Daily Archives: July 23, 2008

Metro Phoenix’s real estate woes spread to commercial market

[Source: Peter Corbett, Arizona Republic] — …In the second quarter, metropolitan Phoenix experienced a negative absorption of office space for the first time in 20 years, according to a CB Richard Ellis market report released last week.  That means that instead of tenants filling more new office space, the market actually had less space occupied.  In this case, the negative absorption was 171,278 square feet.  Office vacancies hit 16.3% in the quarter ending June 30, up from 13% a year ago.

  • Central Phoenix, with 1 million square feet of office space under development, is gaining some renewed vitality in the office sector with development of ASU’s downtown campus and the Metro light rail scheduled to start service by year’s end…  Office vacancies in downtown Phoenix were at 13% in the second quarter.
  • Scottsdale’s overall vacancy rate was 17.7%.  But there has been a huge spike in office vacancies in the past two years.  Central and southern Scottsdale have been less volatile, but vacancy rates are up about 5% in both areas over the past two years.
  • West Phoenix, a relatively small office market, has a vacancy rate of 37%.
  • Southeast Valley’s rate is 19%.

Building owners are offering concessions, and there has been fierce competition to land tenants, said Jerry Noble, a CB Richard Ellis senior vice president who tracks office market.  Lease rates for the Valley’s existing office space fell to $25.71 in the second quarter from $25.95 at the end of the first quarter.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix modern architecture: the danger of success

[Source: Linnea O’Dowd, LEED AP, Associate AIA, Guest Columnist, Southwest Contractor] — Phoenix is in danger.  We are in danger of finally achieving an aesthetic many of us in the design community have longed for, an aesthetic built on the brilliant tenets of modernism.  A lack of built history, no surviving historic vernacular, and an overabundance of cheap land and labor give local architects and designers an incredible array of design options, yet our reputation for cutting edge design continues to diminish.  Our Phoenix design aesthetic has become modern without meaning, not McMansion but McModern.

Exposed emotionless grey block, crumbling remnants of gabion walls, identical weathered steel and river rock accents: does anyone else notice the ubiquitousness of the various building materials, the loss of craftsmanship, the absence of inventiveness and imagination?  We are missing the intimate detailing which made Modernism so incredibly radical and beautiful.  For our desert modernism to go beyond style, we must stop denying why we build, we build for human expression, for ourselves and for our neighbors.

From within the design community, we scoff at the Tuscan or Olde Worlde, for all its frills and ornamentation.  Yet if we cannot fulfill our commitments, as designers, to build with a craft approach and to convey a sensory delight in materials, using structural ingenuity and inspired experiential design solutions, then as Modernists and as architects, we have failed.  We cannot blame the Tuscan invasion on anyone but ourselves.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix library to open coffee shop

[Source: Angela Deligiannis, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library plans to open a new coffeehouse in the spring.  The Open Book Cafe will be the first coffeehouse at a library in Phoenix and is part of a growing national trend, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a non-profit research organization.  “It will provide a convenient place for library customers to meet and dine,” said Victoria Welsh, spokeswoman for the Phoenix Public Library.

Having a place to get a beverage without leaving the library was the No. 1 request of library patrons in a survey last year, Welsh said.  The coffee shop will be on the first floor of the library at 1221 N. Central Ave., near the entrance on the west side of the building, facing Central Avenue.  Construction is under way and will be completed by spring, Welsh said.  Open Book Café will offer wireless Internet access, outdoor seating, and areas for studying and relaxing.  The library will partner with the Arizona Business Enterprise Program to select a vendor, Welsh said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]