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mwadswor Aug 4, 2010 4:05 PM


Originally Posted by Leo the Dog (Post 4935067)
^^^ I think I know what he was trying to say...we don't have pedestrian activity year 'round bc its just not convenient for anything but autos.

Even though midtown Central is lined with numerous high/mid rises that creates a nice skyline, they are suburban in nature, designed for the automobile even in the heart of the city. Every high rise has its own parking structure, usually behind the building. One may not even have to drive on Central to get to work! The buildings themselves, are set back from the sidewalk with ample open space (just think Viad or any other mid-town office building).

It would be nice if someday the open space surrounding these "towers" were allowed to be developed into 3-5 story apartments, condos, shops (for Joe Schmo) that front Central with connectivity to LRT and office towers.

How do you get office workers out of their car if it is just too easy to park in the garage and take the elevator up to the office? Parking should be limited and expensive, right now, it is just too convenient and cheap for commuters to drive into work from outer residential districts.

Parking is so cheap in these garages (I know of one that is $16/month unlimited parking for employees, some might be free) that nobody parks at meters for $1.50/hour.

Agreed completely. Making it more walkable means putting more shops directly on central with residential above and shade over the sidewalk, and it means making the area less auto-centric by making parking more expensive and road dieting, especially now that we have the LRT right up central.

SunDevil Aug 5, 2010 12:06 AM


Originally Posted by mwadswor (Post 4935026)
Come again? You think the reason we don't have street life on central in december is because we need more strip malls and we need to be more auto-centric? :koko:

I think we just won't have street life on central, possibly ever, unless you think a bunch of builders are going to start building dozens of 2-3 story brick buildings up to the sidewalk with retail on the ground and housing/offices above.

Additionally, things would be much better if strip malls were moved to the sidewalk and parking was in back, but even that seems like too much to ask. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't look down on a place just because it's in a strip mall, not in this city anyway.

jvbahn Aug 5, 2010 6:21 AM

:previous: Good point. Also, don't forget shade trees(and I don't mean palms) planted at regular intervals along the whole length. That softens the urban boundary at the sidewalk and makes it inviting. Furthermore, Central is far too wide to really encourage walking or strolling. I think you would have to remove a lane and make the sidewalks far wider, then creating a line of good palo verdo or mesquite, then it might not look so auto-centric. Maybe then Jane Suburb might be tempted to take a walk down it instead of Joe Shopping Cart.

dtnphx Aug 6, 2010 10:04 PM

Hopefully someone with deep pockets can come in and bring that beautiful building back from it's current situation. Fingers crossed.

ML Managers takes over Ten Wine Lofts, Hotel Monroe

Phoenix Business Journal - by Jan Buchholz

ML Managers LLC has taken possession of the Hotel Monroe in downtown Phoenix and Ten Wine Lofts in Scottsdale, both busted projects that the now defunct Grace Communities had partially developed.

The announcement was made Friday by Mark Winkleman, chief operating officer of ML Managers, the firm created to administer commercial real estate loans made by Mortgages Ltd. That company was forced into Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy after its sole shareholder, Scott Coles, committed suicide in June 2008.

Mortgages Ltd. had been one of the largest lenders in the state for construction and land acquisition loans since the mid-2000s.

Winkleman said Ten Wine Lofts, a luxury condominium project near Scottsdale and Osborn roads in Old Town Scottsdale, is being aggressively marketed by Mark Forrester, a partner at Hendricks & Partners.

“It’s about 95 percent finished. Pretty darn close,” Winkleman said.

The Hotel Monroe historic redevelopment project was barely off the ground when the economy tanked in late 2008. Interiors of the property at the southeast corner of Central and Monroe avenues in downtown Phoenix had been stripped in preparation for new construction of a boutique hotel and have remained untouched but exposed to the elements for about two years. Winkleman said that property will be put on the market shortly.

Another property acquired by Grace Communities via a Mortgages Ltd. loan also has been repossessed: A 9.7 acre vacant parcel near Highland Avenue and Scottsdale Road, north of Scottsdale Fashion Square. Winkleman said that property also will go on the market soon.

In all, Grace Communities borrowed about $121 million from Mortgages Ltd. Grace Communities has not been a viable company for several months, according to information provided in May by Ryan Zeleznak, one of its principals.

In addition to acquiring the properties through foreclosure sales, Winkleman said he negotiated settlements with Zeleznak, his father Don Zeleznak and Jonathon Vento, the three partners in Grace Communities. Specifics of those settlements are confidential, Winkleman said.

ML Partners has been busy in recent weeks. The company also repossessed Los Arcos Crossing, a former Bashas’ anchored strip mall east of Scottsdale and McDowell roads. The borrower on that property was Phoenix-based PDG America, which had planned to build a mixed-use development that would complement the nearby SkySong ASU Innovation Center.

The Los Arcos project never got off the ground, but Winkleman expects strong interest in the property given that the city of Scottsdale plans more significant redevelopment in the area.

NIXPHX77 Aug 7, 2010 5:33 AM


Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 4920268)

Oh, that's the old Helen K Mason Center for the Performing Arts, former home of the Black Theatre Troupe. Originally it was built (early 50s?) as a Synagogue, to which Steven Spielberg belonged. And it's on Portland St, midblock betw 3rd and 4th streets. Would love to see that restored as an arthouse or performance place or something.

RichTempe Aug 7, 2010 8:04 PM


Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4938643)
Oh, that's the old Helen K Mason Center for the Performing Arts, former home of the Black Theatre Troupe. Originally it was built (early 50s?) as a Synagogue, to which Steven Spielberg belonged. And it's on Portland St, midblock betw 3rd and 4th streets. Would love to see that restored as an arthouse or performance place or something.

815 N. 2nd St is south of Roosevelt, between Garfield & McKinley. It is not on Portland between 3rd & 4th streets. Unless I'm mis-understanding what you're posting. The link that John posted shows an address of 815 N. 2nd St on the top left of the page, but the building in the picture is at 322 E. Portland.

combusean Aug 8, 2010 12:35 AM

The KML project on 3rd St and Roosevelt, lingering for a while, is officially dead. I noticed the for sale sign for 3 acres including the "gateway" block and the east half of the block to the south. Together they are Downtown Phoenix's largest undeveloped privately owned assemblage.

NIXPHX77 Aug 8, 2010 8:02 AM


Originally Posted by RichTempe (Post 4939167)
815 N. 2nd St is south of Roosevelt, between Garfield & McKinley. It is not on Portland between 3rd & 4th streets. Unless I'm mis-understanding what you're posting. The link that John posted shows an address of 815 N. 2nd St on the top left of the page, but the building in the picture is at 322 E. Portland.

Right. He mentioned an old theatre, which is the one i noted being on Portland St.

Vicelord John Aug 8, 2010 4:34 PM


Originally Posted by NIXPHX77 (Post 4939677)
Right. He mentioned an old theatre, which is the one i noted being on Portland St.

Right. I looked up the address to prove it wasnt "just north of matts" and got sidetracked.

Schadenfreude Aug 15, 2010 5:50 PM

I must have woke up unbalanced yesterday because I decided to walk the Phoenix streets like a low class hooker to take some pictures of general "improvements" to city. Needless to say it was hot and void of actually people or activity.

Work has begun on Central Station "Refurbishments"

The trolley cars have been removed

Building tore down on the north side of the station

Biomedical Center. Looks like ASU isn't on the banner. So I guess they are officially out.

SW Corner of Fillmore and 7th where the Biomedical Center is going.

Looks like we get some more great surface parking :yuck:

Updated picture of the hotel entrance on Freeport.

Photos of where the 12 News Studio will be located.

Herberger Updates

Chase tower Plaza improvements.

Shade structures

HooverDam Aug 15, 2010 6:03 PM

Those Chase Tower 'improvements' are such a gigantic waste. You cant plant a few new trees and hope people are going to want to walk around a castle wall and down into a ravine to hang out, or have a good urban experience. Just knock the wall out and put in some retail, even if its of the cart/truck food variety.

E: VVV Thats good news. Im glad public-private partnerships are being discussed, theyre whats really needed to make it a great park.

dtnphx Aug 15, 2010 6:44 PM

Officials taking new look at old plans for Deck Park

by Connie Cone Sexton - Aug. 15, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Work is under way to pump new life into a 32-acre park that floats above the Deck Park Tunnel near downtown Phoenix.

City officials are dusting off the late 1980s original master plan and hope one day to find the money to see envisioned projects become real.

Twenty years ago this month, Valley residents flocked to the opening of the tunnel, a marvel of transportation engineering that cut a hole through a half-mile of central Phoenix real estate.

Then and now: Deck Park Tunnel/Hance Park

It was the final puzzle piece to finish Interstate 10 and create an unbroken 2,400-mile-plus stretch between California and Florida.

But the tunnel was also one of the biggest bonanzas for the city of Phoenix: a chance to create a park atop the portion of the Papago Freeway between Third Avenue and Third Street, just south of McDowell Road.

Thousands of homes had already been cleared when initial plans called for the highway segment to be aboveground.

Officials and area residents had grand plans for a sort of mini Central Park: Visitors to the Deck Park would be able to stroll through a grassy picnic area, pass through a grove of trees into a bustling urban plaza, snap a few pictures by the park's fountains and carousel, then head for a concert at the outdoor amphitheater.

Since opening in 1992 as the renamed Margaret T. Hance Park, the site offers several amenities, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Irish Cultural Center and large expanses of grass, but it lacks the allure that city leaders hoped to see.

Downturns in the economy and constraints on the Phoenix budget kept the city from adding features like the amphitheater and carrousel. Although a handful of festivals are held outside the Burton Barr Central Library, which sits on the northern midpoint of the park, more are needed, observers say.

But with a resurgence of interest and activity in downtown Phoenix and new residents moving into surrounding historic homes, the time is right to take another look at the park, said Tom Byrne, a landscape architect for the city.

The potential for the site is great, he said, adding: "It has good bones but not a lot of attractions or things in the park to stimulate activity."

A task force reviewing the park and neighbors say they'd like to see better lighting, maybe a dog park, coordination among the cultural groups to expand activities, a bike-rental shop, food vendors and canopies of shade.

Joan Kelchner, a member of the neighborhood Roosevelt Action Association, is excited that the city is starting what she calls "a very aggressive attempt to update the park."

Kelchner, who moved into the Roosevelt Historic District adjacent to the park in 1984, hopes the new visioning of the park will spur the preservation of the city-owned Winship House, a historic building on the west side of the park.

She believes it will take private-public partnerships to truly ignite the master plan for Hance Park. Kelchner suggests a public outdoor market for the site and for artists' lofts to be developed, much like what the original plan envisioned.

"There has been progress at the park, but it's been spotty," she said.

Steve Weiss, secretary of the Downtown Voices Coalition, wishes Hance Park were used more frequently. "The sad thing about some of the Phoenix parks is that they're either ignored or loved to death. Hance Park is falling into the former category."

Jim Burke, Phoenix assistant parks director, is encouraged by the activity he does see.

"There are a lot of folks who jog through or use it as passive recreation," he said. "But it's probably a little underutilized."

Jonathan Davis, a former landscape architect for Howard Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, who was the project coordinator for the deck, said the park and the tunnel came about when the city was coming of age.

The tunnel and park project is an "incredible engineering marvel," said Davis, now president of SEMI North America. "It was a fantastic project that had a real hope to serve as a catalyst for growth."

He said the park was a terrific solution for easing an old wound after the homes had been leveled to make room for the freeway. Instead of a divide that separated neighborhoods, the park, he said, "could be the bridge."

Leo the Dog Aug 16, 2010 3:11 PM

Interesting photos from
Then and Now:Deck Park Tunnel/Hance Park

HooverDam Aug 21, 2010 8:37 AM


Phoenix developer Reid Butler moves forward with vision

Neighbors' opposition to proposal for Central, Camelback holds sway

8 comments by Sadie Jo Smokey - Aug. 20, 2010 11:31 AM
The Arizona Republic

Reid Butler has a vision to transform his property on the southwestern corner of Central Avenue and Camelback Road into a pedestrian-friendly hub connected to the light-rail line.

He's just waiting for the economy to brighten and for neighbors to accept his proposed development, as yet unnamed.

He saw a four-star hotel and parking garage, condos, eateries, art galleries and boutiques. But to do it he had to convince city leaders and nearby neighbors to let him demolish historic homes.

Photos of the Mariposa Street properties

City leaders in July rejected his idea, voting instead to sell six properties - four homes and two vacant lots - on Mariposa Street to buyers committed to restoring them. The city purchased the properties in 2004 while acquiring land for light rail.

Despite the setback, his vision for this corner hasn't dimmed, he says. It just got tougher to create.

"When the cycle turns back up in Arizona by 2013-14, the very best locations will be at the front end of the recovery," Butler said.

Butler admits that his development idea for seven blocks south of Camelback Road may not be the best one. But no one else has proposed another and the city is content with a parking lot.

"The arguing is over," Butler said. "We can't do all the things we hoped to do. . . . We're going to move forward."

A familiar face at City Hall, Butler, 53, is an urban-infill developer and informed resident. He's involved in numerous neighborhood and business organizations. And he has a stake in properties across the city, including two acres at Central Avenue and Camelback Road adjacent to the Uptown light-rail station.

Central and Camelback is a gateway to the heart of historic Phoenix - an area rich with businesses, schools, arts institutions and residential districts blighted by boarded-up buildings and vacant lots.

In 2008, Butler proposed 400-foot-tall towers on the corner. Neighbors objected. The market faltered, and Butler withdrew his proposal. The site, like others in the city, is a home chiefly for campaign signs.

Some neighbors who disagreed with Butler's vision point to his idle projects and past development proposals.

Kim Kasper first met Butler in 1999 when she and neighbors opposed another of his apartment projects. Kasper moved to the Roosevelt Historic District and again ran into Butler in 2002 when he restored eight historic apartment buildings.

"He's got wonderful powers of persuasion," Kasper said. "He's great at performing. He studies neighborhoods. He studies situations. He knows the right people to approach to rally their support."

Playing with history

Last fall, Butler asked the city to delay selling properties it acquired prior to building the Uptown light-rail station and proposed the city sell its properties to developers. Butler argued against expanding the existing parking lots on Camelback Road. He offered to share a multistory parking structure with the city so it could offer 300 park-and-ride spots in the shade.

And the city said no. It had a federal agreement to sell the properties in the Pierson Place Historic District for single-family homes and faced a deadline to sell the properties.

In the spring, after buyers submitted their offers on the properties, Butler spoke with the city about removing the historic zoning on the Mariposa Street homes. Without the zoning, the homes south of the city's park-and-ride lot could be demolished to make way for multifamily housing or commercial development.

Mayor Phil Gordon, who lives in the Pierson Place Historic District,several blocks south of the Mariposa Street properties and Uptown station, alerted neighborhood leaders. Residents who attended the meeting said Gordon didn't mention Butler's name specifically but told them a grass-roots effort was needed to defeat a "developer's" proposal.

Neighbors balk

The neighbors feared not just the height of Butler's 400-foot hotel and condo proposal but that removing the zoning would jeopardize the entire historic district's status. Some claimed changing district boundaries, which the city has done in the past, would nullify a method used since 1986 to preserve more than 5,000 homes in 35 districts. Residents from across the city attended meetings and signed petitions opposing Butler's proposals to delay the sale of the homes and remove historic zoning.

Butler knows historic preservation. For 10 years, he volunteered on the city's Historic Preservation Commission. Historian Donna Reiner, who also served on the commission, said commission members voted to create the Pierson Place district to preserve the neighborhood, which includes seven adobe homes. She joined the ranks of those opposed to Butler's vision.

As opposition grew, e-mails circulated, vilifying an unnamed developer.

"What disappoints me is you couldn't talk about a larger project and how it enhances and contributes to a larger neighborhood," Butler said. "It doesn't bother me if we have different ideas. What bothers me are fliers that go out with lies."

At community meetings, some residents asked Butler why he doesn't develop existing commercial lots along the light-rail corridor and leave historic residential properties alone.

"You can't force people to live where they don't want to live," Butler said. "At Central and Camelback, people want to live there."

If all goes as planned next year, that's where Butler and his wife will live. Butler's wife, Shawna Leach, is in the process of buying two of the city's adobe homes on Mariposa Street. The couple will reside in one home. Leach, an artist, will work in the other.

Read more:
I like Reid Butler and I hope these empty lots get developed, but I just don't get why on Earth he thinks 400' makes sense there. The M&I Bank building across the street is 164' and Landmark on Central is 176', clearly 200' would be a much more acceptable ceiling in that area.

Further even if there were already taller buildings in that area, why should be zoning for more? Phoenix is already vastly over zone height wise and we need to try to keep 350'+ towers in Downtown, they just don't fit in Uptown. Even when the market does recover I just don't see the demand for building what would be the 3rd tallest building in Phoenix that far North.

PHX31 Aug 23, 2010 4:54 PM

I don't know if it was a once-in-a-while thing, a one-time thing, or if it has to do with the renovation of the Chase Tower Plaza so it will be an every-night thing, but I noticed the whole white part of the Chase Tower was lit up last night. I saw it from the airport, and it looked really good.

Vicelord John Aug 23, 2010 5:28 PM

Its been like that a couple months

PHX31 Aug 23, 2010 5:39 PM

Every night? I guess I just haven't noticed.

Vicelord John Aug 23, 2010 6:04 PM

I assume every night. I noticed it for a while then it just became part of the landscape. Maybe if it was off id noitce it? I dunno.

Vicelord John Aug 24, 2010 11:32 PM

old pic

Tito714 Aug 25, 2010 12:19 AM

How old is this? '01-'05?

^^^ wait Dodge theatre is there so '04-'05. How old is Dodge Theatre???

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