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  #261  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 4:31 AM
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JAHOPL JAHOPL is offline
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"It has a close up of that section of the project and it's clearly 37 stories."

It's 37 but because of the fuzziness in the picture it does look like 17 from a distance.

Jeff
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  #262  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 9:17 AM
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"No Plan B"

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhxDT View Post
Sean has been writing a lot in this thread...and I was at the meeting. You came down hard and condemned RED Development....Why? You seemed quite positive with your comments here. Your walking and talking dont match
OK ... one, I was nervous, and two, I grandstand a bit. For board hearings I try and get my point made.

Please excuse the following self-serving reflection on the preceding eight months:

Check back to the Phoenix Development News in the Archives where the meat of my comments on this subject are. There are things about CityScape I like which I reported on after I met with Mike, but there are things about it that still irritate me. Most of it boils down to the fact that what CityScape proposes is not a park, and that Patriots Square needs a proper burial at this point, but the City is stuck maintaining it anyway. Phoenix is betting the farm on CityScape, and as the finer points of the development agreement unfold we will know just how big it is. If it is not successful, the City, like so many others in this game, will have no Plan B. Remember, RED gets the check on opening day. Will 30 years fund $100 million? Let's hope.

I didn't come down so much on RED as I belatedly tried to slam the whole process, starting from the City Council effectively sealing the meat and potatoes of the retail development on Block 77 and leaving the Parks Board to do the dirty work. Had I understood the ramifications of the development agreement earlier, I would not have spoken in support of CityScape at Council--not that it would have done any good--but it would've altered the direction of the campaign considerably.

I asked Parks Board to say no to up-or-down decisions, as this was played out to be. I understand that RED is under deadlines, but the only one the rumor mill could produce--March 17th--or any other was not substantiated following my conversations with John Bacon.

I asked Parks Board to say no to the lack of creativity. CityScape has a chance to redeem itself, too little to late, in the way they treat the roofs of the Block 77 retail--if you can walk around on the roof amidst an organic garden, for example, that would be awesome. To his credit, Mike agreed and said they have to do "something" with the roofs, and their flexible event space will work well, but it's not a park. But it's a sore start.

If the agreement Council approved could have been revisited--yeah right--this would have done fantastically well with another month through the public process, however, absent that I wonder what dragging this out further would have done as Downtown Voices Coalition called for.

Needless to say, this was doomed from the beginning. It was class warfare at its finest. RED hosted wine and cheese parties at the Orpheum Lofts (why they were so heralded through this I'll never understand) and the SPP.org camp brought out the homeless in full force, even where it wasn't necessary and discredited the cause. Talking heads from the Phoenix Community Alliance and others volleyed back in ways just as tasteless.

No plan or compromise the Parks Board could have approved to the ordinance, ie, with private development on the park, would have satisfied most in savepatriotspark.org, and it was this position that caused me to bail from the organization. After reading Chris Ibarra's "My Turn" (written on my laptop in my room, on the last of dozens of long nights) right up there with a counter-argument from an Orpheum Loftie's with the "Keep Phoenix Funky" grabber, I saw the bitter realities of the hell I had spawned so eloquently bullet-pointed out in the "Special CityScape Issue" from Copper Square/Downtown Phoenix Partnership's newsletter.

I pushed hard for that compromise, releasing a plan in the final days. I lobbied DVC to no avail. Yeah, we could maybe get around to someday calling up a student landscape architect, or we can get behind something, anything while we have time and be relevant to the discussion.

The decision was still up in the air as I drudged to the last meeting, not wearing a tie for once because at that point, I was apathetic to the results and major problems at my day job didn't help either. My hopes were raised as the meeting progressed until who else but Calvin C. Goode--80-odd years old, the next building over is named after him--stands up and speaks in favor of CityScape. Burning out sucks.

You know, I've never felt threatened walking home after dark downtown. Crackheads, homeless, gang-bangers, panhandlers, I can deal with, but a pissed-off Phoenix NIMBY? Hell no. One of the co-organisers, in full of view of cops everywhere, not once, not twice, but three times gets in my face and accuses me of selling out, threatening my personal safety. Given his family background, I believed him.

Yeah, maybe I can see part of his point--I didn't care enough to send a last newsletter, maybe more turnout could have got a swing vote or two, and that's my demon. But you'd have to have crawled under a rock to not know about this meeting as it was all over the place in every other outlet, in addition to the website.

How I sold out between what I said and how it went down is unreal; but in this town where there is no gray area between the BANANA's, NIMBY's, and CAVE's on one side and wealthy zoning attorneys, landsharks, and greedy developers on another, attempting to forge any sort of compromise is selling out.

I am bewildered by the dogged, moral-driven persistence of those on both sides--from Chris's tired arguments revolving around the park in current form to RED's investors so willing to tear the fucker up. I wish I called Mike earlier--he gave me his card but SPP.org didn't have anything to say to him tho I reached hard to find reasons. I cofounded, named, funded, webmastered, and directed the lion's share of SavePatriotsPark.org, hoping as it grew to drive it to an amicable compromise between the warring parties.

How naive. SPP.org continues to hunt for a smoking gun, anything to stop this thing. RED hosts another wine and cheese party. I can take solace in the design changes thus far. There is no compromise in this town's vocabulary. That's gotta change.

Last edited by combusean; Feb 24, 2007 at 12:35 PM.
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  #263  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 3:35 PM
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I just have one question:

Where the fuck were all of the NIMBYs and HP people and people that say they want to "save" important elements of Phoenix when the dozens upon dozens of beautiful homes, hotels, theaters, offices, warehouses, etc., were all razed for the empty lots we have now?

Did past failures awake the sleeping giant that are the NIMBYs and (bad) preservationists?
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  #264  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 7:19 PM
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I think the whole NIMBY phenomenon is relatively new. Sure, there have always been people opposed to a strip club next to the school, or a porn shop next to the church, but for the general public to get involved with the design of commercial buildings, etc. is something that (at least IMO) is a relatively recent phenomenon. My guess is that it's probably due to the aging hippies who protested the Vietnam War and now have a little money, so they want to find something to protest against to rekindle that 60's passion.

People didn't used to care about development, at least not here in Arizona, because it was a relatively rural state with comparatively few residents. Growth was a source of pride. As the Valley has grown and stretched to a 90-minute drive from one side to the other, people like Talton have begun preaching against sprawl and have found a few people to listen.
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  #265  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 8:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHX31 View Post
I just have one question:

Where the fuck were all of the NIMBYs and HP people and people that say they want to "save" important elements of Phoenix when the dozens upon dozens of beautiful homes, hotels, theaters, offices, warehouses, etc., were all razed for the empty lots we have now?

Did past failures awake the sleeping giant that are the NIMBYs and (bad) preservationists?
Having lived through the gutting of downtown Phoenix in the 60s and 70s, I can tell you why so few protested. We were fast asleep. This is hardly remarkable. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

The ethos of that period was that "progress" would take care of everything. Don't ask questions and don't get excited. Developers not only know best, they're successful and rich. This is how American cities - not just Phoenix - sacrificed their urban fabric for the substitute pleasures of lifeless buildings and sterile plazas. The perspective was inevitable since we no longer viewed cities organically but as so much visual stimuli coming through our windshields at 30mph. But to really appreciate cities, you have to be walking. There's no such thing as a good downtown where everyone drives.

It's why so many in this forum love tall buildings and yet hate cities. A real city will have a complex and rich variety of uses and inhabitants. Someone like Chris Ibarra talks authoritatively about this since his view is at the level of the street and not the boardroom. In my opinion, you need both an Ibarra and a Phil Gordon. You want to pay close attention to the details of real urban life and not just the way a skyline looks from one angle or another. You want to know how it all fits together into something alive and vibrant.

A Jon Talton knows this from having lived longer than two decades and having lived in a variety of other cities besides his native Phoenix. Experience does matter. His perspective is irritating to those whose certitude comes in day-glo colors and Trump-figure fealty. Like Talton, I'm old enough to remember downtown when it really worked. I wish I could go back in time when it was being killed by thoughtlessness and optimism and somehow stop it. But you live and learn. There's no way I can translate my experience to younger minds that have only known one downtown, which since it's always been bad, MUST be getting better.

It is getting better, but so marginally and so slowly that I wonder how you can avoid asking tough questions. A city with a million and a half people has only 81 skyscrapers. This is not the fault of NIMBYs. This is the fault of a degraded urban form where horizontal growth preempts the need for height. We opt for cheap growth and end up looking like Amarillo on growth hormones. And still, denial reigns.
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  #266  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 8:49 PM
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Oh bologna. Talton's attitude is frustrating because the guy is a prick. First off, lets be honest, he's a lousy writer. Besides the fact that he's a broken record and repeats himself endlessly, his articles aren't exactly gripping now are they? Each paragraph seems like the previous one just phrased differently. Not liking Talton has nothing to do with being young and ignorant, it has to do with him being a lousy columnist. Furthermore, he's the archetypal, "I know better than the general populous"/"there ought to be a law" yuppie that I can't stand.

Secondly, no one on this forum "loves skyscrapers but hates cities." Just because people aren't in lock step with a 'progressive' agenda every step of the way, or don't hold bitter grudges against unsuccessful developers who have long since gone away doesn't mean they "hate cities." Remember (I don't know how often I have to tell this to people on the 'left') DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. You don't always have the right answer (shocking), other people are probably just as smart, or smarter than you and have different solutions to things.

Finally, things are getting better all the time. Downtown has more life than it has in a quarter century, and its getting better at an extremely rapid rate. If things aren't moving fast enough for you- I understand, I'm impatient too and wish Phoenix was what we all hoped for by tomorrow morning. But do I want to go back? Hell no. My step Dad moved to Phoenix in 1954 and has never told me about this halcyon downtown people seem to opine for. He has told me about a downtown where you couldn't see a ball game, a downtown where he couldn't eat with his black friend, a downtown so homogenous you'd think it was Salt Lake. I'm sure there were things "back in the day" that were better, but thats gone, so lets all quite glorifying the good old days and start thinking about tomorrow.

Really, the bright future is what I love about being in Phoenix. I lived in St Louis for four years and have been to dozens of other cities, and I've never been somewhere so focused on tomorrow. True, Phoenix probably doesn't appreciate or recognize its past as much as it should. However, I've never been to a place thats so full of hope, optimism and good will and thats what I love it here.
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  #267  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by HooverDam View Post
Oh bologna.
Secondly, no one on this forum "loves skyscrapers but hates cities." Just because people aren't in lock step with a 'progressive' agenda every step of the way, or don't hold bitter grudges against unsuccessful developers who have long since gone away doesn't mean they "hate cities." Remember (I don't know how often I have to tell this to people on the 'left') DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. You don't always have the right answer (shocking), other people are probably just as smart, or smarter than you and have different solutions to things.
.
You sound like a sore winner. Phoenix is exactly the kind of city the libertarian right extols: low density, autocentric, sprawling, and environmentally unsustainable. You guys won. People like me and Talton lost.

We believe the things we do not to be unpopular among libertarians but because we examine the urban form to see what works and what doesn't. Usually Portland is portrayed as the anti-Phoenix, a place reviled by the right since it focuses growth on the core rather than the periphery. A city with about 1/3 of Phoenix's population has 101 skyscrapers as opposed to Phoenix's 81.

Portland's focus on the core makes it America's greatest medium-sized city. It has great transit and even great suburbs. If you could get by the constant drizzle, it's a place we'd all love to live in. The downtown has better retail than the entire Biltmore area of Phoenix.

Our difference here is not what we want - a lively 24/7 downtown Phoenix - but the way to get there. My point is demonstrably true, if only by looking outside your window. Endless sprawl makes downtowns weaker. It makes cities much worse, not to mention boring. Only by actually looking at cities organically and consciously nurturing the core do downtowns become strong. Portland made the decision 35 years ago and is reaping the rewards. Phoenix still thinks it can have it all and ends up with crumbs.

I know. I must be an elitist for pointing out the obvious. Bad liberals! If we only behaved ourselves then everyone could get to choose, which in the libertarian world-view entails a nice low-density city where you have to own a car. Most people are comfortable with this "choice" made for them by the real-estate industial complex. Some of us are not.
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  #268  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2007, 10:23 PM
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Wow, I don't know where to start but I'll give it a go:

Quote:
which in the libertarian world-view entails a nice low-density city where you have to own a car
No, in a 'libertarian world-view' everyone gets to do their own thing. People can vote with their feet. Those who want suburbs and sprawl can have that, and those who want density can have that to. Its important to let people choose for themselves- even if they make bad decisions.

I'm not arguing with you that sprawl sucks, I hate it. I have a friend who lives on 83rd avenue and Deer Valley- I rib him constantly about living so far out. But if thats what makes him happy, who am I to act like a huge prick and come down on him like I know what's best?

You are right, Talton and I do have different views of how to create a great downtown. People like John Talton promote force, an arrogant attitude, and high taxation. People like me are for trying to peaceful convince people that city living is a better alternative. I realize that in a city the size of Phoenix, the pie is getting bigger every day, and we don't have to have just city or just suburbs- at the rate we're growing, one day we can be great in both categories.

Do you ever wonder why the general populace hates Talton? Its because he's extremely negative and acts like he's smarter than his reader- thats not a recipe for success. John Talton is the Terrell Owens of local newspapermen. Remember the old saying, "a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar."
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  #269  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 1:30 AM
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Talton is limited by his editorial constraints. He is a rogue journalist--imagine that--in the lifeless Arizona Republic. Talton in the New Times? In a paper with a reading level past junior high, he might be elevated past cheerleading blather, and I'm sure he's intelligent enough for the job.

I don't think a city can exist--sprawl or not--in a pure libertarian world, at least certainly not as a microcosm amidst today's landscape. If anything, a libertarian city would be atypically dense, with shit land values the norm. Acquiring ROW for transportation infrastructure would be a endless high-stakes legal nightmare between various land owners and companies. To that party's credit, however, there would be an innate desire to stretch limited resources to the extent possible--but if Phoenix were a true libertarian city, it would be a haphazardly dense ghost town five times the size of LA after sprawling deep into what is currently state and federal land, finally drying out 20 years ago.

The city is where everything comes into play, and the public processes, however broken they may be, are well suited to keep the metro sustainable. Phoenix's downtown will perhaps suffer until the city finally sprawls north to the Yavapai county line, but there's light on the horizon.

The new north sprawl will attempt to balance enormous swaths of land designated as mixed use with open spaces reflecting scenic development-unfriendly topography like floodplains and mountain foothills. Elements of that pattern will likely continue on the other side of the 17 in the same fashion, smashing with currently unincorporated communities, rounding off Phoenix's eventual build out. The City is learning, too slow, too late.

Back in the central city, zoning entitlements and light rail will continue to extract value from dead space, the other half of what it takes for a city to go up. While we get excited about skyscrapers planned for downtown's pockmarks, very ordinary projects, rising from the wreckage of the general crud that dominates the landscape today will be Phoenix's new norm. Does a 4-story apartment or condo block here or there really help? In Phoenix's densest square mile, 15,600+ people are packed into a wide range of short housing in an area split by the 17 and cornered by light rail. This will only be repeated.

Razings will be commonplace, and anything's fair game--stucco apartments, strip malls, outdated industrial buildings, historic properties, single family homes, whatever. We didn't care years ago because historic preservation didn't exist--nothing was old enough. Nobody had the foresight to preserve perfect examples of nascent history and architecture. Today we are left to pick from the ruins.

This is going on now in north Tempe and south Scottsdale, where relatively sane land values in built out cities herald a wide range of dense development on downtown outskirts. Today we think of the dated, old sprawling crud simply in the way of--there's that word again--progress. It's exactly what we thought in the 50's. Will future Phoenicians think every last office park is worth saving? If we cannot learn from past fights, it is inevitable as long as the solid yes/no question of new growth is hammered out one project at a time after grueling inherently adverserial public battles.

CityScape brought out the unendingly diametric points of view in everybody, and the arguing will likely get worse as the city covers new ground. We care today because we must look inward for new growth. A constantly changing cityscape, born from difficult zoning hearings and unending construction for a new level of streets, transit, and capacity will be the the only alternative to Mesacide.

Last edited by combusean; Feb 25, 2007 at 1:41 AM.
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  #270  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 6:47 AM
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Cityscape Neighbors

I find value in all of the thoughtful, heart-felt comments made in the last few posts. We need to make room for the perspectives of one another and consider the merits of each opinion in an open-minded manor. There is much food for thought in all of them...thank you guys! Back to Cityscape more specifically. When I was in town last week I took quite a few photos around the city government district. I like the west plaza of the Historic City Hall. It has a nice, grassy area with trees and public art. I also love the Phx Municipal Courts building with its forest of palo verdes and even the hi-rise city hall has grown on me. These will be neighbors of Cityscape, down Washington and Jefferson. Here is a few shots of that area and where Cityscape will be built. It sounds like RED has received innumerable suggestions. Hopefully, they will cull through them and work with their architects and designers to create a project that we can all point to with pride and respect. I'm glad they are making comments that the design process is still in a fluid state. I'm anxiously awaiting the outcome.

Cityscape will rise to fill this view.


The beauties on Jefferson, directly south of the Cityscape site.


Another view from the west that will be filled.


The seldom seen west facade of the Historic City Hall with its grassy plaza.


Phoenix Bird sculpture in the same plaza.


Gorgeous facade, fountain and light fixtures on the north side of the Historic City Hall. I had never gone on this side before. What a treasure this building is!


New City Hall, looking east from the roof of the city parking garage.
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  #271  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 9:13 AM
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great pics JiminCal... I've never seen that Phoenix bird sculpture, it looks quite cool/nice.
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  #272  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 5:38 PM
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Here's an op-ed piece by the Republic's movement conservative Doug MacEachern. Like most righties (I'll give Bob Robb a pass here), he ignores the whole issue of public subsidies for private projects in order to slay an imaginary dragon. If you want to make political hay out of opposition to a specific proposal, it might be a good idea to look at the huge public investment - ballparks, arenas, convention centers, bioreseach labs, transit, hotels, etc. - that makes downtown what it is. But MacEachern avoids that issue altogether while emphasizing the private investment that would theoretically be there at build-out. No problem. I think private investment is critical. I'm certainly not unwilling to use public money to achieve a desirable public outcome: a functional core. At any rate, here's MacEachern's take. I don't disagree with all of it, just the idea that we should all shut up and let the money guys make the decisions.

CityScape foes are a frustrating, silly group
Feb. 25, 2007 12:00 AM
Doug MacEachern

I don't believe I've ever seen Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon at the end of his rope before.

But there he was . . . legs metaphorically dangling and eyes literally rolling.

Gordon, in a meeting on the downtown CityScape development project, was exasperated. At wits' end.

He was fighting his instincts, which tell him to take citizen concerns seriously, no matter how preposterous they may sound. But the opposition to CityScape - well organized, armed with Web sites and lapel buttons and bereft of reason - finally found his limits. Fighting CityScape to keep that brickyard abomination called Patriots Square intact was just too much.

No Phoenix issue is more perfectly suited to exasperate even the most patient among us than the fight over the downtown CityScape project.

The fact that it has gotten the necessary green lights is almost beside the point. The Phoenix Parks Board (which has the final say over disposition of the city's parks, even faux parks like Patriots) voted 5-2 on Thursday evening to approve the $900 million CityScape design.

The ultimate outcome was a given. It would have been just too insane for any responsible board to side with the dissenters and say no. The exhausting process to get to Thursday's decision, however, should not have been a given. It should not be this difficult for the inner core of a city the size of Phoenix to gain this kind of value.

The message that the CityScape debate has sent to developers curious about investing in downtown Phoenix? Either arrive with limitless patience and the resources to buck weeks or months of frustrating delay or go scrape the desert, instead.

Really, nothing better explains the absurdity of egalitarianism gone mad than the resistance to CityScape, the greatest infusion of private investment into downtown Phoenix ever.

Nothing better explains why developers prefer scraping clean the desert periphery in the suburbs than enduring the torture of instantly organized activists opposed to virtually every infill project in the already developed urban core.

It is the perfect juxtaposition of something very good - that being a huge infusion of private investment into a region that has seen nothing like it in almost 30 years - with something really wretched, which is Patriots Square.

The debate reached its nadir when opponents extended their reservations beyond the usual "sop to developers" language, an argument that under more-reasonable circumstances can have great merit.

Yes, the city has spent enormous sums, haplessly, to make Patriots Square a viable, attractive place. If that investment had not produced a baking brickyard on top and a scary, concrete rainforest of a parking garage below, the investment argument would have a lot more substance to it.

The opposition did not stop there. On various Internet blogs (and, indeed, in the numerous earlier public forums), the opponents argued that CityScape's design is just too suburban for them.

I'm not entirely sure what this means, other than demonstrating that people do enjoy pretending to be urban designers and architects.

But the discussion got silliest when it came to the most fundamental discussion of all: the question of private property vs. public property. And, really, that is the heart of the debate.

Time and again, opponents have argued against the essential nature of CityScape, a project on three square downtown Phoenix blocks, including one square block that is Patriots Square. Oppo-leader Alex Votichenko expressed it best earlier this month at a public hearing on the project's design: "What I see here is not a public park. I see taxpayer-funded landscaping."

Well, no. There's a bit more than that. Like the promise of downtown life. But since development opponents are so fervent in their hostility to the idea of people making money from these deals, they would just as soon keep the forbidding brickyard as it is, thank you very much.



Reach the author at doug.maceachern@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8883.
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  #273  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 6:12 PM
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If letting the developers and the politicos have their way had given us a great downtown the way it did in Chicago, for instance, MacEachern might have a point. But the strongest evidence against "leaving downtown to the pros" is downtown Phoenix itself. The megaprojects (Chase Field, US Airways, Arizona Center, Dodge Theater, etc.) that these guys have foisted upon us for decades simply haven't given us a 24/7, pedestrian-friendly, vibrant downtown. So why the hell should we defer to their vision?

http://downtownphoenix.blogspot.com
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  #274  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 6:23 PM
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Everyone wants to keep this park, but they complain about a lack of pedestrians... that's just... dumb.

People are not going to come downtown to sit in a park and look at buildings, they're going to go to the restaurants and shops that are all clustered conveniently in one central location-- something Phoenix is devoid of.

There is no nightlife in downtown Phoenix, it's just a sprawled out mess. I'd much rather have a P.F. Chang's and crowds of people than a smug monument to "sticking it to the rich developers".
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  #275  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 7:30 PM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by Downtown_resident View Post
The megaprojects (Chase Field, US Airways, Arizona Center, Dodge Theater, etc.) that these guys have foisted upon us for decades simply haven't given us a 24/7, pedestrian-friendly, vibrant downtown. So why the hell should we defer to their vision?

http://downtownphoenix.blogspot.com
Maybe this project isn't any different then the rest, but there is a big difference in the timing.

Arizona Center didn't save downtown. Mercado didn't save downtown. Chase Field and US Airways Center also didn't...and neither did Dodge Theatre...

...if you look at them as individual projects.

I see a lot of people putting everything on one project but I'm not understanding why not many are looking at the big picture.

To me, these are all part of a puzzle that is coming together. Like a puzzle, you have a few pieces in place and it doesn't look like much, but the more you add, the more complete the picture starts to look. CityScape might not be the savior, but it will be another piece in place.
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  #276  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 7:48 PM
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The problem with all of those other projects is that they required people to drive from the suburbs to enjoy them. This means that by the time the event they drove in for is over, they have at least a 30 minute drive ahead of them and so they make a beeline to get out of Dodge.

As HX Guy said, timing is everything. CityScape is coming online at a time when there will be an unprecedented influx of residents and tourists who will be living or staying downtown, and there won't be a need for them to flee the core as soon as an event is over.

One project, or group of projects, is not enough to make a downtown vibrant if it doesn't bring people permanently. This is why current projects like the Convention Center, the Sheraton, Summit, and 44 Monroe will go a long way toward changing the nature of DT and helping to make all those previous projects more successful.
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  #277  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 7:56 PM
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JimInCal JimInCal is offline
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HX, I must agree with you here. I see the other projects more as infrastructure. The big component that has been missing is residential. Cityscape, 44 Monroe, The Summit, Copperpointe, Orpheum Tower, The Jet Apartments, etc. will bring people to the core. People who want to live downtown will want to patronize the amenities that are near them...restaurants, shopping, movies (AZ Center needs a kick in the pants and this will help), live theater, art galeries, concerts, sporting events, strolling through park areas, going to class (hello ASU), etc...

With Light Rail coming on board next year, the new residents will be able to travel around DT very easily and visitors will have another option in getting to downtown that avoids having to find a parking space.

I have made the same puzzle analogy in the past. The big, infrastructure pieces are in place, with light rail and the expanded Civic Center/Hotel coming on board. I don't know why some have a difficult time seeing how the critical mass is assembling and gaining momentum. It seems obvious to me. The fine-grain development will grow along with the major projects as residents and a growing number of visitors drive the market to fulfil their needs and wants ...things as mundane as a grocery or drug store (there are 3 grocery stores now planned for the core), and extravagances like the Monroe Hotel's wine bar and top-floor nightclub. All will add to the snowball that has been making its way slowly down the hill but is now gaining speed and size as it progresses. Isn't this obvious???
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  #278  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 7:58 PM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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Residents living in the core will make a huge impact but I think the increasing variety will help as well. Just one place will get old...you can only go to the same restaurant or bar so many times before you want a change. Piece by piece it's coming together.

I went and saw George Lopez on Friday night...before the show I had a beer and appetizer at Nick's 101 Bistro, then got a ride on one of those bike things to the show...then went to Pizzaria Bianco after the show. It was nice and occupied quite a few hours...downtown was actually a destination and a place to spend a good amount of time, not just go there, do one thing, and then go home. Adding more restaurants, more stores, more people will only help and bring even more variety and options.
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  #279  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 8:04 PM
Downtown_resident Downtown_resident is offline
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To me, these are all part of a puzzle that is coming together. Like a puzzle, you have a few pieces in place and it doesn't look like much, but the more you add, the more complete the picture starts to look. CityScape might not be the savior, but it will be another piece in place.
I agree with the approach you are advocating: city-building, piece-by-piece. I think that's how it should work. Unfortunately the approach Phoenix has tried for the past four decades has been the "silver-bullet" method-- building a megaproject in the hopes that it singlehandedly will bring back downtown. That was the approach in all the projects I named above, and it's the same mentality that underlies CityScape, hence the three-block megablock style of development.

The piece-by-piece approach is working here as well; it just takes more time to realize its benefits, and the city has failed to notice. I'd argue that the piece-by-piece approach is working in the northern downtown area-- the health of the Roosevelt neighborhood helped give life to Roosevelt Square, which helped beget Fillmore Lofts and Artisan Lofts, which helped beget Portland Place, and, next, the GS3 Condos and the Solomon Tower. Likewise with the commercial/restaurant/entertainment sector-- Modified Arts gave Fate a reason to be downtown, then Fate's success helped give rise to Matt's, which spawned The Roosevelt, and gave hope for Cibo and Carly's, and so on. Underlying all of this was the success of First Fridays.

Unfortunately the city is still locked into its desperation/"silver bullet" mentality. Instead of noting the development of parts of downtown and realizing that-- I think-- success is just around the corner, the city continues to panic and give millions to suburban developers to build PF Chang's anchored-megablocks. It's too bad. With 44 Monroe, Orpheum Lofts, light rail and the Jackson Street Retail District coming on line I bet we could have held out and found a creative solution to be able to rejuvenate and preserve Patriots Park and develop the parking lots on Blocks 22 and 23. Unfortunately, we may never know.

http://downtownphoenix.blogspot.com

Last edited by Downtown_resident; Feb 25, 2007 at 8:11 PM.
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  #280  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2007, 10:34 PM
NorthScottsdale NorthScottsdale is offline
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i think, while we are all sitting here trying to figure out how to "create" a lively downtown, it is already been getting created. i have to agree with HX guy, pieces of the puzzle are coming together. I was downtown last night, i went to a party with some of my ASU buddies and met up with some of the people that we know that go to ASU downtown. We hung out around 4th avenue and jackson, and it was great. there was more than 100 people there, afterwards a bunch of us went to alice cooperstown and had a few drinks there. a couple years ago, i would never have dreamed of going downtown for anything.
like HX guy said, its coming slowly, but its already becoming created. and cityscape wont "make of break" downtown. it is the smaller projects (new bars, restaurants, new retail) that are popping up here and there that are going to attract the most people. And obviously the condo towers will bring hundreds of new residents downtown, so that will help out tremendously as well
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