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  #141  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 8:55 PM
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I am glad that the hotel faces towards Jefferson, and will present a nice view when coming out of the US Airways center.

I'm also happy to see the plaza-like element at the NW corner, allowing for some nice views into the development from that intersection.

Here are a couple of my own suggestions:

1. Is it possible to have a better alignment/relationship between the newly-created east/west street and the plaza for the BofA building (east side of the development)?

2. Can they design a more-inviting streetscape for 1st street? There will be a lot of pedestrians heading south on 1st, going to the USAC; right now it looks like there are no retail fronts along 1st, only the sides of the office bldg and the hotel.
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  #142  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2007, 11:25 PM
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I don't object to Patriot Park's demise but I wonder if this is really what we want. The challenge in master-planned development is to move beyond the drafting table to ways which really engage urban energy. As with other examples of this genre (Arizona Center, Collier's Center), this has an insular look. It's not just that retail will be somewhat removed from the sidewalk, but that the streets themselves appear to disappear inside it.

As desperately weak as downtown Phoenix is, this project makes no attempt to knit together extraneous elements and unify the urban fabric. Yes, this would be a tall order under any circumstances. But a urban core is not merely tall buildings but functional density that synergizes various uses and services. Organic urbanism is superior for this reason. Over time, any number of businesses and uses will fail and be replaced by others. It's an ongoing experiment in what works. Master-planned development, by contrast, is marked by inflexibility and lifeless homogeneity.

Thinking of downtown as an ecosystem is another way of approaching this problem. A functional downtown will have many different users and a web of innumerable interdependencies. By contrast, a dead downtown can have lots of tall buildings but no real life. Top-down planning and construction is a hazard in a place that let the real downtown die. We shouldn't kid ourselves that this kind of project can substitute for the real thing.
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  #143  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 2:16 AM
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Some part of me might feel better if RED didn't attempt to call sidewalks, Central Avenue, and that plaza on Block 77 "parkland" that contributes to the mandated 2.0 contiguous acres.

If RED simply said "screw you guys, you've wasted our time enough, this is what we're going to build and the Parks Board can blow us" ... I'd almost be able to take the plan for what it is ... and if this were on any other 3 blocks I'd be in favor of it.

Instead, we have a farce of a public process that has left the footprint substantially unchanged. And the spin they put on this is ridiculous...to quote one of the audience members: "If you think this is a park, you people need eye surgery."

The phasing issues continue to bother me... if I could see into the mysterious future and see all phases of CityScape built as promised, I'd consider letting them have it, but I am almost certain PSP will be the first block to go... we might see one or two towers, but the proposition that 3 blocks of wasteland will automatically become something thanks to RED is a longshot at best. I think this is too much for RED to chew--they're a suburban developer, this is their biggest project by far, the only one that is a public matter, and even Baron Collier isn't enough to prop them up--BC moves far too slowly to be a relevant player in the downtown market. If Baron Collier had their 750-room hotel up on the Collier Center block now, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. But they do not.

Too hard to say whether Parks Board will vote to approve or what, but I do know that Delia Ortega-Nowakowski who has been at the forefront of this will be voting no.
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  #144  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 4:19 AM
NorthScottsdale NorthScottsdale is offline
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i actually really like this design. i can see a lot of big events happening here. imagine new years, downtown. the pedestrian bridges and event areas (grassy area and big stairs that can be used as ampitheater), full of people and partyers. and i think that this is the type of project that phoenicians are used to so i think it will work. it reminds me of kierland commons, but with towers on top, and i think it will be great! i cant believe the negativity and the pessimism on here. nothing will ever work if everyone is pessimistic and critical of everything that gets proposed. also, how much retail do you need, if the arizona center is right up the street. it would be hard to get a butload of retail. restaurants, a couple cool bars, and grocery stores, etc will draw a lot of people as well, and it will draw the type of people that will make downtown hip and lively. i am sure that once downtown starts getting more lively, the Arizona Center will pick back up too, and since its been there for a long time, a lot of retail will open up shop there. the way im imagining cityscape is a monument in the middle of the city, a place to host events, a place for people to live, work and sleep, and a big entertainment venue. even if they only put like 2 or 3 bars in there, that place would be hopping. sorry for contradicting all of you, but the negativity and pessimism isnt helping anybody out at all now is it?
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  #145  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 6:20 AM
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I'm not quite sure how you mean by "helping out." Boosterism has its place when it's well warranted. Where it's not warranted is when we start tearing stuff down and give massive amounts of money and public assets to projects that promise the sky and ultimately deliver little.

They're proposing a big office tower--no anchor tenant yet. 1,000 units residential units might make sense if 44 Monroe were filling up. "If you build it, they will come" is working for the convention center so far it seems, but the other half of it, the City-owned Sheraton is going to throw a kink into the downtown hotel works. When it opens, the City, unlike the TWELVE operators can afford to keep running their respective property in the red forever.

RED wants to build now, and they're doing a good job of making everybody think that. The bitter reality is that they have the glacial-slow Collier company behind them. They can afford to wait. Phoenix can't.
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  #146  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 6:28 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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Sorry, but I just cannot get excited about this project as currently proposed. Even after all the public input, meetings, etc., the original, mostly uninspired plan for CityScape has changed amazingly little. As Soleri mentioned, the plan still does not relate to the major adjacent developments--e.g., Collier Center, US Airways Center, the light rail stations, the emerging entertainment district, etc.--and creates no new synergy with an invigorated redesign of PSP, which needs to function as a major gathering spot for downtown, rather than just an afterthought engulfed by a shopping mall.

Seems like the developers are just going through the motions of soliciting public opinion, with no real interest in improving their design, hoping that after making the token outreach, the city will still want it bad enough to go ahead and approve this mediocre proposal. (I'll even bet that their plans for the towers are basically four more boring, rectangular boxes.)

Hopefully, with enough public outcry, the concept will get substantially reworked into something truly exciting and imaginative. As a metropolis with over 4 million residents, Phoenix deserves better for its downtown.

Last edited by kaneui; Feb 12, 2007 at 3:22 AM.
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  #147  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 7:59 AM
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I am sick and tired of hearing the word "walkable." Its not a damn fortress, people will figure it out. It even has 3 streets running through it! And if the e-mail HX_Guy referred to is right, they will have retail facing Washington and and Jefferson as well. We're in Phoenix, not NYC... what more could you ask for? Have some civic pride and take this thing for what it is: a great addition to our downtown.

Last edited by PHX_PD; Feb 10, 2007 at 8:05 AM.
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  #148  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 2:19 PM
soleri soleri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHX_PD View Post
I am sick and tired of hearing the word "walkable." Its not a damn fortress, people will figure it out. It even has 3 streets running through it! And if the e-mail HX_Guy referred to is right, they will have retail facing Washington and and Jefferson as well. We're in Phoenix, not NYC... what more could you ask for? Have some civic pride and take this thing for what it is: a great addition to our downtown.
If this thing gets built - all of it - I'll be there cheering. I want downtown to succeed more than anything else. As master plans goes, this one is not terrible. I just wonder whether this project has really thought deeply about its location and the downtown it would change forever. There are subtle things good architecture can do to smooth the transition between existing urban fabric and new lollapalooza development. At the moment, I'm not seeing it. Possibly it's there but just not evident to my jaded eyes.

Given our track record downtown, I'll predict one tower gets built, with another one a 50-50 possibility. All four towers strikes me as improbable. The market will always be the final arbiter, of course. If this were being proposed for Tempe, I'd say it was more than probable. But this is being built in a place devoid of amenities, existing retail, and cachet. The very point of CityScape is to change all that, to endow downtown with those elements a successful core takes for granted. In effect, CityScape is both the chicken and the egg.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any project like this that's changed a downtown's paradigm. Los Angeles has 7th & Figueroa, for example. Detroit has Ren Center. Phildadelphia has Center City. Those cities, btw, had much better existing urban fabric that downtown Phoenix.

I'd really like to see RED, the COP, and ASU tackle this problem before imposing a "solution" that we'll have to live with for a long, long time. There aren't many opportunities left to change downtown's destiny. We need to criticize now or forever remain silent.
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  #149  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 5:08 PM
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I was pretty disappointed when I first saw the plans for this project. But after reviewing them in greater detail, I'm starting to get pretty excited for this project. (making a HUGE assumption that it would actually get built) One of the main things that I like about this project are the proposed heights of the towers. (30, 37, 37, & 44 stories) If the rumored 425' height for the 37 story towers are true, that means we could possibly be looking at a 505' height for the 44 story tower. (using the same # of feet/floor) That means CityScape could be home to 3 of the 4 tallest buildings in Phx!

Also, I do like the common areas in between the buildings. There appears to be lots of "shade" trees along the walkways, lots of seating, multiple water features, and a bridge going over Central Ave. The retail possibilities could be great as well. AJ's, PF Chang's, & a possible Barnes & Noble would all be welcome additions to DT Phx. Plus, the retail component on the SW corner of the project is apparently going to be 5-6 stories in height and there would also be a good amount of street-level retail on the SE corner.

Overall, I think this project could still have a HUGE impact on DT Phx, and I sincerely hope this project gets built as is, if not with a few improvements. I've noticed that most replies on this forum have had a relatively negative tone. But lets all keep in mind that as of now, the only things that currently exist on these three blocks are a couple of suface parking lots & baren wasteland of a "park".

Last edited by PHXRising; Feb 10, 2007 at 9:14 PM.
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  #150  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 5:47 PM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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I think the only reason there are some negative tones are because a lot of people expected something else to come from the meetings that have been held.

Personally I had in mind something along these lines...



I was picturing a park on the west end of the block and the retail part on the east toward the rest of the project. My proportions might be a bit off but maybe even have 2/3 of the block as park space.

As you said though, what exists there now are two parkings lots and a park that really no one but the homeless use. I'm still very much support the project, even if it goes forward exact as the plan proposed.

There would actually be quite a bit of shade I'm guessing on the middle and left blocks simply because of the shadows cast by the high-rises, which would be great. Also they seem to have quite a few trees in mind.
Like I've said before, it looks very "Kierland Commons" and really I don't know one person that doesn't enjoy walking around the Kierland Commons area, it just has a nice vibe. Kierland is very closed in (seeing how it's surrounded by parking lots) but I hope CityScape won't have the same feeling and that Washington and Jefferson feel and look exactly like the inside of the project will.
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  #151  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 9:12 PM
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The Novare Group is the parent company for Twelve Hotels, the company that is rumored to be tabbed for the hotel component of CityScape. I went to their website and they have a lot of cool looking projects in the works. I'm hoping they'll have some influence on the design aspect of the hotel tower. Here are some examples.

"360" a 44 story condo high rise in Austin, TX


"Twelve Centennial Park" a condo/hotel project in Atlanta, GA


"Element" a 34 story condo high rise in Tampa, FL
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  #152  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 9:29 PM
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There's something wrong with the circulation in this plan, I just can't quite put my finger on it. That's the problem with an attempt at 2 sided retail...it simply doesn't work.

Yes, Kierland works fine, and if you're trying to build something as a destination point, it's very successful. But Kierland does nothing to knit itself into the surrounding (urban? heh!) fabric, which is what this project HAS to do.

Project positives (if fully built-out): a critical mass of retail, service, and mixed uses that are sorely lacking in DT Phoenix currently

Project negatives: lack of a truly integrated site plan (they mean to tell me that a project can be surrounded by 2! lite rail stations, an arena, a large retail/office complex, and several historic buildings and that they can't seem to come up with a site plan that respects ANY of them?) Unfortunately the plan works out to be a superblock while painstakingly trying not to be a superblock.

While I don't cry for the loss of PSP like some, the locations of the public gathering spaces in this plan are puzzing at best. The 'back of house' for these retail spaces has to be somewhere. If they all face the street, then the ass ends face the internal plaza. Not exactly conducive to a happy space (I'm oddly reminded of the space at Centerpoint in Tempe behind the PF Changs...but that works because it has a destination at BOTH ends and isn't blocks long).

The other thing that REALLY bothers me is the level thing. You can't close off Central Avenue...I get it...but linking those spaces by these elevated levels is just odd (especially considering there really isn't much of a destination at either end). I can't think of an example I've seen anywhere in this country where that works. How do you service those upper level retail spaces?

I think what I'd like to see is this:

On the existing PSP block: a pedestrian bridge from the lite rail station at the midblock. Move the 30 story office tower to occupy the north side of the block. The south side of the block can still be the 5-6 story AJ's/retail (what goes in above the 2nd floor?...loft type offices?). The section between the two buildings running east west would be an elevated pedestrian plaza. The retail along this plaza would be served from underneath (as well as service/delivery for the grocery store and office tower). Now that kills the streetfront on the west side of Central, but nobody is walking there anyway. The elevated plaza would cross Central and drop onto the next block (at mid-block again).

Central to 1st Street block: Divide the block into quadrants essentially. The NW corner and SE corner become linked pedestrian parks. One to link with the Washington Street lite rail station, the other to link with the plaza out in front of USAC. The NE corner is the bookstore and a restaurant, while the SW corner is the mixed-use tower (with PF Changs at the bottom).

1st to 2nd Street block: to remain basically the same as shown here. I'd like to see the hotel vehicle valet entry moved though around to 2nd Street. That puts the important faces on Washington, Jefferson, and 1st Street and allows hotel and residential tower peoples to access their buildings from a less busy street (in terms of pedestrians).

*EDIT* The alley between the hotel and residential tower should cul-de-sac off of 2nd Street. The buildings would be linked with retail along 1st Street. That would allow for service to both buildings and push all of their public faces to the best street faces.

An extremely crude 40 minute exploration in Sketch-Up (pay no attention to the massing, I just decided to have a little more fun than simple boxes).





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Last edited by plinko; Feb 10, 2007 at 9:44 PM.
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  #153  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 10:49 PM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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Very cool drawing Plinko, impressive.

I hadn't even thought about the service access for all the retail and restaurant spaces, I wonder if the developers have? It does seem that there will be a lot more focus on the inside of the project then on the sides that face the streets...where the service access will probably end up...which means little street front retail.

I don't hate the fact that they added another "street" in the middle, I like having three streets to walk down instead of two (Washington and Jefferson), but only if those two streets are as integrated as the middle of the project. Otherwise we will end up with one street instead of three (or two).


Also a small correction, I don't think there will be a light rail stop on Washington, but actually on Central north of Washington.
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  #154  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2007, 11:55 PM
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I'll hold off on any commenting on this project until I see further designs and concepts and renderings. One thing I do notice is the massive footprint of PF Changs. Why is it so big? It's seemingly 3x as big as the other restaurant footprint, and 2x as big as AJ's (it all preliminary, but still).
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  #155  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 12:40 AM
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AJ's will probably be crowded 9 - 5 but thats it. PF Changs looks like its the biggest "destination point" in the entire project. People will come from all over the valley to eat there, so I don't mind idea of it being so big.
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  #156  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 12:56 AM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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Well I don't know if they will come from all over the valley seeing how they are all over the valley, but for the people visiting downtown Phoenix for sporting events, conventions, etc plus the residents that will be living in the downtown area it should come in handy.
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  #157  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 3:13 AM
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So I had some fun with their site plan. On closer inspection, I found out that I didn't despise it quite so much... it just needed some help. I went from asking "Where's the park?" to ...



Some points...

- Yes, I forgot the Jefferson St parking garage entrance, but I wonder whether it's really necessary.

- Rather than a claustrophobic retail plaza, I eliminated that L-shaped thing
on Block 77, giving unimpeded views of the Luhrs Complex, the old courthouse, and the Barrister Building.

Patriots Square Park is now both a park and a town square at the forefront of the entire complex.

- I swapped the multiuse tower on Block 22 with the PF Chang's parcel, creating a 6 story "gateway" cornering the Barrister building.

- I created two new towers on the north side of Block 77 which, in my mind, could pull some of the highest rents and sale prices in the City of Phoenix. The left side of "Tower L" has a 90-degree viewangle with southbound traffic on 1st Ave.

According to the structural engineer on record, the PSP garage could support a 20 story structure easily. There is NO reason RED shouldn't build up to the limit here.

The truth is, RED has too much land now, and this shows in the low-slung bullshit of their original rendering. This plan gives them about 1/3rd of the Patriot's Square Block, and altho the Patriots Square green/promenade less than the 2 acres the Parks Board suggested, this works with their existing configuration on Block 22. The patio on the promenade could just as easily be 2-story retail if they needed it.

- The stairs, the same size as the original, are moved to the south side, leaving an interesting window frontage/water feature area for the new retail promenade. The grand patio on the north top gives excellent views of the area and more retail frontage for the new north towers. An intimate mini-overlook onto Washington St is secluded between the towers.

- Art is plentiful.

- The Park itself ... simple, flexible, flat, open, green, public space...A pedestrian connection half-way to Washingon St could create a debutant entrance for a stage. It is a blank slate for almost any configuration, temporary or permanent, such as ball courts, skate parks, kiosk retail, snow days, you name it.

It is activated on all four sides--light rail, the retail in the Luhrs complex, the promenade, and the portion of CityScape on Block 22. Clear sightlines are provided from the street. Trees are plentiful on the perimeter.

- Properly phased, construction of Block 77 would not commence until Blocks 22 and 23 are completed.

Last edited by combusean; Feb 11, 2007 at 4:49 AM.
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  #158  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 4:35 AM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
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That's a good design Combusean. I definitely like the idea of seeing the retail and plaza area from far, from across the street. Seems a lot more inviting.

A couple things though...

Where would the AJs go? I don't see it in the plan. It could go in the residential tower, that would actually make a lot of sense.

PF Changs could go in what you have set as Pad A and B, since it seems they want to allocate about that much space for it.

The bookstore could go where you have Tower L.

That still leaves out the 5-6 stories of planned retail and that I don't know where they would put it and maybe they can't figure it out either? It wouldn't make sense in an office tower...but maybe in the multi-use tower?

Or maybe where they show the multiple purple square south of your retail promenade. Have the retail promenade as a walkthru area with retail on both sides. It might eat into the park a little bit, but still I think it would be nice to have the open space open to the street, not in the center walled in.
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  #159  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 4:44 AM
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I think the PF Chang's could go on Pad B, the two story parcel. On the second floor of it, there's a private patio which looks onto Block 22's stadium seating.

Tower R could hold the AJ's. AJ's likes having patio seating, and I think being able to grab lunch and eat by the park would be pretty nifty. I agree Tower L could hold the bookstore... imagine reading a magazine, out the window a waterfall partly obscuring the entrance to the promenade and park.
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  #160  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2007, 7:45 AM
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Plinko and Combusean, I like both of your designs, they are both big improvements. I really like Combuseans because of the openness of the western most block, allowing views of downtowns most beautiful and historical significant buildings (Luhrs and historic city hall).

Combusean, I have only 2 suggestions for your rendering. The yellow trees on the south side of the retail promenade, how about turning that into a small 2 story building of retail? You don't want to make the purple area retail because it would block towers L & R's views of the park (and the book store & AJswould probably be in L&R like you said). Also making the purple East-Westish area retail would also create an inturned area, if the retail was instead more north/southish where the yellow trees are, you preserve views and don't create an artificial canyon.

My second concern is that I don't think the bridge across Washington could really be used as a stage. Its just a bit too awkwardly aligned with the park. What is pad B was a bit taller, and it had a stage hanging over central a bit that directly faced the park? Or perhaps a stage area on the south side of my proposed retail where the yellow trees are?

I like the flat openness of your park, but I would like perhaps a large water featured incorporated into it. Either a reflecting pool, or a fountain similar to the one at desert ridge that kids can interact with. Or something like the "jumping" fountains at Disneyland would be neat too. Perhaps something running horizontally along Jefferson.

Also, I think you could add in the garage entrance on Jefferson on the park block with out losing too much. Obviously the entrance to the garage would have to ramp downwards, and have some sort of diagonally shaped overhang- perhaps that overhang could serve a dual purpose. On top of it you could put stairs/bleachers (like seen other places in the project) facing a stage thats on the north end of the park. It wouldn't take up too much room, but may obstruct the lower portion of the views of the Luhrs complex.
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