David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend board meetings of the Roosevelt Action Association, Evans Churchill Community Association, Downtown Voices Coalition, and Downtown Phoenix Partnership. Participating in these meetings reminds me how many priorities these divergent groups have in common. But, also how important it is that DPI focus on collaboration between our city government, business, and community interests.
Our partner, Downtown Phoenix Journal, and the Phoenix Metro Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have collaborated to explore the buildings and structures of our city, look closer at what makes them special, and perhaps challenge those who want to contribute to our built environment to approach downtown development in a more thoughtful way. The following individuals have already provided their insights: Jack DeBartolo (Placemaking: Phoenix), Diane Jacobs (Timeless Third Places), Eddie Jones (My Town), Wellington Reiter (Transforming a Virtual City), and Philip Weddle (Lifeblood of a Desert City). Read what they have to say here.
- CO+HOOTS business workspace has for-profit, nonprofit operations
- Crescent Ballroom owner to open 2nd downtown music venue
- Digital marketing agency Yazamo moves downtown
- Hance Park redesign plans move forward
- Indian American couple contributes $1M for UA Cancer Center in downtown
- It’s official: Grand Avenue wins national planning award
- Living near Chase Field offers bargains compared to other MLB parks
- Neo-urban shipping container development could come to Roosevelt Row
- PlanPHX general plan approved by city council, moves to August ballot
- Portland on the Park condos break ground
- Shipping container apartments coming to Grand Avenue
- Tallwave selects startups for training in downtown’s Luhrs complex
- UA building ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful labs
- Uber to open global operational facility in downtown
- Valley’s first Orthodox synagogue being restored
- Velo Bike Shop & Cafe is our new favorite thing
Challenges to Conquer
So many of us believe that things are moving in the right direction in downtown Phoenix, but of course there’s room for improvement. I’m proud to count among my friends and colleagues in making a better downtown, the organizers of the 4th Annual Phoenix Urban Design Week, April 18-25. Phoenix Urban Design Week convenes and engages people making the future of Phoenix – from urban planners, designers, landscape architects, and policy makers to entrepreneurs, artists, and placemaking specialists. It is felt that the design of our rules, our built environment, and our culture are essential ingredients of economic growth, sustainability, and community empowerment. The primary goal is to collaborate to design and build a city we all want to live in, and address upcoming challenges and opportunities exemplified by these recent news stories:
- A fight to save pieces of the past as a Phoenix enclave is reshaped
- Could the Suns, city build new arena at Phoenix Convention Center site?
- Effort underway in Phoenix to provide housing for homeless
- Phoenix may sell downtown Sheraton hotel
On April 8, Mayor Greg Stanton gave his State of the City address hosted by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. The mayor updated luncheon attendees and those watching online of city accomplishments over the past year and major “things to do” in the coming months and years, including the August ballot proposition to pass a 0.7% sales tax for transportation improvements (an increase over the city’s current 0.4% tax that’s set to expire in 2020). In other transportation related news…
- Cycle sharing: GRID revolutionizes downtown biking
- Local, state transportation agencies host transportation vehicle parade
- “Lunchtime Dash” in Phoenix pits Grid bike vs. Porsche
- The Perks of Participating in Valley Bike Month
Food for Thought
LUSTRE Rooftop Garden at Hotel Palomar Phoenix is one of the nominees in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest. An expert panel selected LUSTRE as one of 20 contenders for the Best Hotel Rooftop Bar category. The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice. A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest. To vote, click here.
- 800M Milk Bar isn’t hip, but that’s what makes it charming
- DeSoto Central Market opens in downtown
- Forno 301 brings authentic Italian pizza to downtown
- Seftel: Top 10 downtown restaurants
- The Dressing Room to open this summer on Roosevelt Row
- Three remaining downtown restaurants dominate in PHX Food Fight
- Valley Bar, new downtown music venue, to open in May
- Vegan dreams for downtown
- Wingstop restaurant to open in midtown Phoenix
The Smithsonian Institution’s “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” exhibit is open to the public through July 5 at the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix. “American Sabor” has been traveling cross-country for the past four years and Phoenix is its final stop.
- “Andy Warhol Portraits” explodes at Phoenix Art Museum
- Arizona could be bidding on 2021 Super Bowl
- First Friday in Downtown Phoenix: April 2015
- INFLUX brightens downtown for third year in a row
- Inspired Soles art auction takes creativity to new heights
- Local bands on the rise of the music scene
- Metro Phoenix events draw thousands
- McDowell Mountain Music Festival unites community, charities
- Phoenix celebrates LGBT culture during annual pride parade
- Wallace and Ladmo Foundation to be TV show’s legacy
- Weekly downtown event promotes fitness and economic development
Mark your CalendaY
Finally, here’s a sampling of upcoming events and activities in our downtown for you to mark your calendar and share with friends, family, and associates:
- Healthy Kids Day, Civic Space Park, April 25
- Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference, April 26-28
- Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival, May 2-3
For much more detailed listings, visit and bookmark our #DTPHX Calendar.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Okra, New Restaurant from the Owners of Crudo Coming to Central Phoenix this Summer
Enjoy a preview of this all-new restaurant at Crudo’s Kentucky Derby Party featuring a 3-course sneak peak menu of Okra’s dishes, paired with rare bourbons
The trio behind the award-winning Crudo & Bar Crudo (3603 E. Indian School Rd. www.crudoaz.com) is excited to announce the plans for their sophomore effort, Okra, an all-new offering that blurs the lines between Southern and Italian cooking. Led by chef Cullen Campbell, wife/co-owner Maureen Campbell and co-owner/mixologist, Micah Olson, this project represents a return of sorts for Chef Campbell, who was inspired to reconnect with his family’s deep Southern roots that occupied his formative culinary years. After splitting time between Phoenix and his family’s cotton plantation in Forrest City, Arkansas, Campbell attended college just across the Mississippi River in Memphis, where he was steeped in the city’s classic culinary traditions, including the secret to true Tennessee Hot Chicken (hint: if the key to French cooking is butter, down South it’s lard). Okra will serve as a showcase of these experiences, and much like Crudo, will combine modern takes on traditional dishes with a hint of classic Italian influences.
The bill of lunch & dinner fare will be served daily and will include some immediate standouts, like Southern Fried Chicken served two ways: Buttermilk-brined or Tennessee Hot, plus rib-sticking eats such as Pig Pot Pie, Ham Hocks and the Redneck Burger, accompanied by classic accouterments such as Mississippi Comeback Sauce and Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You’ll find the subtle, and signature, Italian influences throughout, with focaccia bread pizzas and the aforementioned Southern Fried Chicken topped with a rustic Umbrian meat sauce. Wash it all down with an expansive collection of wines, craft beers & cocktails, including a seasonal selection of Mint Juleps hand-crafted by Olson to feature the finest small-batch bourbons.
Now under construction inside Crown on 7th, a striking rehab of a midcentury modern strip in north-central Phoenix, Okra’s (5813 N. 7th St.) 100-seat space will blend indoor and outdoor environments while sporting an open kitchen, a first for this culinary team. The result will be a rich, intimate experience that connects the front and back of the house like never before.
While Okra isn’t slated to open until Summer 2015, you can savor a sneak peak of the authentic Southern-fried fare, served with a hint of Italian flare at a special Kentucky Derby Dinner. Hosted at Crudo on Friday, May 1 & Saturday, May 2, 2015, guests will be treated to a Tennessee bourbon tasting and three-course cocktail paired dinner featuring preview dishes from Okra for $65 ++. Reservations required (602-358-8666). For those that can’t make it, anyone can catch an inside look at these dishes, cocktails and restaurant developments on Instagram under the hashtag #talksoutherntome.
Kentucky Derby Dinner Menu
- Course 1
Biscuits w/ dates & honey lardo butter
Micah’s Julep (Weller Reserve)
- Course 2
Pig Pot Pie w/ market veggies
Manhattan (Elijah Craig 12 year)
- Course 3
Ham Hock w/ black-eyed peas, spiggarello & hoe cake
Old Fashion (Four Roses small batch)
Photo courtesy of Crudo.
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PORTLAND ON THE PARK TO CELEBRATE GROUNDBREAKING APRIL 7
Most anticipated Downtown condominium project enters construction phase
Portland on the Park, the highly anticipated sister property to Downtown’s award winning Portland Place, will celebrate its groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 7 at 5 p.m. Mayor Stanton, Councilman Nowakowski and other Phoenix civic leaders, along with executives from Habitat Metro, Sunbelt Holdings, and DAVIS Architecture, will take part in the onsite ceremony. A hosted reception will immediately follow at the development’s Sales Gallery, which will include small plates from FEZ, wine from Aridus Wine Company and beer from The Phoenix Ale Brewery.
Portland on the Park is located between the three-acre Portland Park and the 32-acre Margaret T. Hance Park along Central Avenue. It will consist of 149 residences ranging in size from 745 to 2,490 square feet, with 21 floorplan options. High-end touches including, quartz counters, engineered hardwood flooring soft-close cabinetry and frameless glass showers come standard in all Tower Residences, Club Residences and Penthouse Suites. Each residence also includes a fully-equipped kitchen featuring stainless steel, German-engineered Bosch appliances. All residences are connected to state of the art fiber optic high speed internet providing commercial standard IT connectivity.
“As the first major condominium development to break ground in recent Downtown history, Portland on the Park has already garnered tremendous interest,” said David Newcombe of Habitat Urban, designated broker for Portland on the Park. “There is increasing demand to live in Downtown Phoenix and this project gives buyers the opportunity to live an urban lifestyle in the heart of the Central Arts District, with the 32 acre Hance Park as your backyard and light rail access steps away.”
“The property’s design was influenced by the intent to create a sense of place from its 3,200 square foot ‘communal third place’ lobby for coffee meetings or end of the day drinks to the roof lounge atop the 14-story tower offering unrivaled views of Downtown and the Valley’s mountain vistas,” relates developer Tim Sprague of Habitat Metro. “In addition to complementary commercial space, our mid-rise urban community uniquely features multiple common areas including a resort-like pool, a fully equipped fitness facility, community barbeques and fire pits, and the “Nest,” a getaway patio cut into the fourth and five floors of the 14-story tower over looking the Japanese Friendship Garden.”
Portland on the Park construction will begin immediately following the groundbreaking ceremony, with completion slated for the second half of 2016. Tower and Loft Residences pricing starts in the low $200,000s, with Penthouse Suites available under $1 million.
Image renderings courtesy of Portland on the Park.
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The Phoenix Symphony to Host Fifth Annual Downtown Music Stroll through Downtown Phoenix
The Fifth Annual Downtown Music Stroll features live music and great food and drinks in nine unique bars and restaurants downtown on Saturday, April 11 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone who purchases a $30 ticket will receive a half-pour drink and select appetizers at each location.
This year’s participating bands and venues are:
- Marty and Ethan Extravagonzo at The Arrogant Butcher
- Los Guys at Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen
- The Haymarket Squares at Hard Rock Café
- Ira Hill Trio at Hotel Palomar
- Pete Pancrazi at Icon
- Downtown Classical Duos at Kincaid’s Classic American Dining
- Alex Resnick at Squid Ink Sushi Bar
- Jim Nistico Trio at Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery
- A Touch of Class at Tom’s Tavern
The live music will have a wide range in genres, with Rock, Blues, Jazz, Pop, Punkgrass and Classical music all represented.
The Downtown Stroll is sponsored and organized by The Phoenix Symphony Young Professionals volunteer organization. Proceeds from the Symphony Stroll will benefit The Phoenix Symphony’s Music Education Programs.
Image courtesy of The Phoenix Symphony.
Historic DeSoto Building reopens its doors as community marketplace on April 11th — DeSoto Central Market
The historic DeSoto Building located on Roosevelt and Central Avenue is getting a new lease on life when it reopens on April 11th as DeSoto Central Market. The nearly-90 year-old building has been reimagined and updated with food and socialization in mind. The 17,138 square foot property will retain its Deco-inspired roots housing several restaurants, a coffee shop, a local produce and artisanal market, bar, and a mezzanine level with event and meeting space.
The concept was dreamed up by food enthusiast and DeSoto manager, Shawn Connelly, who felt Downtown Phoenix’s time has come for this type of community gathering space, which has proven popular in other cities like San Francisco (Ferry Building Marketplace), Los Angeles (Grand Central Market), and New York (Chelsea Market). According to Connelly, “Downtown Phoenix has seen tremendous growth recently in all sectors from housing to business, the Roosevelt Row Arts scene to ASU, but it still lacks a central food hub to get the basic grocery goods.” He envisions a spot where downtown dwellers can grab a bite, hold a meeting, relax with some music and attend community events — with plans for cooking classes, wine tastings, and much more.
While his goals are lofty, they ultimately have the community in mind and the execution is quirky, humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Signs on the windows tout the “charming staff” and encourages patrons with the tagline “a delightful place to read, meet or enjoy an old fashioned cocktail.”
Connelly has tapped Stephen Jones, former chef of Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails at the Palomar Hotel, to be the head chef of DCM burger bar, Walrus & the Pearl oyster bar and Tea + Toast Co. coffee bar, as well as his own concept, yard bird + the larder. He’ll also oversee the inclusion of new restaurants to the space and work toward the goal of creating what Jones envisions as “a community table” downtown.
The historic DeSoto Building’s 1930s Industrial-era flavor has been preserved and revitalized with a totally modern concept. The interior has been opened up and includes a new mezzanine level meant for group seating and event space. The large family and dog-friendly patio is equipped with lighting, shade cloth, and ample seating where patrons can sit with a cup of coffee or hang out for a game of corn hole or ping pong. Located in the heart of downtown in the Evans Churchill neighborhood, DeSoto is right off Central Avenue adjacent to the Roosevelt light rail stop making it easily accessible by car or public transportation. For the growing downtown population and Grid Bike users, bike parking is abundant.
The soon-to-open grocery will bring much needed fresh produce to downtown Phoenix from McClendon Select Farm, along with other local farmers and growers, and will eventually include artisanal vendors like a butcher, bakery, and cheese monger. The market will also feature artisanal products and pantry goods such as spices, local flour and grains, hot sauce, pickles, paper goods and more.
DeSoto Central Market is home to a diverse mix of eateries and bars catering to the casual diner as well as the hard-to-please foodie. Shawn Connelly conceptualized DeSoto Central Market as an incubator for new and upcoming culinary talent in the Valley. The idea: creating small, ready-to-go kitchens, so up-and-coming chefs have the opportunity to test their culinary ideas.
“It is a place that we developed in such a way that foodprenuers can come in and for a fraction of the cost to start-up somewhere else, can get their start on their dream”
The space will feature seven culinary choices ranging from burgers to more eclectic fare (think Mexican/Asian) that will cater to a variety of ages and palettes. Patrons can order inside, or at an outdoor walk-up window, and then dine at the bar, on the patio or on the mezzanine level.
- DCM – The DeSoto Central Market burger bar serves fancy egg burgers in the AM or a variety of artisan burgers thereafter. Also available: Craft beers, wine and cocktails.
- Tea & Toast Co. – Get your morning (or afternoon, or evening) coffee or specialty tea paired with pastries or an array of savory and sweet toasts.
- Walrus & the Pearl – This mostly-raw bar features fresh oysters — but also serves other seafood favorites like ceviche and poke.
- yard bird + the larder — Chef Stephen Jones (formerly chef at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar) reinvents some Southern and New American favorites; think fried chicken skin po-boy or black eyed peas and rice.
- Radish — Radish is a farm-to-table, fast- casual restaurant serving delicious salads and cold-pressed juices. Environmentally conscious and supportive of healthy lifestyles, Radish invites you EAT RAD + DRINK RAD + BE RAD.
- Adobo Dragon — Chef Allan Inicencia’s Latin/Asian fusion creations.
Opening Weekend Celebrations
The public is invited to celebrate the grand opening of DeSoto Central Market on April 11th (11am to 11pm) and 12th (11am to 8pm). Guests can expect the full market experience plus pop-up vendors, live music, cocktail tastings, chef demonstrations and specials throughout the 2-day event. A portion of proceeds from the weekend will go to Release The Fear, a non-profit that teaches Arizona’s youth the life skills needed to combat the effects of peer pressure, gang involvement, bullying, abuse, and violence and to make better life choices.
About DeSoto Central Market
Housed in the historic 1928 DeSoto Building on Central and Roosevelt Avenues, the new DeSoto Central Market combines seven diverse restaurant choices, an organic produce market, a deco coffee house and meeting mezzanine in one stylish and easily accessible location.
Creator Shawn Connelly, a 16-year veteran in the food industry, is taking his knowledge and experience of the big market concept to create what he hopes it will hark back to a time where central markets were at the heart of every city. To that end, DeSoto Central Market is a spot where downtown workers and dwellers can grab an egg sandwich or a coffee to-go, meet a friend for a drink on the extensive patio, or pick up some locally-grown tomatoes and a loaf of bread on the way home.
Address: 915 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Hours: 6:30am – 10pm, Monday – Thursday; 6:30am – 11pm, Friday and Saturday; 6:30am – 9pm, Sunday
Images courtesy of DeSoto Central Market.