Blog Archives

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.]

After nearly 30 years, downtown Phoenix gets a grocery

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — After nearly 30 years without a grocery store, downtown Phoenix will get one as early as June.  The non-profit that runs a popular weekend farmers market has secured $305,000 to open a 4,000-square-foot shop at 14 E. Pierce St., the group will announce today.  The store will be open five days a week and will sell produce, dairy, eggs, prepared foods, wine and beer, said Cindy Gentry, executive director of Community Food Connections.  The biweekly Downtown Phoenix Pubic Market will remain open.

A key loan came from the non-profit Phoenix Industrial Development Authority.  The farmers market group needs an additional $170,000 for startup expenses, but the authority’s $250,000 will allow renovations to start. “In these difficult times, the efforts of the Public Market and the outlet it creates for small business is needed more than ever,” Don Keuth, the Phoenix authority’s president.  The last grocery store to serve Phoenix’s downtown core, the area south of Interstate 10, closed in 1981.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Long line of candidates seeks to replace District 6 Councilman Stanton

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Just hours after City Councilman Greg Stanton announced he was resigning to take a top post in the Attorney General’s Office, more than a dozen names surfaced as possible replacements.  Among them include former state lawmaker and [John] McCain confidante Deb Gullett, Mayor Phil Gordon’s ex-chief of staff; former city police administrator and county attorney also-ran Gerald Richard; Don Keuth, president of the Phoenix Community Alliance; and Paulina Vasquez Morris, former chairwoman of the Maricopa Integrated Health System.  Others said to be interested in the post: AFL-CIO spokeswoman Dana Kennedy, who heads a group that promotes women in politics; attorney and GOP activist Chris DeRose; Gordon campaign worker Joanna Peters, an Arcadia neighborhood leader; and ASU administrator Laurel Arndt, who sits on the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee.

Jockeying for the vacant seat will likely continue through early February, after the council votes on the budget and Stanton steps down.  Council members have 10 business days after the vacancy occurs to appoint someone to finish the remainder of his term, which ends Dec. 31.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Next gathering of Radiate Phoenix is Oct. 28

On October 28, organizers of Radiate Phoenix welcome Don Keuth, President of Phoenix Community Alliance, who will look into his crystal ball on “2009: Tipping or turning point?  The good, the bad, and the unknown.”  Come ponder what will happen next year and how it might all alter the face of downtown.

  • Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
  • Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.; discussion starts a little after 6 p.m.
  • Place: Portland’s, 105 W. Portland St. (parking available in the Trinity Cathedral garage due west of Portland’s)
  • RSVP here

Radiate Phoenix is a non-traditional networking group that meets once a month to support smart growth in our emerging city.  It is intended to be an informal and fun forum for connecting people, ideas, and vision.

Has Phoenix finally arrived? Feel the love.

[Source: Robrt L. Pela, Phoenix New Times] — In Jason Hill’s Phoenix, the sun never sets.  His paintings of the city — a vibrant Valley National Bank framed by a glowing sky; a dazzling Financial Center with a jet jauntily speeding past — are thousand-watt, high-color beacons that send the same, simple, not-so-subliminal message: Phoenix is cool.  Come see for yourself.

Laura Spalding’s paintings are more roundabout celebrations of our town.  Onto old Arizona license plates and tin trays, she paints skies cluttered with telephone poles and electrical wires.  Her cityscapes are testimonies to how amazing it is that Phoenix sprang up in the desert in the first place; homages to how it survived to become a prosperous, distinctive destination.

Georganne Bryant’s message is less subtle.  Onto black, cotton T-shirts that she sells at her midtown boutique, she has had a local T-shirt artist silk-screen this legend: Love Phoenix or Leave Phoenix.

Something has shifted.  Hill and Spalding and Bryant and dozens of others like them are having a public love affair with Phoenix.  They’re opening cafes and launching Web sites and creating art that speaks of their pride in a city that most of us have gotten pretty good at mocking.  Many of these folks would have us believe — and, perhaps, want to believe themselves — that we, the country’s fifth-largest city, have finally arrived.  That Phoenix has at last, after decades of false starts and near misses, awakened from a slumber that lasted way too long.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Voices statement on Arts, Culture, & Small Business Overlay

Chairman Keuth and Planning Commission Members:

The Artists Issues Task Force has been working on the Arts, Culture, and Small Business District overlay for over two years now, and we think we have come up with a reasonable and balanced plan that will make it easier for the arts and small business uses to prosper and grow in downtown Phoenix.  The Task Force is comprised of artists, residents, developers, small business owners, the non-profit sector, and representatives from many city departments.  There have been numerous public meetings throughout this lengthy process and the overlay language has been continually altered to address issues raised by both community members and city staff.

The model we have developed has been influenced by successful districts around the country: vibrant downtown with a concentration of interesting small business, art, and cultural activities that contribute to the economic development and overall health of a city’s artistic and cultural life.  These districts attract residents and visitors alike, and are times key in a company or corporation’s decision to locate to a particular city.  Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, New York, and other great cities have multiple character districts that define and make those cities truly unique and major destinations — and competitive on a global scale.

As Phoenix grows and becomes increasingly dense, we will continue to face the challenges that growth brings.  However, one of our biggest challenges will be retaining our creative and small business community and remaining competitive with not only other peer cities around the world, but with other rapidly growing cities around the Valley.  We feel this overlay will be a key component in helping downtown Phoenix maintain a competitive edge with other vibrant creative sectors, and will prove vital in promoting the “small wonders” that will ultimately bring a balance to the successful large projects that have been completed or are currently underway downtown.

We respectfully request that you support the February 11, 2008 recommendation of the Central City Village Planning Committee approving the proposed Arts, Culture, and Small Business District overlay.  On behalf of the Artist’s Issues Task Force, we are

Sincerely yours,

Sloane Burwell, Artlink, Inc.
Reid Butler, Butler Housing Company
Greg Esser, Roosevelt Row CDC
Steven Helffrich, Studio Architecture
Dana Johnson, Garfield Organization
Kim Moody, Alwun House
Beatrice Moore, La Melgosa, L.L.C.
Steve Weiss, Downtown Voices Coalition

Downtown Voices statement on Arts, Culture, & Small Business Overlay

Dear Planning Commission Chair Keuth:

Downtown Voices Coalition, in a unanimous vote with one abstention, supports the City of Phoenix Planning Department staff recommendations regarding the amendment of the Zoning Ordinance to establish the Arts, Culture, and Small Business Overlay District.  This amendment would accomplish three things:

  • Encourage new and existing small businesses, including arts groups, art-spaces, entertainment, dining, and cultural activities, to revitalize the downtown areas included in the overlay.
  • Codify and legalize existing uses in the district, while establishing parameters for those uses.
  • Enable an overlay that enhances, rather than diminishes, property rights.

The continued success of First Friday, Third Friday, and the city’s goal of an expanded arts and entertainment culture in the downtown will be achieved in large part through this overlay.

Steve Weiss, Chair, Downtown Voices Coalition