DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
University of Arizona, Phoenix Announce New Downtown Project
Biosciences Partnership Building on Docket Pending Regents Approval
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and the City of Phoenix announced Thursday plans to construct a 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building, pending approval from the Arizona Board of Regents in June.
The Regents are scheduled to vote on June 6 on the Biosciences Partnership Building, which would be built immediately north of the Health Sciences Education Building near 7thStreet and Fillmore in downtown Phoenix.
“This is an investment by the taxpayers,” said Ann Weaver Hart, president of the University of Arizona. “It is also part of the vision in our state to grow our economy and create the kind of jobs that will keep our graduates in Arizona.”
Under plans going to the Arizona Board of Regents, ground would be broken on the $136 million building by the end of 2014, taking about 26 months to complete. It would translate into nearly 500 jobs in design and construction and another 360 permanent jobs at buildout.
“The new biosciences building continues the progress we’ve made with the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and it’s just another way the University of Arizona is helping to creating a better quality of life and economy in our community,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.
Plans are for the university to pursue expanded partnerships with industry, multi-disciplinary collaborations with its Phoenix partners.
“This is an important addition to downtown Phoenix and the progress we are making,” said District 8 Councilwoman Kate Gallego. “In addition to an economic effect, the groundbreaking research that will occur in this building will improve the lives of us all.”
The building would continue the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix academic medical center after the 2012 completion of the award-winning education building and the ongoing construction of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015.
The funding for the building comes from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development bonds approved by the legislature in 2008 that paid for construction of the Health Sciences Education Building and related campus improvements. The construction of this second research building was approved by the Arizona Legislature’s Joint Committee on Capital Review at the same time as the Health Sciences Education Building in 2010. However, the state board of regents still must review the project and is scheduled to do so at its June 6 meeting in Flagstaff.
“This is an exciting step in building this academic medical center in Greater Phoenix,” President Hart said. “This is the final step of approval for the remainder of the SPEED bonds that have built research infrastructure across the state.”
Research focus areas include neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and precision medicine.
“Researchers will be looking for answers to most daunting questions in health care,” President Hart said. “All of this important work will have a major effect on our state – bigger breakthroughs and better health outcomes for all Arizonans.”
The Translational Genomics Research Institute is also part of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.
Images courtesy of The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.
Portland on the Park, the sister project to award-winning Portland Place, will begin construction by the end of the year with an anticipated completion of mid-2016.
Nestled between Hance Park and the Portland Parkway, the project will feature a combination of 170 lofts and finished condominiums with prices ranging from the $200,000 to just less than $1 million. The lofts will be true to the urban experience, with exposed metal ductwork giving a modern appeal to a comfortable space. The finished condos will offer one, two and three bedroom option. Units will range in size from 745 to 2,381 square feet with 21 different floor plans.
To complete the project, which is valued at over $75 million, Habitat Metro principal, Tim Sprague, has assembled an expert development team that includes Sunbelt Holdings; the DAVIS Architecture team responsible for the award-winning design of Portland Place; and Designated Broker David Newcombe of Habitat Urban. Additionally, urban living and lifestyle specialists Braun Allison from Vancouver and Scottsdale-based The James Agency are managing marketing and public relations.
Portland Place Condos are phase one of the development, and they were completed in 2007. Sprague has no doubt kept himself busy since then, including helping create affordable housing for artists at Oasis on Grand. But, seven years is a long time for any sequel. So, what took so long to get this phase two off the ground?
“One word pure and simple, ECONOMICS,” said Tim Sprague, principal of the project developer, Habitat Metro. “Since Portland Place was built, we’ve weathered the Great Recession, and downtown Phoenix has rapidly matured. We have new quality restaurants, the ASU Downtown Campus, CityScape, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, etc.” He added, “In essence, downtown is growing a real urban environment, growing past its adolescence.”
The fourteen-story residential tower will feature ample bike storage, electric car charging stations, a state-of-the art workout center, and an open-air gathering spot on top of the building, which will provide unobstructed views of the Japanese Friendship Gardens, Hance Park, the mountain vistas, and the surrounding historic neighborhoods. In addition to the residential units, the ground floor will be home to a coffee shop, wine bar and restaurant.
The “Location. Location. Location.” adage definitely applies here. “Very few residences, no matter what city, have the privilege/good fortune to be located between two parks. Residences on a park are always associated with a quality life style, no matter what city: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. Portland on the Park provides that same qualitative difference for Phoenix,” said Sprague.
Additionally, the Central Avenue and Portland Street area scores a “very walkable” 86 rating on WalkScore.com. “With a metropolitan mix of arts and culture, nightlife, boutiques, restaurants and sporting events, downtown Phoenix is blossoming into the true epicenter of the Valley,” said Sprague.
Broker David Newcombe shares a glimpse of the residential market. “It’s close to a decade since anyone broke ground on a major condominium project in Downtown Phoenix,” he said. “There is clear demand to live in our new and thriving downtown, with very few exceptions all the buildings we have are now full. Urbanization is changing the way we live, work and think in a way that Arizona has never seen before.”
If urban living on a park in the heart of our rapidly evolving downtown appeals to you, take note of Portland on the Park. Reservations will begin midsummer, with pre-sales beginning in the fall.
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.
The Downtown Phoenix Journal “Conversation” series consists of interviews with Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) board of directors and other downtown stakeholders. These interviews are an excellent way to introduce downtown Phoenix leadership to the community, and to learn their respective views on Phoenix. Now let’s read what Cindy Dach of the DPI board, Roosevelt Row CDC, MADE Art Boutique, Changing Hands Bookstore, and more… has to say.
PHOENIX WELCOMES YOU
Phoenix is the #2 U.S. destination – right after Las Vegas – to hold trade shows and events according to a new Expo Magazine survey of trade show managers. The other good bit of news from the survey, as reported in the Phoenix Business Journal, is that Phoenix has made significant strides in terms of its reputation as a destination.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport‘s busiest month was even busier this year, with March passenger counts up 3.2% from a year ago despite a late Easter. It is the third consecutive year-over-year gain in passengers this year, an encouraging economic indicator following two years of slight declines in overall passenger counts. Passenger traffic was up 3.8% in January and 2.9% in February.
Hines, the international real estate firm, announced that the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee has signed a 7,535 square-foot lease in Renaissance Square, a two-building, 965,000 square-foot Class A office complex on Washington St. between Central Ave. and 1st Ave. in downtown Phoenix (pictured left).
The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) invites you to submit nominations for the 2014 Governor’s Tourism Awards to celebrate outstanding local and statewide tourism achievements. Nomination deadline is Friday, May 16. Click here for details.
A CHANGE IN LANDSCAPE
Last fall, City of Phoenix officials issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the block where the Central Station transit facility now stands at Central and Van Buren streets. The goal is to better utilize this prime downtown parcel with a multi-use development that incorporates public transit elements in the design. An evaluation panel comprised of business, civic, and community representatives reviewed proposals, interviewed finalists, and came to consensus on a project. The City, in agreement with the evaluation panel’s recommendation, selected the proposal from Smith Partners, LLC to advance for negotiation of business terms. Here is a rendering of the proposed project:
A half-empty office tower at the southwest corner of Monroe St. and 1st Ave. has been purchased by Rialto Capital Management LLC and a joint venture between Sunbelt Holdings’ John Graham and Ironline Partners LLC. The 19-story, 255,000 square foot building, dually known as 111 West Monroe and the First American Building, sold for $22 million.
New City Church in midtown Phoenix met its fundraising goal to finance a move to a new, larger facility at 1300 N. Central Ave. (across the street from Burton Barr Central Library). The new facility will house a sanctuary for 600 people, children’s gathering space, recording studio, gallery, and coffee bar.
A UNIFIED ARTS SCENE
A group of Phoenix arts organizations are coordinating their efforts and launching as the new Central Arts District. In a unanimous effort by the burgeoning art institutions located in the area between 7th St. and 7th Ave., Roosevelt and Virginia streets, leadership of these organizations envisioned the opportunity to distinguish the extraordinary concentration of arts in the new district and embrace the businesses within it.
Phoenix City Council Member and DPI Board Member Michael Nowakowski recently gathered some 30 civic leaders to discuss plans and options for a major Hispanic museum and cultural center to highlight the arts and culture achievements of our city’s Hispanic community.
TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
Recently we (the collective we) learned that Jim Ballinger will retire as director of the Phoenix Art Museum. Jim’s foresight and leadership transformed a 72,000-square-foot facility to a 285,000-square-foot amazing experience for art lovers locally, nationally, and globally. We’ll truly miss Jim around Central and McDowell, but know that his influence and involvement will continue to benefit Phoenix for many more years to come.
BEING IN THE KNOW
Our partner organization, Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP), has teamed with the Phoenix Convention Center to launch the “Know It All Series,” designed to give sales professionals who are in the business of selling our downtown the tools they need to best serve our visitors. It’s also a great way for industry peers to network while experiencing our wonderful locally owned businesses.
A downtown Phoenix small business was named one of the nation’s ten best start-ups for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity by G/O Digital, a Gannett Company. Congrats to Welcome Diner in the Garfield Neighborhood for standing out as one of the most unexpected gourmet culinary experiences around.
Downtown Phoenix fosters an environment where women business owners are increasing in number and influence, says the Downtown Devil. Two pieces of hard evidence: (1) Arizona ranks fourth in the U.S. for economic clout for women-owned businesses and (2) membership in the Phoenix chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners has increased significantly.
Featured homepage image courtesy of RED Development. Lustre Rooftop Garden at Hotel Palomar is beginning its 100 Days of Summer campaign May 24th and 25th with a Memorial Day pool party.
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“Ultimately it’s the people that have made the difference.”
Mike Ebert, a founding partner of RED, the development company responsible for building CityScape, has a heartfelt passion for downtown Phoenix. Originally from Nebraska, he moved to Arizona thirty years ago to attend ASU, where he majored in real estate and finance. For many years RED’s development activities were focused in suburban locations but, in the mid-2000’s, he and his partners at RED, which has property in 10 states west of the Mississippi, began noticing an overall trend toward downtown development, which inspired the desire to work on a development here in their home state. We sat down with Ebert at an outdoor table at CityScape on a beautiful spring day to get his perspective on the future of downtown Phoenix.
In addition to spotting an urban trend, Ebert’s appreciation for great cities was part of what inspired him to want to create CityScape. “New York City is the most inspiring place in the United States to visit from a walkability experience,” he said. “It is my favorite city to visit. Certainly there is San Francisco and several other great American cities,” he continued. “All of these cities always help inspire you.”
One trip to New York, in particular, helped galvanize his thinking about developing CityScape. “During the deepest part of the recession, when we were just starting construction here in 2009, I was walking by Rockefeller Plaza. I’m not one to stop and smell the roses, but I stopped and read a plaque there and learned that during the 1930s, Rockefeller had developed 6,000,000 square feet, which is a big portion of Manhattan.” The realization that Rockefeller had invested so much in the city during the depths of the Great Depression fueled his confidence in the CityScape project. “It reinforced that we were going through a tough time as a community, but there was a much brighter day ahead of us.”
“That’s what I’m most excited about, is being a part of and supporting the entrepreneur developer, the smaller projects that are going to make this downtown area truly special.“
What has made the biggest difference in the development of downtown? “Ultimately it’s the people that have made the difference,” he said. “For much of my career as a developer you just hoped people didn’t oppose you. This (the development of CityScape) was the first time in my life where people were rooting for us. That helped change a lot of my view of community, cooperation and the things that happen when people are working together.” As he puts it, “it was the first time people who didn’t have a direct interest were working for us.”
He is quick to appreciate what a great job the city has done to enable development in downtown, but firmly believes that the private sector has to finish the job. “Cities are very good at doing the big items: infrastructure, light rail, and the university, but the cities aren’t the ones that can finish it, that can make a neighborhood of downtown.”
The next phase, from his perspective, needs to be undertaken by entrepreneur developers. “That’s what I’m most excited about, is being a part of and supporting the entrepreneur developer, the smaller projects that are going to make this downtown area truly special.”
Ebert sits on the board of Downtown Phoenix Inc. and has been involved in its formation from the beginning. He believes that this new structure is critical to long-term outcomes for downtown. DPI will allow the definition of downtown to expand beyond the boundaries of the current Downtown Enhanced Municipal Services District (Downtown Phoenix Partnership) to include neighboring areas such as the Historic Roosevelt Neighborhood, the Evans Churchill neighborhood (home of Roosevelt Row) and others. This expanded definition of the geography of downtown will create a stronger, unified voice.
“I believe head to toe that the most talented people in the state live and work downtown in education, healthcare, law, sports, travel, and hotels. The hope with DPI is that we will give those talented people a clear picture of what they can be involved in downtown. If we ignite that group of talented people and connect them, they can move mountains.”
His experience with the outpouring of support for CityScape appears to have been the seed that planted his appreciation for the tremendous value of people working together. “We’re seeing for the very first time tremendous collaboration in a pro-community way.”
The biggest challenge going forward from his perspective is the vacant lots in downtown, most of which are owned by the city and the county. These vacant lots make it challenging to create true walkability, which is key to a vibrant downtown.
“I believe head to toe that the most talented people in the state live and work downtown in education, healthcare, law, sports, travel, and hotels…If we ignite that group of talented people and connect them, they can move mountains.”
“People like crowds, people like seeing other people,” said Ebert. “We’ve got virtually no serious crime down here to speak of, but you always have that perception of safety if you have vacant lots. My hope is that DPI can help encourage the development of the vacant lots, and encourage private investment, which will help with shade and walkability.”
Because they are such important landowners, according to Ebert, “the city and the county can have a big hand by just working with the community to put those properties they have into production.” For Ebert, encouraging this will be a big part of what DPI can do over the next several years to make a difference.
What is the most important quality that he brings to DPI? “I hope it’s passion,” he said. “We’ve got a great board. They were put together for all the right reasons. Being the only real estate developer, I have a passion for the development of downtown,” he said. “Not just our development, but development by others. We do need the private sector to step up and have a pro-downtown agenda.” He believes that DPI should have the strongest voice in the development of downtown.
With both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl coming to town next February, Ebert believes we have a real opportunity to increase the number of people who will want to live, work and play in downtown. He points out that the NFL historically has not had events that they controlled or sponsored until the last three years in Indianapolis, then New Orleans, and last year in New York City. “The fact that it’s (Super Bowl Central) going to be in the core of downtown after those three experiences speaks volumes about where downtown is. It’s one of those affirmations of where we’re going.”
For Ebert, a key factor in the success of those events and the after-Super Bowl positive impact for the cities, particularly in Indianapolis, was their “great culture of volunteerism.” He believes that they really communicated a level of hospitality that was attractive to people. “People like to feel welcome,” he said. “There’s not more to do there than here in downtown Phoenix. They didn’t have any secret sauce that we don’t have.”
In conclusion, Ebert noted that membership in DPI will be very important going forward. “We have a passionate group,” he reiterated, “but it needs to be larger. We need to let people know, if you want to be involved in the community and serve, join the membership group. As it grows and members start collaborating, it will have a big impact.”
The City of Phoenix has taken a step forward on developing the Phoenix Central Station transit center site, a key downtown development area on Van Buren between 1st Ave and Central Ave. City staff recommended entering into negotiations with Smith Partners, LLC on their proposal for a mixed-use, high-rise apartment complex for the location.
Between October and December of last year, City staff met with various stakeholders, including the Citizens Transit Commission, Valley Metro, Downtown Phoenix Inc., Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Elementary School District #1, Roosevelt Action Association, Evans Churchill Community Association and the Downtown Voices Coalition to develop the special requirements and evaluation criteria for the RFP for the site.
The RFP, which called for a “multi-modal, mixed-use, high-rise, transit-oriented development project,” was issued on December 24, 2013 with proposals due on February 24, 2014. By inviting development on this highly visible, strategic downtown site, the City is seeking to “further implement the strategic downtown vision, enhance the public transportation system, and maximize the return on the $4 billion in public and private capital that has been invested in downtown Phoenix over the past decade.”
“This is a prominent development site with tremendous opportunity, but it also presents some very complex challenges due to its physical location, transit facilities and operations, and legal and financial Federal Transit Administration requirements,” said Economic Development Program Manager Eric Johnson. “The City sought highly-qualified proposers, and was fortunate to receive two proposals considering the complexity, size and necessary resources needed to propose for such a project.”
The proposals were reviewed by a panel of 12 downtown stakeholders. After convening on March 4 and again on April 2, the panel proceeded to interview the two proposers on April 22 and determined their consensus scores, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal.
On May 2, Hank Marshall, the Acting Community and Economic Development Director and Maria Hyatt, the Acting Public Transit Direct signed off on a memo from Deputy Economic Development Director Scott Sumners requesting that they concur with the evaluation panel’s score and recommendation to move forward with the Smith Partners, LLC proposal.
A key element of the winning proposal was a Class A high-rise apartment building with 476 market rate studio, one and two bedroom apartments. Estimated monthly rents will range from $800 to $1600 per unit.
The building will include a 24-hour doorman, concierge services, laundry and dry cleaning services, a fitness center, a media/theater room, a resort-style swimming pool and spa, an outdoor fireplace and indoor secure parking.
The proposed high-rise will be built to serve urban professionals and individuals seeking a full-service, highly secure living environment. The ground floor of the building proposal includes office space and a service component for the transit operations, and 24-hour flexible co-work space for start-up businesses.
Gross Square Footage:
- 348,965 SF Residential
- 117,100 SF Common Area/Mechanical
- 8,000 SF Amentity/Leasing
- 4,850 SF Co-Working Offices
- 4500 SF Transit office
Number of Rental Units: 476 market rate rental units
Number of Parking Spaces: 526
Building Height: +/- 390 Feet, 34 Floors \
Number of Construction Jobs: 200
Number of Permanent Jobs: 15-20
Estimated Construction Cost: $72.3 million
Estimated Project Cost: $82 million
City staff will commence negotiations with Smith Partners in the coming weeks. Pending successful negotiations, staff will present recommended business terms for consideration by City Council subcommittees, the full City Council, and the Federal Transit Administration.
DPJ will report back on the progress of this important development in a key downtown location.