Daily Archives: August 4, 2008

National Trust officials tour Valley for possible 2012 conference

Kathy Adams and Lori Feinman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation flew into town last week to view Phoenix’s convention facilities; tour selected historic sites and neighborhoods in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe; and visit with area preservation advocates to determine Phoenix’s ability to host the 2012 National Preservation Conference.  Meeting them at Sky Harbor was Sally Forrest, National Accounts Director for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski welcomes National Trust representatives Lori Feinman and Kathy Adams. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

The three lunched at the Hotel Valley Ho, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and then drove to downtown Phoenix to tour the Phoenix Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency and Wyndham hotels (two of the host hotels), and Orpheum Theatre. Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, and Jim McPherson, Arizona Advisor to the National Trust, joined them for dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub in Heritage Square Park (a large outdoor venue that could serve as the opening reception for the 2,500-plus attendees of the 2012 conference).

Phoenix's historic Ellis Shackelford House was decked out in the colors of Arizona's state flag. (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

On Tuesday, Adams and Feinman started off the day by visiting the historic San Carlos Hotel and breakfast at Palette in the Roosevelt Historic District.  Then it was a “timed-to-the minute” whirlwind van tour of First Presbyterian Church, Security Building (and ASU’s PURL overlooking the city), Monroe School (Children’s Museum of Phoenix), Phoenix Union High School Buildings (University of Arizona College of Medicine), Steele Indian School Park, Heard Museum, and several midtown residential historic districts.

State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Garrison and Modern Phoenix Founder Alison King joined the group for lunch and tour of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.  Then it was off to drive by the Wrigley Mansion, and visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Gammage Auditorium, Pueblo Grande National Historic Landmark, and St. Mary’s Basilica.  Special guests “popped in” throughout the day to say hello, provide their perspective on preservation, and tout Phoenix as a conference site: Attorney General Terry Goddard (Palette), State Senator Debbie McCune Davis (UA College of Medicine), City of Phoenix Council Member Greg Stanton (Children’s Museum), attorney Grady Gammage (Gammage Auditorium), former Phoenix mayor John Driggs, and Arizona 2012 Centennial director Karen Churchard.

Dan Klocke (Downtown Phoenix Partnership), Charles Fortenberry (Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers), John Jacquemart (Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee), and G.G. George (Encanto Citizens Association). (Photo: Midtown Messenger)

Topping off the visit was a reception at the Ellis Shackelford House in downtown Phoenix.  Over 60 preservation advocates from all over the Valley (and Sierra Vista!), city officials, and downtown business group leaders attended.  A balloon arch, special signage, decorations, and flowers in the colors of Arizona’s state flag welcomed our guests from the National Trust.  City of Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski, Garrison, Stocklin, Feinman, and McPherson said a few words, and the rest of the evening was spent enjoying each other’s company and dining on wonderful hors d’oeuvres from Catered by St. Joseph’s.  Gift bags courtesy of the State Historic Preservation Office and City of Phoenix were presented to Adams and Feinman, and each attendee received a small gift as well.

Phoenix developers challenge bankruptcy by Mortgages Ltd.

Rendering of Hotel Monroe project, downtown Phoenix, AZ[Source: Andrew Johnson, Arizona Republic] — Developers worried about Mortgages Ltd.’s dwindling assets asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday to convert the real-estate lender’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to a Chapter 7.  The change would significantly affect the Phoenix-based company, other borrowers and the company’s nearly 3,000 investors.  Specifically, Chapter 7 proceedings would halt the Phoenix-based firm’s efforts to obtain interim financing for stalled projects while in bankruptcy.

Mortgages Ltd. has been meeting with other lenders, seeking money to pay for business expenses and continue funding unfinished developments such as Hotel Monroe in downtown Phoenix, [Chateaux on Central in midtown Phoenix,] and the Centerpoint condo towers in downtown Tempe.

The motion filed Monday came from Rightpath Limited Development Group LLC, one of several borrowers that claim Mortgages Ltd. did not fully fund its loans.  Scottsdale-based Rightpath is developing a spring-training and entertainment facility in Glendale.  Its motion asksthe court to convert the Mortgages Ltd. bankruptcy case from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

For ASU students, downtown Phoenix parking may be problematic

Artist rendering of Taylor Place student dorms, ASU Downtown Phoenix campus[Source: Andrew Shainker, ASU Web Devil] — The new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix offers various parking options that could prove to be problematic for students, faculty, and staff this fall.  More than 1,400 students will attend classes at the new downtown Cronkite campus this August.  Students wishing to avoid parking tickets will pay anywhere between $210 and $780 for a parking permit near the campus.  Students who attend class only a few days a week can park in nearby garages ranging from $8 to $16 a day.

Sam Sweeney, a senior majoring in journalism, will commute downtown for the first time this fall.  “I am more or less trying not to think about it yet,” Sweeney said.  “I know it’s going to be a problem but I would rather deal with it later.”  The new residence hall downtown, Taylor Place, will house more than 500 students with only enough parking for 120.  Cherie Hudson, Manager of ASU West Parking Services, believes parking will become an issue for the campus in the next few years.  “Downtown Phoenix is a metropolitan area, and as the city grows, so will the parking problem,” Hudson said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Among America’s most overpriced ZIP codes… Phoenix’s 85006!

Coming in at #7 on the Forbes.com list of “America’s Most Overpriced ZIP Codes” is, drum-roll please, 85006 in Phoenix, AZ. That would be the Coronado historic district in the heart of Phoenix. Surprised?  Well, according to Forbes.com, in neighborhoods like Coronado, buyers are willing to pay premiums for a landmarked or historically designated home.  Those looking for a Spanish Colonial or Tudor-style property near the city pay up to live here.  It’s purchase-to-rent spread is 27.1.

How would you rate Phoenix’s “livability?”

Valley residents are being surveyed by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Cox Communications about Phoenix’s “livability.”  An interactive survey on Cox cable channel 7 will be used to compile statistics on the Valley’s growth and why people move here. 

The results will be presented at the Chamber’s Economic Outlook 2009 event on September 24.  To voice your opinion, watch Cox 7 at 7 and 7:30 p.m., with remote control in hand, now through Wednesday, August 13.

Visit up to 15 great Phoenix attractions with ShowUp’s Now Pass

The ShowUp Now Pass is an all-inclusive pass to the museums and attractions of the Greater Phoenix region.  For one low price — even lower with Summer Pricing — you’re invited to experience as many as 15 destinations unique to the Desert Southwest.  There are two pass options available: (1) “Golden Triangle Pass” provides admission to visit the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, and Desert Botanical Garden, or (2) “Total-Access Pass” provides admission to visit all 15 area attractions:

For more information and to purchase your Now Pass, click here.