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colin

What's Needed for Downtown Phoenix?

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Thought this was an interesting article:

Mayor calls for downtown law school, more hotels

When the Sheraton opens in 2009, there will be 2,600 hotel rooms in downtown Phoenix.

Other cities Phoenix competes with such as Denver and San Diego, have 5,000 and 6,000 rooms, respectively near their convention facilities, Moore said.

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From what I read awhile ago, doesn't the convention center have a lot of bookings? I think more hotels would be good, in general, Phoenix metro has a high percentage of bookings and I think a lot of people coming for conventions resort to staying in hotels in Tempe.

It seems that ASU is having enough problems with its downtown campus right now that moving another school there would just delay the improvements on the undergradate part and the nursing school.

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Phoenix just isn't a very attractive city for visitors. On Travel+Leisure Magazine's article comparing 25 cities around the nation, it ranks almost dead last in the categories of After dark, Culture, Food/dining, and People. The other categories are Characteristics (Phoenix has good weather), Cityscape, Shopping, and Type of trip, but in none of these categories is Phoenix higher than #18 out of 25.

Building more hotels may not help much if people just aren't excited about visiting Phoenix. Unless it's a skyscraper. Phoenix could use one or two of those.

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It's a little more complicated than that. It's kinda the point I make about Phoenix over and over again. Cities like Denver, San Fran, Chicago, Atlanta, all experienced the bulk of their growth during a period of time when cities had strong central cores. Cars weren't around as much, and you built everything closer together, and more dense because it made more sense from a logistical standpoint, it takes longer to walk. They also grew up during a time when the majority of the immigrants took boats across the ocean, instead of swam accross a river. Which in turn created culturally diverse neighborhoods, with each ethicity, blocking together and maintaining a part of their cutures that can be seen even today. The kind of energy that exists in these places was created over time, and they have built a reputation of being hip/ trendy places to live. Enter post WW2, suburbia. Now take a look at any city that experienced the bulk of it's expansion, with it's infrastructure put in place during the dawn of suburbia. Mostly in the southwest but with exceptions. Phoenix, ABQ, LA (for a city it's size) even older Detroit (which imploded in on itself during the 60's). These cities were built and framed around the automobile. Factor in the current mentality for the majority of the country, what you have are new, and exploding metropolitan areas, with no central core. The culture, liveable hip factor that exists in the established cities, is more spread out. The suburbs holding as much influence as the center. It took time for these things to happen. For these cities to turn into what they are. Phoenix is no different. You can't force a city into it. A developer can try to create something like it, but it still seems fake. The more I explore Phoenix, the more cool it becomes to me, it's a little harder to find sometimes, but the culture is there, we are lacking a few key peices to bring it all together. Couple that with Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale ect... sucking the energy out of the core, and it just makes it that much harder. But it will get there, the city is at a tipping point. LRT, will send it over the edge, leadership is doing something right with this. After that comes everything else, and the core will explode, and everything that we wish were there, will come.

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It's always a chicken-and-egg situation. Do we need more convention bookings to justify more hotels, or do we need more hotels to attract more convention bookings? While the Sheraton addresses a need for mega-hotels to meet convention needs, there's also a need for charming boutique hotels that appeal to travelers, perhaps not convention attendees, who just want a stylish place to stay that is more centrally located than the resorts.

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no one single thing will do it, if it happens fast it'll pretty much be a bunch of things at once

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