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Vicelord John Sep 26, 2010 1:41 AM

Looks like the skinny jeans straight bill hat crowd will have to wait a little longer...

Downtown Mobile Food Court Postponed

By Kelly Green, Wed., Sep. 22 2010 @ 9:18AM Comments (2) Categories: News
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Torched Goodness

We're still scratching our heads from yesterday's announcement that Crave Culinary Festival is being postponed until January 2011.

Today's news: The Mobile Food Court that was supposed to happen every Friday starting October 1 at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market has now been pushed back to November 5, pending permit issues.

The announcement was made September 19 via the Phoenix Street Food Coalition's Twitter, where it also says, "phxstreetfood is only publicizing, the event is being managed independent of the group."

The delay is caused by the current temporary permit and city codes that only allow an open-air market to take place on the property Wednesdays and Saturdays, says Cindy Gentry, who heads Community Food Connections, the non-profit that organizes the market.

The group has a hearing on October 21 for a permanent-use permit, and they will hopefully be able to launch the first Friday in November, Gentry says.

"We decided that until we get squared away with the city, we're not going to open," Gentry says. "We're trying to work with the city to make it something that is more sustainable."

HooverDam Sep 26, 2010 4:22 AM

Hooray the moronic City fucking strikes again! Dragging their feet and throwing road blocks in front of people trying to create positive urban experiences.

dtnphx Oct 1, 2010 10:52 PM

Kind of a bummer, but maybe something better will come along...

My Florist Cafe in Phoenix closes its doors
Howard Seftel - Oct. 1, 2010 12:09 PM
Republic restaurant critic

Once a hot spot on the corner of McDowell and Seventh Avenue, My Florist Café has seemed to be on life support for years.

Now the plug has been pulled: The restaurant's phone has been disconnected. Equipment was being pulled out of the kitchen Friday morning. And word has gone out to performers scheduled for upcoming events that the venue is not available.

Back in its 1990s heyday, My Florist Café attracted a cool crowd of bohemians and suits, folks who had almost no downtown Phoenix-area hangout alternatives. Here you could get decent grub, and a vibe that could make you plausibly pretend you were in a big city.

But over the past decade, as downtown grew, My Florist Café couldn't keep up, and lost its cachet. By 2010, it had pretty much become irrelevant. The restaurant also seemed to suffer when a second location was opened in Ventura, Calif.

scottkag Oct 1, 2010 11:18 PM


Originally Posted by dtnphx (Post 5001489)
My Florist Cafe in Phoenix closes its doors

It was a central Phoenix institution, but I never trusted a restaurant that didn't have a stove in it. Maybe the time has arrived when a Phoenix restaurant has to serve decent food to be a success?

Vicelord John Oct 1, 2010 11:39 PM


Originally Posted by scottkag (Post 5001513)
It was a central Phoenix institution, but I never trusted a restaurant that didn't have a stove in it. Maybe the time has arrived when a Phoenix restaurant has to serve decent food to be a success?

Didn't have a stove? I was there about a year ago, and that might explain why my chicken dish tasted like it had been microwaved.

Look, the place stayed the same for years. It started in a time when mediocre worked downtown, because there wasn't anything else. Everyone kept raising the bar, but My Florist stayed it's course, and that's why it failed. You want to make it in the hospitality or F&B business, you need to keep up with the joneses.

After I spent $55 on a dinner for two with no apps or dessert (just an entree and a drink each) I thought to myself, I could go to Fez, District, Carly's, Fate (at the time), or any other of a number of places and get much more interesting food, much nicer atmosphere, and much better service for that same price.

dtnphx Oct 3, 2010 7:34 AM

Developers, retailers focusing on infill areas
by Max Jarman - Oct. 3, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The next retail-building push won't feature new centers sprouting up on the urban fringes. Retailers, developers and lenders, no longer willing to gamble on future population growth, are focusing on infill sites in existing city cores - closer-in locations surrounded by residents with appealing demographics and solid shopping patterns. Even though the retail market in metro Phoenix is overbuilt as a whole, there are pockets where low vacancy rates and stellar demographics pose unique opportunities, real-estate insiders say.

Many of the sites either were underdeveloped in the days of leapfrog sprawl or feature aging retail centers in need of a face-lift.

Market analysts predict a flurry of activity over the next few years as retailers take advantage of infill locations, cheap rent and a glut of available space to enter the market or expand.

They see opportunities along the Central Avenue corridor in Phoenix and in downtown areas of Scottsdale, Tempe and Glendale. It could breathe new life into aging urban retail centers, improve residential-property values and spark redevelopment in trade areas that have been in decline.

CB Richard Ellis reported that there were 572,091 square feet of retail space under construction in metro Phoenix at the end of the second quarter of 2010, a fraction of the 2.5 million square feet that was being built halfway through 2009.

But developments already in the works, such as the Scottsdale Fashion Square expansion, show demand for infill projects even in a time when consumer spending has dipped.

Financing remains a challenge for any retail development. Beyond the overall credit crunch, some major lenders are hesitant to lend in metro Phoenix's decimated market.

In addition, many infill projects have special challenges, such as complicated property ownership, hostile neighbors and in some cases, environmental problems.

Already, some of the most ambitious retail projects now under way in metro Phoenix are in infill locations.

In downtown Phoenix, the $500 million CityScape project is just now coming on line. While retail projects have traditionally struggled in downtown Phoenix, developers are optimistic the timing is right for CityScape and that an impressive lineup of new retail, restaurant and entertainment tenants will make it a success.

In Scottsdale, the 20-year-old Scottsdale Pavilions power center is undergoing redevelopment that will add 400,000 square feet to the 1-million-square-foot center and make room for more restaurants and entertainment venues.

Flight from fringes

For years, retail developers have led the flight to the fringes, often laying out shopping centers and malls in advance of the housing developments that always have followed.

But the housing-market collapse in 2008 left many projects stranded without enough population to support the new retail businesses. Ever since, canceled projects, closed stores and shopping-center foreclosures have largely been the story of retail real estate.

Economist Elliott Pollack believes it could be at least five years before new shopping-center construction resumes on the fringes.

"The developers got burned, the lenders got burned and the retailers got burned," Phoenix shopping-center developer Jim Pederson said.

As a result, most retailers and lenders are no longer willing to gamble on future growth.

Jeff Green, a Phoenix-based retail-feasibility consultant, said, "They want population in place and won't look at anything in high-growth areas."

Green spent much of the past decade analyzing sites for new retail projects on the fringes of high-growth markets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. Now he's doing feasibility studies for redevelopment projects and infill sites.

"I'm talking to a lot of potential acquirers who are looking for properties with population in place that can be redeveloped," he said.

Projects on the growth fringe that seemed feasible a few years ago have been put on hold or canceled.

Earlier this year Phoenix mall developer Westcor again postponed the already delayed groundbreaking for its 1-million-square-foot Estrella Falls regional mall in Goodyear after several retailers backed out.

"We're now just waiting for our retailers to tell us they are ready to expand to the west side of Phoenix, " Westcor's senior vice president of leasing Mike Nevins said, adding that the company remains committed to the project.

Other prominent retail developers such as Vestar Development Co. are in the same frame of mind.

"Everything we had planned in the growth areas is on hold," said Ryan Desmond, Vestar's director of new development.

Inward focus

Despite the downturn, retailers are looking to grow, especially with appealing locations and lower lease rates almost universally available. Established locations are getting a second look, especially those with solid demographics that are favorable to a particular brand.

"Retailers are revisiting market fundamentals," said Kevin Schuck, a retail specialist in CB Richard Ellis' Phoenix commercial real-estate brokerage. "They're scrutinizing every possible location to see if it warrants expending capital."

Depending on the type of business, retailers are looking for a specific number of households with a set income level residing within an established distance from the store site. Education levels, ethnic mix and average age of residents also are considered.

Department-store executives, for example, may look for 100,000 people in a specific trade area with an average annual household income above $75,000. A supermarket chain may look for 1,000 people within a mile of the store and be content with lower household income.

Schuck believes retail lease rates that have declined 35 percent from the 2006 highs and a glut of vacant "big boxes" of 10,000 square feet or more are providing an additional incentive for retailers to fill in holes in market coverage, expand or upgrade to a better site.

Warehouse grocery retailer Smart & Final plans to move from its 27th Street and Indian School Road location to the higher-end Town & Country Shopping Center at 20th Street and Camelback Road.

Sears recently opened an outlet store in a former Kmart location at Cactus Road and 32nd Street to fill a gap in its market coverage. The store sells discounted appliances, furniture and some clothing.

The glut of space and cheap rent also will present opportunities for existing chains to enter the market for the first time and for new emerging retail concepts, such as temporary so-called pop-up stores.

New arrivals such as craft retailer Hobby Lobby, grocer WinCo Foods and furniture seller the Dump acknowledge that available space and falling rents helped draw them to the market. Discount grocer WinCo is said to be looking for as many as seven sites in metro Phoenix for its warehouse-style supermarkets.

Vestar's Desmond said, "A good infill opportunity will be plausible before a new project in an area formerly characterized by high growth."

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C., said retailers are expanding at a more moderate pace as a result of the recession and in established areas.

Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target Corp., said the retailer is being much more selective about its new store locations.

"We're focusing on underserved markets with strong existing demographics," she said.

The company expects to open 10 new stores in the U.S. this year compared with 118 in 2007. None of the new stores is planned for Arizona, where Target has 48 stores.

Prime spots

Executives who have followed the market for years readily point out pockets of opportunity - areas where low vacancy rates and stellar demographics pose unique opportunities.

Pederson said, "There are areas all over the Valley where an infill retail project would make sense right now."

Those areas include the Central Avenue corridor in Phoenix, downtown Tempe, and central and south Scottsdale, according to Pederson.

Pederson's company has been mentioned as a possible buyer for the Park Central Mall site in central Phoenix.

Green sees opportunities in Phoenix's Arcadia and Biltmore areas and in central Glendale.

Marty De Rito, whose firm, De Rito Partners Inc. is redeveloping Scottsdale Pavilions, is another developer looking for infill retail opportunities.

"They're the only projects that have a chance of getting financing," he said.

Jeff Moloznik, development manager for RED Development LLC's CityScape project, said, "There are so many great sites that got left behind with the push to the suburbs."

Like other retail developers, RED is now focused on infill and redevelopment projects.

The company is working to buy the retail component of the 40-acre Aspen Place at the Sawmill mixed-use redevelopment project near downtown Flagstaff and looking for other opportunities.

Lots of challenges

But infill projects aren't built on raw land with few neighbors nearby. The projects face challenges usually unheard of on the fringes.

"You have to assemble the sites from multiple owners," Pederson said. "Sometimes there is environmental remediation that needs to be done and there are neighbors to deal with who may be resistant to change."

Gordon Keig, a senior vice president with Los Angeles-based Kornwasser Shopping Center Properties, has been battling neighbors in Glendale over a proposed WinCo supermarket at 51st and Peoria avenues. The site is now occupied by a horse farm and neighbors were opposed to the store's planned 24-hour operation and its almost 100,000-square-foot size.

Kornwasser, which is developing the site for Idaho's WinCo, cut the WinCo space to 70,000 square feet to appease the neighbors. Five years ago, the neighbors drove off a Super Target that was planned for the site.

"The neighbors have been very vocal," Keig said. "But I think we have finally arrived at a compromise they can live with."

Keig agrees the project in Glendale has been significantly more challenging than the shopping centers he developed in the growth fringe while the market was still booming.

"We'd hold neighborhood meetings and no one would show up," he said. "There were no neighbors."

Crispy Oct 4, 2010 3:47 PM

I would love for something positive to happen with Park Central.

bwonger06 Oct 4, 2010 7:37 PM


Originally Posted by Crispy (Post 5003777)
I would love for something positive to happen with Park Central.

I would too. Anyone know if there are any concepts in the pipeline? Although the Safeway and Bashas aren't too far away, I think Park Central could use a grocery store.

Crispy Oct 4, 2010 7:46 PM

I've heard Park Central has a complicated ownership structure with multiple parties that makes it difficult to negotiate with. I think it could definitely use a smaller grocery store (similar to Oakville).

HooverDam Oct 4, 2010 7:54 PM


Originally Posted by bwonger06 (Post 5004083)
I would too. Anyone know if there are any concepts in the pipeline? Although the Safeway and Bashas aren't too far away, I think Park Central could use a grocery store.

Back during the boom there was some talks of redeveloping Park Central. I seem to recall some very loose idea of using some of that excess surface parking to develop towers.

Personally I'd like to see the entire surface area in front of Park Central turned into a park/square. Then the areas North and South of that with towers, likely office, 10-20 stories. With ground floor retail facing Central Ave and the park/square in the middle.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I mean this:

Blue= tower
Red= retail

Crispy Oct 4, 2010 7:57 PM

That is a great idea. They need to do something with that massive stretch of street level parking. A park there would be killer.

Vicelord John Oct 6, 2010 1:38 AM

RumBar opening next to The Breadfruit in Phoenix
4 comments by Howard Seftel - Oct. 5, 2010 04:28 PM
Republic restaurant critic

Downtown Phoenix: Get ready to rummmmm . . . ble.
The action will take place at The Breadfruit, a cute Jamaican spot that is expanding into the next-door space that housed an art studio, and turning it into RumBar at the Breadfruit.
Owner Dwayne Allen promises an all-rum lounge, featuring 108 different rums from across the Caribbean. There will be original cocktails, as well as classics like the daiquiri, made famous at Havana's El Floridita Hotel. (Federal law forbids the importation of Cuban rum. The quality of the island's sugar cane makes Cuban rum arguably the world's best.)

Allen says RumBar will also offer rum-friendly nibbles like crispy mango shrimp rolls, salted green banana chips and Red Stripe curried prawns, as well as rum-based desserts like Jamaican black rum cake with cranberry glaze.
Look for a soft opening around mid-December, and a grand opening in January 2011.
Details: 108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix. 602-267-1266,

Read more:

glynnjamin Oct 7, 2010 4:53 PM

Aww...Dwayne. I've had my run-ins with him. First, when I went to Breadfruit and complained about the food and he told me I don't know what jerk chicken is supposed to taste like. I told him "maybe not, but I know it shouldn't be as dry as leather."

And then, after I wrote a bad review about his shitty cooking, he attacked me on Yelp. Good businessman. Should fit in well with the other pompous restaurant moguls of Phoenix like the Two Hippies idiots and Gary Bismore.

On the other hand, more restaurants/bars in DT are always a good thing.

Vicelord John Oct 7, 2010 5:15 PM

Or terry or whatever his name is who owns america's taco shop. That guy is such an arrogant prick its amazing somwone hasn't kicked his ass. I called him out once about carrying a bag of buns, tortillas, and steak from food city into the kitchen and his only reply was that i obviously dont know anything about mexican cooking or quality food. When i told him I'd cook mexican circles around his one trick pony wife, and if i wanted to eat stuff from food city id go buy it myself, he shoved his tail between his legs and walked away.

glynnjamin Oct 7, 2010 5:21 PM

^Oh ya, I forgot about that guy. That place is a joke.

pbenjamin Oct 7, 2010 6:30 PM

May be a one trick pony but it is a damned good trick. I keep going back for the Carne Asada Burrito.

HX_Guy Oct 7, 2010 6:55 PM


Originally Posted by pbenjamin (Post 5007944)
May be a one trick pony but it is a damned good trick. I keep going back for the Carne Asada Burrito.

Eh...I drove down there specifically to have it and it was ok, but I wouldn't make the drive again.

You're going to think I'm nuts but I actually like the carne asada from Ramiro's better..probably because it's the first place I ever had a carne asada burrito so in my mind, that's how it's supposed to taste.

Vicelord John Oct 7, 2010 7:45 PM


Originally Posted by pbenjamin (Post 5007944)
May be a one trick pony but it is a damned good trick. I keep going back for the Carne Asada Burrito.

Don't get out much do you? Veggies? Store bought tortillas? Their high priced and tiny portions of mediocre tasting food is great if you're an ignorant gringo, but eat some real mexican food and you'll realize America's is absolute shit.

La Frontera @ 16th and van buren is the real carne asada burrito, but they don't market to hipster fags so everyone will always go to America's.

glynnjamin Oct 7, 2010 7:54 PM

mmmm La Frontera. Making me miss Mexican food

Vicelord John Oct 7, 2010 9:01 PM

Since we have segued into Mexican food, I want to remind everyone that the burrito, along with chimichangas, were invented in America.

But it's so delicious, who cares?

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