Daily Archives: December 12, 2008

Major midtown Phoenix condo project forced into receivership

[Source: Brahm Resnik, 12 News] — The new Century Plaza condos in uptown Phoenix, one of several projects suffering in the Valley’s real estate bust, has been placed in receivership.  M&I (Marshall & Ilsley) Bank filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court saying owner Equus Realty was in default on its loan.  M&I attorney Scott Klundt says a receiver has now been appointed.  The receiver will oversee operations of the project, such as paying the bills, but Equus Realty will retain ownership.  Doug Edgelow, member manager of Windsor Century Plaza, part of Equus Realty, said M&I’s action was “precipitous and unjustified.”  “The bank’s actions are best understood as a global attempt to manage exposure to loans in Arizona,” Edgelow said, adding, “they have not started any foreclosures.”

The 17-story condo tower at N. Central and E. Lexington Aves. is a converted 15-story office building.  Edgelow says the building is completed but just 14 of the 145 units are sold.  The receivership should not affect residents, he said.  “There’s no indication any work will stop on the building.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.  Photo source: Sharon]

Civic Space artist to speak at Phoenix Art Museum, Feb. 10

Rendering of Civic Space "Desert Bloom," Janet Echelman

[Source: Phoenix Art Museum] — “Transforming Spaces into Destinations” is the title of Janet Echelman’s public lecture on February 10, 2009, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Phoenix Art Museum.  Echelman is an eminent international artist known for sculpting exciting public spaces.  Her work has been installed in a dozen nations throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. 

Major new artworks have helped to turn urban spaces into must see destinations and the new Downtown Civic Space near Central and Van Buren with its monumental sculpture by Echelman will accomplish that in Phoenix.  Her presentation at museum will be the first time Ms. Echelman discusses her work with Phoenix residents.

Businesses, groups can advertise to ASU downtown Phoenix students, staff

[Source: Eric Gudino, Community Relations, Arizona State University] — For businesses and non-profit organizations wishing to communicate their products, services, or events to ASU downtown Phoenix students, faculty, and staff, here’s the process by which to do so.

use-it-hereIn order for the information to be circulated throughout the campus, the organization/business must have an affiliation with ASU.  It’s an easy, painless, and free process.  To tap into the ASU community, organizations/businesses need to enroll in the “Use It Here” program.

The program offers ASU students, faculty, and staff some type of deal, i.e. a free soda with the purchase of a sandwich, 10% – 20% off, the offer is entirely up to the business.  In exchange, the businesses receive access to internal marketing channels (at no cost) that are otherwise not available or have a fee.  The channels include distribution to students living in the Taylor Place residence hall.

All the students, faculty, and staff have to do to receive their special offer is show their ASU I.D. (Sun Card) at the point of purchase.  The offer can change at anytime — no coupons, no extra costs.  All that is needed is the promotional offer, a jpg copy of the organization’s logo and the establishment’s information in a jpg/gif (ratio of 640 x 480; 72 dpi).  For more information or to participate in the program, e-mail your information to Steven Harper, Director of Marketing & Communications for ASU’s downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses.

Businesses may also sign up to participate in ASU’s Sun Dollar program.  It’s a pre-paid service with an account that runs through the ASU Sun Card Office.  It’s similar to a debit card.  Money is put into the account and when checking out at a store, or paying for a meal, the Sun Card is presented to any of the participating merchants.  For details, click here.

The campus website is also being revamped to include a more robust community event calendar.

For more information or if you have questions, contact Steven at 602-496-1038 or e-mail.

Budget crisis prompts Phoenix City Hall voluntary worker furloughs

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks told city employees on Thursday that they have the option to take unpaid days off through Dec. 31 to help the city save money.  Voluntary furlough days reduce an employee’s take-home pay and annual wages.  Supervisors are being encouraged to approve the days off as long as they don’t interfere with city business. 

“I am proud that our employees and unions are looking for innovative ways to assist their co-workers and our community by reducing the budget deficit during this difficult time,” Fairbanks wrote in an e-mail to city employees.  His announcement comes as Phoenix prepares to slash an estimated $250 million, or more than 20%, from the budget because of the sagging economy and declining city tax revenues.

USA Today examines the pain on Main Street. 1st stop: downtown Phoenix

Mike Canzona, downtown Phoenix hot dog vendor (photo: David Wallace, Arizona Republic)

[Source: USA Today] — As a national recession deepens and the federal government bails out Wall Street, Americans are increasingly concerned about the economic health of Main Street.  That phrase evokes images of family-owned businesses in small towns.  Yet, every city has a Main Street — a major boulevard of commerce in its downtown business district.  To find out how these communities are doing, USA Today visited five Main Streets in different-size cities around the country.

The first in the series, Central Avenue in Phoenix, includes “on the street” video interviews and photo montage of downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix homeowners: care to show off your kitchen renovation?

HGTV’s new cable television show, “Bang For Your Buck,” seeks “fun and energetic” people in the metro Phoenix area who wish to showcase their “fabulous” kitchen renovation on TV.  Homeowners must have spent between $20,000 to $100,000 on their makeover, and it must have taken place recently (no more than three years ago).  Taping will begin shortly, so if you’re interested, request an application as soon as possible by e-mailing or calling Keri Grogan (the producer) at 303-712-3137.

What is truly sustainable development?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation says the “greenest” buildings are ones that already exist.  Why?

(1) Throwing away buildings is wasteful.  Any new building represents a new impact on the environment, no matter how much green technology is employed in its design and construction.  We must think of our buildings and neighborhoods as renewable — rather than disposable — resources.  We need to reuse our older and existing buildings.  It makes no sense for us to recycle newsprint, bottles, and aluminum cans while we’re throwing away entire buildings, or even entire neighborhoods.  (Facts on the importance of building reuse are available online.)

(2) Saving buildings saves energy.  The retention and reuse of older and existing buildings is an effective tool for the responsible stewardship of our environmental resources — including those that have already been expended.  The continued use of our existing buildings and neighborhoods reduces the amount of demolition and construction waste deposited in landfills and lessens the unnecessary demand for energy and other natural resources required by new construction.  Reinvestment in communities also preserves the energy expended in creating the existing infrastructure, such as roads, water systems, and sewer lines and can prevent sprawl.

(3) Retrofit older buildings; Save energy and money — go green.   Historic and older buildings can be successfully reused for different purposes, and contrary to what many people believe, many older buildings can “go green.”  These green retrofits increase energy efficiency and reduce the other environmental impacts associated with buildings.  Green retrofits are also good for the pocketbook because saving energy saves money.  An increasing number of sensitive and successful rehabilitation projects demonstrate that historic buildings can be greened with great respect for the distinctive character that makes them so appealing.

From high atop South Mountain, a view of metro Phoenix

Photographer John T. films this panoramic view of metro Phoenix as seen from high atop South Mountain.  Included are shots of downtown Phoenix, Chase Field, US Airways Center, Sky Harbor International Airport, Camelback Mountain, Tempe, and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Midtown Phoenix neighborhood plans light rail events, worries about Alvarado & McDowell

[Source: Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association] — The next meeting of the Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association will be held on Wednesday, December 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 2520 N. Central Ave.  Click here for the agenda.

Association leaders encourage public feedback at a Zoning Adjustment Hearing for property at the northeast corner of Alvarado and McDowell Road.  This meeting will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday December 16, City Hall, 200 W. Washington Street, Assembly Room C.  If you would like to make any comments and/or find out more about the proposals, contact Adrian Williamson 602-265-0094 at Earl, Curley & Lagarde or the City of Phoenix Planning Department 602-262-7131.  The City of Phoenix has more information on its website.

The Association is holding a Grand Stuffing Party for information bags that will be distributed at the Light Rail opening event.  The Party will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 13 at the Arizona Department of Education building on Central and Palm Lane.

You are encouraged to attend one of the three Light Rail Stations for the mega Light Rail Party on Saturday, December 27.  The Association will have a booth at Central and Encanto (Heard Museum) and will distribute the information bags telling people about all the great things in the neighborhood.  If you can volunteer, please send an e-mail.