Daily Archives: August 17, 2010

Make the Downtown Phoenix Convention Center Free?

I came across this interesting proposal on Downtown Phoenix Journal yesterday.  While it may sound far-fetched, creating a vibrant downtown core requires thinking outside the box.

[Source: Downtown Beat, Downtown Phoenix Journal]

Fill up the Convention Center during the summer!

Have you ever thought of hosting a big event but have nowhere to hold it? Well, Ben Bethel may have the answer. Bethel, owner and GM of The Clarendon Hotel, wants free rent in the Phoenix Convention Center from June 1 to September 30.

Yes, you can read that sentence again. FREE.

Bethel realizes that the Convention Center—capable of comfortably bringing 10,000 people to Downtown Phoenix—sits virtually empty four months out the year.

“By giving away the space, people will book flights, rent cars, stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, shop in local shops, visit museums, and take trips to Arizona’s many natural wonders also supporting small-town economies,” Bethel says. “And while they’re doing this, they’ll be paying airport taxes, rental car taxes, hotel taxes, and sales taxes—while keeping people employed who pay employment and income taxes—it’s a no-brainer.”

Want more information on this initiative? Contact Bethel for more information at BenBethel@GoClarendon.com, or call him at 602.252.9349.

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Light Rail 101

Tony Arranaga (aka Light Rail Blogger), has developed the following tip sheet for incoming ASU students. The advice was so good that I wanted to share it with DVC readers.

[Source: Light Rail Blogger]

Tony Arranaga; Photograph Courtesy LightRailBlogger.com

Phoenix is gearing up for an influx of new residents as students arrive for the first week of school at the downtown campus of Arizona State University. In an effort to get more people using light rail, Barrett Honors College asked me to list some information for incoming freshman on how to use our public transportation system.

Specifically, the organizers of the Barrett Urban Experience are looking to show points of interest along the light rail, instead of how to use the light rail in this part of the Valley. Below is a list of some popular destinations north of the downtown campus. The information should be helpful to those who are new to our urban core.

1st Ave and Jefferson Station (Eastbound trains only) Use this stop for bothPhoenix City Hall (and the courts) in addition to the new CVS Pharmacyinside CityScape, which is across from the street from the station. CityScape is the new entertainment destination in the heart of the city, with several restaurants, a bowling alley and a comedy club expected to open soon.

Central Station Station ASU campusPhoenix Public Market and the Lincoln Family Y are popular destinations at this station. The market, located two blocks north of the station, offers a wide selection of locally grown produce and other grocery store items, in addition to local coffee bar favorite Royal at the Market(here). Many students usually grab a cup here before class.

McDowell and Central Station The restaurant My Florist Cafe (five blocks west of the station) is a good place for a date, Giant Coffee is a great place to read while enjoying a cup of coffee, and next door is Bunky Boutique (both are one block east of the station) where you can find stylish fashion for him and her . Also, with Hallooween around the corner, you’ll want to look for Easley’s Costumeswhich is directly across the street from My Florist. Easley’s has one of the largest selections of costumes and accessories in the city.

Thomas and Central Station St Joseph’s Hospital is three blocks west of the station on Thomas, in addition to Park Central Mall (north end of platform) which is home to popular breakfast joint The Good Egg (here).

Campbell and Central Station Central High School is located here, but you’ll be more interested in hot spots Lux Coffee BarPane Bianco for killer italian gourmet sandwhiches, and Slippery Pig Bikes.

Camelback and Central Station is directly across the street from popular record store Stinkweeds, the old school candy store Smeeks, in addition to Francesand Red Hot Robot, which are great locally owned stores where you can buy gifts for all ages.

In addition to these places, you might also want to check out a recent post by guest blogger Si Robins on how he lives car-lite in downtown Phoenix. I also have two short videos on popular destinations near the 3rd and Washington Station and the Central and Washington Station.

Keep in mind that some of these destinations are a bit of a walk from the light rail stations, which is why I use a bike whenever possible. If you’re carfree and need access to a rental, there are two Zipcars at the corner of 1st Street and Fillmore, which is the parking lot on the north side of the Cronkite School. In addition, there are also several taxicab services to help you get around. For more information on these and other transportation services, be sure to read my post on DowntownPhoenix.com. Information on how to ride the light rail can be found here.

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