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HooverDam Jun 7, 2011 12:11 AM

So am I the only dummy that didn't know Best Western is HQ'd in Phoenix? It looks like they're over by the Biltmore's golf course. It drives me crazy that so few large Phoenix based corporations have a Downtown presence.

It sure would be nice for Best Western to have their corporate HQ in Downtown PHX with a flagship hotel as part of it. I know most of their locations are suburban/roadside motel type establishments, but they do have some urban locations, see here:

http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/9...ernboweryg.jpg

According to their WikiP page they are offering some more upscale "Best Western Premiere" locations in Europe & Asia. If that's something they're looking to eventually roll out in the US it would be terrific for Downtown PHX to be the launching point for it.

Like I've said over & over, the next Mayor really needs to sit down with PetsSmart, Taser, Cold Stone, Best Western, CSK Auto, et cetera and try to lure them Downtown.

EDIT: Welp looks like their WikiP page is out of date, they do have BW Premiers in the US, here's a list:

http://www.bestwestern.com/premier/h...=united-states

All the more reason there ought to be one Downtown. We're still woefully short on Downtown hotel rooms and I imagine even a BW "Premier" would still offer a more affordable price for lower end convention and business travelers than current Downtown hotels.

westbev93 Jun 7, 2011 12:21 AM

I'm with you on all of that, but didn't CSK just get bought out? Are they going to continue their hq here?

HooverDam Jun 7, 2011 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by westbev93 (Post 5306073)
I'm with you on all of that, but didn't CSK just get bought out? Are they going to continue their hq here?

Hm a bit of internetting seems to say thats the case. Though I imagine they may keep a Western US/regional HQ here. Though that of course would reduce their need and thus likelihood of building something taller/higher density downtown.

Either way the general point stands even if not for that particular company anymore.

westbev93 Jun 7, 2011 12:28 AM

On the topic of headquarters, I always thought it would be cool for Fender to have a visible presence (I don't think many people know they are even here). With the music and entertainment venues downtown, it would be cool for them to have some sort of public marketing thing downtown in conjunction with their corporate offices.

Vicelord John Jun 7, 2011 12:34 AM

BWI does have the corporate offices just behind Arizona Biltmore. They are accessible from 24th Street or 25th street about 3 blocks south of Lincoln.

I used to get so damned frustrated when I'd try to cut through there on the way home from work at Biltmore and they would have the gates locked... that's about all my experience with it.

I believe they are located there because of rents and the fact they have a nice location with grass and trees with mountain views. They would undoubtedly have to pay more to be downtown, and they'd be giving up all the easy surface parking for employees, grassy and mountain views, and the cache of saying they have a Biltmore location.

As for CSK, it's never going to happen. Since O'Reilly Auto is based in Missouri, and they don't have enough of a local presence in Phoenix, there would be no need for a large scale corporate office here.

westbev93 Jun 7, 2011 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5306097)

I believe they are located there because of rents and the fact they have a nice location with grass and trees with mountain views. They would undoubtedly have to pay more to be downtown, and they'd be giving up all the easy surface parking for employees, grassy and mountain views, and the cache of saying they have a Biltmore location.

You've highlighted why none of those corporate headquarters will be moving downtown any time soon.

HooverDam Jun 7, 2011 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5306097)

I believe they are located there because of rents and the fact they have a nice location with grass and trees with mountain views. They would undoubtedly have to pay more to be downtown, and they'd be giving up all the easy surface parking for employees, grassy and mountain views, and the cache of saying they have a Biltmore location.
.

Yep thats the problem with most of the big corporate HQs that are located in more suburban areas. Thats why I think its something the Mayor would actually have to take a leadership role in, a corporate migration Downtown isn't going to happen on its own here.

The City has to find a way to make Downtown more appealing for those types of companies. If TIFs were available in AZ I think that would be a big part of the puzzle. A PHX Mayor leading other Statewide Mayors into pressuring the Statehouse into allowing TIFs is another thing that needs to happen.

In a weird way it may be easier to attract a few large companies downtown at once rather than one at a time. If (in a future world of a good economy) you had a few Corporations coming Downtown as part of a larger plan that helped Downtown achieve that tipping point we're all waiting for it would maybe be more appealing than one company having to feel like they're Urban Pioneers.

PhxDowntowner Jun 7, 2011 3:54 PM

I think the key to getting companies to HQ in downtown, aside from financial incentives like TIFs, is the residential. If downtown becomes a place that a quality workforce wants to live (and can from a capacity standpoint, which we currently don't have), more companies will eyeball downtown as an attractive location. So basically I think we need more quality housing downtown to increase our appeal to HQ location decisions.

DowntownDweller Jun 7, 2011 5:57 PM

My company is moving its AZ HQ to CityScape in a few months. Wonder if I'll still be working here by then.

Vicelord John Jun 7, 2011 6:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DowntownDweller (Post 5306922)
My company is moving its AZ HQ to CityScape in a few months. Wonder if I'll still be working here by then.

This is a move from Midtown, though. Correct?

PhxDowntowner Jun 7, 2011 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5306940)
This is a move from Midtown, though. Correct?

Even if that's true, it could still be positive b/c maybe it frees up space/opportunity for some other company farther out than Midtown to come to Midtown. And then maybe some other company way out on the fringe moves inward to fill that company's spot. Incremental shifts to the center; squeeze it in, people! :banana:

I dunno, just a thought.

westbev93 Jun 7, 2011 9:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DowntownDweller (Post 5306922)
My company is moving its AZ HQ to CityScape in a few months. Wonder if I'll still be working here by then.

Are you the one who mentioned their company moving out of Park Central? It would be nice to see that go back to retail use rather than office. There is already a ton of empty office in midtown to fill if somebody were really interested in moving closer to the core. I was speaking with a colleague in court yesterday, and his building at 3101 Central is over 30% empty (just one example of many in midtown).

HooverDam Jun 7, 2011 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PhxDowntowner (Post 5306744)
I think the key to getting companies to HQ in downtown, aside from financial incentives like TIFs, is the residential. If downtown becomes a place that a quality workforce wants to live (and can from a capacity standpoint, which we currently don't have), more companies will eyeball downtown as an attractive location. So basically I think we need more quality housing downtown to increase our appeal to HQ location decisions.

That's certainly true. But how do we attract more folks to live Downtown without the jobs and retail that make up an urban life in the 1st place? Its the whole chicken-egg situation as always.

I think maybe a big part of it is shade and trees. If you make the Downtown core the shadiest, most walkable, most misted, well awned (is that a phrase? I'm trying to say, 'place with most awnings'), et cetera place in town I think thats the 1st big step that the City itself can take. Put in the infrastructure for the pedestrian lifestyle, even if there's not a super abundance of places to walk yet, and maybe it'll all grow from there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by westbev93 (Post 5307291)
Are you the one who mentioned their company moving out of Park Central? It would be nice to see that go back to retail use rather than office. There is already a ton of empty office in midtown to fill if somebody were really interested in moving closer to the core. I was speaking with a colleague in court yesterday, and his building at 3101 Central is over 30% empty (just one example of many in midtown).

Thats disappointing to hear. A healthy Midtown is good for Downtown, in an ideal world Midtown would operate as office relief for Downtown with slightly lower rents.

I agree that it would be nice to see Park Central have more retail. I'd love that parking lot out front to be turned into a park/square ("Park Central Square" perhaps) with towers (20-ish stories) to the North & South with retail on the bottom floor. That area could be one of the best spots for grocery and other large-ish scale retail in the Central core.

E: Regarding turning Park Centrals surface lot into a great public space for Midtown, check out this awesome planned public square for Masdar, UAE:

http://inhabitat.com/lavas-winning-d...darcitycenter/

Those giant lilipad shade structures are reminiscent of FLW's Johnson Wax Bldg and more locally of the 44th St/Walter Bimson Valley National Bank and its 'mushrooms'. Those pads open during the day & close at night, I imagine they could be closed during the nice winter months to allow more sun into the plaza too.

westbev93 Jun 7, 2011 10:34 PM

Making downtown more friendly at the human level would help bring more uses of all kinds. That means shade here. It's hard to convince businesses or people to move to an urban environment, which is supposed to be pedestrian friendly, when the weather can be so oppressive. Plus, shading is very cheap compared to the other silver bullets we keep trying.

Midtown office is in rough shape. Many firms are moving downtown due to the cheap rents and proximity to the courts. Then the midtown offices just sit vacant. As for cheap midtown rents, I can tell you that my building (3003 central) is just as expensive, if not more, than comparable buildings downtown. For so long there was such an aversion to downtown that midtown was actually cheaper. That's how so many law firms ended up in midtown and are only now going back downtown due to new class a buildings and an improved perception of downtown overall.

I don't agree with the perception, but for many years lawyers wanted midtown because their clients perceived it as nicer/safer/cleaner/more expensive than downtown.

Park Central is the only realistic option for large-scale retail in the core. In this economic client, it will be far easier to revamp the existing large-scale buildings on that site rather than build all new somewhere else.

Vicelord John Jun 8, 2011 12:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by westbev93 (Post 5307352)
I don't agree with the perception, but for many years lawyers wanted midtown because their clients perceived it as nicer/safer/cleaner/more expensive than downtown.

I've always had the same perception, as long as I am on Central. Go one block off central and all that shit is out the fuggin window. I don't want to be anywhere near 3rd ave and Osborn at any time of day.

Buckeye Native 001 Jun 8, 2011 1:24 AM

I also used to work at Park Central (did you by chance work for United Healthcare, Downtown Dweller?) and the lack of things to eat (within a certain price range) around there drove me nuts. If I wanted decent food for lunch, I had to go either up to Camelback or closer to Downtown, which took a significant chunk of time off my lunch break factoring in traffic and other miscellaneous issues.

And yeah, I used to send packages from the post office near the Safeway on 7th and Osborne. That area's gone to hell (Indian School looks worse).

I'm not sure if it would be easy or cheap to turn Park Central back into a retail center. The interior is a clusterfuck of weird corridors and oddly-proportioned offices.

DowntownDweller Jun 8, 2011 2:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5306940)
This is a move from Midtown, though. Correct?

That facility is moving to CS. There are 6 valley locations, we are going to 2, with the HQ in CS, and the IT-types down by the Broadway Curve. There's a lot of pissed off people in the IT camp.

westbev93 Jun 8, 2011 3:19 PM

Weird corridors and offices are easier and cheaper than new buildings. For all the offices in the area, Park Central is extremely light on retail and restaurants. One can only eat Thai Basil so much.

On top of that, you have all the nearby historic neighborhoods that need and would support larger-scale retail that they now travel to Colonnade/Town & Country for. If Park Central will be empty, it seems very logical to replace the office with the original intended use of retail.

Back to the discussion about 7th Ave and McDowell, I keep riding by on my bike, and I still don't see anything going on at all.

PhxDowntowner Jun 8, 2011 3:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by westbev93 (Post 5308042)
Back to the discussion about 7th Ave and McDowell, I keep riding by on my bike, and I still don't see anything going on at all.

It's not quite at 7th Ave, but are you guys aware of the work happening around 335 W. McDowell? (used to be Sage Antiques)

westbev93 Jun 8, 2011 3:58 PM

Didn't pay any attention to that this morning. I'll look on my way back home. What's going on there (or is that what you are asking)?


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