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.

Among the 2014 enshrinees into the Arizona State University athletics hall of fame was Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier. Having grown up near 12th Street and Osborn where “ASU was put in his blood,” Andre noted in his acceptance remarks, “I’m proud to be a downtown Phoenix guy.” Well, we’re proud of Andre too. And now continue reading about the work of other outstanding downtown Phoenix guys and gals.

Eyeing the Future

Rendering courtesy of University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

On Oct. 16, ground was broken for the 10-story, 245,000 square-foot Biosciences Partnership Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The $136 million project will create nearly 500 construction jobs and 360 permanent jobs when completed in 2016. A special thank you to all of the staff with the City’s Community and Economic Development Department who worked behind the scenes to make this project possible.

At the Evans Churchill Community Association meeting on Oct. 8, more information and detailed drawings were outlined about Lux Central’s new location at Portland and First streets. What’s new is the moniker, Lux Commonwealth and County; what remains the same is the urban look and feel that makes Lux unique.

The Grand Avenue Rail Project (GARP) has expanded its original proposal and continues to seek political support for the installation of a downtown streetcar system. GARP board members, led by architect Bob Graham, have expanded the proposed route for the streetcar line because of the resurgence of development in downtown and the success of the Artlink First Friday trolley system.

My colleague Dan Klocke of the Downtown Phoenix CDC was interviewed about the proposed 34-story residential tower and mixed use development to be built on the existing Central Station at Central and Van Buren. A question about that elusive downtown grocery store was also thrown in.

Here and Now

On Oct. 17, as Arizona became the 31st state in the Union to allow same-sex marriage, the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court office in downtown Phoenix became the history-in-the-making location where same-sex couples obtained the first marriage licenses and were married.

The Professional Convention Management Association is saying positive things about Phoenix, and an example of the growing number of conventions visiting Phoenix and utilizing the Phoenix Convention Center is the just-concluded 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. More than 8,000 attendees from across the globe traveled to downtown Phoenix for the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, including professionals from industry, government, and academia. The conference generated approximately $11 million in direct spending and attendees stayed at 25 local hotels.

Where are the high technology “hot spots” in metro Phoenix? According to Cushman & Wakefield Technology Group, it’s Loop 101 in the East Valley, Chandler’s Price Corridor, downtown Tempe, Old Town Scottsdale, Kierland, and downtown Phoenix. According to Matthew Coxhead of Cushman & Wakefield, “Downtown Phoenix is another starting to show potential because of its historic warehouse district.”

Image courtesy of Phoenix Sky Harbor.

On Oct. 16, residents of several downtown neighborhoods gave an earful to City of Phoenix and Federal Aviation Administration officials at a standing-room-only meeting at City Council chambers. The FAA changed one of their their westward departures out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport impacting a number of neighborhoods in and around downtown. Noise complaints in the first two weeks of the change-over exceeded all complaints in 2013. The FAA says it will take resident issues into consideration to possibly resolve the issue.

Small Biz is Good Biz

Kimber Lanning

Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona founder/director and DPI board member, received the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council in recognition of her key role in fostering sustainable economic development in Phoenix and across Arizona. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said it best, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development. Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”

Several small businesses opened their doors in the past two weeks: EDM Phoenix, a new downtown danceteria opened on N. Central Ave. where the long-time Amsterdam and recently-closed Bar on Central were situated. Treeo on Sixth Street south of Roosevelt now houses three ardent urban champions: Champion PR & Consulting (Stacey Champion), Harder Development (Ashley Harder), and FenSource (Joe Brklacich). Tuft & Needle, a start-up mattress company, is relocating to the Warehouse District.

What are the top ten restaurants in downtown Phoenix. Howard Seftel of the Arizona Republic came up with his list of favorites. Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favorites? May I kindly suggest you go try them all?

Creative Community

Two local non-profit organizations dedicated to music education have formed a collaboration to teach jazz to high school students from across metro Phoenix. The Phoenix Conservatory of Music and Jazz in Arizona, situated with The Nash jazz club on E. Roosevelt St., initiated the one-year pilot program to team the first class of nine students with experienced musicians.

Jim Ballinger

Down the street, two art-filled shipping containers have been placed on the Roosevelt Row A.R.T.S. Program lot, along-side the original Hot Box Gallery which has held rotating art exhibits each month for the past year. Roosevelt Row CDC received two Artplace creative placemaking grants to demonstrate how temporary art installations can contribute to neighborhoods dotted with underutilized vacant lots.

One of downtown’s most ardent boosters and doers, Jim Ballinger of the Phoenix Art Museum, is retiring. He penned this letter in the Downtown Phoenix Journal to share his thoughts on the importance of the arts and community to Phoenix, past, present, and future. One snippet: “I am most proud of how Phoenix Art Museum has served the community beyond our walls including the arts community and neighborhoods of downtown Phoenix.”

For a full list of downtown events and activities, check out our ever-growing online calendar. There you can review all that’s going on, save an event to your calendar, buy tickets, and share the information with your friends, family, and associates.