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MJLO

Downtown Phoenix woes

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There seems to be momentum building downtown Phoenix. As a new resident and Urbanplaneteer, i've been doing alot of research on the city. There is one common theme, in alot of my research. Downtown Phoenix, struggles to attract investment, and solid developements. The proposed four CityScape towers seem to personify it. In an article by the Republic it talks about the many hurdles RED developement will have to overcome to get the towers in the sky. The developers are going to have to submit a formal proposal for purchase of Patriots Square Park. They are also seeking subsidies. The main theme of this project is centered around an urban style shopping center. The major part of it however is residential.

The city is skeptical of the project, and even the developers admit that it will be a challenge to get it going. The city itself however is building the 1000 room Sheraton hotel, to compliment the convention center. I had never thought that a city would develope itself. I had always thought that private investors built things like hotels. The CBD in Phoenix has had a large challenge bringing retail and residentail developement to it's core. It's just so much easier for investors to make money in it's massive sprawling suburbs. This kind of problem I thought would only be endemic of places like Detroit and other rustbelt cities. While Phoenix certainly isn't afflicted with the overwhelming problems of Detroit. To think it could be in the same catagory as such a struggling city is perplexing. Especially when you factor in all the explosive economic, and population growth Phoenix has seen in recent decades. I do think that this project needs to be completed. With a project of that scale, It would definately bring momentum to a CBD that is not representative in the least to a city of Phoenix's size. If the developers are asking for subsidies, Phoenix should be willing to negotiate. The city is buidling hotels in place of private developers. It should in the least be willing to give tax breaks to those willing to invest with private money. I also agree with the article that now is the right time for such a project with aggressive retail. The light rail lines have already seen other projects started to get pushed thru. If anything the introduction of light rail is giving the city a long overdue boost needed to bring it full circle.

What are your thoughts on it. Does anyone have info, or stories on past projects that have failed because of lack of Demand? Or can someone shed light onto why the suburbs create a vacuum on downtown living here?

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I think Phoenix is perhaps one of the best examples of today's urban growth with growth focused more on the outskirts. Good to see that the city looks like it's trying to do something about that now. Unless a city provides some sort of incentive developers will simply keep building on the outskirts because it's usually cheaper.

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I have heard the same thing about Tempe, Read an article in the republic yesterday about the hot Tempe condo market.

Loft guy, If ever you have info post away! I would be most greatful, I haven't been very successful at finding resources thust far. Don't be afraid to create random threads either!

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So something urks me. I want to know why the Coyotes, and the Cards, have their venues so far outside of Phoenix. It seems like developments like Westgate, are in direct competition with Downtown Phoenix. I for one am a very big fan of Phoenix. I'd love nothing more right now, than to see construction projects, and high rises going up all over downtown and uptown Phoenix. But it seems like all the perimeter cities, are competing just as hard for the attention Phoenix should be getting.

Let me tell you guys a story. It's about a city called Detroit. Detroit used to be one of the foremost cities in the country, well on it's way to being one of the vogue cities of the world. What happened to Detroit? Well some say the decline of the auto industry killed it. But I'll go toe to toe with anyone on that. While Detroit lost more than half the residents it had at its peak, It's metropolitan area trippled in size, Metro Detroit continues to gain population even today. Detroits decline was political. In the first half of the 20th century, Detroit, and subsequently southeastern Michigans population exploded. In fact Detroit's population grew so fast, it got so powerful, the state of Michigan passed laws in the 1920's making it virtually impossible for the city to annex anymore land, thereby limiting it's power. The 1950's saw the beginnings of white flight. The cities in the country had grown urban and dense. The African population started migrating to the north for the good jobs, the residents of the cities, given the social climate at the time moved outside of the cities. The same was true of Detroit. The 1960's were a time of great civil upheaval. The climate of the country was changing. Race riots broke out in cities across the country. Detroit saw the worst of them all in July of 67'. Four days of intense rioting left people dead all over the cities east side. The federal gov't sent troops into an American city for the first time effectively declaring it a combat zone. This accelerated the cities population decline to unheard of rates. From 67' to 70', 300,000 people moved out of the city. At this point, banks would not give mortgages to people who wanted to buy homes in the city, because insurance companies refused to insure homes within the city limits. They reasoned it was to unsafe. Detroit's population decline spiraled out of control, the city lost so much of its tax base, it couldn't afford to keep street lights on. Everyone moved to Detroits suburbs. The money and businesses relocated to the suburbs, so much so that the major sporting venues were located in the suburbs. Now the city of Detroit sits on a tipping point of resurgance. 50 years after it's started decline, the city has a chance to maybe comeback, recapture some of it's golden years when it was one of the most revered American cities. But now the power and money for Detroit sits respectively outside of it's borders. Most people in America, regard Detroit as one of the poorest blighted places in the country if not the world. But if you cross the line from Detroit, into Oakland County, you will step into one of the wealthiest places in the US. All the premier designer shopping. Exclusive stores that exist only in places like LA and NYC, five start hotel rooms. Some of the worlds largest corporations. Detroits beholden suburbs, have effectively walled themselves off from the city, and try to pretend like it doesn't exist. They are in a political war with Detroit, trying to attract the same development money that the city so Desperately needs. So the city waits, and it's future remains unsure, because the people who live within minutes of it, refuse to help it.

LOL, ok sorry for that. Do I think Phoenix will ever have the problems that Detroit does? Not in a million years. However when you go to Chicago, you drive down Michigan Ave. You are in one of the worlds premier most fashionable districts. When you drive down 5th ave in New York you are awe struck by the scenes. You have to drive a halfhour away from downtown Detroit to find the same kinds of things. My concern, is that with huge things like Westgate attracting venues like Glendale Stadium. Developing things designed to make them the premier destination in the valley. Downtown Phoenix really must struggle to attract development it needs to develope a healthy city center. If things keep going this way, the way they have been going. I fear a little bit of political tensions in the region, and with that you get stalemate. Stalemate will cement this area into mediocrity. Phoenix, could very much remain unrespected by the main stream, and largely unheard about in the media. In that aspect, the region would have one big problem in common with Detroit. But how do you convince the movers and shakers in the valley to sign on and invest, where it could really help the city?

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I recently heard a saying, I wondered what you guys thought. Someone called phoenix a suburb in search of a city. Would you guys say that is true?

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TOTALLY! O, and I love your tangent on Detroit. Very exciting! Im gonna have to repost that in the Detroit forum and ask people what they think...

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I cannot find the article- but Phoenix was recently named as a "Top 10 up and coming city"... I will try to find which magazine and post the article.

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