Category Archives: Office Space

Infill & Adaptive Reuse in Phoenix, June 26

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A 2012 Downtown Phoenix Year in Review

SWOT Analysis[Source: Downtown Voices Coalition] – We emailed and chatted with a few “friends of downtown” to do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of downtown Phoenix in 2012. We asked, but didn’t insist, that the lists keep in mind our statement of purpose: “Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown.”

Below are the lists – an even dozen each – that Brendan Mahoney (Mayor’s Office, City of Phoenix), Jim McPherson (Downtown Voices Coalition), Chelsea Smith (small business owner), and Sean Sweat (Central City Village Planning Committee) pulled together. What would you add? What would you delete? What would you modify? Can similar SWOTs be created for “the arts,” “sustainability,” and “midtown Phoenix,” for example? Let your (downtown) voice be heard!

STRENGTHS/OPPORTUNITIES

  • Central City South residents crafted their own Quality of Life Plan
  • City of Phoenix stood its ground against a low-density, unfunded Goldwater Library & Archives
  • “Downtown Phoenix” local history book published
  • Maricopa County South Court Tower completed (replacing, of all things, a parking garage)
  • METRO West Extension compromise reached, sparing the St. Matthew neighborhood
  • Mix of housing options blossomed (e.g., Oasis on Grand live/work apartments opened, Lofts on McKinley senior apartments opened, and Roosevelt Point apartments broke ground and unbundled parking)
  • Neighborhoods blocked Circle K expansion at 7th St. & Roosevelt
  • Pedal Craft bicycle, art, and community event rode into town (twice!)
  • Pop-up park on Roosevelt St. popped up, complete with murals, landscaping, and Peritoneum sculpture (note that Peritoneum sparked a conversation within City Hall that there should be a simple, one-size-fits-all process to activate vacant lots downtown. That process will be voted upon by City Council on January 16, 2013)
  • Seed Spot incubator opened in historic Warehouse District
  • Street and sidewalk improvements made on Centennial Way (Washington St. between 7th Ave. & State Capitol) and holiday lights returned to Central Avenue
  • University expansions, including UA Health Sciences Education Building (completed), ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus Recreation Center (under construction), UA Cancer Center – Phoenix (under development), and ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (proposed)

WEAKNESSES/THREATS

  • City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, Barbara Stocklin, summarily dismissed
  • First Street streetscape project (i.e., no bike lanes, car lanes are 14 feet wide, street parking is only 70% of what it could have been, trees shade cars not people, trees permanently lock the parking ratios on the west side of the road, and the corner radii are more than double what they should be. On the plus side, the existing ficus tree was spared from being chopped down.)
  • Implementation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. delayed
  • Inconclusive planning for proposed Golub and Colliers developments
  • Legends Entertainment District continues to be a made-up district neither legendary nor entertaining (including suburban billboards and Visit LA banner on CityScape)
  • Madison & St. James hotels demolished
  • Maricopa County nixed bicycle commuter support station in Security Building
  • Phoenix City Council’s unanimous enthusiasm for downtown projects less likely because of budget issues and differing viewpoints
  • Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL) shut down
  • Still no downtown dog park
  • Urban Grocery closed
  • University expansions (above examples do not achieve ideal density, and the law school came at the price of the vintage Sahara Motel)

Phoenix Biomedical Campus Health Sciences Education Building grand opening, Oct. 5

[Source: University of Arizona] – On Friday, October 5, 2012 from 8 a.m. to Noon, you are invited to attend the grand opening of the newest addition to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus – the Health Sciences Education Building. The 268,000 square-foot, copper-faced structure will play a critical role in the education of the next generation of science and health professionals. The 268,000 square-foot building is home to the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University health sciences programs.

Program: 8 to 9 a.m., Breakfast and Tours; 9 to 10 a.m., Program; and 10 to Noon, Tours. For further information, contact Sheila Maddox. To RSVP/register, click here.

Special guests: City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, The Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart, and Northern Arizona University President John D. Haeger.

CO+HOOTS hosts a series of January events in Downtown Phoenix

Have you heard about downtown Phoenix’s newest office and community space? It’s called CO+HOOTS, a place where people can come together to share office space and ideas. Independent workers who used to work from home or crowd coffee shops with their laptops are now seeking office-like spaces where they can focus, collaborate and be more productive.

CO+HOOTS says this in a description about themselves:

Central Phoenix is quite unique. It is home to a range of independent artists, photographers, designers, web designers, writers, etc. who benefit from working together and are willing to grow through this model of collaboration but don’t have the space to do so in a professional manner.

If you haven’t heard about them, or had an opportunity to check out their awesome space, now’s your chance.  Even if you are not seeking office space of your own, CO+HOOTS hosts a variety of events each month for the broader community. Here is January’s line-up:

Phoenix Night Owls

Jan 13, 8pm – Midnight

The focus of this meetup is working on YOUR OWN business. We’re all busy small business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup people – Carve out this 4+ hours to co-labor on your own website, marketing, and business processes. We will help each other out, or at minimum keep each other on task. No client work here!

Burn the midnight oil with us… okay 8pm to Midnight, maybe later.

Cost: Free – Please RSVP here http://www.phxnightowls.com/

Twitter: @phxnightowls

Movie Night

Jan. 19, 8pm

CO+HOOTS hosts our first movie night of 2011. A night to get together with friends and watch a movie after the crazy wild New Year we all had. We’ll pop some popcorn. You bring some snacks. Grab a chair and enjoy the movie. We’ll kick off our first movie with “Donnie Darko.”

Cost: Free, Just show up! Movie starts promptly at 8:00 p.m.

RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com

Word Camp Phoenix

Jan 27, 6pm-8pm
Jan 28, 9am-4pm

The point of WordPress is to provide a powerful, flexible, scalable and easy to learn website tool that anyone can access for free.

The point of WordCamps is to celebrate this open tool by teaching people how to use WordPress, how to bend it to their will, and even how to leverage it as a business- and to do it all for about the price of lunch.

More infohttp://phxwordcamp.com

Twitter: @phxwordcamp

Police internal-affairs looks to move to historic downtown Phoenix building

[Source: Michael Ferraresi, azcental.com’s PHXBeat]

Phoenix police are working with city staff to see if a recently-vacated building on Jefferson Street downtown could permanently house the city’s internal-affairs detectives.

The city-owned Barrister Building at 101 S. Central Ave. served for years as home to some Public Works Department staff and the Phoenix Employment Relations Board, in addition to other city offices, prior to this summer’s exodus.

Phoenix Public Works shuttered the building and moved staff to new facilities to cut down on energy expenses and other costs. Staff said the plan is to explore economic development opportunities with private businesses, though the police department asked for a separate review.

Phoenix pays around $300,000 annually to house the police department’s Professional Standards Bureau at a private building near Monroe Street and First Avenue downtown, according to an August e-mail Executive Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner wrote in an e-mail to city staff.

Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said the savings “is not going to be anywhere near that number,” though the police and public works departments recently began collecting information about possible cost savings by moving detectives and other staff into the Barrister Building.

Eventually, a cost analysis and projections for long-term savings by moving detectives will be presented to City Council, Crump said.

Barrister was previously known as the Jefferson Hotel. Scenes from Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 thrilled, “Psycho,” were shot there.

The Phoenix Police Museum, run by a non-profit group, will remain at the Barrister Building.

The Professional Standards Bureau was moved to a private facility, off police department premises, years ago to provide citizens with an off-site location to contact detectives with complaints about police misconduct.

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Westcor: Razing, dumping, sprawling

Westcor on a roll… In the last ten days, news of their desire to demolish portions of Biltmore Fashion Square, dump Metrocenter, yet build in way north Phoenix.

Phoenix General Plan “community dialogue” this Saturday, 3/6

The city’s Planning Department will hold a “Community Dialogue” on its General Plan update 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington St.  Residents are invited to discuss a land-use vision for Phoenix by answering the question “Where do we want to go?”

This is the first of two workshops.  The second, to be held in May, will focus on answering “How do we get there?” by allowing participants to develop action items based on discussions from the first workshop.  The General Plan provides comprehensive direction for the growth, conservation, and redevelopment for all land-use aspects of the city.  The General Plan provides goals, policies, and recommendations for the next 10 years.

For more information on the General Plan Update, send an e-mail, call 602-261-8289, visit the website, and follow on Twitter.

Seating for these workshops is limited.   Contact Carol Johnson at 602-261-8289 to reserve your space.

Viewpoint: Arizona’s economic development incentives game doesn’t really work

Another downtown Phoenix GPLET beneficiary?

[Source: Robert Robb, Arizona Republic] — Speaker Kirk Adams and state House Republicans want Arizona to get into the economic development incentives game big time.  There are several problems with this.

  • The first is that it doesn’t work.  States that play the incentives game big time don’t retain more manufacturing jobs or increase wages faster than states that don’t.
  • Second, there are considerable doubts that such special breaks pass muster under Arizona’s Constitution.
  • But the biggest worry about the incentives game is that once a government starts to subsidize a particular economic activity, it cannot stop or draw lines.  Once subsidies are available, everyone wants one and pretty much everyone gets one.  They end up inhibiting economic growth rather than facilitating it.  This is well illustrated by a recent report by the Goldwater Institute’s Mark Flatten on the Government Property Lease Excise Tax, or GPLET.

With GPLET, a city government becomes the nominal owner of a development, although it remains under the complete control of the developer.  This gets the development off the property-tax rolls, while the developer pays the city only a minor excise tax.

GPLETs have become big business in Arizona.  According to Flatten’s report, more than $2 billion in property value has been taken off the tax rolls.  As a result, about $31 million in property taxes are being shifted annually to other taxpayers.  Most striking is that virtually all the new downtown Phoenix office towers have been subsidized.  Now the city is even offering a GPLET for a renovation of a downtown hotel that already exists.  [Note: Read the full op-ed at Viewpoint: Arizona’s economic development incentives game doesn’t really work.]

Bank of America moves to foreclose on Viad Tower in midtown Phoenix

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — A lender is seeking to foreclose on the Viad Corporate Center, a high-rise office tower on Central Avenue in Phoenix, the latest example of the region’s commercial real-estate woes.  Bank of America has asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to appoint a receiver for the signature tower at 1850 N. Central Ave.  The lender said the building’s owner has not kept current since December on a $65 million loan.   A spokesman for Costa Mesa-based real-estate investment firm McCarthy Cook & Co., the building’s owner, declined to comment on the lender’s action.

The ownership group, MCC/I&G Viad Office Tower Owner LLC, acquired the 478,000-square-foot tower near the height of the Valley’s real-estate boom in 2006 for about $105 million.  At the time, the office tower was nearly full.  Yet occupancy has dipped to less than 80 percent with significant leases expiring next year.

BofA said in court documents that, since December, the building’s owner has not paid interest, tax and insurance escrows, late charges and other fees.   Viad’s owners owed more than $3.9 million in back payments and fees as of January.   With BofA seeking an accelerated repayment per the loan’s terms, the debt has escalated to over $81.2 million in principal, fees and other costs, the lender said in court documents.  BofA wants the court to appoint San Diego-based Trigild Inc. as the building’s receiver.  Trigild specializes in distressed-property management, receivership and loan recovery.   [Note: Read the full article at Bank of America moves to foreclose on Viad Tower in midtown Phoenix.]

Paisley Town vendors seek collaboration, community, and customers

Girard DeMuro owns Be.Headed Salon in a small business district called Paisley Town on lower Grand Avenue.  According to videographer Kelly Rogers, the salon, along with the other locally owned businesses taking up residence in the enclave, bring an inspiring sense of collaboration and community to the area, pursuing their dreams and creative endeavors.