Daily Archives: July 13, 2009

Downtown Phoenix’s CityScape to “top out,” despite shaky office space market

cityscape drawing-thumb-499x411[Source: Ray Stern, Phoenix New Times] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon will help celebrate the “topping out” of a new, city-subsidized office tower downtown this Thursday. With the state of the Valley’s office space market, though, we couldn’t help but wonder if the festivity will include a large, neon “Vacancy” sign for the roof.  Our suggestion elicits an honest chuckle from Jay Thorne, spokesman for the CityScape project.  “I can’t blame you for saying that,” says Thorne in a brief phone call this afternoon.

The building is scheduled to open in March.  Three months ago, it lost planned anchor tenant Wachovia Bank.  Office space vacancy is expected to reach 24 percent in the Valley this year, according to a June Associated Press article.  However, CityScape is doing way better than average in filling its 620,000 square feet of space, Thorne says.  “It’s pushing towards 70 percent leased,” he says.  “It’s a pretty nice success story.”

Of course, part of that success comes after last year’s downsizing of the whole project.  One thousand condo units and a hotel are among the plans that blew away with the dustbowl-like housing market. [Note: Read the full article at Downtown Phoenix’s CityScape to “top out,” despite shaky office space market]

Axe falls on Arizona Republic staff (again)

[Source: Adam Klawonn, The Zonie Report] — If you’re a news junkie like me, then please take a moment of silence today for the latest round of laid-off staffers at The Arizona Republic, which has undergone major changes over the past two years as its parent company, Gannett Corp., deals with a failing business model.  Gannett’s stock price, once in the 80-dollar range, went up 9 cents this morning to $3.18 per share.

This once proud, family owned paper has continued its ungraceful downward spiral as core advertisers — homebuilders, automakers/dealers and retailers, among others — cut back on their advertising budgets and spend what’s left on the Web.  The newspaper charges at least $329 per inch of dreary black-and-white advertising but offers a variety of pricey online advertising options.  Conversely, Facebook fan pages are free, and for $329, you could run a pretty killer online ad campaign yourself.  You get the picture.

Back to the layoffs.  The 20 names cover a variety of departments -– from news to sports to graphics and more -– that affect the daily digest you may receive of just what the heck is going on in Arizona.  Recently, information has been more important than ever as the state Legislature makes cuts that affect us all.  [Note: To read the full blog entry Axe falls on Arizona Republic staff (again)]

Latino cultural center in downtown Phoenix aims for fall opening

[Source: Jenna Davis, Arizona Republic] — The new Latino cultural center that [the Phoenix City Council] approved for downtown may open in November.  Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture Consortium Inc. will have access to a city-owned building beginning Aug. 1 and will then have 120 days to prepare the new facility.  Ruben Hernandez, a spokesman for the group, said organizers hope to have a soft opening on Sept. 15 to coincide with the eve of Mexican Independence Day, but it might be November or December before the 7,200-square-foot facility is ready for visitors. 

The cultural center has been the focus of a consortium of Latino arts groups that said it realized that in a city of 1.5 million people, 40 percent of whom are of Hispanic decent, a Latino cultural center was needed.  The building previously housed the Museo Chicano, 147 E. Adams St., which closed in January.  [Note: Read the full article at Latino cultural center in downtown Phoenix aims for fall opening]

Bashas’ to close 10 Arizona stores, cut 1,000 jobs

[Source: Max Jarman, Arizona Republic] — Bashas’ Supermarkets Inc. said late Sunday that it would close 10 more stores July 21, resulting in approximately 1,000 job cuts.  The company also said it would make an important announcement today that would affect the future of the company.  Mike Proulx, Bashas’ president and chief operating officer, would not elaborate on the nature of the announcement.   [Note: Read the full article at Bashas’ to close 10 Arizona stores, cut 1,000 jobs]

Phoenix Store Closings

  • 1648 S. 16th St.
  • 4727 E. Bell Road
  • 4338 W. Thomas Road

Jobless rate climbs in Phoenix, statewide

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal] — Unemployment was up in Phoenix and Arizona in June, the metro jobless rate rising to 8 percent from May’s 7.9 percent.   The jump was even higher across the state with 8.7 percent of the work force unemployed, up from 8.2 percent in May and the highest it’s been since the early 1980s peak approaching 11 percent.  That translates to a loss of 49,400 jobs, according to a report from the Arizona Department of Commerce.

Tucson’s jobless rate gained one-tenth point to 7.9 percent, while the Yuma area felt the most stress at 19.8 percent, up from 18.8 percent in May.  Prescott stood at 9.2 percent and Lake Havasu-Kingman stood at 9.7 percent.  The Flagstaff area came in with the lowest rate in the state at 7.4 percent, up from 7.2.

Nationwide June unemployment stands at 9.5 percent, up from 9.4 in May and 5.6 percent a year ago.  In June 2008, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.5 percent and the Phoenix rate was 4.8 percent, the report said.

Statewide, losses mounted in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, information, professional and business services, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government sectors.  Natural resources, construction, financial and miscellaneous services, however, gained jobs.  [Note: Read the full article at Jobless rate climbs in Phoenix, statewide]

Showcasing the grit and glamour of Phoenix



New local blog, Phoenix Ain’t Easy, is on a mission of justice: to showcase the grit and glamour of Phoenix, AZ and a whole lot more. They welcome you to submit your own grit or glamor, such as “hot photography; artists on the come-up; and new places to shop, eat, and drink.”  Follow them on Facebook too (PhoenixAint Ez).