Downtown Phoenix Partnership
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.
The Downtown Phoenix Journal continues its “Conversation” series featuring Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) 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. Since my last message to you, let’s read what Don Brandt (Arizona Public Service/Pinnacle West) and Ed Zito (Alliance Bank) have to say.
DPI/DPP CONSOLIDATION UPDATE
At the April DPI board meeting, a critical step was taken toward building the downtown organization we want by approving a consolidation plan for Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) and DPI which will allow us to more efficiently represent the interests of the broader downtown community. DPP’s board of directors will continue to provide governance over activities in the core business district, but all staff and administrative services will move to DPI.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners continue to open or expand their operations in the downtown area. In the spotlight recently were the DeSoto Central Market, Hoodride Bike Shop, Last Exit Live music venue, New City Church, Palazzo nightclub, The Groove on Grand, and The Local restaurant.
With the likelihood of a new 118-unit apartment complex on the southwest corner of 4th Street and McKinley by Goodman Real Estate of Seattle, WA and Tilton Development Co. of Scottsdale, seven galleries and shops will need to relocate as their current building will be demolished. Most business owners have stated they would like to stay in downtown Phoenix.
A downtown restaurateur has been nominated for the 2014 Chef of the Year Award through the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. Aaron Chamberlin owns and operates the Phoenix Public Market Cafe at 14 E. Pierce St. (along with St. Francis in uptown Phoenix).
Downtown Phoenix Partnership, one of DPI’s partner organizations, seeks to commission a local artist to create the cover artwork for its upcoming 2014 July-December Downtown Phoenix Directory & Dining Guide.
In a recent Arizona Capitol Times article about the future of light rail in downtown Mesa, I was interviewed about light rail’s impact on our own downtown and how it should likewise benefit Mesa’s core.
Many Phoenix residents turned out for community workshops held for the Reinvent PHX initiative to help shape the future of development along light rail. The final design plan for the midtown, uptown, and Solano areas was presented to a standing room only crowd on April 4 by the architecture and urban planning consulting firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. A surprise was unleashed for fans of historic preservation and adaptive reuse: the architectural firm of Shepley Bulfinch announced their move to the Phoenix Financial Center from their current location above Giant Coffee.
According to Dan Klocke, DPP’s vice president of development, more condos and apartments are going up in downtown Phoenix. And it’s becoming more apparent that members of the Millennial Generation moving downtown want to live a lifestyle less dependent on the automobile. Exemplifying this trend is Quinn Whissen, a local marketing consultant and co-founder of This Could Be PHX, who strives to live “car-less.” She shares her story in this Arizona Republic article about Valley Bike Month.
WE’RE ‘SUPER’ EXCITED
Oh, did I mention that the Valley just landed the NFL Pro Bowl in 2015 and downtown Phoenix will be a center of activity for it?!
Featured photo by Stephen G. Dreiseszun/Viewpoint Photographers
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The Space_Between Vacant Lot Activation
This temporary vacant lot activation project, part of Phoenix Urban Design Week, will bring a new community space to Downtown in the shape of a backyard patio where residents, visitors, downtown employees and students can play, relax and commune. Join us and offer your suggestions for the space – a team of designers will be on hand to translate your vision and input from adjacent stakeholders into a site plan that the Downtown Phoenix Partnership will then implement.
Thank you to Valley Youth Theater for hosting us in their venue, can’t wait to have some of that creative energy to spill out into a great plan for the site! Feel free to invite anyone who may be interested in this project, more details and RSVP on Facebook.
Photo by Sean Deckert, courtesy of Downtown Phoenix Partnership.
This morning, the Phoenix City Council Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee unanimously approved the first step in creating a new Enhanced Municipal Services District (EMSD) in the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill community just north of the downtown core.
The subcommittee recommended that the City Council authorize a contract not to exceed $90,000 with Downtown Phoenix, Inc. to create an in-depth study involving extensive outreach to property owners over the next 8-12 months. The money for the study will come out of the Downtown Community Reinvestment Fund, created for just such purposes.
The focus of the study will be to develop the EMSD concept for the area, to determine the boundaries of the new district, to identify the specific services to be covered, to determine the costs, and to create the governance structure for the EMSD. The recommendation will go to the full City Council for approval next week.
Greg Esser, Roosevelt Row CDC co-founder and board member sees the EMSD as a “valuable tool to make a lasting impact in this area.”
What exactly is an EMSD and why is this an exciting development for downtown? In simple terms, it is a public/private partnership that is developed to provide enhanced services to a specific area above and beyond basic city services.
Since 1974, when the first Downtown Development District (in the United States) was formed in New Orleans, more than 1500 districts like these have been created and are reshaping public management across the country. Key to their success is the unique public/private partnership model that generates revenue and provides the collective clout that comes from speaking with one voice.
David Krietor of Downtown Phoenix Inc. spoke in favor of the study at the subcommittee meeting saying, “These (public/private) organizations are tried and true all over the U.S. for promoting vibrant downtowns.”
Different states have different formation models for these entities and they are known by a wide range of buzzy acronyms. The most common catch-all label for them is BID (Business Improvement District). In Arizona, the formation model is called an Enhanced Municipal Service District or EMSD.
In 1990, the first EMSD in Arizona was created in downtown Phoenix. Known as the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, it brought a stable funding stream through a tax assessment on property owners within a 90-block area in downtown. This money paid for the creation of an enhanced security and hospitality program (Downtown Ambassadors), “Clean Team” maintenance, event facilitation, parking and transportation coordination, streetscape and urban design, and marketing for events. It brought focus, investment, people, and business into downtown. While this successful EMSD was improving the downtown core, something remarkable began happening just beyond its borders. The Roosevelt Row arts district was coming to life.
Just over a dozen years ago, artists, arts entrepreneurs and urban pioneers began creating and nurturing a thriving, vibrant arts district along Roosevelt Row in the historic Evans Churchill neighborhood. Over the last decade, these intrepid dreamers, including Kimber Lanning, Wayne Rainey, Greg Esser, Cindy Dach, Carla Wade, Kevin Rille, Vermon Pierre and a host of others have been building their ties, engaging with their neighbors, developing innovative partnerships, creating “must attend” events, and gaining national recognition as one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in our city.
In 2012, the neighborhood was granted a prestigious ArtsPlace Award to undertake a visioning process to create an even more vibrant, healthy community in the Roosevelt/Evans Churchill neighborhood. Out of this in-depth process, involving dozens of public meetings, events, surveys, and one-on-one conversations with residents, business owners, and visitors, the neighborhood developed a vision for the area that included the key element of creating this new EMSD.
Kevin Rille, president of the Evans Churchill Community Association, who was a key participant in this visioning process said, “We have a dynamic and engaged group, and this has been an incredibly inclusive visioning process.”
Vermon Pierre, president of the Roosevelt Row CDC added, “Piggy-backing on what Kevin said, we’re proud of the unique character of the area, and this study will assess the level of interest in owning and developing our part of the city.”
This new vision for a Roosevelt Row Artists’ District was introduced to the public at a launch party at The Nash on February 20, 2014.
From the beginning, the successful activation of the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill neighborhood has been based on the dedicated work of committed volunteers. The creation of the new EMSD will bring in revenue and create a professional organization to take their success to the next level. Approval of this study will be an important step forward for the neighborhood, and an even more important step for the overall growth and vibrancy of downtown Phoenix.
Editor’s Note: The original title of this story did not include Evans Churchill. This oversight has been corrected.
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.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
REDESIGNED DOWNTOWN PHOENIX DIRECTORY FEATURES LOCAL ART
Featuring an artistic rendering of First Street on the cover, a redesigned 2014 Downtown Phoenix January to June Directory is hitting the streets now.
Local artist Jon Arvizu’s digital rendering celebrates the new shade trees, expanded walkable space and temporary planters installed by the City of Phoenix in late 2013.
“I’m glad to see a renewed interest in making Downtown Phoenix a more pedestrian and bike-friendly destination,” Arvizu said about the improvements that inspired his cover artwork. “In a city this large, an accessible Downtown benefits everyone.”
The redesigned cover continues the recent Downtown Phoenix Partnership publication initiative to highlight the Downtown Phoenix experience through art.
The Downtown Directory, the must-have resource for visitors and urban explorers, includes business listings for over 200 businesses and 120 restaurants in the 90-square-block urban core. The new edition also features a new Walking Tours list, encouraging pedestrians to explore Downtown’s historic buildings and public art.
The Directory will be distributed to businesses, restaurants and major event locations inside and outside of Downtown and through the Downtown Ambassador team.
In addition to the 2014 January-June Downtown Phoenix Directory, information about Downtown Phoenix is easily accessible through the Partnership’s web site www.downtownphoenix.com.