Blog Archives

Tall buildings plan pulled back for Central and Camelback

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — A Phoenix developer has pulled back from seeking approval for a project that would have included some of the tallest buildings in Phoenix.  Reid Butler submitted plans for the southwestern corner of Central Avenue and Camelback Road in May 2008, but the plans immediately ran into nearly unanimous opposition from the area’s historic neighborhoods and the city councilmen who represent them.

Butler wanted to put up three buildings holding offices, a hotel and condos, topping out at 400 feet.  The Chase Tower and US Bank Center in downtown Phoenix are the only buildings in the state that are that tall. The Qwest Tower at Thomas Road and Central falls just short.

What the project might have had going for it is its location at the north end of Phoenix’s Central Avenue business area, and its inclusion of a light-rail station at a point where the tracks change direction.  But Butler never reached a point where he could argue those points before any official body.  [Note: Read the full article at Tall buildings plan pulled back for Central and Camelback.]

Public hearings set for Central & Camelback high-rise changes

Proposed Central & Camelback high-rise

[Source: Medlock Place Neighborhood Association] — What were plans for three 22 story buildings, each over 200 feet high, have been expanded and are now seeking formal approval to be built to heights of as much as 400 feet.  Slated to begin rising in December, the expected completion date of the light rail, the project includes a combination of luxury hotels, high-end residential condominiums, and 20,000 square feet of ground level and second level retail space.  According to developer Reid Butler, the project’s design features extensive pedestrian connections and will integrate with Valley Metro’s light rail station.

The public is invited to voice their opinion on this project:

  • July 15, 6:30 p.m., Alhambra Village Mid/High-Rise Subcommittee, Washington Activity Center, 2240 West Citrus Way
  • July 22, 6:30 p.m., Alhambra Village Planning Committee, Washington Activity Center, 2240 West Citrus Way
  • August 13, 6:00 p.m., Phoenix Planning Commission, City Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson
  • September 3, 5:00 p.m., Phoenix City Council, City Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson

Central/Camelback developer has month to convince neighbors

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — A Phoenix developer has another month to persuade neighbors that his plans for 400-foot buildings at Central Avenue and Camelback Road are sound.  Reid Butler received a continuance for the project.  It will come up for the third time before a subcommittee of the Alhambra Village Planning Committee on June 17, and to the full planning committee a week later.

Planner Marc Thornton said neighborhood groups around the vacant site “have expressed concerns rather than support” for the project, which includes some of the tallest buildings in the city.  Butler’s proposed development would go up on the southwestern side of what village planner Thornton calls “a signature corner.”  The city’s light-rail line cuts across the site, and three buildings would be erected on the northern side of the rail line.

Plans call for 1,000 residential units, 300 hotel rooms, and retail and office space designed to tie in to the city’s transit system.  The site was approved for a height of 250 feet two years ago, and Thornton said the planning department tends to think 250 feet would be appropriate for the area.

High-rise battle at Camelback, Central

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — A Phoenix developer wants to put up a trio of buildings at Central Avenue and Camelback Road that would rival the tallest buildings in the city.  But neighborhood opposition is likely to reduce the project to levels that were agreed upon two years ago.  Reid Butler, known for his downtown projects, will take the plans to the Alhambra Village Planning Committee, possibly in time for its May 27 meeting.

Butler’s proposed 400-foot-tall buildings would go up on the southwestern side of what village planner Marc Thornton calls “a signature corner.”  The vacant site has the city’s light-rail line cutting through it, and the plans for the buildings envision a pedestrian- and transit-friendly approach to their development.  City Councilman Tom Simplot said the designs are attractive and responsive to issues of mass and scale that have caused other projects to fail.  But the location will be a problem, Simplot said.  [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