Ratero Reporter suggests additional reading

"Gateway Arch McDowell Road"
Phoenix busness gazzette 1995 article
In 1991 the City of Phoenix placed one of the first public art projects on McDowell Road at 17th Street the "Gateway Arch", it was to launch of the widening of McDowell and a special improvement district.  "and it was an effort to revive the spirits-and fortunes- of the Miricle Mile. At it's dedication, the arch was said to 'symbolize reliving the miricle'". "How soon we forget the "'Miracle Mile," as East McDowell Road was grandly known in the 1950s when it was the first major business district outside of downtown." more.
And from City of Phoenix Arts and Culture department story here.

"Golden McDowell"
The Arizona Republic July 29,1987

"A new design plan, which could help bring East McDowell Road 'bakc to its former glory.' was unanimously approved by the Phonis City Council on July 21. The plan for McDowell Road, from Central Avenue to 19th Street, is a joint effort of the city and the Easst McDowell Civic Association." says Julia Lobaco of the Republic.......a compilation of varous articles from this exciting time on this subject can be read here

By Kimber Lanning copyright 2008, Mid Town Messinger/Quicksilver Publishing
The central Phoenix area is about to take another great leap forward. In early April, the Phoenix City Council will consider a new zoning ordinance that establishes an Arts, Culture and Small Business Overlay District (ACOD) in downtown Phoenix that will help establish a simplified process for business owners hoping to set up shop in our burgeuning downtown. As we build more density in our central core, it is imperative that we consider ways such as this to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit that is begining to thrive more


March 12, 2008
Section: Northeast Phoenix Republic
Edition: Final Chaser
Page: 33

Reuse zoning proposal would benefit small business
Jeff Williamson
Soon, the Phoenix City Council will consider a proposed zoning ordinance that would establish an Arts, Culture and Small Business Overlay District downtown.

The ordinance would streamline the redevelopment process for existing buildings, making it easier for entrepreneurs and small-business owners to set up shop in older, unoccupied structures. This type of adaptive reuse would benefit our community in a number of ways: * Increases density and infill, which decreases strain on public safety services. * Fosters growth of small business. * Activates and utilizes existing infrastructure, such as power, water, sewer and street systems. * Enhances community character. * Provides ecological and energy savings. The Arts, Culture and Small Business Overlay District represents the maturation of our community as a place that encourages urbanization through mixed-use occupancies that recognize the value of creative, adaptive reuse of existing spaces. As we become more aware of the environmental consequence of our choices, creating walkable neighborhoods, supported by mass transit and carbon-fixing shade, promotes public health and a higher quality of life. This is the opposite of sprawl and the substantive advent of true community building. Not only does adaptive reuse have environmental benefits, it also sparks profound economic benefits for our community. According to 2002 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, firms with 0 to 99 employees make up 94.7 percent of all Arizona businesses and they employee 33 percent of all Arizona workers, taking home more than $21 billion in wages and salary. By making it easier for entrepreneurs to renovate and modernize existing buildings and by training dedicated city staff to work collaboratively with these urban pioneers, Phoenix would burnish its credentials as a creative environment, friendly to entrepreneurs of all stripes. This proposed ordinance has evolved out of almost four years of work by dedicated staff, citizens, and an extensive public involvement process. As the director of a major cultural institution that cares about the quality of life throughout our region, and as a member of the board for Local First Arizona, an organization that advocates for a sustainable and diverse local economy, I urge the adoption of this necessary and important development tool. Congratulations to the citizen groups and staff who worked hard to draft an opportunity to embrace urbanism without harm and with significant potential to brand our uniqueness. Additionally, much appreciation is due to Mayor Phil Gordon, who is working to develop an ombudsman position to assist business owners and streamline the process for the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Let's urge our city leaders to endorse this good work and enact the ordinance soon. Jeff Williamson is president of the Arizona Zoological Society and a board member of Local First Arizona. SEE RELATED STORY: "Arts district welcomes zoning plan," page 3.


Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

March 14, 2008
Section: Phoenix Republic 3
Edition: Final Chaser
Page: 1

Melrose area street fair to shut 7th Ave.
Betty Reid, The Arizona Republic

Thousands are expected to attend the seventh annual Melrose on Seventh Avenue Street Fair on Saturday.
Seventh Avenue between Indian School Road and Campbell Avenue will be closed from 3 to 9 p.m.

The fair will have live music, street performers, artists' crafts, children's activities and a classic car show.

About 140 vendors will be on hand, Phoenix officials said.

District 4 Councilman Tom Simplot plans to attend the fair, which is expected to attract 9,000 people.

"(The fair) has a welcoming, nostalgic feel, and this street fair gives you a prime taste of that," Simplot said. "It demonstrates a true partnership between local businesses and adjacent neighborhoods, as everyone is involved in some way, either by having a booth, serving on the planning committee or just coming out and having a good time."

Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


April 21, 2008
Section: Front
Edition: Final Chaser
Page: A1

More homeowners are mailing keys to lenders Catherine Reagor, The Arizona Republic

Instead of mailing in their monthly mortgage payment, a growing number of homeowners are sending lenders their keys.
As housing prices fall and rates on some mortgage loans rise, more homeowners are walking away from their homes, according to housing-market watchers.

These typically are people who can afford their mortgage but don't want to pay on a loan that is more than their house is worth. They'll live with the stigma or credit ding from a foreclosure just to get out from under their loan.

The growing trend, called "jingle mail," is pushing up foreclosures and alarming market watchers, particularly in metropolitan Phoenix, where home prices have dropped 18 percent in the past year.

Foreclosures across metropolitan Phoenix climbed to a record 2,365 in March, according to the real-estate data firm Information Market. That is more than quadruple the number from a year ago.

Joan Shaffer is turning in the keys of the north Phoenix Tatum Ranch home she bought with her daughter in late 2005. They put nothing down on the home, took out a loan that let them pay less than they owed each month and now their loan is $200,000 more than the house is worth.

"We paid $585,000. It was the peak of the market, but no one told us,"
said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado. "We would probably have to spend the next 20 years trying to get right on the mortgage.
That's crazy."

Assessing trend

The mortgage industry is struggling to estimate how many homes are going into foreclosure because of people who don't want to pay, rather than because of people who can't afford to pay.

Industry estimates and anecdotes suggest the figure is climbing in the Valley because so many people who bought during the peak are now upside down in their mortgages.

Real-estate agents are hearing it more often from people who can't sell. Mortgage lenders are reporting getting more jingle mail, and now there are businesses advising homeowners how to walk away.

"Even if someone put 5 to 10 percent down but bought in the Valley during '05 or '06, they are likely upside down now," said Brett Barry of the north Phoenix office of Realty Executives. "I don't advise people to walk away, but how do you convince someone to keep paying when they owe so much more than their home is worth? They can't sell, and their lender isn't going to forgive $100,000 in principal. It's not good."

Investors started the walk-away trend, but it has spread to the typical homeowner.

Housing analyst RL Brown said he is hearing about young families who bought during the peak and are now walking away from houses as the interest rates on their loans reset and payments increase.

"Instead of calling it a foreclosure, these couples are saying, 'We're giving it back to the bank,' and then moving a couple of blocks away and renting a home for half their mortgage payment," he said. "These people are finding it easier to walk away."

Businesses are popping up that guide homeowners on the best way to walk away from their mortgage. One firm,, tells unhappy homeowners to ask themselves these questions: Are you stressed out about your mortgage payments? Do you have little or no equity in your home? What if you could live payment-free for up to eight months and walk away without owing a penny?

Avoiding bankruptcy

For the first time, homeowners seem to be more willing to let their houses go into foreclosure to stave off bankruptcy.

In the past, homeowners would file for bankruptcy to keep their houses. Now, mortgage delinquencies have climbed faster and higher than late payments on credit-card and car loans. Economists say that is a sign people are more concerned about their credit than their home.

"Homes have gone from being a place to live to a disposable investment for some," said Jay Butler, director of realty studies at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. "It used to be that paying the mortgage was the top priority. Now, it's keeping the credit cards."

He said one reason is some homeowners think that with all the foreclosures, there will be programs to help them when they buy again.

It usually takes three years of perfect credit payments after a bankruptcy before someone's credit score is high enough to buy a home.
Recently, people could buy a home again two years after a foreclosure.

Also, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 took some of the penalty away from a homeowner filing for foreclosure. Before the act, if a bank sold a foreclosed home for less than the mortgage and forgave the rest of the debt, the borrower had to pay tax on the difference. Now, the Internal Revenue Service is forgiving the difference.

Lenders push back

But now as the number of people walking away is climbing, lenders are working on ways to punish those homeowners.

Earlier this week, mortgage giant Fannie Mae said homeowners who stop making payments and then send their keys back to lenders months later will not be able to get another mortgage through that firm for five years. Freddie Mac also is going after walk-away borrowers, mortgage lenders say.

Neighbors of the people who walk way are already being punished by lower home values due to the foreclosure.

"People should hang in there as long as they can, ask for help and try to work with their lender," said Margie O'Campo De Castillo of Arizona Dream Realty. "Foreclosures are dragging down our housing market, and unnecessary foreclosures are selfish and unfair to the homeowners struggling to pay."

Think before walking

According to industry analysts, before you walk away from a mortgage:

* Realize that the lender can legally go after you.

* Think about the taxes you could owe on any portion of the mortgage you don't pay.

* Try to negotiate better loan terms with your lender or do a short sale. With a short sale, a lender agrees that the house can be sold for less than what is owed.

* Think about your neighbors, whose home values may be affected if your home is foreclosed on.

* Consider damage done to your credit.

Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

June 5th 2008
Council OKs Sunnyslope overlay district

by Sadie Jo Smokey - Jun. 5, 2008 01:37 PM
The Arizona Republic
The vision for a mile-long pedestrian-friendly retail and commercial destination in Sunnyslope is one step closer to reality.

The City Council on Wednesday approved an overlay district, a tool for property owners to develop their businesses. Permitted uses now include bed and breakfast establishments, art studios/galleries, a farmers market, a plant nursery, restaurants and live-and-work units.
The Hatcher Road Overlay District will provide modified use and development standards for one portion of Hatcher Road between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street. The road traverses the entire length of the north-central-Phoenix community from 19th Avenue to Cave Creek Road

"There's a lot of small mom-and-pop shops in this overlay that will be able to develop their entire properties in ways they wouldn't have been able to before," said Anne Thompson, a Sunnyslope resident who has been involved with the planning. "One of the great benefits (of the overlay district) is shared parking. You can park down the street and walk to where you want to go."

The Sunnyslope Business Coalition's Hatcher Road subcommittee has worked on the project for four years, said Joel McCabe, who leads the panel.

McCabe said Melrose on Seventh, a stretch on Seventh Avenue between Indian School and Camelback roads, proves destination shopping districts in older neighborhoods can be successful.

"This was a big process for us," McCabe said. "Now we're coming together and looking at what it's going to take to implement this vision for Hatcher Road."

McCabe said businesses and property owners on Hatcher Road have been involved and supportive of the improvements. In addition to the overlay district, the subcommittee envisions shade trees, landscaping, wider sidewalks and night lighting.

"We hope that this can be used as a model for other areas that have very committed neighborhoods and a commercial corridor," McCabe said.

The Hatcher Road subcommittee will meet June 27 at 8 a.m. at Cowden Center, 9202 N. Second St., to discuss ways to further improve the area.
More information is available at 602-870-6060, Ext. 1257.