Blog Archives

Moonlight Movie at Steele Indian School Park on Saturday

Phoenicians are invited bring their family, friends, a blanket and a snack to join Councilman Tom Simplot for the first 2011 Moonlight Movie in the Park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road.

The evening’s presentation will be Disney-Pixar’s UP.

For more information, contact the District 4 office at 602-262-7447 or council.district.4@phoenix.gov

Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot’s Monthly Meeting This Thursday

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Residents are invited to join Councilman Tom Simplot for his monthly meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Park Central Deli, 3110 N. Central Ave. (located at the south end of Park Central Mall).

This month’s guest speakers are Cmdr. AB Smith of the Squaw Peak Precinct and Cmdr. Jeff Alexander, who oversees the Transit Bureau. Topics will include neighborhood crime issues and light rail transit safety. Residents also can discuss city issues with the Councilman.

To confirm your attendance, call the District 4 office at 602-262-7447, or respond by e-mail to council.district.4@phoenix.gov.

 

Moonlight Movie in the Park: Wizard of Oz on October 16th

District 4 Councilperson Tom Simplot‘s Moonlight Movies in the Park program is back on October 16th!
In partnership with Cox Communications, they will be showing the all-time classic, “Wizard of Oz.”  The movie will be shown at the Steele Indian School Park amphitheater at sundown.  Steele Indian School Park is located at 300 E Indian School Rd (map).
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District 4 Town Hall, October 13th

The District 4 Town Hall will be held on Wednesday, October 13th at 6:00pm at the Community Church of Hope.  The church is located at 4121 North 7th Ave (on the east side 7th Ave just north of Indian School Rd – map).  Entrance and parking are on 6th Dr.

Join Councilman Simplot with your questions, concerns and ideas about District 4.  City staff from Police, Neighborhood Services, Public Works and other city departments will also be in attendance.

For more information, please contact the Council District 4 office at 602.262.7447 or council.district.4@phoenix.gov.

 

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Councilman Simplot!

Call him crazy, Tom Simplot is going Over The Edge for Special Olympics Arizona.

On November 10th, District 4 councilperson Tom Simplot will be rappelling from the 17th floor of the One Lexington condominiums in midtown Phoenix.

He is currently collecting pledges from family, friends and constituents who are not brave enough to go over the edge themselves.   Please help Tom reach his goal of at least $1000. All donations made are 100% tax deductible. All proceeds from this Over the Edge event will benefit Special Olympics Arizona.

Visit his event webpage for more information and to support this great cause.

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Two major downtown Phoenix developments get go-ahead from city council

[Source: Lynn Ducey and Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] — Two new hotel brands now call Downtown Phoenix home, after Phoenix City Council approved separate development deals paving the way for the properties. Council members OK’d one deal One Central Park East that includes plans for a 280-room Westin hotel and corporate headquarters for Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., and another that rebrands the existing 520-room Wyndham hotel as a Marriott Renaissance.   “We are very happy. Christmas has come early,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “We now will have the power of the Marriott brand in downtown Phoenix and the Westin gives our downtown Sheraton guests an opportunity to upgrade.”

Council members unanimously approved a development agreement known as a Government Property Lease Excise Tax, or GPLET, incentive program for the One Central Park East project.  The Westin hotel would be a tenant inside the newly constructed building, which also would house Freeport’s headquarters.  They also voted 6-2 in favor of a development deal with Phoenix Hotel Ventures LLC, which would result in the rebranding of the Wyndham into a Marriott Renaissance.  Vice Mayor Tom Simplot and Councilman Michael Nowakowski voted against the proposal.

Simplot said the difference for him was that the Westin project was a modification of an existing GPLET that led to the construction of One Central Park East, which is built out, yet unoccupied.  In contrast, the Wyndham is an existing property.   “Councilman Nowakowski and I agree philosophically.  Personally, I believe GPLETS should be used sparingly for projects that simply aren’t viable without them,” Simplot said after the meeting Wednesday.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of the One Central Park East Project.  Proponents said the projects would create and retain additional jobs, create a future revenue stream for bed and sales taxes across the city, county and state levels and keep Phoenix on a competitive par for group meeting and bookings at the Phoenix Convention Center with similar-sized cities, such as Denver and San Diego.

In addition, the Wyndham project will result in $10 million in property upgrades and access to Marriott’s branding power while the Westin is an upscale business class hotel.  The Wyndham rebranding is expected to take place within the first part of next year. Construction of the Westin build-out is expected to begin shortly, with the first guests expected to begin checking into the property in 2011. [Note: To read the full article, visit Two major downtown Phoenix developments get go-ahead from city council.]

City council members annoyed by lack of communication from developers

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Unfinished Hotel Monroe (Photo: Rail Life)

[Source: Mike Sunnucks and Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] — Some Valley city council members are frustrated with the lack of updates they are getting from real estate developers regarding projects tabled by the market crash and recession.  A slew of construction projects have fallen short of expectations, and council members across the Valley are giving developers and their lawyers mixed reviews on keeping their respective cities updated.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo said when asked whether he’s been kept up to date on the status of stalled projects — including the Tempe Centerpoint condo high-rise, which is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and sits unfinished on Mill Avenue.  Arredondo said he’s not getting frequent or detailed enough updates on Centerpoint or other projects. He said developers — especially those in distressed situations, such as Centerpoint — aren’t giving Valley cities straight answers on their projects.  “I don’t think they are ever going to give us the bottom line,” Arredondo said.

Developers and their various lawyers aren’t specifically obligated to keep cities updated on their projects, but some city council members are worried about the status of delayed or abandoned developments and how they might hurt short- and long-term economic development.

Centerpoint developer Ken Losch did not respond to requests for comment.  Centerpoint is not the Valley’s only distressed real estate development.  The Hotel Monroe redevelopment in downtown Phoenix sits empty and boarded up.  Downtown condos such as 44 Monroe and the Summit at Copper Square are mostly empty, and a significant number of suburban subdivisions and commercial developments are unfinished or delayed because of lack of demand and financing.

“I think that everyone is cautious and holding close to the vest.  This goes beyond the developers, as end-users are placing projects on hold,” said Surprise City Councilman John Williams.  “That said, I believe much of the information shared is often one-sided and biased and may not reflect the exact state of our economic recovery.”

Valley cities signed off on scores of retail, condo, single-home and commercial projects during the real estate boom.  Now, many of those projects are on the back burner.  “Many of (the planned projects) look foolish in hindsight, but most looked really good at the time,” said Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot…

After extensive efforts to obtain updates on several of the largest mixed-use developments in the Valley, few elected officials wanted to discuss the uncertain, even dire, financial situations facing some of them.  The Phoenix Business Journal asked for comments about those projects — including CityScape, CityNorth, and Main Street Glendale — from the cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler.  The only responses from public officials are those noted above.  [Note: Read the full article at City council members annoyed by lack of communication from developers.]

Care to adopt a Phoenix light rail station?

Admittedly puppies are cuter than light rail trains. We'll do anything to get you to read this stuff!

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — METRO has enacted an Adopt-A-Station initiative along the light rail line.  During the press conference, which took place at the Roosevelt/Central station (aka “Arts District” station), Mesa Vice Mayor and METRO Board Vice Chairman Kyle Jones boasted that Mesa’s lone stop at Main and Sycamore is the busiest of any of the rail stations, much to the chagrin of Phoenix Vice Mayor and METRO Board Chairman Tom Simplot.  (Simplot argued that 19th and Montebello, the line’s “first” station, is by far the busiest.)  Though fisticuffs didn’t ensue, a staged challenge between the Mesan and the Phoenician was presented: During September, if Mesa’s line proves to indeed be the busiest, Simplot will personally maintain the station’s appearance.  The same goes for Jones and the Montebello station.  Game on!

While these shenanigans play out, there’s business to attend to.  Specifically, local business.  Downtown has stations that need neighborhood sponsors.  Here are my suggestions.  Let me know what you want.

  • Camelback/Central station: There’s a cluster of great, quirky business on the northwest corner of this intersection. Stinkweeds, Frances, Smeeks, Red Hot Robot: I’m looking at you guys.
  • Campbell/Central station: It’s not like Lux or Pane Bianco need the press, but you can’t deny that these two spots bring vibrancy to this intersection.  I’d be fine with Lux baristas pouring cappuccinos, then running outside to sweep up debris from last night’s storm.
  • Indian School/Central station: I guess the fight club/storage facility got demolished.  So, that’s out.  How about Steele Indian School Park?  It’s one of the city’s biggest parks, yet one of its hidden gems.
  • Osborn/Central station: Tossup between Phoenix Country Club and Encanto Park.  Golfing downtown, anyone?
  • Thomas/Central station: The hospital will probably win out here.  Either that or Phillips and Associates.  They’re everywhere.
  • Encanto/Central station: We need the Heard to take this, right?
  • McDowell/Central station: I’d prefer Thai Hut take this.  Can we somehow make this happen?
  • Roosevelt/Central station: The obvious answers here would be NBC 12, Fair Trade Café or Portland’s.  But, how about Portland Place lofts, with several units in escrow and a bankrupt developer, getting its name out there?  Any advertising would help!
  • Van Buren/Central and Van Buren/1st Avenue stations: I’m sure Michael Crow already put in his bid.
  • Washington/Central and Jefferson/Central: Hello, CityScape.
  • Washington/3rd Street and Jefferson/3rd Street: The Phoenix Suns are going to need as much money coming in as possible this season with the way things are looking.  Take that into consideration, Robert Sarver.

Anyone have any other thoughts?

“Results we can see.”

IMG00112Hmmm… We’re guessing these aren’t results Councilman Tom Simplot wants to see.  Campaign sign in foreground; midtown Phoenix development project lying fallow in the background.

NEWSFLASH!  Between last night and this morning, the sign has been taken down.

Phoenix’s Washington Garden Club celebrates 80th anniversary

garden club.jpg[Source: Ray Stern, Phoenix New Times] — The Washington Garden Club, the oldest garden club in the Valley, [celebrated] its 80th anniversary with an Anniversary Tea at 11 a.m. Friday, May 8, at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 N.15th Ave.  The Washington Garden Club has provided Phoenix with desert blooms for decades.  “As we ‘go green,’ it’s great to have the expertise and guidance of long-time gardeners who have been successful in our desert climate,” says Vice Mayor Tom Simplot.

Established in 1929 when the population in Phoenix numbered 48,000, the Washington Garden Club was formed by a group of women who gathered together to learn about the horticulture and floriculture of the desert land.  To this day, the club continues to meet on the second Friday of each month.  The club has been involved in many service projects throughout the years, utilizing individual members’ skills or raising donations to create scholarships.  One of their lasting club service projects has been the “Gardening in the Class Room,” which helps educate and inspire young future gardeners.

Founding members included Ida Corpstein, wife of Peter Corpstein, who was the mayor of Phoenix from 1916-1920.  Past members were involved in the formation of the Desert Botanical Garden and Valley Garden Center.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]