The Regional Economic Development Associated visited Phoenix, AZ this spring break to learn how the city’s public and private institutions work together to foster economic development. The trip is one part of a bigger plan to encourage discussion and activity between El Paso’s institutions and community in an effort to progress economic development.
REDA met with representatives from the Phoenix City Planning Department, the Phoenix Convention Center, the Arizona State University Downtown Campus, the Phoenix Economic Development Department, the Phoenix Visitors & Convention Bureau, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Valley Metro, and CityScape.
Below is a journal of the trip’s activities.
Saturday, March 13, 2010, 10:30am
Dairy Queen, Transmountain Road, El Paso, TX
REDA meets at the rendezvous point on the outskirts of El Paso. Members make last minute phone calls and stock up on water and ice cream.
Saturday, March 13, 2010, 10:30am – 5:30pm
El Paso, TX – New Mexico – Tucson, AZ – Phoenix, AZ
The REDA caravan snaps pictures of giant roadrunners, debates stopping at The Thing, discovers mountain full of cacti, and finally reaches its destination point: In-N-Out.
Sunday, March 14, 2010, 1:00-4:00pm
Downtown, Phoenix, AZ
REDA visited the Arizona Center in downtown to catch a movie and eat dinner. The Arizona Center, developed in the 1980’s, was the largest private downtown investment until RED’s CityScape project.
Sunday, March 14, 2010, 5:30pm
Comfort Inn, Phoenix, AZ
The group hosted a quick planning and research session in one of the hotel rooms. Members compiled maps and directions, information about our presenters and destinations, and potential questions for our meeting hosts.
Monday, March 15, 2010, 9:45pm
City Hall, Phoenix, AZ
REDA met with Curt Upton, staffer at the City of Phoenix Planning Department and Light Rail Planning/Development Coordinator, at Phoenix’s beautiful City Hall building. Curt escorted us to our first stop, the newly renovated Phoenix Convention Center.
Monday, March 15, 2010, 10:00-11:30pm
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
Dan Padilla, Event Operations Manager, introduced the Convention Center as “the best building in the world.” Mr. Padilla led a tour around the Convention Center, including the executive conference centers to the 48,000 sq. foot ballroom. The Convention Center was one of the city’s key projects for their downtown redevelopment efforts.
Monday, March 15, 2010, 2:00-3:15pm
Downtown ASU Campus, Phoenix, AZ
Jeremy Legg, Economic Development Program Manager, toured the group around the downtown ASU campus. The successful city and state collaboration that made the project possible impressed us most. The downtown campus, featuring the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, newly built student housing, and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, brings a consistent flow of bodies downtown.
Monday, March 15, 2010, 3:30-4:30pm
City Hall, Phoenix, AZ
The group met with representatives from the Phoenix City Planning Department, Phoenix Economic Development, the Phoenix Visitors & Convention Bureau, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and METRO Rail. The meeting participants discussed their involvement in the city’s economic development efforts and shared how they collaborated to ensure effective public policy.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 10:00-11:00am
METRO Headquarters, Phoenix, AZ
Ben Limmer, Planner at METRO, talked about the Valley Metro light rail’s economic impact and the Metro’s importance to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. He also touched on the political and planning sides of the project. Finally, REDA, Mr. Limmer, and Mr. Upton discussed the feasibility of developing a light rail system in El Paso.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 11:00-2:30pm
Downtown Phoenix, AZ – Downtown Tempe, AZ
REDA rode the light rail to Downtown Tempe. Mr. Upton selected this route because it showed that the light rail did not strictly stretch through high-income neighborhoods.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 2:30-3:30pm
CityScape project, Phoenix, AZ
REDA capped off the professional portion of its trip with a tour of the exciting CityScape project. The presenter, Jeff Moloznik, Development Manager of Red Development, discussed the importance of city assistance for private investment. CityScape is constructing towers and buildings for residential, recreation, and retail use. CityScape, said to be 80% leased, is Phoenix’s largest private downtown investment in over twenty years.
Special thanks to our sponsor Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua and Carol Johnson, Curt Upton, and the City of Phoenix.