Roosevelt Neighborhood property owners, business representative and interested citizens recently gathered at the Roosevelt Community Church for a Community Forum that provided insights into what communities can achieve with a Business Improvement District (BID).
While the proposed Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill BID has been a work in progress since last year, the Community Forum was the first opportunity for the general public to understand the process and its potential impact on our downtown.
Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., opened the presentation by pointing out “we are in the midst of building the urban heart of our city right now.” Unlike eastern cities or the coastal cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Phoenix is very young and Krietor noted that “we have a unique opportunity to collectively plan for and build the city we want, district by district.”
The next level of development in the life of the city is happening now in our unique downtown districts and neighborhoods. Increasingly, these areas are coming together to build on those infrastructure bones to create and enhance vibrant neighborhoods that truly bring our urban core to life. A shining example of this important community building has been happening for the last 15 to 20 years in the Roosevelt/Evans Churchill area, which Krietor referred to as “Ground Zero for neighborhood and community building in downtown Phoenix.”
Learning From Others
Three different forum presenters provided their insights into the success of Business Improvement Districts in San Diego, Sacramento and elsewhere, including examples of how participating in a BID assessment has given area property owners an important seat at the table in their cities. They emphasized how property owners in these districts were empowered to make important decisions that have protected and developed the unique features and elements of their neighborhoods.
- Jimmy Parker, San Diego’s Gaslamp District. The success of this BID has meant a $10 return on every dollar invested through the assessment. The Gaslamp District also has developed the highest concentration of affordable housing and the highest concentration of hotels in the city.
- Liz Studebaker, Midtown Sacramento Studebaker’s references to this BID seemed to most resemble the Roosevelt Neighborhood. She explained how the district has been able to support the property owners desire that the arts be a significant defining feature of their neighborhood, followed closely by “third place” amenities such as food, coffee, beer and spirits. As a result of the success of their BID they have developed a much stronger connection with the city and have a direct line to the police for trash abatement and security.
- Allison Harnden, nighttime economy consultant. Harnden showed how planning for nightlife is key, and she pointed out that Roosevelt/Evans Churchill is in a unique position to carefully plan for all of the important elements that will support a thriving nighttime economy in the area.
Locals Weigh In
Greg Esser of the Roosevelt Row CDC and Tim Sprague, of Habitat Metro, a local residential and commercial property developer pointed out that the BID offers an opportunity for self-governance and a collective voice. Sprague openly admitted he’s in the “middle” in terms of his support for the district, but said “It’s a chance to work as a cohesive group.”
The forum concluded with a presentation by Nancy Hormann, the BID consultant who has been working with neighborhood stakeholders the past year to determine what services they want for their area and to develop a proposed workplan.
The consensus is that the added services should include management and administration of the workplan, beautification, added clean and safe services, a parking plan, business and development assistance, event management, and marketing & branding of the area. The estimated cost for these additional services would be $375,000. The city will contribute $75,000 (as an area property owner) and the remaining $300,000 would come from the property owners tax assessment.
By mid-June the final proposed workplan and assessments will be mailed to every property owner (with the exception of single family homeowners, or owners of multi-unit properties with four units or less) in the defined area, which runs east/west from 7th St. to 7th Ave., and from Fillmore St. on the south to Moreland/Hance Park on the north. Property owners will be asked to express whether they support the proposed BID, do not support it, or need further information.
Over the summer months, Nancy and her team will work to reach every property owner to answer questions and provide all of the information they need. Since the total assessment is $300,000, property owners representing $150,001 are needed for the BID to move forward to City Council for approval in the fall.
Property owners can learn more about what’s next for the proposed Roosevelt/Evans-Churchill area BID workplan and assessment by contacting Nancy Hormann directly at Hormann Associates.
As you probably know by now, this weekend is the 27th annual Art Detour event. It’s a free, two-day arts celebration in downtown. Started back in the late 80’s by a group of artists who invited people into their working art studios, it has grown and evolved over the years and now includes individual artist studios, pop up art spaces, galleries, and arts-friendly shops, restaurants and bars. Everyone throws out the welcome map. Many spaces are easily accessible along a route that is serviced by Artlink’s free circulating trolleys, however, there are wonderful spaces that take just a tad extra effort to find and we’re here to help you navigate your own “Detour” off the beaten path and into the Warehouse District.
CityScape, 1 E. Washington St.
CityScape is our jumping off point for this adventure. This pedestrian complex covers two blocks bounded by 1st Ave. and 1st St. between Washington and Jefferson. A central hub for downtown Phoenix, you’ll find restaurants, shops, open air seating, as well as an Artlink Information Hub stop staffed by friendly, knowledgeable Downtown Ambassadors, where you can pick up a Detour map and get any questions answered. The Warehouse District is just a few blocks south of CityScape, so you can either walk, or grab a GRID bike from one of the several GRID stations in and around CityScape. If you are a GRID member, you can reserve a bike online.
It is in the Warehouse District that Art Detour first got started, and there are well established artists who still call it home. Additionally, ASU recently moved their ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to the Warehouse District, bringing even more creative energy to this part of town.
First stop on your Warehouse Detour:
Once you’ve chosen whether to grab a bike or apply shoe leather for this adventure, head south on 1st Avenue or Central to Jackson Street (two blocks south of CityScape). Once you reach Jackson, head west to the IceHouse.
The IceHouse at 429 W. Jackson.
If you’ve never been to the IceHouse, you must go. Once active as a ice storage facility in the days before refrigeration, it houses various artist studios, along with exhibition and performance spaces. With its thick slabbed walls and concrete rooms, it is unlike any building you’ve ever been in and well worth the trip. Its large rooms, tall ceilings, and unique feel have made it a popular wedding destination.
After you’ve explored the nooks and crannies in the IceHouse, head back east to the Jackson Street Studios.
Jackson Street Studios, 15 E. Jackson, #206 – Linda Ingraham Mixed Media Photography
The Jackson Street Studios building has been home to many renowned Arizona artists, including Linda Ingraham, who has been in her second floor studio for more than twenty years. A critically acclaimed artist, her work includes evocative images of botanicals, figures and surreal landscapes, as well as art-inspired jewelry that Linda describes as “Bohemian Elegance.” Linda is warm and welcoming and her studio is full of beautiful finished work, as well as works in progress.
After you’ve explored Jackson Street Studios, hop on your bike for the next leg of your Warehouse Detour. If you’ve been walking up to this point, you may want to grab a bike from one of the nearby stations for this part of the adventure. Head south on 3rd Avenue to Grant Street and east to the Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios at the aforementioned ASU School of Art and Design.
Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios, 605 E. Grant
The Step Gallery serves as both an MFA thesis exhibition space and a proposal-driven, student run gallery. In the renovated warehouse building known to locals as the Levine Machine, this unique art space is worth exploring both inside and out.
Head back over to 3rd Street and cycle north back to CityScape, where you can hop a trolley to discover the rest of the Art Detour spaces. For the more intrepid urban explorer, use your Detour map to continue your bike adventure to Roosevelt Row to the north or over to the Grand Avenue arts district to the west.
Please note that both Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue will be hosting their own neighborhood festivities during Detour this year: Roosevelt Row will be hosting the PAINT PHX block party, with music and a beer garden, on 5th Street on Saturday, and the No Festival Required outdoor screening of Stop Making Sense, on the west wall of Monorchid. On Sunday, Grand Avenue will present Detour de Grand, again featuring “bikes, beer and bands” along with open artist studios and galleries.
Whether you choose to connect the dots for a great Detour adventure on Saturday, Sunday or both days, there will be plenty of outdoor art adventures to discover at this weekend’s Art Detour 27.
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TrueDTPHX celebrates local food, music, art and the ‘True’ urban experience
With NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl activities putting Downtown Phoenix in the national spotlight, the downtown community is throwing an extended open house party to give visitors and locals a taste of what makes downtown so rad.
TrueDTPHX kicks off Jan. 23.
Here’s the game plan:
- TrueDTPHX , a showcase of our local music and art scenes, will be held at award-winning Civic Space Park in the heart of Downtown Phoenix over two days on Friday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 24. This free, family friendly gathering includes musical performances by Steve Ayote, Luna Aura, Decker, WLFPCK, Captain Squeegee and Jared & the Mill. TrueDTPHX will also feature a live art installation by local artist Isaac Caruso. Known for his attention-grabbing public art pieces, Caruso had his first showing at the Smithsonian when he was just 19 years old. The festival also features food trucks, beer garden and community vendor tables.
- Speaking of local fare, DTPHX City Sampler gives locals and visitors alike the wallet-friendly opportunity to taste test many of downtown’s mouth-watering restaurants. DTPHX City Sampler is a self-guided walking tour so wear sunscreen and comfortable kicks. And with over 20 downtown restaurants each offering two menu items for $5, best bring your appetite, too.
- Feel like shopping local? How about dancing? Check out the Roosevelt Row Sidewalk Sale or Phoenix Public Market Featuring Kalliope.
- One of the most anticipated projects of 2015 is the new Desoto Building and you can get a free sneak peek at the property during an all-day patio party Jan. 24 benefiting the Evans Churchill Community Association.
- What about something quintessentially downtown cool? That would be the Super Fooshuman foosball tournament being held Jan. 23-31 at Kitchen Sink Studios.
- Speaking of cool, Jan. 23 thru Feb. 1 locals and visitors are encouraged to travel between activities at Super Bowl Central and to community based events to the north via First Street, which is emerging as the preferred pedestrian corridor linking the downtown core to the Roosevelt Row Arts District. During Pro Bowl and Super Bowl weeks First Street will feature stimulating activations like pop-up living rooms, the first phase of the temporary park Space Between as well as the impactful storage container art installation The Scarlet Cord.
Images courtesy of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
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Roosevelt Row Activates Phoenix Alley Way for New Year’s Eve Celebration
While the east coast celebrates the ball drop in New York Times Square, downtown Phoenix locals will ring in 2015 in their own creative style – with the first ever New Year’s Eve Flannel Ball, hosted in an art-activated alleyway in Roosevelt Row. With attendees dressed head to toe in flannel under the Phoenix night sky, this event is poised to become a favorite downtown tradition, celebrating the uniqueness of the downtown Phoenix arts district.
“Arts is the foundation of this community,” said Nicole Underwood, Director of Operations for Roosevelt Row CDC. “This inaugural art-activated celebration will be a fantastic way to ring in the New Year, with so many reasons to celebrate our area’s local creative culture.”
To date, Roosevelt Row CDC has created vibrancy in downtown Phoenix by activating typically vacant spaces with art, such as converted dirt lots into community gardens, repurposing shipping containers into art galleries, and now hosting an event in an alley way with music, art and local culture.
Roosevelt Row will bring together Arizonans and visitors from across valley to activate an alleyway in the arts district, where people can congregate for New Year’s Eve to hear a lineup of up-and-coming local musical acts, experience “New on Old” Art Show with over 50 proud participating artists from Phoenix, enjoy food trucks, lawn games, a photo booth, a beer garden provided by New Belgium Brewing Company and other notable traditions that make the Flannel Ball a unique New Year’s Eve experience.
From 9:00 pm to 2:00 am New Year’s Eve night, an alleyway on 6th street and Roosevelt will come to life to ring in 2015, with an original New Year’s countdown hosted by Phoenix Mayor’s Art Award 2014 Recipient and host of Phoenix Storytellers, Dan Hull. The climax of the year concludes with the drop of an odd and campy Lawn Gnome Pinata.
Tickets are $15 and available for purchase at Lawn Gnome Publishing on 5th Street and Roosevelt or online at www.eventbrite.com. Admission is $20 day of the event. Tickets are limited.
The inaugural New Year’s Eve Flannel Ball & Art Show is “plaidly” brought to you by Lawn Gnome Publishing, 909 Housing Collective, Roosevelt Growhouse & GrowOp, and Roosevelt Row CDC.
For Tickets: http://bit.ly/
The Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) team received excellent feedback at our quarterly Board of Directors meeting earlier this week. In addition to a comprehensive overview of new development initiatives, we focused on events, membership, establishing our brand, and our work with Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill to investigate the feasibility of creating a business improvement district. Our economic development partner, the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corporation (CDC), has joined the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) in agreeing to a January 1, 2015 consolidation date. We continue to work with the Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) on a similar arrangement.
Having our business, city, and community leadership at the same table focused on the future of downtown bodes well for the future.
Doing Our Best
USA Today named the Roosevelt Row Arts District one of the top ten best arts districts in the nation. Last year Roosevelt Row was spotlighted, again by USA Today, as one of the ten best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet.
Bleacher Report named Phoenix the 13th best city (out of 25) to be a sports fan. Rankings were based on number of teams and events, success of teams in last five years, stadiums, fan passion, general fan experience, media, star power, and tradition and history.
Our Bleacher Report ranking should go up a few notches as the Phoenix Mercury completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Sky on Sunday to win the third WNBA championship in team history. They join the Arizona Rattlers who, a few weeks earlier, won their Arena Football League championship against the Cleveland Gladiators.
Earlier this month, government, business, and civic leaders hosted representatives from the Democratic National Committee in town to evaluate Phoenix as the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Phoenix was the fifth and final stop for convention planners. Other cities being considered are Birmingham, AL; Columbus, OH; New York City; and Philadelphia, PA. According to Mayor Stanton, “I am confident that when the DNC leadership leaves here, they will leave with an understanding that, logistically, there is no better place than Phoenix.”
What’s Brewing Downtown
Downtown Phoenix welcomes a new brewery. On September 15, Mother Bunch Brewing opened in the 1926 J.B. Bayless Grocery building at Seventh Street and Garfield. Until it offers its own signature beers in a few weeks, Mother Bunch will make available a variety of Arizona beers through its 20 taps along with a “sophisticated, but not complicated” lunch and dinner menu.
Local First Arizona has released the fifth edition of its Phoenix Small Wonders map, a pocket-sized guide featuring nearly sixty local restaurants, pubs, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in central Phoenix. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.
The City of Phoenix received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to evaluate the planning, environmental, and conceptual engineering to extend Metro light rail down Central Avenue from Jefferson to Baseline Road. According to Mayor Greg Stanton, “Getting light rail to South Mountain is one of my personal priorities. I want to bring the same flexible transit options to the area as others in the city experience with Metro.”
The City of Phoenix has selected Chicago-based Smithfield Properties to develop a mixed-used project on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren, the current site of the Central Station transit facility. Smithfield proposes a 476-apartment, 390-foot building that would be one of the tallest buildings in Arizona. A parking garage also would be built as part of the new development. Metro light rail trains and Valley Metro buses still will run through the station.
New City Church will be moving into a 18,000 square foot building at 1300 North Central Avenue for more space and a central location near the Roosevelt Row Arts District. According to Pastor Brian Kruckenberg, “We love being on the ‘front porch’ of the city and are ecstatic about the growth and attention that the city’s center is getting.”
New apartments and condominiums have sprung up or are being planned in and around downtown Phoenix. That’s a positive trend. But stalwarts of downtown living are the residents of Phoenix’s historic districts who remained while others fled to the suburbs in the 50s or purchased, renovated, and brought back to life vintage homes since then. The Arizona Republic has begun to profile these neighborhoods in word and photo: Country Club Park, Del Norte Place, East Evergreen, Encanto Palmcroft, F.Q. Story, Fairview Place, La Hacienda, Margarita Place, North Encanto, North Garfield, Roosevelt, Windsor Square, Woodland, and Woodlea.
Our Creative Arts
The second RadiatePHX business and community networking event, sponsored by DPI and Downtown Phoenix Journal, was held at the ASU Step Gallery in the Warehouse District on Tuesday. The theme and conversation focused on the importance of the arts community, cultural engagement, and the work of our local creatives to help transform and improve our downtown. Guest speakers in front of a packed audience included Councilwoman Kate Gallego and Steven Tepper, the new Dean of the ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. We appreciated the strong participation of PCA members at this event.
Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix is opening the doors of its New Media Innovation Lab to the public, offering expert advice and support on entrepreneurial and technological endeavors.
Two members of the DPI Board of Directors were just highlighted in the press, partly due to their involvement with the arts: Ken Van Winkle, managing partner with Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, most recently chaired Ballet Arizona’s successful campaign to create their new facility at 29th Street and Washington. Tim Eigo, editor of Arizona Attorney magazine, serves as steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition and recent host of Space 55’s first PHIL Talk (Phoenix Has Ideas LIVE), a comical parody of TED Talks. In addition, Dr. Carol Poore, chair of PCA’s Arts, Culture, and Public Life Committee, wrote a compelling op-ed in the Arizona Republic about how science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts are all vital to attracting businesses and retaining skilled workers in cities and towns throughout our state.
Amanda LaCasse, one of the 106,800 college students who live in Phoenix – and more specifically downtown Phoenix – shared her opinion about growing up and now furthering her education here: “The gems I have grown to love are not hidden – they are plain and simple, out in the open. Anyone can find a spot to feel at home in downtown Phoenix if they spend enough time getting to know the area, and nobody should be afraid of it. It offers the same services as any other part of the city, but with a more authentic attitude and honest, personable interactions with people who love you for who you are.”