Monthly Archives: November 2009

CenPhoTV for the week of 11-25-2009

This week on cenpho tv, asu students help spruce up downtown, some recognition for the civic space park, buy local week, two parades and two movies.

More materials added to Phoenix’s recycling program

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the city’s Phoenix Recycles program is one of the first and largest commingled recycling programs in the nation.  More than a million tons of recyclables have been collected and processed since the program began in 1989.

As part of that celebration, Phoenix Recycles announced the addition of several items as acceptable in blue recycling containers.

  1. All hard plastic containers 1-7 with the exception of number 6 foam and plastic bags.  (Remember that plastic bags can be taken to any Bag Central Station location at your local grocery store.)
  2. Beverage and frozen food boxes (wet strength paperboard)
  3. Shredded paper must be in a tied, clear plastic bag so sorters can identify the materials.

For more information on the Phoenix Recycles program, contact the city of Phoenix Public Works Department at 602-495-2441.

Despite mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix feels real estate, consumer stress

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon extolled the economic resilience of downtown Phoenix [last] week during this annual “State of Downtown” speech.  Gordon said Arizona State University’s expansion of its downtown campus, construction of the mixed-use CityScape project, and the light rail system are helping the area. He also said while sales tax revenue is down citywide, it is up 13 percent in downtown Phoenix.  “Yes, it’s been a tough year economically for everyone.  You’ve heard all about it, read all about and felt it,” Gordon said.  “But in spite of it all, we’ve still got a lot going on in downtown Phoenix.”

Notwithstanding the mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix faces some economic problems.  High-rise condominium developers face questionable financial futures because of troubles with pricing and occupancy.  The Hotel Monroe redevelopment at Central Avenue and Monroe Street remains stalled, and the boarded-up building has become a haven for pigeons.  The total amount of vacant space in downtown Phoenix stands at 1.05 million square feet — up from 630,400 square feet in the first quarter of 2007, according to Colliers International.  The downtown vacancy rate is 13.8 percent, compared with 8.5 percent in first-quarter 2007, according to Colliers.

Downtown also is feeling the effects of pulled-back consumer spending.  A number of downtown businesses have closed because of the recession, including Weiss Guys Car Wash at Grand Avenue and Van Buren Street and the China Inn restaurant at the Colliers Center.

The two downtown pro sports teams also face economic challenges.  The Arizona Diamondbacks had a poor season on the field and drew about 381,000 fewer fans than in 2008, according to ESPN.  The Phoenix Suns have gotten off to strong start on the court — but, like other sports teams, they face hurdles in attracting and keeping fans during the consumer doldrums.  [Note: Read the full article at Despite mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix feels real estate, consumer stress.]

Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring

[Source: Arizona Republic editorial board] — A bit more than a year ago, downtown Phoenix business owners wondered out loud where all the Arizona State University students were.  There may have been more than 8,000 registered for classes downtown, they said, but they weren’t showing up in their shops and restaurants.  One year later… check that concern.  Parts of downtown, particularly the region north of the downtown ASU campus, are being overrun with Sun Devils.  Or perhaps it is simply young people in general. Whoever these kids are, they are beginning to swarm throughout central Phoenix in impressive numbers at last.

The most notable demonstration of the blossoming of the central city continues to be the First Friday events, of course.  On Nov. 5, the city closed off East Roosevelt from North Central Avenue to Seventh Street to traffic for the first time, allowing the throngs of attendees to overflow the streets without fear of automobiles.

The growing First Friday crowds and the widening ASU footprint have attracted entrepreneurs like Kyle Simone and Jeff Mann to open shops like their Phoenicia Association, a combination men’s clothier and art gallery.  The youth traffic persuaded restaurateur Wade Moises to open the popular PastaBAR at First Street and Pierce Street, in the same building with Sens Asian Tapas and the now popular Irish bar Turf.  [Note: Read the full article at Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring.]

The Economic Minute: Phoenix and the Recovery, or Beyond Ground Zero

[Source: Knowledge@W.P. Carey] — In this edition of The Economic Minute, economist Dennis Hoffman says that Arizona could be called “ground zero of the worst recession since World War II.”  The hard economic fact is that Arizona depends on in migration to keeps its economy vibrant, and the state is not exactly a people magnet right now.  But, Hoffman said, this is not the first time the shine has disappeared from Arizona sunshine.  The early ’90s were similar, but the decade that followed was a boom.  Hoffman advised that smart businesses should be preparing for the uptick.  Dennis Hoffman is director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business.  The Economic Minute is presented at the monthly Economic Club of Phoenix luncheon.  Click here to listen.

CenPhoTV for the week of 11/20/2009

This week on CenPhoTV, a favorite downtown coffee shop pulls up roots and moves, news for recyclers, Third Friday, and some great movies.

Census release ranks Arizona’s poverty rate 13th highest in nation

[Source: Christine Rogel, Cronkite News Service] — Arizona’s poverty rate stood at 14.7 percent in 2008, 13th highest in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.  In all, 935,000 Arizonans were estimated to live in poverty, defined by the federal government as less than $14,489 per homeowner under 65.  That was up from 876,000 in 2007. “It’s worrisome because behind the numbers are real people and families struggling, and during the recession it has gotten worse,” said Timothy Schmaltz, coordinator for Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition.  “We’re living in a state where we have food boxes, but they’re smaller than they were a year before because they are serving more people.”

The national poverty rate was 13.2 percent in 2008, up from 13 percent in 2007.  Mississippi had the highest rate at 20.8 percent; New Hampshire’s was lowest at 7.8 percent.  In Arizona, Yavapai and Greenlee counties had rates that fell below the national average: 12.9 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.  Maricopa County’s rate was 13.4 percent.  The report said that one in three Apache County residents lived in poverty, giving that county the 45th-highest rate among more than 3,000 counties analyzed in the report.

Elizabeth Segal, professor of social work at Arizona State University, said that cuts in social services due to the state’s budget crisis have exacerbated the problem of poverty.  She said early childhood education is key.  [Note: Read the full article at Census release ranks Arizona’s poverty rate 13th highest in nation.]

Riding the Phoenix rocket

Lloyd Alter writes for TreeHugger, is an Associate Professor at Ryerson University teaching sustainable design, and has written for Azure and Ontario Nature magazines.  He traveled to Phoenix from Toronto to attend Greenbuild 2009.  Click here for his (favorable) observations about Phoenix’s light rail system.  In the video above, Lloyd also interviews two light rail customers who also ride bicycles in the Valley.

Downtown Phoenix Journal weekly recap

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — Last week was a busy one for Downtown Phoenix, with the Green Streets Festival and Day for Downtown wrapping up a very successful Greenbuild International Conference and Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center.  On Friday, a DPJ staffer took to the streets with people from all over the world, exploring Downtown Phoenix’s greenest buildings, and proving that the Valley of the Sun is becoming a player in the national green-living scene. On less serious notes, DPJ visited an adults-only presentation at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater and tried some tasty brews at Communitas’ Phoenix Brew Party in Coronado.  We also couldn’t stop eating, as we visited Urban Cookies to learn about its journey toward home-baked success and visited the Welcome Diner and Matt’s Big Breakfast for some seriously tasty eats.

Tour downtown Phoenix’s newest school, Nov. 19