[Source: Emily Gersema, azcentral.com]
Downtown workers have watched crews over the summer install new concrete steps, trees and benches outside of Chase Tower and remove the giant fountain that was next to the building at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street.
The nearly $7 million plaza upgrade was part of a $14 million massive renovation inside and outside the tower that has taken JPMorgan Chase more than a year to complete. JPMorgan Chase celebrated the plaza’s completion last week. Bank officials then honored Walter Reed Bimson, the former leader of Valley National Bank, which was Arizona’s largest bank.
Walter Reed Bimson
Born in Colorado in 1892, Bimson was in charge of Valley National Bank from 1932 to 1970. He was known as a visionary and supported Phoenix’s growth. The renovated plaza, Bimson Plaza, is named for him and features a bust of his likeness sculpted by Lawrence Tenney Stevens.
The 40-story building opened in 1973 after about three years of construction. The tower was built after Valley National Bank outgrew its original home, the Professional Building at Monroe Street and Central Avenue. About 2,100 people work in the tower, most of them for Chase. Bimson Plaza
The plaza now has more benches where people can sit, plus trees and new lighting. Workers are grateful the fountain is gone. The fountain used to leak; water would seep into the cafeteria and force workers to eat elsewhere. The monsoon storm winds and rain sometimes forced closure of the cafeteria.
Plenty of improvements have been completed and some are still under way. The exterior of Chase Tower features hundreds of glass windows that have been upgraded and sealed to improve energy efficiency of the building and office comfort. Crews are replacing the elevators and installing two new escalators.