Blog Archives

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:

I. CALL TO ORDER AND INTRODUCTIONS

II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES AND OFFICERS’ REPORTS – for information and action
• 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!

VIII. ADJOURNMENT

Couple invest in downtown Phoenix neighborhood, arts boutique

[Source: Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic] — When Cindy Dach and her husband, Greg Esser, bought a vintage cottage south of Roosevelt Street and west of Seventh Street in 2001, the area was sketchy, especially after sunset, Dach said.  At the time, Dach joked that when she saw a car slow she would hurry inside.  Five years later, a slowing car means a real-estate agent or prospective homebuyer is inspecting properties.  “Now it’s someone looking for one of our hidden bars,” Dach said.  “It’s funny how that metaphor of cars slowing down shows how the neighborhood is changing.”

That vintage cottage houses her shop, Made Art Boutique, part of a revitalization of funky galleries, eclectic boutiques, and bars in the heart of Phoenix’s hipster haven.  That was not the vibe when Dach opened Made Art in March 2005.  At first, the boutique opened for limited hours and focused around events and occasionally offered crafting workshops.  By that November, Dach was able to expand hours.  The business was running at a loss at first, but it stabilized in 2007.

Owning the building gave Dach the flexibility to take risks.  “It was a huge advantage,” she said.  “We knew the rent wouldn’t go up when the neighborhood changes, and we felt we could manage it within the community.  We did know we were ahead of our time.”  [Note: Read the full article at Couple invest in downtown Phoenix neighborhood, arts boutique.]

Recap of inaugural Jane’s Walk in downtown Phoenix

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Jane's Walk walkers gather at Portland Park.

[Source: Yuri Artibise] — The inaugural Jane’s Walk Phoenix was a huge success.  Over thrity people took advantage of the nice weather to come out and celebrate Jane Jacobs and learn more about the neighborhoods of downtown phoenix.  The initimate size of the group allowed people to meet one another and share stories, history, and gossip about the streets, parks, and buildings that we passed during the walk.

Special thanks goes to Catrina Knoebl, Greg Esser, and Kimber Lanning for sharing their knowledge and insights along the route, as well as all the particpants for their great questions and observations.  As I’ve said from the beginning, it’s the participants who are the true guides of the walk.  Special thanks also to Jack London, Nick Bastien (Rail Life), and David Bickford (PHXRailFood) for taking photos along the way.   [Note: To read the full recap, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix sees fall in crime reports

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The number of reported crimes in downtown Phoenix has plummeted more than 50 percent since 1999, and it dropped nearly 10 percent from 2007 to 2008, police statistics show. The drop is the result of old-fashioned police work, a national decrease in crime, and a downtown building spree that has transformed the neighborhood, police and other experts say.

Phoenix is in good company.  Several major U.S. cities, including New York and Philadelphia, have turned once-seedy downtown neighborhoods into tourist areas. But an expert says that even the most successful downtowns must always be mindful about public perceptions about safety.

The city has come a long way since strolling prostitutes were a familiar sight downtown decades ago.  And it’s gotten much safer during the last few years, too, gallery owner Greg Esser said. When Esser and his wife opened the Eye Lounge art space eight years ago, they were afraid to leave the door unlocked during business hours.  Now, they don’t worry about crime much. “Instead of open-air drug deals, there are strollers and joggers and a lot more people on the street,” Esser said.

Since 1990, downtown Phoenix has gained the Arizona Center shopping mall, two sports arenas, a larger convention center, a slew of condo projects, more art galleries, and an ASU campus, said David Roderique, president and CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. Now Diamondbacks fans linger in neighborhood eateries long after the ninth inning and convention attendees feel at ease roaming downtown streets.  “As we put more activities and businesses downtown that have later hours, we create more comfort zones,” Roderique said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Shop & Share along Roosevelt Row, Dec. 10

[Source: Greg Esser, Roosevelt Row] — If you are planning your holiday shopping or hankering for good food and drink, December 10 is a great day to support local businesses and give back to the community at the same time.  The Roosevelt Row website has a map with business locations and hours for 11 participating spots.

Phoenix Rising group to meet Oct. 29

Phoenix Rising, a group of individuals interested in promoting a more vibrant downtown Phoenix, will hold its second meeting on Wednesday, October 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at eye Lounge, 419 E. Roosevelt.  Guest speaker is Greg Esser, local arts advocate and board member of Roosevelt Row.  Roosevelt Row is the non-profit organization that furthers unique character and assets of the Roosevelt neighborhood, fosters a more walkable downtown Phoenix, and advocates for the continuing role of the arts to downtown’s revitalization.  For more information about the October meeting or Phoenix Rising, contact Grant Almquist.

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