I love downtown Phoenix. I love the people, I love the atmosphere and I love that it has so much potential.
Restaurants attract tourists. Retail attracts shoppers. Both pay low wages. Neither serves residents.
Ever been to downtown Phoenix? Restaurants, save for one shining star, are usually half full. During the summer, many of them are closed for weeks at a time. Since so few people live here, mainly due to the fact there’s nothing to keep them here, the only busy nights are Fridays. Sure, First Friday is fantastic, but that’s once a month.
I want downtown Phoenix to succeed just as much as you do. I want an AJ’s in CityScape, I want the Public Market open more often and I want things to do after 11pm, but I realize that takes time and that takes people. I want more than just retail. I want more than just corporations. I want variety.
So please, please, let’s be realistic about all this. Downtown Phoenix isn’t booming, it’s growing. Hell, the last time I heard downtown Phoenix was booming we got a bunch of high-end, high-priced condos that still aren’t full that few people can afford to rent.
Stop saying revitalization. Downtown Phoenix doesn’t have much history to build on. Stop living in the past. Look toward the future.
Let’s develop, but let’s be sure to do it sustainably. The last thing we need down here is another collapse.
My first day in Washington DC this week was focused on developing opportunities that will bring business to Phoenix. Thanks to our beautiful new convention center and hotel in Downtown Phoenix, I invited the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to host their international conference in Phoenix. The conference would bring more than 1,000 attendees to the city to experience great new dining and entertainment. We would all love to see the streets and restaurants downtown full of Electrical Workers.
Stimulus funding continues to be the primary focus of my trips to DC. There are many different programs available and, while some cities are struggling with understanding the process and putting together projects that qualify for stimulus funding, Phoenix is doing well because of our active engagement with the Obama administration since the beginning. I am proud of our efficiencies in not only receiving stimulus dollars, but also how well the city is implementing these programs and putting people to work on the stimulus projects.
As a result of one of my meetings today, Phoenix is engaged in discussions on the energy grant program, which was included in the ARRA. This program requires mayors across the country to work together to encourage Congress to establish a permanent funding stream for the program — ultimately allowing Phoenix to further our Green Phoenix plan, and create more “green collar” jobs. I will be engaging my friends with the conference of Mayors to pursue this long-term opportunity.
Downtown Phoenix’s newest addition, CityScape, celebrated the “Topping Out” of their 27-story Phase I office tower yesterday.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joined management leaders from RED Development and Hunt Construction Group at the ceremony to announce nine new tenants signing on for CityScape’s Phase I office tower. The tower is slated to open in Spring 2010.
The nine new tenants include six restaurants: The Breakfast Club, Blu Burger Grille, Press Coffee, Mojo Yogurt and two new Aaron May restaurants including an Asian Noodle House and a Mexican-style restaurant. Two clothing retailers, including a Scottsdale-based denim retailer, Designer District, and Republic of Couture, join the rapidly growing list. Gust Rosenfeld, one of the Valley’s oldest and most prestigious law firms, has also signed on.
These nine join 11 other tenants in the CityScape Phase I project. AJ’s Fine Foods, Urban Outfitters, Gold’s Gym, CVS Pharmacy, the Kimpton Palomar Hotel and others have already committed to the project.
Despite Bashas’ Supermarket Inc., owners of AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City, filing for Chapter 11 protection earlier this week, CityScape remains hopeful that they will still choose to be a part of the project.
“We know that all of their reasons for wanting to put an AJ’s in Phoenix are still the same. We continue to hope that it still makes sense for them,” said Jeff Moloznik, Development Manager for RED Development.
If AJ’s Fine Food’s does have to pull out the project, Moloznik assures that the space will remain grocery space.
The development group behind the 600,000-square-foot tower worked hard to achieve a balance between national retail chains and local, owner operated stores. The local stores are unique additions to the CityScape project because they will be the first or second of their kind in Phoenix.
Mayor Phil Gordon is pleased with the balance that CityScape’s retail is aiming to achieve.
“What are retail places trying to become? Faux-downtowns. Well, Phoenix has the only downtown [in Arizona] so we don’t need the faux,” Gordon said. “People will come because they enjoy it. It is vibrant and eclectic.”
Hunt Construction, the company behind the Phoenix Convention Center expansion, Cardinal’s Stadium and the Civic Space Park, became Arizona’s first and only building contractor to receive Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Voluntary Protection Program STAR status for the CityScape construction. This means they now manage themselves in the areas of safety.
In conclusion to the topping-off ceremony, a boxed pine tree was lifted 368 feet to the top of the tower. As Scandinavian tradition goes, to appease the tree-dwelling spirits the final timber is lifted into place in celebration. Today, many construction companies place a pine branch at the top of the completed building.
Look for CityScape’s Phase I tenants taking residence between March-June 2010.
July 17 is Third Friday which means another free concert at the Downtown Civic Space Park at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street.
The show, featuring Gospel Claws and Dry River Yacht Club, begins at 7:30pm.
Didn’t matter if you were young, old, hip or a little nerdy, the 2009 Singles Night with the DBacks had someone for every lonely single. Fox Sports roamed the crowd the entire night looking for people to show on TV, there was a bingo contest which included items such as “socks and sandals” and “tramp stamp” and plenty of tequila tasting (one per ticket, which, well, could have been better).
Over 200 people attended and the Diamond Club, sponsored by Miller Lite, was packed. Catherine Herman of the DBacks proclaimed it one of their most popular events and she certainly wasn’t exaggerating.
Congrats to Katie Charland and her male counterpart for winning concert tickets on Fox Sports prior to the game. Was it a love match? Perhaps we’ll find out next year.