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  #221  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2007, 11:56 PM
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loftlovr loftlovr is offline
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Soleri- I appreciate your opinions and I do not mistake it for negativity-
I think you're the biggest Downtown fan of us all-
You've just been around a bit longer and you've seen many of these types of projects fail in their attempts.... Maybe the young blood and the fact many of the people on this board are without long memories is a good thing!
At any rate- I think your thoughts are well supported.

As for my thoughts on Cityscape-
Smaller, nichier, artsier restaurants and retail usually means smaller wallets.
PF Changs, Borders etc may not be what any of us want- but they can survive a dismal year should they have to in the loading phase.
Kierland and Fashion Park and Mill have these places too.....
I wanted something like a Horton Plaza with some Towers.
It falls short.
I don't want to lose RED. I don't want to wait another 10 years for something else to come along. However- I wish RED would have turned the buildings outward a bit more.
What the hell was the pages and pages of rant on their forum if not to express the need of the buildings to face outward?
How hard is that?
I am no architect and I could have done that part right in my design.
That part practically can never be undone- if built as is- and if the 1 tower and small retail portion are all that get built- it could be another Colliers Center.
-I especially don't trust the residential portion right now- As Soleri calls out, "Based off of what demand?"
So maybe I am just restating portions of all of your thoughts....
I am confused.
I don't see why we can't get an interesting Horton Plaza type project.
We have so much to play with here!

I do have faith it will be more than a run of the mill dead beat project when built out...
I even think the AZ Center will be happening soon with all of the ASU students parading about.
-I wish RED could just play with the redesign a bit more, try to get another interesting tenant or two in that park area, maybe create a fitness center or something that plays with the crowd a bit more.... turn some buildings towards the street...

Truth is- it is an important piece of land- we don't need another Colliers.

But I think it has enough juice to be a little more of what we hope for it to be. The projected retail is about triple AZ Centers?
What is there right now is killing me!
-That doesn't mean we should give it to the first developer that shows us their titties.
-But ther should be another solution.

It is not a hard choice for me-

Cityscape as is?
or
Patriots Park as is?

I'll take Cityscape. Sad that is has to be that way- maybe RED will impress us all in the design.
The architect seems pretty bad ass any way....
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  #222  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 1:13 AM
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I even think the AZ Center will be happening soon with all of the ASU students parading about.
I agree with most everything you said, except for this. The problem the AZ Center has (other than its inwardness and lame design) is that its basically a large mall full of gift shops. Its like a reasonably priced airport terminal. Obviously, the market its going for is the visitors that are in town for conventions, that for some reason want to buy an ugly cow skull with an Indian feather dangling from it, or some Kokopelli sand art. Hopefully the 'Taylor Street Mall' will have retail more appealing to the ASU students.
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  #223  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 1:37 AM
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There are several things that I think may become more apparent with better renderings (3-D models hopefully) and future tenant announcements...

1) If you look around the perimeter of the site plan, there are tables and umbrellas peppered around the entire project, except for the west side, which has the garage exit. This tells me that there is an attempt to engage the surrounding area to a greater extent than what I believe has been decried in the forum. There must be doors and windows on the exterior streets verses the walled-in designs of AZ Center and Collier. The sidewalks in several places around the perimeter look fairly wide, which may allow for some cafe opportunities.

2) There is another large restaurant site on the NW corner, across from Renaissance Square. This is an opportunity for something unique that might not be found anywhere else in Phoenix (Let's hope).

3) The SW corner has 5-6 stories of retail. That is at least somewhat similar to Horton Plaza, with it's several floors of retail. This is definately something different from the basic Phoenix, 2-level shopping mall.

4) Another positive thing that should be stressed is that thousands of commuters will daily pass right by Cityscape on three sides via Light Rail, with a station across the street. These are people going anywhere from the Spectrum Mall area to Mesa's doorstep. This has got to be an incredible advertising opportunity to pull locals and visitors alike to the project and provide the !@*#-load of people previously mentioned for it's success.

The one thing that does disappoint me is the lack of a larger, continuos park space. I suppose to make this financially attractive, the developers want to include as much leaseable space as possible, while situating it in a setting where people want to spend their time and money. They are in this to make money, after all... (Shocking, I know!)

Let's do this again in a few weeks when we have the final design and hopefully, more complete renderigns.
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  #224  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 3:47 PM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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I agree, they do need to bring forward at least some renderings showing the project from different angles, not just an overhead shot. A 3-D model would be even better so we could easily see how much open space there is and how the bridge area will work.
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  #225  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2007, 6:11 PM
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Hey, I just want to comment about there being nothing to do DT, since I am one of those who said that (above). I am a DT supporter, to the point that I go there every weekend even if it means all I do is walk around. The sad fact, which I think we all know, is that there isn't much going on to keep people there (that's really the problem). CityScape, with all its flaws (which I'll agree to even though I sort of disagree), is in one fell swoop plopping a few things in that will keep people there...food, books... I'm in, and all those poor conventioneers walking around wondering where DT is -- when they're standing right in the middle of it -- will at least have something to gravitate to. Now if only those PSP supporters -- are they supporters or just people who like to hear themselves talk -- can go f*** off (sorry, Soleri, that wasn't very civil of me). later.
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  #226  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2007, 2:40 AM
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Quote:
We should expect better? Where the hell were people like you when PSP was proposed?
I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally was in elementary school.

Quote:
CityScape, with all its flaws (which I'll agree to even though I sort of disagree), is in one fell swoop plopping a few things in that will keep people there...food, books...
I guarantee people said the same thing when the Arizona Center was first being discussed. Instead of food and books AZ Center brought us movies, food, and stores. And it failed. Why? Because it's a suburban development rammed into a downtown setting. Why would anyone drive from Mesa to go do things they could just as easily do at Superstition Springs? I hope I'm wrong, but I think CityScape is destined for many of the same problems.

Quote:
I could go on and on about the great things presently going on for downtown, and make a near endless list of the things coming and under construction that will make it that much better.
I strongly agree with this point, which is why I think CityScape doesn't need to be built (in this current configuration, anyway). If we really need "hope" for downtown (and we don't), we should pin our hopes on the Jackson St. Entertainment District. Assuming they respect the historic structures in the warehouse district, that project is an example of doing everything right. AND they're not asking us to put up any money for it!

But even if Jackson Street doesn't come to fruition, there are tons of good things happening downtown already. That positive momentum will build on itself; developers will want to do something on these prime city blocks. With that in mind, I'd rather wait 10 years (and I bet it would be a lot sooner) for a top-quality project on Blocks 77, 22, and 23 than rush to build a mediocre one now.

http://downtownphoenix.blogspot.com
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  #227  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2007, 10:38 PM
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During yesterday's impromptu Parks Board Work Study Session ...

I distributed 10 color copies of my siteplan and the talking points addenda, which I believe were well received. John Chan, director of the Downtown Development Office that has been orchestrating the entire deal, liked what I had, and altho I can't tell if he was being patronising he jokingly suggested that I should work for RED.

He did spend 20 minutes or so during the Session pouring over what I wrote with other suits, and today I got an ASAP communique from Susan Aguire, a Parks Department staffer who requested a copy, mostly because of procedure. She seemed to really like it as well.

From what Susan Aguire told me, it looks like Staff will be asking for more creativity in designing this space. I don't know what that means, or if Parks Board will buckle given the numerous outside interests that want CityScape to happen without further complications. I am less than optimistic that Parks Board will send RED back to the drafting table.

There are other site plans floating around (I've seen one from Studio MA that I'm not totally crazy about) but I believe these will be distributed and presented in some fashion for the February 22nd meeting.

Following savepatriotspark.org's Community Potluck on Sunday (12:00 PM, at Patriots Square), I will be meeting with Mike Ebert (RED's managing partner) on Monday in attempt to find some common ground. Too early to say whether any "deals" will be made, but I think the more we talk, the quicker this situation will resolve itself.

Last edited by combusean; Feb 17, 2007 at 1:38 AM.
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  #228  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2007, 10:52 PM
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/\ Awesome... Good luck!
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  #229  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 6:58 AM
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My meeting with Mike Ebert ...

Not bad, all in all. I met him at as office after work on Monday, surprised to see him dressed casually as he just got in from vacation. We talked about many things, listed in no particular order, both involving Patriot's Square and CityScape in general.

I think he "gets it" with regards to urban design, perhaps going out of his way to show me an article in the Urban Land Institute's magazine (covered in yellow stickies) involving how that raising Central Avenue by something like 18" will contribute to their "flexible event space." I have to give him props for showing the creativity they have so far, even if it's left a sour taste.

A subsequent discussion with a DVC member tells me to take this as face value, and we all know that there's nothing sacred in real estate. Caveat emptor.

It was nice to see him take notes.

1) CityScape will not be a suburban project with some height thrown into it. This was cemented with the release of the bookstore tenant, which I swear if I hadn't promised to secrecy I'd be proud to announce it. PF Chang's ostensibly carries a lot of weight in the restaurant industry, and with that announcement several other stores will have their only presence in Arizona in CityScape. There will be retail on "all eight sides," indicating no dead spaces along the thoroughfares. They are trying to cram as many stores as possible in it aside from the main "anchors."

2) The residential component is by Novare (I think), an Atlanta company specialising in value engineering, and as such the entry prices for the CityScape condos will be in the low 200's - 220's. A vast majority of Novare's buyers are in the 25 - 39 age range.

3) CityScape is shooting for LEED certification.

4) They are in negotiations with a "couple" anchor tenants for their office tower.

5) Regarding the park, I re-iterated three basic points:
i) It is more important to have a distinct, contiguous parkland than the 2 acres under the Parks Board guiding principles.
ii) To open up the massing on the south and west sides, preserving viewsheds of the Barrister Building, Luhrs complex, and the old courthouse.
iii) To re-approach the notion of additional height resulting in more contiguous open space for the park, adding value to the entire project.

He seemed to like the idea of swapping the PF Chang's pad with the mixed use tower pad on Block 22, thus opening up the park block somewhat and not impeding as much on the views of the Barrister Building.

In what is honestly a token gesture, they are going to chop a small chunk off the NE pad and condense the staircase on the left. There will be no ownership units on the park block, only apartments and the retail leases. The apartments will include an affordable housing component.

I think that's it. Rumor has it that RED is operating under a deadline of March 17th...i'll see if I can make some sense of this.

Regarding my involvement with savepatriotspark.org, at this point I've essentially resigned from it--Chris's position of no compromise, no private development on the park is one for failure, and I've said about all I can say and I won't support a referendum/iniative. This has been a very, very long 8 months, and the quicker this is done with the happier I will be.

On that note, RED has no Plan B if, say, Parks Board tells them to come back in another month.

Last edited by combusean; Feb 21, 2007 at 7:26 AM.
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  #230  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 7:08 AM
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Originally Posted by combusean View Post
1) CityScape will not be a suburban project with some height thrown into it. This was cemented with the release of the bookstore tenant, which I swear if I hadn't promised to secrecy I'd be proud to announce it. PF Chang's ostensibly carries a lot of weight in the restaurant industry, and with that announcement several other stores will have their only presence in Arizona in CityScape. There will be retail on "all eight sides," indicating no dead spaces along the thoroughfares. They are trying to cram as many stores as possible in it aside from the main "anchors."
Changing Hands perhaps? (one can always hope!!!)

Cool that you've gotten involved in a very constructive way. Solutions proposed on logic rather than 'it HAS to be this way' go alot farther.
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  #231  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 7:18 AM
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  #232  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 3:21 PM
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I'm glad you're semi-happier about the situation...

From your points, the ones I strongly agree with are more height, which would give greater visibility/credibility(?)/prestige to the project, and in turn would open up views to Phoenix's great historic architecture in the southwest (Luhr's, barrister, etc.).

You said he "seemed to like the idea" of opening up some views... he liked it, but it's not probable, right? And what did he seem to think about additional height? How did that conversation go?

Thanks
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  #233  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 3:37 PM
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Combusean, thank you for your effort on this project and for the information. Everything I read sounds fantastic...from a new bookstore, which appears may be totally new to the Valley, to prices starting at $200k-$220k, to the 8 sides of retail.

After hearing there is no plan B, I really hope they will have the support they need to move this forward. It would be a shame to lose out on this opportunity.
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  #234  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2007, 8:54 PM
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Sean,

Many thanks for your persistance in getting an audience with a principle at RED. I wonder what will be presented at tomorrow's meeting of the Parks & Rec Board. (2-22 @ 6:00PM)

The meeting agenda states: "Item #2-P Discussion and Possible Action on Patriots Park Conceptual Plan (Jim Burke) (15 min.)". Also, the city's Patriot's Square redevelopment site notes the meeting to be a "Presentation to Parks & Recreation Board of final plan." I wonder if there has been sufficient time to make any changes.

I'm sure we are all on pins & needles.
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  #235  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 2:21 AM
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Well, it starting to sound more promising. When I first saw the new design, it just made me think of Desert Ridge with a few towers, but it sounds like it will end up being a more unique destination. While I would still like to see more a park-like space in the development, I definitely would rather see Cityscape be built than not.
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  #236  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 7:17 AM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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CityScape fills a need
Feb. 22, 2007 12:00 AM

If Patriots Square was a thriving and appealing urban park, there would be no discussion about making it part of a private development, even one so ambitious and promising as CityScape in downtown Phoenix.

But it's not.

If Patriots Square were truly a living park, children would be playing there. Teenagers would be throwing Frisbees, elderly couples would be out strolling, and college students studying.

But it's not.

If Patriots Square was really a town square, why would Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon - a downtown booster if there ever was one - call for bulldozing it?

Back in 2004, in his first State of the City address, Gordon said:

"Patriots Square is no longer adequate for Phoenix. The canopies were meant for projecting laser shows - but there are no lasers. The grass and other foliage are limited due to watering restrictions - water leaks into the multi-level parking structure below the park. It simply lacks the sparkle and excitement we need in our Town Square . . . As a vibrant park, it's a bust."

That is the reality the Phoenix Parks Board faces tonight as it continues its deliberations over the $900 million mixed-use retail development proposed by a consortium led by Scottsdale-based RED Development. The development would span more than three square blocks in downtown Phoenix.

It is not a decision the board members sought. In fact, it is a curious provision within the city charter that gives the Parks Board, not the City Council, the final say on this important project. It was probably written to take the politics out of the parks system.

That's ironic, because there have been few local issues as controversial and hard-fought as the CityScape project. Opponents are adamant that the city is ceding a public amenity - open space - to a private developer. That Patriots Square will become less of a public park than a private amenity.

Yet, it's not an amenity now. It's an eyesore, a forbidding one, a park that people now avoid rather than walk through, especially at night.

That is the argument residents of the nearby Orpheum Lofts make in supporting CityScape as a stunning addition to the downtown, the new heart of the city, with people, activity, commerce, residences, restaurants and ample room for outdoor events. A place that enriches, not diminishes, the community around it.

David Staciokas, president of the Orpheum Lofts Homeowners Association, commends the developers for listening to their concerns and hopes for the site. After attending most of the "stakeholders" meetings over the past months, Staciokas wants the promise of CityScape to be fulfilled, turning a lifeless, under-utilized and blighted area into a "stunning, iconic place."

There is a call for a broader expanse of land on the northwest corner of the development, at First Avenue and Washington Street, as an entrance to the park. The parks board must weigh the options, understanding that CityScape is primarily a private development project and less a park.

In a sense, the decision has already been made - by two decades of disrepair. Patriots Square is not the town center. The parks department has no money to preserve or upgrade that land, or even repair the parking garage underneath. If CityScape is scrapped, or fails, there is no Plan B for preserving Patriots Square.

The new CityScape will be to the north, developed by both the city and Arizona State University, and will be centered at Van Buren Street, north to the old post office.

In turn, CityScape offers the largest-ever private investment in downtown Phoenix, a vote of confidence in the downtown's future, a welcome boost after years and billions of public investments.

True enough, CityScape doesn't look like a public park.

But it does look like something Phoenix needs even more - excitement, people, a reason to be here, live here and stay here.
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  #237  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 8:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post
CityScape fills a need
Feb. 22, 2007 12:00 AM
The new CityScape will be to the north, developed by both the city and Arizona State University, and will be centered at Van Buren Street, north to the old post office.
I assume the author means the new park. Speaking of the author, who is it, and where did this come from? AzCentral I assume.
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  #238  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 8:24 AM
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I just looked everywhere for it....
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  #239  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 8:30 AM
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It's the Republic's editorial for today.
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  #240  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 8:46 PM
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Parks & Rec Board Meeting Today

Is anyone planning on attending the meeting today @ 6:00? The agenda is short and vague. I suppose that is purposeful, leaving it open-ended in case RED needs more time to make changes (Hoping Sean's recent input infuenced them!)
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