down here today.”
“So much has been developed in the last ten years….You look around and it’s a dramatically different city. I don’t think anyone’s going to expect to see a tumbleweed down here today.”
How did this change come about? “The business community, the Phoenix city government and other agencies have always had a good working relationship” said Brandt. “We’ve had some opportunities come along and we’ve capitalized on them.” From his perspective, the history of good relationships among these entities has been key. “The ASU campus downtown, no one dreamed of that 10 years ago; the restaurants, the Science Center, the light rail,” he continued. “I think it was a lot of coordination with the city, which had been a great partner all along…cooperation and coordination are important, and capitalizing on opportunities.”
Brandt was part of a team of people including Mayor Greg Stanton, Mike Ebert of RED Development, David Krietor and others, who spent the better part of a year visiting other cities to see what kind of structures they had; to understand what worked and what didn’t; and what was possible in Phoenix and what wasn’t. The cities explored included Brandt’s hometown of St. Louis, Denver and Seattle. Out of this research, “we saw an opportunity (with the creation of Downtown Phoenix Inc.), to acknowledge a broader sense of downtown and bring things together under one umbrella to coordinate and deliver a message,” said Brandt.
Brandt believes that the Downtown Phoenix, Inc. structure will expand relationships among business, government, education entities, community groups, and residents. One of the biggest benefits of this structure is that “DPI will coordinate different entities downtown…political leaders, business leaders and community leaders – just a year into it we’re beginning to speak with one voice. We set the priorities and tackle them, and, frankly, are able to bring more resources to bring to bear.”
He points out that the broadened membership component of DPI is a key part of getting everyone’s voice at the table. “PCA (Phoenix Community Alliance) was mostly the businesses and developer community. In cities that are successful with this umbrella structure, such as Denver, St. Louis, Seattle, the residents and small businesses also have membership for a modest fee and get value from it.” As an affiliate and the membership arm of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., PCA will provide that value.
“…we saw an opportunity (with the creation of Downtown Phoenix Inc.), to acknowledge a broader sense of downtown and bring things together under one umbrella to coordinate and deliver a message.”
Another thrust for DPI will be supporting and coordinating events. Brandt mentioned the success that Denver has had with their events. “Denver’s got more than 10 years on us, but we’re starting. They have one event after another and generate a net profit of about $10 million from their events. We have a few events in downtown now, but hey,” he smiles, “we have a few more months of good outdoor weather than Denver.”
So how do he and his family like to spend their free time downtown? “We come down for all kinds of sports and to eat. There’s plenty of variety down here, even just here in Arizona Center, for example. Particularly after work, we meet friends for dinner and a drink and walk over to a ball game.”
Additionally, APS often has visitors and guests from out of town and Brandt is clearly proud of what downtown has to offer visitors, including great hotels and the world-class Phoenix Convention Center.
We finished by asking Brandt his thoughts looking forward to the Super Bowl activities that will be in downtown next year. “Their (the NFL) downtown presence is going to be huge. There’s plenty of opportunity for businesses downtown to participate and support that.” He went on, “It will be a blast down here. In New York last year, 70-80,000 people went to the game, plus probably 300,000 others came in for the experience. In New York, you didn’t notice 400,000 extra people,” he laughed, “but I think we’ll feel it in downtown Phoenix.”
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“What we need next is focus and execution.”
We sat down for coffee recently with Ed Zito, President of Alliance Bank, a locally-owned, Arizona-based bank headquartered in CityScape. A long-time downtown advocate, Zito has been involved in many of the economic development changes over the last thirty years in Phoenix and is a member of the board of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
He’s been in Phoenix since 1981, when he started his involvement in downtown through his position on the Corporate Contributions Committee of First Interstate Bank. “Sitting on that committee opened my eyes to the array of development challenges we had at the time, and the alignment we needed to meet those challenges,” said Zito.
“The alignment began when the business community took hold and took leadership on the importance of revitalizing downtown,” he continued. “But the business leadership couldn’t do it alone. They needed to align with the public sector, the philanthropic sector and the academic sector to create not just a vision, but a collaborative environment to take Phoenix to the next level, or two or three.”
“…the business leadership couldn’t do it alone. They needed to align with the public sector, the philanthropic sector and the academic sector to create not just a vision, but a collaborative environment to take Phoenix to the next level, or two or three.”
From Zito’s perspective, a specific development that has had tremendous impact on downtown was the coalescing around bioscience and life science that led to the creation of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (better known as TGen). Zito served on Governor Napolitano’s Committee for Innovation and Technology, which grew an ecosystem around TGen and the life and biosciences, and he sees this development as a key step in revitalizing downtown. Coincidentally, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce just selected TGen to receive a 2014 Economic Driver Impact Award.
He also points to the creation of the sports venues; the collaboration to overhaul the Phoenix Convention Center (“a beacon of the public and private sectors working together”); and CityScape (which represents “downtown coming into its own and flourishing”). These key developments build off the synergy of others. “The light rail, the growth of Local First, the impact of the arts community and thriving daily growth in downtown…it’s all part of the central nervous system.”
Alliance Bank was a key player in making CityScape a reality. “Alliance is only 11 years old,” said Zito, “but we made the $40 million loan for this entire block in the middle of the Great Recession. We closed that loan for RED Development on December 28, 2009…really the trough of the recession.”
For Zito, the key to long term vitality in downtown is the ongoing nurturing of the public/private partnerships that have brought us this far. Alliance is the largest, locally-owned bank in Arizona and he believes that “it’s in our DNA to be part and parcel of economic development. We understand that growing the pie is in everyone’s interest.”
He’s very proud of the fact that Alliance Bank is locally owned. “We believe in putting our money where our mouth is,” added Zito. “It resonates from our CEO, Robert Sarver, all the way down. We have an ‘investing forward’ mentality in our organization that is very powerful. One of the things we’re focused on is passing on that DNA deeper into the organization and the next generation of leaders.”
“We have a great mix of talent on the (DPI) board. What we need next is focus and execution.”
When asked what he believes are the most significant lessons we’ve learned in downtown over the last 20 years, he said, “Lesson one is think big, leadership counts, and the alignment that comes from that can be really powerful.”
The last twenty years or so have seen tremendous progress in the development of this alignment among all of the key stakeholders, but, for Zito the biggest challenge ahead is capital needs. “We continue to be blessed with great leadership in all of the sectors (public, private, philanthropic, academic). It’s very encouraging, because these are the four pillars that support continued growth and development, but it is critical that we meet the capital requirements to do the next generation of bold and audacious things.”
Zito sees the creation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. as inspirational. “DPI gives us the ability to really take it to the next level. We have a great mix of talent on the board. What we need next is focus and execution. We need to agree on our needs in downtown. For example, if we agree that it’s more residential development, then let’s focus on that and execute it really, really well. Make the process diverse, accessible, inclusive and user-friendly. If we do it well, the leverage you get out of it is phenomenal.”
“We’ve spent too long as a real estate-centric economic story, and now we’re much more multi-faceted and diverse.”
What Zito brings to the DPI board is history and perspective, business acumen, and financial reality. “I’m a collaborator,” he said. “I can convene, but I’d rather coalesce with other leadership. The vision, time and talent of other board members, such as Mike Ebert and Don Brandt is unquestioned, but you mix that with a Kimber Lanning of Local First, add in the arts community, and the public sector piece with the Mayor and Ed Zuercher, the City Manager, and it becomes electric.”
Zito sees DPI as the next phase of the alignment and collaboration that downtown needs. “From the get go,” he says, “DPI has made a clear statement of inclusion and has been very effective at getting everyone to the table to take the city to the next level. There’s a stronger pulse and heart beat. We’ve spent too long as a real estate-centric economic story, and now we’re much more multi-faceted and diverse.”
In his free time, Zito enjoys visiting the Phoenix Art Museum and he follows a particular sports team (hint, hint…the Suns). He feels that there is a certain energy and spirit of hope that is created with the public when their sports teams are doing well. As he puts it, “a lot of hope and inspiration is part of what creates a successful urban environment. Our best days lie ahead.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
University of Arizona Eller MBA Programs Move to Downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus
The University of Arizona Eller College of Management announced today that it will be moving from its satellite location in north Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix.
The Eller College will occupy classroom and office space on the campus of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, located at 550 E. Van Buren St. The location will be home to two of Eller’s part-time MBA programs for working professionals: the Evening MBA and the Executive MBA, which are designed for managers with 3-plus years of experience and seasoned executives, respectively.
Between the two programs, the campus will serve about 170 MBA students annually.
“We are thrilled that Eller will be a part of the exciting things happening in downtown Phoenix,” said Len Jessup, dean of the Eller College. “The College of Medicine has established beautiful facilities that will give our professional MBAs access to high-tech working classroom space and a true campus experience.”
City of Phoenix’s Mayor Greg Stanton also supports the move.
“It’s incredibly exciting that Eller is opening its doors in downtown Phoenix, where we continue to offer the highest-rated education opportunities in the state within just a few blocks of each other,” Stanton said. “Eller graduates are top-notch, and exactly the kind of professionals we want as a part of our community.”
Access to graduate management education is one of many factors that contribute to greater Phoenix’s long-term competitiveness, added Don Budinger, chairman and founding director of The Rodel Foundations and board member of Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership.
“The University of Arizona’s downtown programs offer excellent options for working professionals who are considering an MBA.”
Last week, in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate programs, the Eller Evening MBA rose 21 slots, from No. 46 to No. 25 nationwide. The college is recognized for its leadership in entrepreneurship and management information systems, which consistently rank in the top 10 among undergraduate and graduate programs nationally.
Applications are being accepted now for the Executive MBA program that will begin in August at the downtown campus. A new class of Evening MBA students will begin at the location in January.
“Downtown offers a central location, with easy access for those already working in the area, as well as public transportation options. Our students frequently come together for team meetings, and the medical campus offers great collaboration space,” said Hope Schau, associate dean of MBA programs.
The Eller College began offering its MBA programs in the Phoenix area in 2006, with the launch of the Executive MBA program in Scottsdale. Since 2007, the college has held classes at a satellite campus just east of the Loop 101 in the McDowell Mountain Business Park, at 16425 N. Pima Road.
The college will open its downtown Phoenix location in late August or September. The Executive and Evening MBA students scheduled to complete their programs this year will remain at the Scottsdale campus. The Evening MBA class of 2015 will relocate to the downtown campus on Sept. 1.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #12 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.
The College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM-Phoenix) anchors the 28-acre Phoenix Biomedical Campus in the heart of the Valley of the Sun. The Phoenix Biomedical Campus embodies the university’s priorities of engagement, partnership, innovation, and synergy in its world-class academic, research, with clinical facilities throughout Greater Phoenix. The campus also houses the UA Colleges of Public Health, Pharmacy, and Nursing, as well as Northern Arizona University’s College of Health and Human Services, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the International Genomics Consortium.
On Saturday, March 1, Artlink Inc., in partnership with Downtown Phoenix Inc. hosted the Art d’Core Gala at Crescent Ballroom, which featured Mayor Greg Stanton giving his first “Celebrate Downtown” address. The event was sponsored by CityScape, APS, Phoenix Convention Center, Valley Metro, 12 News, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Support Sky Harbor Coalition, United Phoenix Fire Fighters, and Gammage & Burnham Attorneys at Law.
Despite the spring rain, more than 500 Phoenicians attended the event that celebrated the contribution of the arts and local culture to the resurgence of downtown, adding color and vibrancy to our urban core. It served as a festive kick-off to Artlink’s Art Detour 26, March 8-9, 2014.
Below is the transcript of the Mayor’s address.
Celebrate Downtown Address
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Special thank you to Catrina Kahler, the Artlink Board Chair who organized this incredible event. I want to thank Downtown Phoenix, Inc. Let me tell you about what they did just recently. When our Legislature passed S.B. 1062, DPI spoke out, and joined an overwhelming majority in our community by writing Governor Brewer a letter asking her to veto that terrible legislation. DPI stood up for Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance, because we all know that an inclusive community is a stronger community.
I’m so happy to be with you to Celebrate Downtown – because there is a lot to celebrate. Downtown is back! Downtown is certainly alive tonight.
“…the fabric of a vibrant community isn’t any set of buildings. It’s the people. It’s residents, artists, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs. It’s you.”
That’s such good news – and for many people around the city and Valley, that may be unexpected news.
That’s because for so many decades, downtown Phoenix really struggled. Once grand buildings at the heart of our city were left to deteriorate or were torn down. Busy streets fell silent as new development lured businesses and customers. Eventually, people moved away from downtown too.
Many in our community sought to change that.
In the 90s, new development brought people back – at least for events. But even great venues like America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark weren’t enough. I came to the City Council more than a decade ago, and at that time, we pushed for forward-thinking investments. Investments that made the Biomedical Campus, T-Gen and ASU Downtown possible.
In 2000, the entire city took a risk, voting for and uniting behind Light Rail. That made it easier for everyone to get to our downtown.
Finally, after so many years of hard work, we were making progress.
Then, the recession hit. Arizona took it hard. Downtown Phoenix too. Those investment dollars came to a screeching halt.
Those times were tough, but for all of the heartache, there was also a silver lining. . . It gave us
time. Time to pause and really think about the kind of downtown we wanted. Did we have the right people at the table?
Because as far as we had come – deep down, all of us knew we could do even better.
Yes, constructing those “signature buildings” was important. But we had to do more. We had to show that downtown can be a neighborhood too. A community with life. And the fabric of a vibrant community isn’t any set of buildings. It’s the people. It’s residents, artists, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs. It’s you.
And it also gave us time to understand that our downtown doesn’t have to look or feel the same as downtowns in other cities. The urban cores of other big cities were shaped a century ago, and are chained to the ideas of the past.
“…our city’s relative youth is one of our greatest strengths. That’s because the people in this community, the people in this room – we are in control of downtown’s destiny.”
We’re not. When downtowns across the country lost their residents to the suburbs after World War II, Phoenix was too young to have a big downtown. And too many of the buildings that were here were torn down.
We have to learn from those mistakes.
But like it or not, much of downtown Phoenix today is a fresh canvas.
Phoenix is a big city. But we’re still a young city. But our city’s relative youth is one of our greatest strengths. That’s because the people in this community, the people in this room – we are in control of downtown’s destiny.
The decisions we make – not me, we – will determine our future. This won’t be shaped by outside forces. As long as I’m your Mayor, it will be shaped by you.
We will realize our shared vision for downtown: a vibrant, walkable, livable community where education, the arts, and commerce thrive.
That’s the downtown that works for us. . . all of us.
Getting there means we have to break free from the old way of doing things.
Re-organize the decision-making process, and build one that fostered teamwork and creativity. Create a process that includes everyone.
When I ran for Mayor, I said I’d make that a priority so you would have more than a seat at the table. You’d have a voice in making decisions.
Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
This is what Downtown Phoenix, Inc. is for.
“…for the first time – the arts community, downtown residents, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Community Alliance, and businesses large and small are all working together on the same page.”
We looked at how other cities with growing and urban downtowns operated – and we took the best of their ideas.
In D-P-I, we have a new structure that coordinates downtown’s activities much more efficiently. But most important – D-P-I brings everyone together. We have great community representation on its board in Cindy Dach, Tim Eigo, and Kimber Lanning. And in Dave Kreitor, we have a leader who understands every part of downtown.
This new unity means that – for the first time – the arts community, downtown residents, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Community Alliance, and businesses large and small are all working together on the same page.
D-P-I gives us the tools we need to use every part of downtown to create new things, big and small.
And D-P-I is working with Roosevelt Row and many others who have already helped create a sheer number of events beyond what we could have ever imagined just a few years ago. Think about it:
• The first Viva Phoenix with more than 50 bands coming next weekend
Every week, something unique is happening to bring life to our downtown. And we are getting ready to showcase downtown Phoenix on an international stage by hosting the Super Bowl.
It will bring in hundreds of thousands of people to our downtown each night in the days leading up to the game. But it can only be successful if each of you is at the table and help as we plan those events.
That’s precisely what Downtown Phoenix, Inc. is all about.
It’s about the everyday energy we feel in our community.
We know how important that is because we all remember when too often this area felt more like a ghost town than a downtown.
Urban, Walkable Downtown
I remember just a couple of years ago going to Lola’s coffee on a Sunday afternoon. There was hardly anyone around. A few weeks ago when I was there it hit me – it was full, and so was Pita Jungle next door. There were people walking and biking, relaxing, eating, walking dogs.
That’s the future we all hope for: urban, walkable, and multi-modal.
We’ve done a lot of things to move downtown in that direction.
In 2011, Phoenix passed a new Downtown Form Code that set new rules for development, and tried to direct the street experience.
That was a good first step. When I took office, though, I thought we could do more – especially for pedestrians.
We took action, making big changes that went into effect just last year.
And wow – for the first time – nearly every downtown street is a designated pedestrian street. Here’s why that’s important.
• New construction now must include ground-level activation, and provide shade for sidewalks. Every single property has to be walkable.
• Apartment buildings – they all have to include bike racks. High-rise office buildings –must have showers for those who want to bike to work.
• And though it has been a long time coming, our bike share program finally is nearing the end of testing and will be rolling out soon.
“That’s the future we all hope for: urban, walkable, and multi-modal.”
With the right projects, we can capitalize on that progress. The City of Phoenix has put out an R-F-P to make new and better use of property at Central and Van Buren so we can advance multi-use centers that bring in new residents.
We are working on a new Complete Streets Plan that represents an entirely new approach to how we design and build our streets. It recognizes the fundamental idea that every street should accommodate pedestrians, bikes, transit, and … yes, even cars too.
The plan may not be done yet, but we’re already getting to work. We’ve already started a few new road diets to make our community more walkable.
The Grand Avenue folks approached us with a good idea: use new paint to narrow Grand Avenue and allow plants, parks and other things in the right of way. Create more walkable space, let restaurants use the space for seating.
We got it done in about six months – record-breaking time that shows we’re serious. If you haven’t been to Grand Avenue, please, go check it out.
We did the same thing on First Street from Pierce all the way up to Hance Park. It’s temporary and not perfect, but it’s a huge improvement.
We’re re-thinking one-way streets, and exploring whether it would be better to have two-way streets in some places instead. Yes, one way streets serve a purpose; they make it easier to people to get in and out. But two-way streets are better for neighborhoods, and better for small business owners.
At the same time we’re transforming our streets, we’re turning dilapidated buildings into new businesses and homes.
Through our adaptive reuse program, the City is waiving its fees and making it easier for those who want to find new use for old buildings.
That’s been incredibly powerful in the Warehouse District – where we’re sending the message that, yes, you too are a part of downtown.
All along Grant Street south of Lincoln: WebPT, the Herberger Institute of Design, Michael Levine’s buildings. The Press Room on Madison.
In other parts of downtown, great place like the Public Market Café, Angel’s Trumpet, and Pomo were possible in part because of the adaptive reuse program. Two projects I’m most excited about are in the works: the renovations of Luhrs Tower and the Hotel Monroe. These historic structures have been under-used for years – but will soon add new life to downtown.
Hub for Education, Entrepreneurs and Commerce
As we preserve the buildings of our past, we’re also creating new centers for education, entrepreneurs and commerce.
We’re supporting new K-12 schools – good schools – in our urban areas because downtown must be a place for families with children too.
At same time, we’re becoming a hotspot for higher learning There were so few students in downtown just a decade ago. By 2020, there will be more than 17-thousand. That’s exciting.
Like any big experiment, there have been a few bumps in the road. But with each project, it gets better and better.
And now, the highest-ranked education opportunities in Arizona are – or soon will be – offered in downtown Phoenix.
• U of A’s medical school, which will open one of the top cancer centers in the country next year.
• ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – one of the top 10 public law schools in the nation – will move downtown in 2016.
And these aren’t the only places spurring new, innovative ideas.
Co-working spaces are booming. Co+Hoots is already at its limit and expanding.
“…we finally have engaged residents who have created a fantastic community.”
That makes a difference all over the Valley, and all over Arizona. The activity in a strong downtown can shape the economy of our entire region.
In north Phoenix, up near Desert Ridge, we’re building a massive, thousand-acre biomedical corridor.
It will also create new jobs – good jobs – but it never would have been possible without the success of the Downtown Biomedical Campus.
A strong downtown contributes everywhere because no other part of our region can claim such a unique and vibrant integration of residents, academics, art, government, commerce and entrepreneurs.
Downtown Phoenix is truly one of a kind.
Just two years ago, the conversation we were having was about how downtown was on the brink of turning the corner.
Today, it finally has.
And the conversation we continue to have is, “How we can best work together to make downtown even stronger?”
There’s a lot of work to do. As I said earlier, in many ways, we’re working with a fresh canvas. Yes, we’ve got a few old buildings we need to save. We have empty lots we need to change. But we finally have engaged residents who have created a fantastic community.
I can’t read the future, but I can tell you where I think downtown Phoenix is headed.
It will build on its role as the transit hub of the Valley. And one day Light Rail will integrate the areas south of downtown as part of the community, as well as the Capitol Mall and beyond.
We will be home to thousands more entrepreneurs and start ups.
The arts community will be firmly established.
New residents will be able to choose from a wide variety of housing options.
And those who want to ride their bike or walk to work or a restaurant – and one day, a grocery store – will find it easier than ever before.
I guarantee you it will not always be easy. There will be a lot of debate and even some mistakes along the way. That’s what makes downtown unique. Each of you is smart, creative and engaged. We’ll get it right, but only if you hold the City’s feet to the fire and demand excellence.
We’ve known each other and worked together for many years now. I’m incredibly proud of what you’ve done to shape our community. That’s why it means so much to me when you’ve called me “the downtown Mayor.”
I love downtown because it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone.
Let’s continue to make it as incredible as we know it can be.
Photos by Christopher Boats O’Shana. Courtesy of Artlink Inc.