Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Containers on Grand: Thinking Outside the Box

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

containers

Taking a rough-looking 470-square-foot metal box and modifying it into a sleek, comfortable living space is just the kind of challenge Brian Stark loves.

“For us, it just makes sense,” Stark said. “We try to look for projects like this.”

Brian is one-half of STARKJAMES llc, the young architecture and contracting firm working on Containers on Grand, a new 20-unit apartment complex on the corner of 12th and Grand avenues using decommissioned shipping containers. Construction on the first eight units begins this month.

In 2005, an estimated 700,000 of these unused freight containers laid in stacks by the hundreds in U.S. port cities, according to the ISBU Association, a nonprofit providing resources and education on container housing. This prompted many innovators, urbanists and builders to start thinking about how to deal with this environmental hazard.

Since then, recycled containers have become trendy to use as vacation homes, storage units and construction site offices. Utilizing containers as architectural elements is pretty simple – they’re cheap, plentiful, and as it turns out, incredibly strong and versatile.

According to Kathleen Santin, one of the partners in Containers on Grand, integrating shipping containers into multi-family residential developments moved slower into the U.S. mainstream than in other countries, but she hopes this project will pave the way.

“I would like this to be a start for more privately-financed young, innovative projects,” she said. “That’s what will grow a city.”

floorplanThe small group of investors is pioneering the second apartment-style container development in the entire U.S., according to Santin, so this is certainly a proof of concept.

“I think the project is a very bold and innovative way to create housing opportunities in the Grand Avenue corridor,” said Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc. “Everyone will be watching to see how they do.”

The architects, Brian Stark and Wesley James, specialize in adaptive reuse projects and utilizing inexpensive materials. For this project, they designed a system and structure that allows the containers to be stacked and interlocked for optimal strength, space and energy efficiency.

“I’m excited that it hasn’t been done before,” Brian Stark said. “This is something new for Phoenix and new for the country.”

Construction on the first phase of the project could begin as early as next week and completed by mid-March, 2015. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Containers on Grand complex will cost between $850 and $950 per month and a wait list has already started.

*Photos courtesy of StarkJames LLC

Downtown Phoenix Holiday Gift Guide

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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Still searching for that perfect gift? Browse this carefully curated list of holiday gift ideas from the folks at Downtown Phoenix, Inc. Ranging from inexpensive stocking stuffers to modern art, these items are bound to please even the most particular person on your shopping list.

Tamales from the Tamale Store, $28 per dozen – Chuck Padilla, Downtown Phoenix Ambassador
With more than a dozen different kinds of tamales to choose from, everyone is likely find a favorite. Select from savory meat tamales, vegetarian, vegan, seasonal varieties and even dessert tamales. With so many choices, how can you go wrong? All the tamales are gluten free except the Chicken Mole and Red Velvet Cake, so they’re perfect for people with certain dietary restrictions. The Tamale Store sets up at the Phoenix Public Market on open-air market days and will be at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

tcroppedTerrarium by TerrarIAN, $50 – R.J. Price, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
From a small converted workshop in his Willo Historic District home, Ian Christiansen of TerrarIAN builds complex miniature ecosystems of vegetation, housed in decorative glass vessels. The closed terrariums create a unique environment for plant growth and allow for the casual observation of essential natural functions that I don’t completely understand. Like photosynthesis and stuff. Pick up your own tiny wonder at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

Earrings from Southwest Designs in Jewelry, $20, Fara Illich, Content Manager
I love Southwest Designs because the jewelry is not only beautiful, but incredibly practical and comfortable too. Made of oxidized copper, each piece is a truly unique shade of marbleized turquoise and sienna. I bought a pair of $20 earrings for my mom last year for Christmas and they’re incredibly light weight, stylish and most importantly, she wears them all the time. Jewelry in all shapes, sizes, designs (and prices) will be available at the Phoestivus market Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.

purecroppedMinimalist Geometric Triangle Necklace from Pure Life Jewelry, $30 – Sara Anderson, Events Manager
I recently bought two matching necklaces for me and a friend back home as an adult version of a best friends necklace. The necklaces are handmade by Arizona-native Jenny Melissa, founder and designer of Pure Life Jewelry, and are cute, affordable and very modern. The designer sells her work at Bunky Boutique, First Friday Art Walks and trunk shows around town.

Stone Grindz Chocolate, $7 per bar – David Stevenson, Marketing Coordinator and “What’s Happening Guide” Editor
Chocolate, of course, is a great gift for everyone on my Christmas list. My favorite is the Salty Almond Chocolate Bar made with single source cacao beans, direct from a Camino Verde farm in Ecuador. The salt really intensifies the raspberry and caramel notes and there’s a distinct brownie-like finish. Stone Grindz is sold at the Phoenix Public Market and will be at Phoestivus Dec. 10 and 17 from 4-9 p.m.  Free shipping is offered on all order overs $50.

saguarocroppedHoliday Saguaro Racer-Back Tank from Bunky Boutique, $34 – Brandi Porter, Community Editor
Take a tour around Bunky Boutique and peruse the local shop’s finely curated selection of clothes, jewelry, handbags and more — many of which are locally made. My favorites are the AZ Love brand t-shirts, which come in an assortment of colors and shapes, and have gone festive with this Holiday Saguaro Racer-Back Tank, featuring the iconic cactus strung with holiday lights. It’s fun, seasonal and just quirky enough to wear year-round.

Fire-Scented Candle by Aspen Bay Candles at Growop, $28 – Mira Word, Marketing and Events Coordinator
This is my favorite candle because of its deliciously fruity and slightly sweet smell. It has a nice soft glow, looks beautiful and burns forever. Not only do these candles smell amazing but all the products are hand-poured in the U.S. using high quality eco-friendly materials. After your candle is done, I love finding ways to up-cycle the pretty glass jar for creative uses around the house.

jeffcroppedOriginal Artwork by Jeff Davis at the Monorchid, prices vary – Dorina Bustamante, Director of Membership Services
I’m obsessed with an exhibit by local digital artist Jeff Davis. I saw his work at the December First Friday Art Walk at Bokeh Gallery inside the Monorchid and was so inspired by it. He creates beautiful geometric artwork using a computer algorithm, which generates really cool blocky and abstract shapes. The results are mesmerizing and the shapes appear to be abstractions of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architecture. This would be a great gift for my dad who loves and collects art.

Santa Claus is Coming to Downtown

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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For Santa Claus, who goes by the alias Glenn Reathaford in the off-season, being jolly isn’t just a job description; it’s a way of life.

“When you’re doing something you truly enjoy, you’re bound to look happy,” he said. “I’ve never had a bad Christmas.”

While his primary residence is obviously the North Pole, Santa actually keeps a second home in Phoenix and works as a bus driver for Washington Elementary School District. But he admits it’s sometimes difficult to hide his true identity from the kids.

santacell“It’s just amazing, even when I’m in the grocery store they’ll look up at me and smile,” he said. “You start to learn what a celebrity feels like.”

As a public figure, Santa takes his job seriously. That includes a pretty extensive wardrobe of custom red velvet suits and what he calls “casual Santa attire.” He also maintains a strict hygiene regimen.

“It’s major work,” Santa said. “You don’t just transform to a good beard overnight, I use lots of oils, conditioners and protein treatments.”

Being the front man for Christmas is no small feat. From the second week in November to New Year’s Eve, he rarely gets a day off, especially in the three weeks leading up to The Big Day.

But even with all the hard work and long hours, seeing the way a child’s face lights up when they see him makes it all worthwhile.

“A smile makes a smile and that smile makes another,” Santa said. “It’s just contagious.”

To meet Santa in-person and catch that magical smile, come to Civic Space Park Friday, Dec. 5 for PJs in Park, a free double feature beginning at 6 p.m. with “The Polar Express,” followed by “Elf” at 8 p.m. Or visit him during one of his Saturday appearances at CityScape.

“I absolutely love the atmosphere being created Downtown,” Santa said. “It can become a tradition to go ice skating, eat dinner, drink hot cocoa and make a whole day of it – it’s just wonderful.”

Santa’s Schedule:
Friday, Dec. 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Civic Space Park
Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2 to 5 p.m. at CityScape
Saturday, Dec. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at CityScape
Saturday, Dec. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at CityScape

Spirits of the Season 2014

Monday, November 24th, 2014

holidayscroppedMake a toast to friends, family and loved ones with Spirits of the Season, a five-week holiday cocktail competition in Downtown Phoenix Nov. 29 through Dec. 17. Create a festive happy hour after work or turn a normal Saturday into a fabulous self-guided cocktail tour. Sample all 11 holiday-inspired concoctions at participating Downtown bars and restaurants and pick your favorite. Voting begins Nov. 29 and the winner is announced Dec. 18. All drinks are available until Jan. 1, 2015.

Vote here for Most Spirited Holiday Cocktail 2014.

catchafirethumbCatch a Fire

Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails at Hotel Palomar, $8

10 Cane Rum, coconut cream, allspice dram, cinnamon syrup and grated nutmeg.

dirysnowmanthumbThe Dirty Snowman

Copper Blues, $10

Baileys Irish Cream, Rumple Minze Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlúa, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur and cream. Garnished with carrot, mint, chocolate and cinnamon.

RudolphsredemptionthumbRudolph’s Redemption Cider

District American Kitchen and Wine Bar at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, $9

Redemption Rye, ginger beer, orange bitters, lemon juice and homemade hard apple cider over holiday ice cubes made with rosemary and maraschino cherries.

southcentralnogoutthumbSouth Central Nog-Out

The Duce, $10

Crusoe Organic Spiced Rum, egg nog, Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg.

PumpkinpaloozathumbPumpkinpalooza

Hard Rock Cafe, $8.25

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whisky, Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream and simple syrup infused with pumpkin puree.

renhotelcroppedR Merry Cocoa

Icon Lounge at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, $9

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, a drizzle of crème de menthe and candy cane sprinkles.

SantajitoMojitothumbSantajito Mojito

My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, $8

Three Olive Raspberry Vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh lime, muddled mint leaves, Sun Orchard Margarita Mix and a splash of Sprite.

frostedmistletoethumbFrosted Mistletoe

Province at Westin Phoenix Downtown, $9

Peppermint schnapps, Midori Melon Liqueur, Prosecco sparkling wine and a Bing cherry served in a sugar-rimmed champagne glass.

snowtinithumbSnowtini

Squid Ink Sushi, $9

Vanilla vodka, Kahlúa, hazelnut liqueur, milk, cinnamon, homemade salted caramel and topped with toasted marshmallows.

strandcroppedAlmond Joyful

The Strand Urban Italian, $8

Malibu coconut flavored rum, chocolate, caramel and cream.

kentuckykringlethumbKentucky Kringle

1130 The Restaurant, $10

Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon, spiced turbinado syrup made in-house and chocolate bitters.

Kick Off the Holiday Season in Downtown Phoenix

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

cityskate

In between decorating the tree, hanging Christmas lights and eating your weight in pie, make some time to gather with friends and family to ring in the holiday season with Downtown Phoenix.

Tree Lighting and CitySkate Grand Opening
CityScape transforms into an urban winter wonderland Saturday, Nov. 29 for the grand opening of CitySkate and official kick off to the holiday season Downtown. Bring the whole family for a tree lighting ceremony, sledding in real snow, photos with Santa, ice skating performances, festive food, live music and more. CitySkate on Central Avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets opens at 3 p.m. and the holiday fun lasts until midnight.

While sipping hot cocoa and eating cookies with your loved ones, don’t forget the many families in need this Christmas. Get into the spirit of giving by donating a non-perishable food item benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank. Collection boxes will be available at the event.

Holidays-in-Downtown_thumbSchedule
Tree lighting: 6 p.m.
Sledding: 3-7 p.m.
Santa photos: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Food vendors with holiday goodies: 3-10 p.m.
Public ice skating: 3-3:20 p.m.; 3:50-5:45 p.m.; 6:25 p.m.-12 a.m.

Looking for some one-on-one time with the big jolly guy? Write a wish list or thank you letter for Santa’s Mailbox – a direct line from CityScape to the North Pole. Or come see him in person. Besides the Downtown holiday kick off Nov. 29, Santa will be dropping by CityScape regularly to make lists, check them twice and find out who’s been naughty or nice.

ice-skatesSanta at CityScape:
Saturday, Nov. 29: 4-8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6: 2-5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 13: 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 20: 9 a.m.-noon

cocktail-glassSpirits of the Season
Toast the holidays with Spirits of the Season, a five-week holiday cocktail competition Nov. 29 through Dec. 17. Create a festive happy hour after work or turn a Saturday into a self-guided cocktail tour by sampling holiday-inspired concoctions at your favorite Downtown bars and restaurants. The best part? You decide the winner. Voting begins Nov. 29 and the winner is announced Dec. 18.

pjsPJs in the Park
Cozy up in your favorite warm pajamas Dec. 5 and board Downtown’s version of the Polar Express (the light rail) for a free holiday double feature at Civic Space Park. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and your Christmas spirit for a viewing of Disney’s “The Polar Express” at 6 p.m. followed by “Elf” at 8 p.m. PJs in the Park features festive food, a surprise visit from Santa, photo opportunities (and maybe even presents!)

*Top photo courtesy of CityScape Phoenix.

Los Dias de la Crescent Spotlights Local Music and Movies

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

LosDias2014

Sit back, relax and enjoy free local music and movies in the great outdoors at Los Dias de la Crescent Saturday, Nov. 15 and Sunday, Nov. 16 at Civic Space Park.

Saturday’s packed music lineup features 17 Arizona-based artists including fan favorites Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Black Carl, Wooden Indian and Dry River Yacht Club. On Sunday, hop on your bike and ride to the park for a free screening of the Coen Brothers’ cult classic “Raising Arizona” along with “The Best of Dinerwood: A Collection of Phoenix Short Films,” presented by Welcome Diner.

Both days are completely free, all-ages and open to the public featuring full bar, food trucks and the beautiful backdrop of Downtown Phoenix.

bike-in-movieSaturday’s all-day local music festival:
1:30 p.m. Doors open
1:30 p.m. Flower Festival – Alternative
2:10 p.m. Hasty Escape – Americana
2:40 p.m. Vinyl Station – Acoustic Rock
3:10 p.m. Los Sociales – Tejano
3:40 p.m. ¡Caray! – Afro-Cuban
4:15 p.m. Playboy Manbaby – Spaz Funk
4:45 p.m. Sincerely Collins and Miny – Hip Hop
5:20 p.m. The Old Storm – Rock
5:50 p.m. Dry River Yacht Club – Gypsy Rock
6:30 p.m. Bogan Via - Synth-Pop
7:00 p.m. Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta – Big Band Mambo
7:50 p.m. Snake! Snake! Snakes! – Rock
8:20 p.m. Black Carl – Blues Rock

*From Tejano to hip hop, enjoy an eclectic mix of the very best in local music all day long. Please don’t bring chairs, blankets or outside food and drinks.

Sunday’s bike-in movie at the park:
5:00 p.m. Doors open
6:00 p.m. The Best of Dinerwood: A Collection of Phoenix Short Films
7:30 p.m. Screening of “Raising Arizona”

*Bring your favorite blankets and lawn chairs for an evening of Arizona cinema under the stars. No outside food or drinks are allowed.

Your Weekend Guide to Festivals and Events

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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‘Tis the season to ride your bike to a fall festival, eat, drink and be merry. Explore Downtown Phoenix November 7 and 8 and discover funky parades, cumbia music and great local food, drinks and holiday gifts for the whole family.

cala festCALA Alliance International Festival
Celebrate the dynamic fusion of Latino cultural expression through the arts at CALA (Artistic Celebration of the Americas) Alliance International Festival Nov. 7 and 8 at Civic Space Park in Downtown Phoenix

Since its inception in 2011, the festival brings in world-class musicians, renowned guest speakers, amazing artists and chefs to showcase their craft. This year’s focus is the history and evolution of cumbia music, an Afro-Latino rythmn and widely popular style of dance.

When: Friday Nov. 7 from 7-9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 8 from 2-10 p.m.

Where: Civic Space Park

Admission: Friday CALA Lab is $35, which includes the lecture, appetizers and cocktails. VIP after-party is an additional $15. Saturday’s event is free.

Highlights: Friday’s CALA Lab features an intimate evening with Chef Javier Plascencia, Tito Munoz, director of the Phoenix Symphony and Aldo Sanchez, curator at Museo del Estanquillo. Specialty appetizers and cocktails included in the ticket price. On Saturday, get ready for a full day of free family fun with mask-making, face painting, silk screen workshop, cumbia dancing and more. See the schedule for a full list of activities.

Parking: There’s $5 all-day parking available on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Fillmore Street and metered street parking around the park. CALA greatly encourages people to take the light rail, public transportation or ride a bike. Civic Space Park is conveniently located near the Van Buren Street and Central Avenue light rail stop and central transit center with ample bike parking available.

certilocalCertified Local Fall Festival
Just in time for the holiday season, get ready to shop over 100 local food, craft and retail vendors at Certified Local Fall Festival Saturday, Nov. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Complete with live music, beer and wine garden, this is the shopping experience you’ve been dreaming of.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.

Where: Portland Parkway at 10 W. Portland Street.

Admission: Admission is free. Food tickets cost $1 each and each drink sample requires two food tickets.

Highlights: Test your luck at this year’s raffle. Tickets cost $3 each or 2 for $5. Twenty prizes will be announced every hour including local restaurant gift cards, free oil changes, museum memberships and more.

Parking: Limited street parking is available. The festival is conveniently located across from the Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue light rail stop and attendees are encouraged to walk, ride or take public transportation.

grandaveposterGrand Avenue Festival and the Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts
Whimsy meets history at the combined Grand Avenue Festival and Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts (PAPA) Saturday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Over the years, both events have emerged as eclectic community-building celebrations of the arts in Downtown Phoenix.

Based on similar missions, the two events joined forced for the first time this year to create for a full day of fun for the whole family. The festival highlights the burgeoning arts community on Grand Avenue, while the parade invites attendees to dress up, march in the parade, build floats, ride bikes or find a creative way to participate.

When: Saturday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.. The parade begins at dusk.

Where: Along Lower Grand Avenue from 15th Avenue to Van Buren Street. The PAPA stage and festival information booth is located at 1501 W. Grand Avenue, which is good place to start.

Admission: Free to for both events.

Highlights: Local artists will be painting and tiling decorative cement planters during the festival and visitors can design a tile or help create their own mosaic design. For the parade, don’t miss the Untrashed Recycled Fashion Show and creative homemade floats made of found materials.

Parking: Free street parking on both sides of Grand Avenue with additional parking lots at 1501 and 1502 W. Grand Avenue, 1346 W. Roosevelt Street and ample bike parking outside Bragg’s Factory Diner and ThirdSpace.
For more information visit the Grand Avenue Members’ Association or PAPA websites.

Top 10 Halloween Events Downtown

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

halloween

From an adults-only fright night to spook-tactular fun for the whole family, Downtown Phoenix boasts the best Halloween events for ghosts and goblins of all ages. Check out our top ten picks for Friday, Oct. 31 or click here for full list of Halloween happenings.

Family-Friendly

Arizona Science Center Weird Science Halloween: Creeping, Crawling and Clawing Creatures!
Hang out with creatures large and small from the Arizona Animal Welfare League, Arizona Game and Fish Department, ASU Black Widow Lab, Piggie Poo Rescue, Raining Rats Rattery and Sea Life Aquarium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This special exhibit is free with general admission.

swanlakePhoenix Symphony Hall: “Swan Lake” Halloween
Arrive in costume for “Swan Lake” at Phoenix Symphony Hall and receive $35 tickets at the door. Best overall costume wins $500 and the best zombie dancer, traditional dancer and non-dancer win free ballet tickets. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and regular admission is $45 to $158. If you’ve never seen “Swan Lake” with the Phoenix Symphony, this show is a must.

Rosson House Museum: Sixth Annual PoeFest
The Rosson House Museum – with its Gothic architecture and ghost stories – creates the perfect backdrop for Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” Performed every 20 minutes by acclaimed actor James David Porter, this chilling poem marks the grand finale of the Sixth Annual PoeFest, a month-long celebration of Poe’s literary works hosted by the Arizona Curriculum Theater. Located at Heritage and Science Park, tickets to the museum cost $10.

sunsUS Airways Center: Phoenix Suns versus San Antonio Spurs
Celebrate the beginning of the Phoenix Suns’ season at the second home game at US Airways Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. but come early for Halloween-themed activities on the plaza starting at 5 p.m. Show your game ticket on the Valley Metro Light Rail to receive free round-trip fare. Ticket prices start at $25.

Adults Only

Alwun House: Monsters Ball and Menagerie
Join in the macabre revelry of Alwun’s Halloween art party and haunted house. The free haunted house is open to the public from 12 to 6 p.m. and the costume ball, music and performances begin at 8 p.m. Complimentary appetizers and spine-chilling cocktails are available at a cash bar. Tickets for Monsters Ball are $12 to $17 and the house is located at 1204 E. Roosevelt Street.

bandtBitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour: Halloween 2014
Paint your face in the spirit of Dia de los Muertos or dress like a zombie from the Walking Dead – whatever your inspiration, come party on All Hallows’ Eve Bitter and Twisted style. Dance to the funky beats of DJ Joey T and sip Don Julio-inspired libations starting at 8 p.m. Free admission with limited space available.

Crescent Ballroom: Sean Watson’s Halloween Costume Ball
Celebrate Halloween with DJs Sean Watson, Body Tricks, DJ My Funeral and electro-pop songstress Luna Aura. Costumes mandatory for entry. Ticket prizes and giveaways for the most inspired dressers and dancers. The party starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $3 to $5.

flordecalabazaLa Flor De Calabaza Latin Lounge: Halloween Bash
Add some spice to your night at Flor De Calabaza’s Halloween Bash with live music, drink specials and costume contest featuring free bottle service for first prize. Tucked behind Pomo Pizzeria on First and McKinley streets, this is a perfect opportunity to check out one of Downtown’s newest (and hottest) Latin nightclubs.

Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge: Bowlloween
Get ready to bowl, dance and party the night away with multiple DJs and a $1,000 cash prize for best costume. General admission starts at $15 with group discounts and VIP access available. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the costume contest begins at midnight.

Seamus McCaffrey’s Irish Pub and Restaurant: Halloween Costume Party
At Seamus’ the party starts when you get here. Celebrate Halloween Irish-style with free live music, spooky drinks specials and costume contest. Known for having the largest Scotch selection in the state, this party is sure to thrill.

Save a Tree, Plant a Tree, Make a Better Downtown

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

treesnewpicTrees often fall victim to the path of progress. But in the second public-private partnership of its kind, trees uprooted during the course of a big Downtown development project found new homes, thanks in part to the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

After breaking ground Oct. 16 on the Biosciences Partnership Building - a new addition to the University of Arizona College of Medicine near Seventh and Fillmore streets – crews began digging up, boxing and preserving 42 Desert Museum Palo Verdes, Native Mesquites and Sweet Acacias.

These types of trees typically cost between $500 to $1000 each, depending on the size.

“We need to be very mindful that we’re not just ripping trees out of the ground – it’s a sustainability issue,” said Ray Cabrera, streetscape manager at the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “These are public assets and we need to make sure that we’re protecting them.”

In an effort to preserve these mature desert trees, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership worked with the University of Arizona, City of Phoenix, DPR and Sundt Construction and is currently in the process of relocating them to the Space Between “parklet” activation project on First Street between Taylor Place and Valley Youth Theater, where they will provide shade, beauty and interest.

construcworkerAccording to Djuro (Judo) Rosic, LEED AP for DPR Construction, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“We had the opportunity to save some and get rid of some and it worked out perfectly that we saved them all,” said Rosic.

In a similar situation with Arizona State University’s law school, which went under construction in July, the partnership salvaged 43 Dalbergia sissoo trees, commonly known as Indian Rosewoods, which are known for the quality of their shade canopy.

Those survivors are now taking root along Adams Street between Second Avenue and Second Street, where they will replace a number of immature Palo Breas, which are not conducive to small urban tree wells and topple easily during monsoon storms.

“It’s become apparent over the last several years that the life span of these desert trees, here in this urban environment, is much shorter and makes them a hazard,” said Cabrera. “It’s in our best interest to phase out the desert tress that we have in these tiny tree wells and put in something that’s going to thrive.”

Because of this, the newest batch of salvaged desert trees from the U of A site will stay in boxes until larger tree wells or more suitable habitats can be determined.

In all, 85 trees were rescued from the wood chipper since July. But the long-term goal, according to Cabrera, is creating a comfortable, beautiful and safe urban shade canopy that will stand the test of time.

Why We Love Zombies

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

PhxZombieWalk5-15

With a rich history in film, comics, novels and TV shows, it’s no surprise zombies have emerged as beloved, albeit disgusting, pop culture icons. Downtown Phoenix is just one of many communities around the globe that participates in a yearly zombie walk or celebration. Since the inception of Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk in 2009, it has grown from 200 attendees to 20,000 in 2013.

So what is a zombie walk?
The first known zombie walk was held in Toronto in 2003 with seven participants and since then, the trend has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with walks in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK – just to name a few.

Typically, zombie walks bring people together in an urban setting just to have fun. After meeting in a designated location, people in zombie makeup and garb parade through city streets, public spaces or bars (in the case of a zombie pub crawl.) It’s organized for entertainment but often has a charitable component.

PhxZombieWalk5-20How did the annual event find roots in Downtown Phoenix?
In 2009, the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors put together a small zombie walk as a fun event amongst themselves. Zombie walks were just starting to gain popularity in other cities and seemed like a good way to get outside, have fun and explore Downtown. Without much advertising or promotion, over 200 people showed up! From there, the event took off, growing exponentially each year.

Similar to zombie walks around the county, the goal is to raise money for charity. In 2011, Downtown Phoenix Zombie Walk partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank and since then, has collected more than 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for people in need.

Why have zombies grown in worldwide popularity so much in the last decade?
It’s hard to say what spurred the recent craze, but the entertainment industry is certainly a driving force. From recent movies like “World War Z,” TV shows like “The Walking Dead,” comics like DC’s “Blackest Night” and video games like “Resident Evil” – zombies permeate every aspect of pop culture.

IMG_3942How can I get involved in zombie-mania?
Come to Zombie Walk 6 Saturday, Oct. 25! It’s a free community-based event in the heart of Downtown Phoenix at Heritage and Science Park. Featuring live music presented by Psyko Steve, Little Zombie Zone, Four Peaks beer garden and Zombification makeup tent, this festival is a raucous good time for the entire family (including baby zombies.) Doors open at 2:00 p.m., the walk begins at dusk and the party doesn’t stop until 11:00 p.m.!

How do I make myself looks like a zombie?
The first 400 people to bring a non-perishable food item benefiting St. Mary’s Food Bank will receive a voucher for one free zombie makeover. Or you can watch our video tutorial that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a zombie look in 15 minutes or less using inexpensive household items. Whether you’re a newbie to the walk or a zombie veteran, we greatly encourage everyone to bring canned food donations benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank.

*First and second photos courtesy of Mr. Anathema Photography. Last photo courtesy of 98KUPD.