March Friday Breakfast Recap
Monday, March 21, 2016
Posted by: Carrie Martin
Downtown Phoenix: What are the development needs for vibrant urbanization?
By Sarah Stecko, Commercial Executive Magazine
The keynote speaker at the Valley Partnership March breakfast, Congressman David Schweikert, emphasized economic recovery and the need to get creative in real estate, particularly in downtown Phoenix. Moderator Kevin Calihan, Senior Vice President at CBRE, shared insight from a commercial real estate developer’s perspective. A company that relocated to the seemingly abandoned Warehouse District in Phoenix told its success story. That company is R&R Partners marketing agency and, although it moved its Phoenix office a few blocks south, it was quite an undertaking. Vice President/Managing Director Matt Silverman admits moving into the 1926 grocery warehouse at Second and Buchanan streets was a “labor of love,” because its historic preservation required collaboration from everyone involved. There were also safety concerns and a flooding issue.
What does this mean for developers and the City of Phoenix overall? After working in the Warehouse District for a few weeks, R&R Partners found the scare of heightened crime to be just a myth, so the area can be ideal for future residents and business owners. Moreover, Valley Partnership is one of the organizations advocating for more funding in flood control to counter what Silverman calls “Lake Buchanan.” And regarding parking, panelist and Vice Mayor Kate Gallego said she believes there’s plenty available and that we need to “maximize its existing assets.”
The panelists agree: The rumor of this area “over the tracks” not being a suitable place for development and redevelopment needs to be dispelled. Developer Dave Krumwiede, Executive Vice President at Lincoln Property Company, says “if you occupy the space, the misconception of it being overpopulated by homeless people and danger will go away.” Krumwiede, who grew up in Phoenix, sees plenty of opportunity and is a big believer of downtown. Some of his development plans include repurposing a building to create more multifamily. He also wants to address the need for closer grocery stores.
“I’d like to see more retail, such as a coffee shop that’s walking distance and a grocery store for my employees,” Silverman says about the Warehouse District. Gallego also proposed a light rail extension into that district to accommodate Silverman’s request for more convenient transportation.