The Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) team received excellent feedback at our quarterly Board of Directors meeting earlier this week. In addition to a comprehensive overview of new development initiatives, we focused on events, membership, establishing our brand, and our work with Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill to investigate the feasibility of creating a business improvement district. Our economic development partner, the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corporation (CDC), has joined the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) in agreeing to a January 1, 2015 consolidation date. We continue to work with the Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) on a similar arrangement.
Having our business, city, and community leadership at the same table focused on the future of downtown bodes well for the future.
Doing Our Best
USA Today named the Roosevelt Row Arts District one of the top ten best arts districts in the nation. Last year Roosevelt Row was spotlighted, again by USA Today, as one of the ten best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet.
Bleacher Report named Phoenix the 13th best city (out of 25) to be a sports fan. Rankings were based on number of teams and events, success of teams in last five years, stadiums, fan passion, general fan experience, media, star power, and tradition and history.
Our Bleacher Report ranking should go up a few notches as the Phoenix Mercury completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Sky on Sunday to win the third WNBA championship in team history. They join the Arizona Rattlers who, a few weeks earlier, won their Arena Football League championship against the Cleveland Gladiators.
Earlier this month, government, business, and civic leaders hosted representatives from the Democratic National Committee in town to evaluate Phoenix as the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Phoenix was the fifth and final stop for convention planners. Other cities being considered are Birmingham, AL; Columbus, OH; New York City; and Philadelphia, PA. According to Mayor Stanton, “I am confident that when the DNC leadership leaves here, they will leave with an understanding that, logistically, there is no better place than Phoenix.”
What’s Brewing Downtown
Downtown Phoenix welcomes a new brewery. On September 15, Mother Bunch Brewing opened in the 1926 J.B. Bayless Grocery building at Seventh Street and Garfield. Until it offers its own signature beers in a few weeks, Mother Bunch will make available a variety of Arizona beers through its 20 taps along with a “sophisticated, but not complicated” lunch and dinner menu.
Local First Arizona has released the fifth edition of its Phoenix Small Wonders map, a pocket-sized guide featuring nearly sixty local restaurants, pubs, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in central Phoenix. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.
The City of Phoenix received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to evaluate the planning, environmental, and conceptual engineering to extend Metro light rail down Central Avenue from Jefferson to Baseline Road. According to Mayor Greg Stanton, “Getting light rail to South Mountain is one of my personal priorities. I want to bring the same flexible transit options to the area as others in the city experience with Metro.”
The City of Phoenix has selected Chicago-based Smithfield Properties to develop a mixed-used project on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren, the current site of the Central Station transit facility. Smithfield proposes a 476-apartment, 390-foot building that would be one of the tallest buildings in Arizona. A parking garage also would be built as part of the new development. Metro light rail trains and Valley Metro buses still will run through the station.
New City Church will be moving into a 18,000 square foot building at 1300 North Central Avenue for more space and a central location near the Roosevelt Row Arts District. According to Pastor Brian Kruckenberg, “We love being on the ‘front porch’ of the city and are ecstatic about the growth and attention that the city’s center is getting.”
New apartments and condominiums have sprung up or are being planned in and around downtown Phoenix. That’s a positive trend. But stalwarts of downtown living are the residents of Phoenix’s historic districts who remained while others fled to the suburbs in the 50s or purchased, renovated, and brought back to life vintage homes since then. The Arizona Republic has begun to profile these neighborhoods in word and photo: Country Club Park, Del Norte Place, East Evergreen, Encanto Palmcroft, F.Q. Story, Fairview Place, La Hacienda, Margarita Place, North Encanto, North Garfield, Roosevelt, Windsor Square, Woodland, and Woodlea.
Our Creative Arts
The second RadiatePHX business and community networking event, sponsored by DPI and Downtown Phoenix Journal, was held at the ASU Step Gallery in the Warehouse District on Tuesday. The theme and conversation focused on the importance of the arts community, cultural engagement, and the work of our local creatives to help transform and improve our downtown. Guest speakers in front of a packed audience included Councilwoman Kate Gallego and Steven Tepper, the new Dean of the ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. We appreciated the strong participation of PCA members at this event.
Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix is opening the doors of its New Media Innovation Lab to the public, offering expert advice and support on entrepreneurial and technological endeavors.
Two members of the DPI Board of Directors were just highlighted in the press, partly due to their involvement with the arts: Ken Van Winkle, managing partner with Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, most recently chaired Ballet Arizona’s successful campaign to create their new facility at 29th Street and Washington. Tim Eigo, editor of Arizona Attorney magazine, serves as steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition and recent host of Space 55’s first PHIL Talk (Phoenix Has Ideas LIVE), a comical parody of TED Talks. In addition, Dr. Carol Poore, chair of PCA’s Arts, Culture, and Public Life Committee, wrote a compelling op-ed in the Arizona Republic about how science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts are all vital to attracting businesses and retaining skilled workers in cities and towns throughout our state.
Amanda LaCasse, one of the 106,800 college students who live in Phoenix – and more specifically downtown Phoenix – shared her opinion about growing up and now furthering her education here: “The gems I have grown to love are not hidden – they are plain and simple, out in the open. Anyone can find a spot to feel at home in downtown Phoenix if they spend enough time getting to know the area, and nobody should be afraid of it. It offers the same services as any other part of the city, but with a more authentic attitude and honest, personable interactions with people who love you for who you are.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Glory is Ours! The Phoenix Mercury won its third WNBA Championship tonight and fans are invited to celebrate with the team during a fan rally at US Airways Center on Sunday (September 14).
The rally will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on the main court at US Airways Center.
Fans will hear from members of the Mercury team, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and will witness the unveiling of the 2014 WNBA Championship banner. Fans will also be the first to see the team’s championship video.
Free parking is available in the US Airways Center garage from 1-2 p.m. only. Doors will open for fans beginning at 1 p.m.
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.
PHOENIX MERCURY TO HOST WNBA FINALS GAME 3 VIEWING PARTY AT US AIRWAYS CENTER ON FRIDAY
Mercury lead 2-0 in best-of-five series; fans can watch as the team looks to win its third WNBA Championship
The Phoenix Mercury will travel to Chicago on Friday, September 12 to take on the Sky in Game 3 of the 2014 WNBA Finals, with an opportunity to secure the club’s third WNBA Championship. Mercury fans are invited to catch the action at the team’s official Game 3 Viewing Party at US Airways Center, beginning at 4 p.m. Tip-off for Game 3 is set for 5 p.m.
Fans will experience the excitement as they watch the game inside the arena on the team’s main scoreboard. The viewing party will also feature performances from the Mercury Hip Hop Squad.
Game 3 of the WNBA Finals will air on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (local time). If necessary, Game 4 will take place on Sunday, September 14 in Chicago, and be broadcast on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
MERCURY WIN WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
TICKETS FOR WNBA FINALS GAMES 1 & 2 ON SALE now
Mercury to host Game 1 of the WNBA Finals against Chicago or Indiana on
Sunday at US Airways Center at 12:30 p.m.; Game 2 set for next Tuesday
The 2014 Western Conference Champion Phoenix Mercury advanced to the 2014 WNBA Finals with tonight’s win over the Minnesota Lynx at US Airways Center the series-deciding Game 3. Game 1 of the WNBA Finals will take place on Sunday at 12:30 p.m at US Airways Center and tickets are on sale now, starting at $35. Tickets are also on sale for Game 2 of the WNBA Finals that will take place on Tuesday, September 9 at US Airways Center at 6 p.m.
The Mercury—looking for their third WNBA Championship in franchise history and first since 2009—advanced to the WNBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and will play either the Indiana Fever or Chicago Sky, whose series will be decided tomorrow night in Indianapolis. The Mercury clinched homecourt advantage throughout the WNBA Playoffs thanks to a WNBA-record 29 regular season wins.
That homecourt advantage is thanks in part to the X-Factor who helped the Mercury to a franchise-best 16-1 (.941) record at US Airways Center this regular season and a current 18-game home winning streak.
WNBA Finals (best-of-five)
Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever or Chicago Sky
Game 1 Sunday, Sept. 7 Ind./Chi. at Phoenix 12:30 p.m.
Game 2 Tuesday, Sept. 9 Ind./Chi. at Phoenix 6:00 p.m.
Game 3 Friday, Sept. 12 Phoenix at Ind./Chi. 5:00 p.m.
Game 4* Sunday, Sept. 14 Phoenix at Ind./Chi. 2:30 p.m.
Game 5* Wednesday, Sept. 17 Ind./Chi. At Phoenix 6:00 p.m.
Tickets for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday and Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Tuesday, September 9 at US Airways Center are on sale now starting at $35 and can be purchased at PhoenixMercury.com, the US Airways Center ticket office or by phone at 602-252-WNBA.
Image courtesy of Phoenix Mercury