Phoenix

Do a trip report here....go to another city and want to relate it to what KC is doing right or could do better? Give us a summary in here.
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dangerboy
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Post by dangerboy »

First trip to Phoenix, short stay in the eastern suburbs. Unfortunately didn't get to check out downtown....

*Sprawl is bad and seems to be getting worse. They seem intent on paving every inch of desert in the Phoenix valley. Even though it's a new metro area, suburban blight is already happening.

*Transportation: roads are excellent, freeways are nicely landscaped and attractive with many resembling Bruce Watkins Drive. Congestion and smog were bad. Bus service was available in the suburbs. Light rail is under construction. Airport is centrally located and very accessible.

*Not much regional identity. Most people identified with their suburb, "the valley" or Arizona rather than Phoenix. People only said "Phoenix" when they specifically referred to the city proper. Lots of fear and little knowledge about the city or urban core.

*Wasn't able to check out much nightlife, but the area of Tempe around ASU looked promising. Much of the city caters to snowbirds and retirees.

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rxlexi
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Post by rxlexi »

sounds a bit depressing, going off of only what I read here...what is there in Phoenix that one can't find elsewhere, better? An honest question...
are we spinning free?

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Post by bahua »

The city itself is very sprawled, and it seems like the downtown has tall buildings because people thought that's just what downtowns are supposed to have, and not because of any centrality or land value. Phoenix, and the Valley of the Sun are the epitome of American sprawl.

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Post by dangerboy »

rxlexi wrote:sounds a bit depressing, going off of only what I read here...what is there in Phoenix that one can't find elsewhere, better? An honest question...
Once you get out of the suburbs, there are the mountains with hiking, skying, etc. The mountains and the Sonoran desert are incredibly beautiful, at least the areas that haven't been paved over yet.

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Post by Mizzou05 »

Downtown Scottsdale is where all the night life is. I just got back from there. was there for 5 days. Spent most of my time is Scottsdale and Surprise. It is a very beautiful region. Just get away from the city. It is also very easy to get from place to place unless you hit rush hour. The people here know that they live in sprawl and deal with it. They have absolutely wonderful roads that even Kansas would be impressed with. All in all i loved my time in the valley. This is my 2nd year goin there and i plan to go again next year.

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Post by phxcat »

I just noticed this thread! What people like about Phoenix is the weather- there are only a few days a year when you would want to wear a jacket (though natives wear them for several months!) if you like golf or baseball, there are few better places. What people here talk about, though, when talking about how much they love Phoenix, is all that Arizona has to offer. There are so many places you can visit by leaving Phoenix- Mexico, SD, LA, LV, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, etc. Downtown is small, more like an office park, but I don't think that people here have the same mentality that we do. They don't really have a concept of downtown, of what a city should look like. Like Mizzou said, they live with the sprawl, but they embrace it too. Nobody thinks twice about buying a new house in Surprise and driving for an hour to get anywhere in their SUV.

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Re: Phoenix

Post by FangKC »

The Mercado in Downtown Phoenix. It was built in the early 1990s by former governor Fife Symington (before he was governor though). ASU has a downtown campus based here. They plan to expand into the neighborhood though.

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Arizona Center

Arizona Center is a downtown shopping district built by Rouse Co. similar to what Power & Light will be like. It was completed in the early 1990s. Much like our P&L District, it was built to service convention center visitors.  Before it was constructed, downtown Phoenix really had NO retail and a scattering of low-quality restaurants. Arizona Center has shops, al fresco restaurants, offices, and a multi-screen AMC movie theater, and a lovely garden area.  The Convention Center, Symphony Hall, Herberger Theater, and the science and history museums are directly to the south a block away.  America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark are also three-to-four blocks away.

I must say the gardens at Arizona Center are simply lovely, and I used to enjoy eating in the al fresco restaurants on the edge of the garden when I still lived in Phoenix.

http://www.arizonacenter.com/
Where downtown Phoenix comes to life.

The Shops at Arizona Center is a key attraction in downtown Phoenix and serves as a dining, entertainment and retail destination for downtown workers, residents and tourists.

Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Arizona Center is an open-air oasis of dining, shopping, ponds and gardens in a unique urban setting. Go to any major city's downtown area and you'll find one spot that seems to give the whole place its power.

It's electricity. In Phoenix, that place is Arizona Center. Here you’ll find great Phoenix dining, unique shopping at a variety of specialty retailers and above all, beautiful gardens to enjoy.

Just minutes from Sky Harbor airport, Arizona Center is centrally located to downtown hotels, the Phoenix Civic Plaza and is within walking distance of all of downtown’s major attractions. Arizona Center is where Phoenix comes to life. Welcome to Arizona Center.
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http://www.arizonacenter.com/html/storedirectory.asp

Photos:

http://phoenix.about.com/od/arizonapict ... nter01.htm
Rising up from a cool, inviting landscape in the heart of downtown Phoenix is the Southwest's "must-see" marketplace, Arizona Center, featuring shopping, dining and entertainment. Shoppers will find the perfect gift at any one of the more than 50 specialty shops and marketplace carts. Dining is an adventure awaiting discovery with nine full-service restaurants, each featuring a comfortable patio area for dining "al fresco." When the sun goes down, the lights come on at Arizona Center's popular nightclubs offering county/western music and dancing, a sing-along piano bar and a sports bar with more than 50 big-screen TVs to catch all the action.
http://www.mustseephoenix.com/attractio ... enter.html

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The Arizona Center is  a popular outdoor shopping experience located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.  The center is a  popular destination for local business men and women, trade show and  theatre goers as well as crowds that flock to the area to see the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury, and Arizona Rattlers.  The Arizona Center has everything;  Men and women's apparel,  gifts, restaurants, entertainment, beautifuly landscaped gardens and pools, and much more.


http://www.azroundup.com/places/arizona%20center.htm
Last edited by FangKC on Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phoenix

Post by FangKC »

Roosevelt Row is to the north of Arizona Center. It's low-rise retail shops and apartments in a sort of Crossroads-like atmosphere.

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Re: Phoenix

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Last edited by FangKC on Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phoenix

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Re: Phoenix

Post by phxcat »

If Arizona Center is similar to what the Power and Light District will be, I think many people here will be sorely disapointed.  From the outside, you would never know the thing exists.  For the most part, everything faces inward.  I think it compares more favorably to Crown Center.

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Re: Phoenix

Post by Tosspot »

phxcat wrote: If Arizona Center is similar to what the Power and Light District will be, I think many people here will be sorely disapointed.  From the outside, you would never know the thing exists.  For the most part, everything faces inward.  I think it compares more favorably to Crown Center.
or maybe also similar to the defunct centertainment plan for the p&l.
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photoblog. 

until further notice i will routinely point out spelling errors committed by any here whom i frequently do battle wit

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Re: Phoenix

Post by FangKC »

I compared it to P&L not because of its design, but because it was an attempt to create an entertainment destination for convention-goers, and to bring some retail back to downtown Phoenix.

Yes, I agree on the negative of the facing inward design.  I thought the same thing when it was built.  I hated driving by it and encountering blank walls.

Because of the harsh nature of the desert environment, a lot of buildings in Phoenix take that approach to design though.  Many of the apartment buildings have interior courtyards with one or two entrances.  The apartment doors often face the courtyard and not the street.

In principle, I don't like that sort of design. However, I must say that I did visit a lot of apartments with courtyards that were simply lovely.  Especially some of the older Spanish ones.  Lush gardens with water features -- usually a pool or large fountain.  Often lit with colored lighting. It created an artificial bubble world in some respects, but done right the effect could be quite nice.
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Re: Phoenix

Post by phxcat »

I do like that design in some of the buildings I have visited- doctor's offices and such.  I went on a date with a girl from New Jersey once and we went downtown hoping to find someplace to eat.  This was before I knew about AZ Center.  We were both shocked and amazed by the lack of anything that stays open afterthe lunch hours.  Downtown sure is clean, though!

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Re: Phoenix

Post by bbqboy »

Phxcat,
Do you know what happened to the Keith Haring Mural?
He painted it during my time in VoTS, but your post made me think of it. There was an innnovative Mexican Place right there too, that was superb. Don't know what happened to it either.
  http://search.phoenixnewtimes.com/Issue ... news3.html

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Re: Phoenix

Post by knucklehead »

I have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express accross the street for the Arizona Center five or six times. I usually walk over to the Arizona Center for dinner once each stay.

First, the general neigborhood around the Arizona Center on the side away from downtown is sketchy. A lot of old cheap wood frame housing and vacant lots. Low density. auto repair shops. I didn't feel threatened walking around by myself at 10 pm when sticking to the main streets, but I wouldn't want to walk around that area at 1 pm by myself. Much of the older parts of phoenix have a gritty industrial low rent feel.

Second, during the summer Arizona Center doesn't seem to do a lot of business. For example, in the Pizza Uno they would average about 20 percent occupancy at 7 pm. Maybe its better during the winter. 

Arizona center is mainly shopping and eating places. There are no fine dinning places. A pizza Uno, a mexican resturant and a pretty decent sports bar seem to be the best places to eat. They also have a food court. There are probably 30 or 40 shops. The shopping is mainly t shirt and gift store type stuff, maybe a sporting goods store, nothing large. There is a movie complex with maybe 20 screens. To me the place seems kind of isolated away from actual downtown. There are not a lot of empty storefronts so the places must be staying in business some how.

The resturants and shops all look inward to a courtyard which doesn't seem odd in Arizona but definately does not create a sense of street life. It is like they wanted spearation from the gritty low density neighborhood.

As far a traffic in Phoenix, some of the people I work with in Phonex report 60 to 90 minute commutes from the burbs into downtown. Much worse than Kansas City in terms of commuting times and distances.

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Re: Phoenix

Post by phxcat »

bbqboy wrote: Phxcat,
Do you know what happened to the Keith Haring Mural?
He painted it during my time in VoTS, but your post made me think of it. There was an innnovative Mexican Place right there too, that was superb. Don't know what happened to it either.
  http://search.phoenixnewtimes.com/Issue ... news3.html
No, I haven't heard of it.  I'll try to see if I can find it next time I'm down there.

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Re: Phoenix

Post by FangKC »

I remember the Keith Haring mural.  It was still up when I lived in Phoenix from 1985-92.  However, I do remember it being taken down at some point.  Wasn't it painted on a wall surround a vacant lot or storefront?  I can't remember exactly where it was.

I do remember it being taken down though.  It seems to me that it was taken apart and part of it ended up at a school, and maybe part of it in a museum or public building.  However, I must admit I can't remember exactly where it ended up. I remember a lot of people were upset with it being removed though.
Last edited by FangKC on Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phoenix

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After reading the New Times article, I do remember that it was at Central and Adams, which I believe the the site of a closed Woolworth store. I can remember that Woolworth too. When it was open, it had a nice little cafeteria in it that I liked with a counter that projected outward every few feet. But instead of it being squared, the counters were half-circles.


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_l--l_______l--l_______l--l_______l--l________l--l_______ l
      -- -- --    -- -- --    -- -- --    -- -- --      -- -- --

I think the all remnant sections of the mural did end up at South Mountain High School.




 
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Re: Phoenix

Post by Highlander »

Made my first trip to Tucson and Phoenix last week with most time spent in Tucson. I found Tucson rather charming with a few issues but wasn't impressed with what I saw of Phoenix (namely a lot of sprawl).

I like the way Tucson interacted with its desert/mountain surroundings and I generally liked the town. It's not all that dense but I found the area between downtown and the University of Arizona fairly walkable. There were 3 interesting parts: 4th Avenue, downtown itself and the area just west of the University of Arizona. There is a streetcar that services the area but we did not take it. It seemed very infrequent. The walkability caveat is that it was 110 degrees for 3 straight days during our visit so walking wasn't that comfortable (although the extremely dry conditions make it manageable) and the city is an attractive place for homeless that in places can be rather aggressive. Outside of that small area one needs a car or at least be willing to rely on Uber/Lyft to get around. The University of Arizona is actually fairly small in terms of area and is worth a stroll around.

What I really enjoyed about Tucson is the ease of escape into the surrounding desert and mountains. Mt Lemmons at over 9000' is just a few miles out of town on a remarkably scenic road and Saguaro National Park has units that are east and west of Tucson. It seems southern Arizona has a distinct culture - somewhat conservative and not like the surrounding states.

I wasn't that impressed with my first time through Sky Harbor airport. Seems they could have done with longer and wider concourses rather than having many short and narrow ones. The result is a dispersal of people and services.

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