Daily Archives: January 16, 2010

CenPhoTV for the week of 01-14-2010

This week on CenPhoTV, your way into your own art collection, Hedwig live, a Downtown Voices Coalition Visioning Conference, an anti-Arpaio demonstration, independent film, fashion, and Get Your PHX.

New contract ensures future state funding of downtown Phoenix’s TGen

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — After months of review, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission last week signed off on a new contract that ensures continued funding of [the downtown] Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute.  The commission sought the new contract with TGen to protect Arizona’s interests in the wake of TGen’s alliance with Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Van Andel Institute.  Under the alliance, both TGen and Van Andel retain their locations, research staffs, and boards of directors.

TGen filed amended corporate documents last month with the Arizona Corporation Commission that reflect the change.  TGen is now a member-based organization instead of director-based organization, and Van Andel’s research arm, the Van Andel Research Institute, is the sole member of TGen.  TGen representatives said the new structure gives Van Andel shared control of TGen.  TGen receives undisclosed funding from Van Andel.

TGen President and Research Director Jeffrey Trent also holds the same position with the Van Andel Research Institute.  He splits his time between the two sites.  “It was of concern to all parties that the economic engine that TGen has been should continue in Arizona,” said Dawn Schroeder, executive director of the commission.  “It is a substitute contract, which puts in place safeguards for the state of Arizona.”  [Note: To read the full article, visit New contract ensures future state funding of downtown Phoenix’s TGen.]

ASU grad launches iPhone app for Phoenix light rail riders

[Source: Arizona Republic Light Rail Blog] — An Arizona State University grad has launched a free iPhone application to help people ride Phoenix’s light rail system.  For each station, it features a map, bus connections, a train schedule and travel times to other train stops.  The app also has “how-to” information for riding the system and using fare machines.  Since he launched the app on Dec. 8, Mitch Karren says 750 people have downloaded it.  The curious come from 25 different countries, from China, which has the most subscribers outside the United States, to Mid-East minnow Qatar.

Karren graduated in June 2008 with a degree housing and community development, the exact worst time to jump into Arizona’s turbulent real estate industry.  A week later he was laid off from his real estate related job.  He decided to enroll in a class to learn how to write iPhone apps.  “I noticed other cities had pretty well established iPhone apps for their transit systems,” he said.  “I wanted this to be a service to Phoenix.”

The service has been well received.  Thirty-three people posted reviews, mostly giving it five stars.  Comments range from “wicked, awesome,” to the one critic who calls it “predictable.”

Karren is seeing a steady 22 downloads a day, with only word-of-mouth for marketing.  About 500 users have accessed it 1,500 times.  His analytics data tells him Saturday is the busiest day people use the application and the 8 p.m. hour the busiest hour in each day.  People are most interested in information for the end of the line stations.  In the spring, Karren plans to update the app with information about surrounding businesses.  Ultimately he wants to give people real-time information about where the trains are.  In time, he’s hoping to expand the service to Blackberry and Android phones.

Big earthquake in metro Phoenix unlikely

[Source: Jim Cross, KTAR Radio] — Arizona has its share of active earthquake faults, but Phil Pearthree with the Arizona Geological Survey says it’s unlikely those faults are capable of producing a 7.0 quake such as the one that left Haiti in ruins.  “Yuma is pretty close to the San Andreas Fault system and, therefore, the seismic hazard is greatest in Yuma,” said Pearthree.  “There are quite a number of faults — not as active — but there are quite a number of faults in northern Arizona.”

The largest earthquake to have a significant effect on Arizona happened in 1887 — a 7.0-plus quake in Mexico, not far from Douglas in southeastern Arizona.  Pearthree said the probability of a 7.0 quake in Phoenix “is not very high.”  Should it happen, he said it would damage stucco homes in the Valley, but big buildings in downtown Phoenix would be able to withstand it. “It depends on the age of the structure and when it was built,” he said.  “Obviously, the modern structures are typically built better and large structures are build to withstand even the winds.”

A 7.0 quake would be more likely to happen in the Los Angeles area than the Valley and the damage there would be far less damage than in Haiti, Pearthree said.  “They had an earthquake in ’94 that was right in the Los Angeles area, more or less, and it was almost as big.  There was damage and people were killed, but there wasn’t widespread devastation, so I think building standards do make a difference.”

Northern Arizona had several 6.0 quakes in the early 1900s, Pearthree said.  [Note: To read the full article, visit Big earthquake in metro Phoenix unlikely.]

Downtown Phoenix DREAMRs chosen

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal] — The Downtown Phoenix Partnership will honor six downtown champions with its annual DREAMR awards Feb. 1.   Honorees are for the Downtown Revitalization Effort Awards of Merit and Recognition are:

  • Project/Program Award, Freeport-McMoRan Center, formerly One Central Park East, developed by Mesirow Financial
  • Private Sector Individual Award, Mike Ratner, owner, Tom’s Tavern
  • Public Sector Individual Award, Don Keuth, president, Phoenix Community Alliance
  • Outstanding Organization Award, two-time WNBA champions, Phoenix Mercury
  • Unsung Hero Award, recently retired city of Phoenix manager, Frank Fairbanks
  • Visionary Award, Outgoing DPP Board Chair and Bryan Cave attorney Neil Irwin

The 16th Annual DREAMR Awards luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center with an expo of products and services from central city merchants.  For more information, call 602-254-8696 or visit DPP’s website [Note: To read the full article, visit Downtown Phoenix DREAMRs chosen.]

Bashas’ asks to void lease at downtown Phoenix CityScape project

[Source: Max Jarman, Arizona Republic] — Bashas’ Inc. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to void its leases on planned AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City stores in Phoenix and El Mirage.  Bashas’ earlier signed leases for stores in the CityScape development in downtown Phoenix and in a retail center at Thunderbird and Dysart roads in El Mirage.  Work has not started on the stores, and Bashas’, which has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since July, contends it would be a financial hardship to move forward with the new stores.

In bankruptcy, the court has the power to terminate leases with no repercussions to the tenant. Bashas’ earlier notified the prospective landlords of their intent not to occupy the stores.   At $28.50 per square foot, the CityScape lease for 9,500 square feet would have cost $271,000 per year, and the El Mirage lease at $12.15 per square foot for 55,000 square feet would have cost $668,000 per year, according to court documents.

Since filing for Bankruptcy Court protection, Bashas’ has closed or decided not to go forward with more than 30 stores.  More stores could be closed under terms of the Chapter 11 reorganization plan the company is expected to file with the court later this month.  The plan is said to include the Basha family’s continued ownership of the chain and the closure of an unspecified number of additional stores.   [Note: Read the full article at Bashas’ asks to void lease at downtown Phoenix CityScape project.]