Who doesn’t love a parade? And one was held in downtown Phoenix on August 27 for the newly-crowned – for the third consecutive year – Arena Bowl Champions, the Arizona Rattlers. Another parade may occur (fingers crossed) if the Phoenix Mercury reign supreme in the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky. And speaking of hot streaks…
On August 26, hundreds of downtown advocates and supporters attended RadiatePHX at the University of Arizona College of Medicine’s Virginia G. Piper Auditorium. Sponsored by Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal, the RadiatePHX business and community mixer will be held on the third Tuesday of every month at an interesting downtown space with a diverse mix of programming and speakers. “This is exactly what we had envisioned to bring life back into the heart of the city,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. On tap for the September 16 RadiatePHX at ASU’s Step Gallery in the Phoenix Warehouse District are Steven Tepper, new dean of the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Councilwoman Kate Gallego.
On August 27, Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Phoenix Parks and Recreation launched Wednesday Wind Up, a weekly lunch time event featuring food trucks, local retail business booths, and outdoor games and activities at Civic Space Park.
On August 28, TEDx Evans Churchill held its second event, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen,” at the downtown Phoenix Convention Center. Seven speakers spoke to a full-house on food related topics. Afterward, everyone sauntered over to FED after TED to “wine and dine” on food and beer pairings from local restaurants.
The Firehouse Gallery’s “Comedy on Fire” open-mic show is one of the most prominent places for local comics to ply their trade. Held monthly since March of 2013, the show has become so popular that out-of-state comics are being booked to perform.
US Airways and merger partner American Airlines will not be renewing their naming rights deal for downtown’s US Airways Center. First it was America West Arena, now US Airways Center. What’s next? We will know by next fall. Despite the name change we expect great things from the Suns this season!
Lux, one of central Phoenix’s most popular coffee and dining spots, will open a second location at First and Portland streets in the Evans Churchill neighborhood. Both an adaptive reuse of an existing structure and adjacent new construction, Jeff Fischer’s Lux Commonwealth and County will sport the same look and feel which has made the original North Central Avenue location so inviting and successful.
Redevelopment plans for two iconic downtown Phoenix buildings made significant progress. The city of Phoenix picked P.B. Bell Cos. and Davis Enterprises to redevelop the 1915 Jefferson Hotel (aka Barrister Building) and adjacent vacant parcels at Central Avenue and Jefferson Street into boutique-style residential and commercial space. In addition, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors agreed to work with developer CSM Lodging on tax incentives to repurpose the 1931 Professional Building at Central Avenue and Monroe Street into a boutique hotel.
For the last eight years Richard Adkins, our city’s forestry supervisor, has labored to keep trees from falling victim to business and neighborhood development, street widenings, and storm damage — all without a single budget line item for replacement trees. Now, with the support of the new Downtown Phoenix, Inc. Tree & Shade Task Force, comprised of a dozen community leaders and city employees (including Richard), new trees will be added and existing trees will be better maintained in and around downtown Phoenix, all in time for Super Bowl XLIX.
The Grand Avenue Members’ Association and Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts are are teaming up to bring even more live music, art, and local businesses to downtown Phoenix at the 6th Annual Grand Avenue Festival.
Only in Downtown
Phoenix Union Bioscience High School in the Evans Churchill neighborhood was named one of the top 30 “Most Amazing High School Campuses in the World” by BestEducationDegrees.com.
At historic Trinity Cathedral in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Arts District, the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale holds open rehearsals for anyone who enjoys listening to great music.
The Duce, a kick-back restaurant, lounge, vintage shop, and boxing gym located in a 1928 brick warehouse at Central Avenue and Lincoln Street, was recently named as one of the 12 most “Unusual American Restaurants” in the U.S.
Congratulations to the board and staff of the Arizona Science Center at Heritage & Science Park for receiving a $246,000 grant by the APS Foundation to continue ASC’s Rural Expansion Project that brings valuable teacher, leader, and community professional development along with student programming to school districts in our rural communities.
As more and more bicycles take to the road (and sidewalks) in downtown Phoenix, the State Press reports that cyclists balance legality and safety under the watchful eyes of police officers on downtown’s busy city streets.
On the first Monday of every month between 4 and 7 p.m., individuals with legal questions can stop by Songbird Coffee and Tea House on E. Roosevelt Street for “Cafe O’Law.” There Phoenix attorney Lora B. Sanders of the Sanders Law Firm provides free legal advice to anyone who drops in to purchase a cafe au lait or other snazzy drink refreshment.
Early September Activities
- 9/11 Week of Service & Remembrance, Valleywide, Sept. 6-14
- WNBA Finals, US Airways Center and UIC Pavilion, Sept. 7-17
- Fridays in the Park, Civic Space Park, Sept. 12
- Arizona Diamondbacks MLB baseball, Chase Field, various dates in Sept.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
CO+HOOTS TAKES OVER THE CLARENDON HOTEL
Phoenix’s first coworking space to celebrate 4-year anniversary with an all-day event at Phoenix’s hippest hotel on Aug. 13.
CO+HOOTS, downtown Phoenix’s first coworking space, is celebrating its fourth year of nurturing Phoenix entrepreneurialism with an all-day event consisting of working, learning, swimming and dancing at The Clarendon Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Stanton, Valenzuela and others will have the opportunity to “cowork,” meet and mingle with up to 150 event attendees, many of who are entrepreneurs currently shaping Phoenix into one of the biggest innovation hubs in the U.S.
Starting at 9 a.m., VIP guests and event attendees will be able to work at The Clarendon and its luxurious pool-side cabanas and swim at their leisure. There will also be a full day of events, including a one-hour social media seminar by local comedian and social media guru Amy Donahue, an extended happy hour, a rooftop yoga session and a Flamenco dance performance.
Tickets to the event are just $4, which includes access to The Clarendon Hotel’s pool (regularly $10 M-TH for non-hotel guests) and pool-side cabanas (which are regularly $99 to rent M-TH).
WHAT: CO+HOOTS 4-year Anniversary event
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 13; 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
WHERE: The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, 401 W. Clarendon Ave., Phoenix.
WHO: Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Phoenix community leaders and many of the entrepreneurs who are shaping Phoenix and its economy from the ground.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Local First Movement Gains Pivotal Seat at the Traditional Economic Development Table
International Economic Development Council Names LFAZ Director Kimber Lanning Citizen Leader of the Year
Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning has been named the recipient of the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The annual award recognizes a community leader who has endeavored to further the profession of economic development and has played a key role in economic development in his or her community.
“This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development.” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”
Lanning’s background is entrepreneurial, having owned three arts-related businesses over the past 27 years. Her work in the arts and culture community provided the platform for Lanning to launch Local First Arizona (LFA) in 2003. “I founded Local First Arizona for two reasons,” said Lanning. “First, I saw too many bright young people leaving Arizona for other cities like Austin and Portland. I wanted to inspire others to stay in Phoenix to help build a world class city. Second, I thought the massive subsidies being given to national chain stores were a raw deal for local communities, and I wanted to see Phoenix return to a climate where businesses, particularly retail and restaurants, had to pay their own way.”
Making an impact on the local economy
Lanning’s leadership has transformed Arizona’s local economy in a drastic way. LFA is now the largest locally owned business coalition in North America with over 2,500 business members, large and small. The online business directory she and her team created gets searched uniquely 48,000 times per month on average and they have amassed nearly 70,000 social media followers. She has 13 full-time staff members in offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Cottonwood working tirelessly to help citizens, business leaders and policy makers to understand the connections between local ownership and widespread prosperity. It is clear that the message is being heard, as the local business community reported sales were up 8.1% in 2013, which is significantly higher than the national average retail sales (local and national chains combined) of 4.2%.
“The movement to diversify our economy isn’t about baristas, shop keepers, or servers,” Lanning explains, “but about the ecosystem of businesses that support independent ownership. Accountants, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys–they all prosper when diverse, independently owned Arizona businesses are thriving. That ecosystem is lost when local business ownership is scarce.”
Using “sense of place” as a tool for economic development
Lanning is quick to site a Knight Foundation study which recently showed “connection to place” as the single-most leading indicator in places that have prosperity. “We need to be sure that people living here feel connected to this place, and locally owned businesses play an important role in that connection. Communities with a strong sense of place are highly successful in attracting the very kinds of high tech workers that our high level economic development teams seek to bring here to Arizona.
“Through Local First Arizona, Kimber continues to create a sense of pride within our communities and showcase the vibrant cities in our region, which helps our organization in attracting businesses to the region,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “It comes as no surprise to see an outstanding community leader from Arizona selected as the IEDC Citizen Leader of the Year.”
Policy and programatic successes
As Director of Local First Arizona, Lanning has overseen many policy changes that have fostered local economic development. She has worked on streamlining the adaptive reuse program at the City of Phoenix, which has enabled more businesses to open up in older building stock that only just recently blighted the city. This policy work has been pivotal in jumpstarting downtown Phoenix’s revitalization and recently landed Lanning the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award from the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association last year.
Additionally, Lanning and her team have worked diligently on government procurement policies that would enable more Arizona companies to compete, keeping more dollars and jobs flowing through the local economy. Local First Arizona has also seen many programmatic successes that have directly contributed to economic development. LFA was the first local business organization in the country to implement a Spanish language initiative, called Fuerza Local, a business accelerator program which works to encourage low-income Latinos to think entrepreneurially to create a pathway to prosperity for themselves and their families.
Furthermore, LFA’s efforts extended far beyond Arizona’s urban areas when LFA acquired the Arizona Rural Development Council (AZRDC) in May of 2013. Today, Lanning regularly travels across the state to work with rural stakeholders to help find creative solutions for building resilient and diverse economies for the state that include increasing in-state tourism. She also leads the annual Rural Policy Forum, a gathering of rural economic development professionals, nonprofits, community leaders, business owners, and stakeholders who are interested in sustaining rural communities.
Taking a broad approach towards economic development
“The successes of Local First Arizona over the last decade have underscored the broad range of strategies that Arizona needs to pursue for sustainable economic development,” said Lanning. “Through supporting entrepreneurs and locally owned enterprises—both large and small—we are maximizing the ecosystem of a healthy economy that builds widespread prosperity and supports more jobs. Local First Arizona is creating healthy local economies across the state that will in turn draw further economic development opportunities.”
Lanning emphasizes that a healthy Arizona economy needs to be diverse, resilient, and thriving. “To get there,” she says, “We need to invest in our own talent and develop policies that enable our business community to thrive.”
Lanning will accept the Citizen Leadership Award at the IEDC Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday, October 21. Lanning is the second from Arizona to be recognized with the IEDC Citizen Leadership Award. Last year’s award recipient was Sharon Harper of Phoenix, a founding board member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and co-founder of the real estate firm Plaza Companies.
The education and performance venue, named after Phoenix-born jazz drummer Lewis Nash, is owned and operated by the non-profit Jazz in Arizona, familiarly known as Jazz in AZ. Board vice president Jeff Libman became involved with the organization as soon as he learned about plans for The Nash.
“The places I lived before are Chicago and New York City and then here,” says Libman, “and this place needed a jazz club — and bad.” He points out the wide range of musical experiences available at The Nash. “If this is going to be the one jazz club in Phoenix, we want everybody to have something they can appreciate here.” Libman adds, “And then, of course, we want to reach the people who said, ‘Hey, I had no idea that I like jazz…but I like this, and I discovered it here.’”
The Nash offers concerts through the summer on Friday and Saturday nights on the Contemporary and Mainstream Jazz series, as well as the occasional special event. Says Libman, “We wanted to say, ‘we’re open to different interpretations of jazz,’ because this ‘what is jazz?’ conversation is still going on in very interesting ways.”
He continues, “There does need to be some kind of boundary…we have a mission. This was supposed to be a jazz oasis in the desert…so one of the questions I ask about something that’s on the border is ‘Is this jazz-inspired? Does it have improvisation? Does it have swing? Are some of the musicians…jazz musicians who sometimes do other things, and this is their different side project?’” Libman smiles. “I think we get into trouble as an organization if we get too snooty or too particular about what [jazz] is.”
At Arizona State University Libman teaches jazz guitar and Jazz Lab, directs the Jazz Repertory Band, and coaches combos. He’ll complete his PhD this fall while maintaining an active performance schedule, playing on his own and in a contemporary jazz group called Running From Bears and regularly hosting jam sessions at The Nash.
The venue includes three back rooms for break-out sessions and workshops, as well as a recording booth. A tiny lobby leads into the open seating and stage area, where a curtain serves as the simple backdrop. The Nash’s gallery-lit walls carry themed art installations rotating every few months, and the sounds of downtown are faintly audible.
In its default table-seating configuration, The Nash holds 75, although without tables it can hold an audience of 120, allowing some groups to play without amplification. “If your jazz club gets too big it starts to feel like a concert hall; it’s not as intimate any more. So there’s a sweet spot of size,” says Libman. Without an elevated stage, the piano can be easily moved and the audience enjoys close proximity to the performers. “One of the reasons is sometimes we have a big band in here,” Libman adds, “and sometimes we have a big big band in here, and there’s somebody in the audience sitting here” — he pulls forward a chair in the front row– “and there’s a baritone sax player sitting here” — he gestures a few feet away. “So this allows us the flexibility.”
“If you want this visceral thing about being there and feeling connected with it more than perfect sight-lines, then this is the kind of room for you,” says Libman. “And I like that. There are trade-offs with everything.”
The Nash offers year-round private and group lessons, jam sessions every Saturday, and a wealth of affordable educational opportunities including workshops for all skill levels and instruments. Recent multi-week workshops featured “Singing Standards” — learning repertoire from the Great American Songbook — and “Playing on Changes,” a four-week introduction to improvising over chord changes.
Saxophonist Adam Roberts teaches “Electronics for Horn Players” on August 2 and the notation software workshop “Finale for Jazz Musicians” on August 9. Not every participant needs to be a performer; Libman himself led an “exposure” session on music history, appreciation, and listening.
The Nash’s 200 performances each year include the Catch a Rising Star series, which presents talented young artists and sometimes helps launch careers. First Fridays mean special free shows. “To be on the street is very powerful,” says Libman, “because this is a burgeoning arts district — we have 1500 people come in and out of the door on a First Friday.”
Libman particularly appreciates The Nash’s attraction for young listeners. “[It’s] one of the few places that I can think of where people who are under 21 years old are like, ‘We’re gonna go to jazz shows regularly.’”
The venue often welcomes all ages, but also holds a BYOB certificate, which allows patrons to bring a limited amount of alcohol for a small corkage fee, an arrangement which may change next year. “But we won’t do anything that makes it so you can’t be under 21 and come here on a regular bases,” Libman assures me. “There are some compromises we’re unwilling to make.”
“We feel like this whole artistic energy in Phoenix is starting to coalesce and grow,” he says, “and we just want to get in and be a part of that.”
If you go:
Visit: The Nash
Address: 110 E. Roosevelt St.
For more: thenash.org – 602-795-0464
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.
On Monday, July 14 the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) Board of Directors approved a contract to consolidate its administrative and financial management with Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI). The DPP Board will remain in place to develop and oversee the program of work and budget for the property owners within the Enhanced Municipal Services District (EMSD) bounded by the Union Pacific tracks south of Jackson, 7th Street, Fillmore, and 3rd Avenue. All staffing will consolidate under DPI.
The contractual alignment of DPP and DPI creates administrative efficiencies and, for the first time, coordinates the strong and well managed activities within the EMSD with our broader emerging downtown. Concurrent with this effort, a team of community leaders and property owners in the Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill neighborhoods is evaluating the potential to create a second EMSD that could also have an affiliation with DPI.
As part of its approval of the consolidation, the DPP Board asked DPI to establish a more structured relationship with Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) as our membership affiliate or move forward with a direct membership effort under the DPI umbrella. There was very strong recognition among DPP Board members that the broader and more inclusive our membership base, the more effective we will be in advocating for our downtown. PCA has a long successful history working in central Phoenix and it has been DPI’s preference to structure our membership through PCA.
In addition to our work with DPP, we have been very engaged in advancing our event and marketing activities. The DPP Board approved additional funding for these activities creating for the first time an event promotion fund. Downtown Phoenix is quickly becoming the live music capital of Arizona and this fund should help us accelerate our efforts. So many other good things are happening in and around our downtown to promote as well.
We have also established a strong working partnership with the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corporation (CDC). With financial support from Local Initiatives Service Corporation (LISC), a partnership has been established with the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, and Phoenix Industrial Development Authority to begin major community and neighborhood based redevelopment efforts in the west side of downtown.
It is difficult not to be enthusiastic about the future of our downtown. We have strong business leadership, emerging partnerships with neighborhood and community groups, and a city government that is actively engaged in our organization. I am very excited about our formalized relationship with DPP which bodes well for a more collaborative approach to defining our future.