Officials Excited About Debut of 12 News’ Downtown Phoenix Studio

[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]

Phoenix leaders are abuzz about 12 News’ move into The Arizona Republic building at 200 E. Van Buren St. in the heart of the city.

They hope it will draw more foot traffic through the downtown area, and boost business at restaurants and sporting facilities.

To debut its new studio, 12 News is hosting a daylong street celebration today that includes a blood drive, celebrity appearances, a fundraiser and a concert.

With windows overlooking Van Buren Street, the ground-level studio resembles the “Today” show set in which passers-by and onlookers become part of the newscast. Activities tied to the 12 News party will take place on Second and Van Buren streets, and there will be live broadcasts throughout the day.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Martin Shultz, president of the non-profit Phoenix Community Alliance, which focuses on urban issues. “It is not just with Channel 12. . . . There is also CityScape and the sports arena and Chase Field and the Phoenix Convention Center. It is going to bring tremendous success.”

The studio also helps connect the rest of the country to the Valley.

“It is literally going to be a window to Phoenix and from Phoenix to the rest of the nation,” Shultz said.

Today, 12 News hosts “Downtown Goes Live with 12 News” from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with visits from celebrities and charitable efforts throughout the day.

Before the move, 12 News had been based at a studio near Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street. That building is for sale.

“The move itself is less than a mile, but it goes a long way toward combining the power of two key media outlets in our community,” Todd Sanders, CEO and president of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

“Both Channel 12 and The Republic have been Chamber members since the 1940s and we’re thrilled to have them both here, not only as neighbors, but also as contributors to the growth of the core of downtown Phoenix,” he said.

John Zidich, publisher of The Republic, said the new studio would make the downtown core more vibrant.

“Phoenix will be one of a very small group of cities to have such a media outlet,” Zidich said. “The studio will serve as a gathering place after games, events, breaking news and to see firsthand how quality local programming happens.”

With Maricopa County offices and courts located downtown, along with Phoenix City Hall, “it makes sense for Channel 12 to be here . . . in the thick of things,” Mayor Phil Gordon said. “The news is about listening to our community’s heartbeat. Downtown is the place where that heartbeat is loudest and where we continue to add jobs and excitement.”

Leo Percopo, general manager of the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, said he expected the 12 News studio would attract more foot traffic to the area, and to the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.

Percopo said officials at the city-owned hotel are looking into adding another entrance.

“It would really be almost adjacent to the Channel 12 window, so that you’d be able to access the District (restaurant and bar) from Van Buren Street,” Percopo said.

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