Blog Archives

Join us for our next Downtown Voices meeting, Saturday, Sept. 9, 9:30 a.m.

Our summer hiatus is over, so we’re getting back into the swing of things for all things downtown. Join us for the next Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee meeting, Saturday, Sept. 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Avenue. This month we’ll have a few presentations on “hot” topics, plus checking up on things happening around town since we last met in July. Come share your thoughts and what you know.



  • Update on various transportation related plans and projects from representatives from the City’s Street Transportation Department


  • Central & Adams RFP (Terry McAvoy)
  • 814 North 5th Avenue (Eric Johnson)
  • 3rd St. & McDowell (Los Olivas car wash property)
  • 7th St. & Palm Lane
  • Union @ Roosevelt grand opening, Sept. 27
  • Other


  • FAA Flight Path Changes
  • BMO Sign (Midtown)
  • UA Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building Sign
  • Other


  • Time to share!



Agenda: April 12, 2014

dvc new logoThe following is our Meeting Agenda for our 12 April 2014 meeting. We are underway on Saturday morning at 9:30am at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N 6th Avenue, in downtown Phoenix:


• Approval of the Minutes from 8 March 2014
• Treasurer’s Report

III. GUEST SPEAKERS – for information only, no more than 20 minutes each, please
• Ballpark Apartments – Lee Novak / Vince Scarano
• Roosevelt Row EMSD Proposal – Greg Esser / Kevin Rille

IV. DOWNTOWN ISSUE UPDATES – for information only, no more than 5 minutes per item
• Recap of “enHANCE Community Celebration” at Hance Park
• Recap of Reinvent PHX Midtown charrette
• Downtown Phoenix, Inc., update
• City of Phoenix FY2014-15 Budget Process

V. OLD BUSINESS – for information and discussion
• DVC 10th Anniversary Events

VI. NEW BUSINESS – for discussion and possible action
• Change of Venue for DVC Monthly Meetings

VII. OPEN FLOOR – for information and discussion only, 2 minutes each, please!


Evans Churchill Interesting Interiors Tour, Nov. 3

Opinion: It’s time to close downtown divide

ASU Downtown is run by helicopter parents. They are friendly parents, but they are still helicopter parents. They are the cautious, closed-minded parents that refuse to encourage their children to play with the neighbor kids. They plug in the video game and think their children will be satisfied.

The administration at ASU Downtown has done little to encourage fusion between campus and community. ASU needs to step up and break down the wall that separates it from the rest of downtown Phoenix, instead of continuing to foster isolation. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

The “It’s Time” video released by ASU earlier this month highlights the university as rejuvenating downtown Phoenix, but the campus administration is doing very little to actually realize that. They are failing to intertwine the Downtown campus with the downtown community. Yes, there are 10,000 students that were not here four years ago, but beyond our bodily presence, we are doing very little for the neighborhood.

It’s time for a change in the mindset and direction of the Downtown administration.

College towns around the country are centered on partnerships between universities and local shops, eateries and entertainment. Downtown ASU has not built these partnerships — at all.

ASU signed a massive contract in 2008 with food provider Aramark that lasts until 2023. It ties the hands of students by forcing them to buy ridiculously priced meal plans. ASU created a food monopoly.

In turn, the administration says it is completely unfair to blame ASU’s policies for the closure of eateries like PastaBar and Verde, both within two blocks of campus. But what did the university do to support their businesses?

The university created an isolated campus. We are sheltered, and it’s time ASU puts resources and time into connecting students with the arts district on Roosevelt and the festivals and activities held on Grand Avenue. We can have all the events and celebrations we want in the shade garden of Taylor Place, but when are we actually going to take a step off of the curb and be a key part of downtown life?

Then again, increasing the cost of the U-Pass to $150 from $80 is the incentive we were looking for, right?

Plans are under way to turn the historic U.S. Federal Post Office building into Downtown’s version of the Memorial Union. One of the ideas brought to the table by an administrator is to make the building only accessible to ASU students. It would be a shame to close out the public to one of the only remaining historic buildings left in Phoenix. That’s not community engagement. We should cherish the uniqueness of our area.

The university is also currently planning out the construction of a downtown student recreational facility. I hope this facility is built in partnership with the YMCA. It baffles me why we would invest in a recreational facility when we already have a stellar setup at the YMCA. Both ASU and the YMCA benefit from each other’s presence.

And where was ASU in denouncing the parking lot built at the site of the old Ramada Inn? ASU allowed the city to build another parking lot that is destructive to the urban environment of our campus.

To counter the new block of hot asphalt, we proposed working with ASU and the city of Phoenix to construct a dog park where the McKinley parking lot is currently located. ASU was not willing to take the extra step in bettering our community. Excuses were made. It was easier to say no. The land has to be used for “educational purposes” because bond money was used to purchase the land. I’m glad that a parking lot meets the university’s standards of an educational purpose.

ASU recently sent a mailer to its alums. With a large picture of downtown in the background, bold white letters read: “With urban temperatures 11 degrees higher than in surrounding areas … how do we design cities that stay naturally cool?” It is a great question, ASU. Unless my knowledge of science is off, I don’t think parking lots are naturally cooling.

Are these advertisements reflecting reality? I am one of the most outspoken supporters of the great attributes of this campus, but there is so much more to be done.

Students need to take responsibility as well. While we bicker about elections and tuition or wave our pom-poms on Taylor Mall, we need to rise above and do our part.

The downtown community is intriguing. This fall, I hope the helicopter ASU administrators begin encouraging their kids to go out and play ball with the neighbors. They are waiting.

Vaughn Hillyard is a journalism sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School and the founder and president of ASU Downtown Alive!

Arts center brings Latino culture to life in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Emilie Eaton,]


The Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center, on Adams and Second streets, was founded in December 2009 to help represent Latino culture in Phoenix. (Kristin Fankhauser/DD)

A center for Latino art and culture located in downtown Phoenix creates its own world for visitors to enjoy art, entertainment, dancing, workshops and above all, culture.

The Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center, on Adams and Second streets, houses an art gallery, a gift shop and a performance area. Galeria 147, the name of the art gallery, sprawls across three rooms, each dedicated to different themed shows or artists.

The center sits across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center and in comparison looks deceptively small. In reality, the center is approximately 5,000 square feet, which accommodates private art studios and offices for numerous artists who volunteer or showcase their artwork at the gallery.

The center was founded in December 2009 when a group of people recognized that Phoenix was lacking a Latino cultural center.

“Latino culture and Arizona did not have a focal representation. There was an Irish cultural center, there was an Asian cultural center and a Native American cultural center,” said Mario Mendia, the center’s operation coordinator. “In spite of (Hispanics) being the largest minority in Arizona, there was not a Latino art and cultural center.”

Mendia learned of the aspirations of the group and began volunteering in the months approaching the grand opening.

“I was so impressed with the vision of this project that I remained throughout the last several months, which is about 12 or 13 months,” said Mendia.

The center is currently hosting an exhibit showcasing the journeys of Cuban artists. “The Dream And The Time II” features 50 Cuban artists and will be open until April 30.

The opening reception for the exhibit was held in early March and featured Cuban festivities, food, live music and art.

The center is also currently featuring an exhibit by Carlos Rivas, a local artist who also volunteers at the center. Rivas discovered the center while walking through downtown Phoenix taking photographs and has been volunteering at the center ever since.

The center hosts several other events and receptions throughout the year that feature art, music, dance, film and theatre.

“It’s almost like Disneylandia,” said Mendia.

Recently, George Yepes, a renowned artist who has been featured in over 30 museums across the country, and Gennaro Garcia, a prominent artist from the southwest, completed a two-man show.

Christopher Plentywombs, an 18-year-old Native American artist, created an exhibit of dresses made from newspapers that can be worn. The center hosted an event where models showcased Plentywomb’s fashionable art.

Another prominent exhibit at the center was “SB 1070 – An Artist’s Point of View.” A group of local artists put together the 30 piece show expressing their thoughts on the controversial law. The center also devoted a hallway in the gallery for the public, who were encouraged to create their own art or express their own opinions on SB 1070 on the walls.

“We’re a non-partisan organization, and so we try to be very open to all issues and different points of view,” Mendia said.

The center has also held a Latina Author Night, an exhibit by Latino Native American veterans and an exhibit honoring the virgin of Guadalupe.

The center faced daunting odds in the days approaching its grand opening in December 2009. Founders and volunteers had about three to four weeks to prepare the gallery, the performance area and the gift shop with what Mendia described as “an impossible budget.”

“When we opened up, we had no pencils, no chairs, no brooms,” said Mendia. “No anything.”

In addition to preparing the gallery, which had no lighting, the volunteers had to curate a 30 piece show featuring Arizona Latino artists. Somehow, the volunteers managed to do it.

Volunteers and donors have been a vital aspect in helping the center grow and expand, Mendia said. Target executives, for example, saw a list of the center’s needs in the days approaching it’s opening and donated everything on the list.

Mendia, who worked as a teacher for several years, has been active in expanding the educational and community outreach of the center. The center has hosted educational workshops for elementary schools and hopes to do similar activities in the future.

Artwork from the center is currently being exhibited in buildings on ASU’s downtown campus.

In October, November and December, the center will host three Native American artists from Mexico. Each artist will hold workshops and presentations for the public and students. This program is “phase two” for the center, which includes, among other things, an emphasis on education.

The center also hopes to put on a Colombian show.

Exhibits at the gallery are not exclusively traditional Latino art. The center showcases new-aged art with little Latino influence. Also, several non-Hispanic artists exhibit traditional Latino art.

All of the exhibits in the gallery are for sale. Profits from the exhibits benefit the center, Advocates for Latino Arts and Culture and the individual artists.

The center encourages ASU students to attend receptions and events. Student membership for the center costs $10 a year, which qualifies students to attend special events and to exhibit artwork. General membership for artists and the public costs $25 a year.

The center also rents out it’s facilities for events and meetings. The sense of spirit and culture that other locales lack is provided by the center as companies can also take advantage of the featured performing artists.

Mendia believes both ASU students and the general public would enjoy the many activities the Arizona Latino Art and Cultural Center offers.

“We’re open to everybody who would like to celebrate Latino culture and it’s many facets,” Mendia said.

Contact the reporter at

Downtown Phoenix’s First Pop Up Restaurant Coming Soon

[Source: Justin Lee, Downtown Phoenix Journal]

Mystery Solved: ‘Cycle’ Debuts April 1

DSC01045 Eat My Words | Mystery Solved: Cycle Debuts April 1

Now you see it, now you don’t.

After much guesswork, Phoenix’s first official pop-up restaurant is now on a certain path to life. Murmurs of the “mystery restaurant” have generated momentum since first officially reported here last week. Confirmed to the public this past weekend at the Devoured Culinary Classic, the puzzle is finally connecting.

Accurately labeled as Cycle, referring to both the temporary nature of the restaurant, as well as its planned, continuous rotation of notable guest chefs and bartenders, it will exist inside the Lexington Hotel’s current dining and bar space, at Central Avenue and Portland Street.

Inside the cavernous physical space exists an underestimated front-row seat to the spine of Central Phoenix and Downtown: Central Avenue. Wedged between the Downtown core and Midtown, just south of Deck Park and directly across the street from the Roosevelt light rail station, optimal geography and traffic — pedestrian, bicycle, rail and car — will be paramount to maintaining Cycle’s intended pulse.

Set to debut April 1, and “expire” (as playfully described) this July, as ambiguous as Cycle will arrive into the world, it will leave equally so.

Cycle will be an entirely new, almost improvisational concept to Phoenix. Unlike other, similar dining trends circulating (namely underground dinner clubs), pop-up restaurants are fully functioning enterprises that are anchored in one location, are completely open to the public and advertise predetermined shelf lives. Talented chefs, established and up-and-coming, will be allowed to flex their culinary skill and inspiration instantaneously to the public, with little restriction to creative whims.

Currently being fine-tuned, the space’s inaugural chef and concept will be announced in the coming week. In the meantime, the makeshift facelift of the physical space is already underway.

Cycle will operate at the hotel’s interim restaurant space through mid-summer, when the entire property — Cycle included — will shutter, heading into renovation hibernation. Under recent, ambitious new ownership, the Lexington Hotel is set for a dramatic, modern transformation. The new boutique hotel and its accompanying, permanent restaurant concept (unrelated to Cycle) will open subsequently sometime next year.

Cycle will be located at 1100 N. Central Ave.

Downtown Phoenix’s Historic Barber Shop Popular Among ASU Students

[Via: Andrew Boven,]

A locally-owned barber shop in downtown Phoenix makes its mark by offering student discounts and classic service reminiscent of another time.

Downtown Phoenix parking lot considered for hotel site

[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]

Barron Collier Companies is investigating development ideas for a two-acre parcel that is now a parking lot at First and Washington streets.

Jay Thorne, a Barron Collier spokesman, said Hilton Worldwide officials are exploring the idea of building a hotel on the property, but nothing is firm at this point.

Before the recession hit, the site was earmarked for condominium towers.

It is near the massive downtown office and retail development CityScape.

Business leaders have said Phoenix could use more downtown hotels to accommodate an increase in visitor traffic tied to the Phoenix Convention Center’s recent expansion, a $600 million project that tripled the convention center’s space.

New hotels are coming. The Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s headquarters at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street shares space with a new Westin that will celebrate its grand opening on March 10.

Also, CityScape developer RED Development is building a $90 million boutique Palomar Hotel, which will be managed by Kimpton Hotels. The Palomar is expected to open in 2012.

NPR Looks at Downtown Phoenix’s Vacant lots

Downtown Phoenix is full of dirt lots. At the peak of the real estate bubble, an acre was selling for about $90 a square foot. Investors and developers thought the city was finally about to grow up. Now, the same land sells for $9 a square foot.

Plans to build high-rise offices and condos are years, if not decades away.


Listen to the story here: Phoenix Officials Face Development Dilemma


ASU Downtown Phoenix Hosting “Have a HeArt” Benefit on Feb 25

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal]

Have a HeArt for NP Healthcare Clinics

ASU’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation will host the inaugural “Have a HeArt” benefit on Friday, February 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. to help fund the university’s four nonprofit clinics around the Valley, collectively known as NP Healthcare.

The benefit, featuring heart-healthy food and drink, live entertainment and silent auction prizes, also aims to educate guests about the clinics and how they can be utilized as part of a healthy lifestyle.

ASU's College of Nursing & Health Innovation. Photograph by Yuri Artibise.

“Most people think of our health clinics are just for students but our services are available to the entire community,” said Debra Vincent, community liaison for ASU’s Clinical Practice and Community Partnerships. “We offer accessible and affordable healthcare in a professional setting.”

On-site nutritional analysis and advice on what food to keep your heart healthy and to fight specific diseases will be offered as well as tours of the 4,000-square-foot health center at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Attendees will discover that “heart-healthy food” doesn’t mean “boring” or “carrots and celery sticks.” Quite the contrary, as evidenced by the menu below, provided by Tiffany Skall A-List Corporate Events & Catering:

  • Chicken, beef and shrimp satay
  • Smoked salmon bruschetta
  • Mashed potatoes with lobster butter, blue cheese butter, truffle butter, prosciutto, sour cream, cheddar feta and chives
  • Tarragon-braised beef tips with root vegetables, whipped cauliflower and onion straws
  • Domestic and imported cheese spread with fruits, vegetables, nuts, dips, artisinal breads, lavosh and crostini
  • Build-your-own lettuce wraps with spicy chicken, roasted root vegetables and beef
  • Assortment of low-calorie cakes, pies and tarts

Silent auction prizes feature exceptional works from local artists, including photography by Marilyn Szabo and jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson. Goods and services from noted local businesses, from the Clarendon Hotel, to the Phoenix Art Museum and many others, are also up for grabs.

The NP Healthcare provider staff includes practitioners who specialize in family practice and behavioral/mental healthcare. Services include men and women’s health exams, counseling and mental healthcare, minor illness care, prescriptions for medications, chronic disease management, family planning, healthy lifestyles education, stress management, tobacco cessation, nutrition advice, on-site EKG, sexually transmitted infection testing/treatment and referrals to other medical and health services.

Patients can use their health insurance to pay for services as well as cash, credit card, Sun Card or have their student account charged for the cost of the services. For employers, the NP Care members enjoy access to quality and accessible basic health services for a fixed office visit fee and discounts on tests performed at outside labs.

Tickets for the event start at just $25. Purchase online here.

The ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation is located at 500 N. 3rd St. on the ASU Downtown campus (light rail at Central Station).