New High-Rise Crowned With Lights Hosts Downtown Phoenix Party

Posted By Mike Padgett

Nov. 9, 2010

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The backers of a $900 million high-rise development in downtown Phoenix and city officials partied for four days last weekend.

On Nov.  4, a Thursday, Mayor Phil Gordon launched a four-day grand opening of CityScape’s first phase with his annual State of Downtown speech. Musical entertainment and a Sunday picnic highlighted the festive weekend-long block party at this mixed-use urban project assembled by developer RED Development.

The development’s lower levels are designed for restaurants, retailers and other businesses on two blocks between Washington and Jefferson streets, First Avenue and First Street.

CityScape features a 24-story office building crowned with a multi-colored halo light that illuminates the top of the building at night. One could call it downtown Phoenix’s towering night light. Or the city’s beacon to future downtown growth. (Copyright © photo by Mike Padgett)

According to its website, CityScape is a mixed-use urban project with 1.8 million square feet. Its first phase will include more than 620,000 square feet of Class A office space, 180,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and nearly 2,700 below-grade parking spaces.

Under construction south of the office tower is another of CityScape’s key components, Hotel Palomar, with 240 rooms on 11 floors. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will be the hotel manager. Opening date for the Hotel Palomar is expected in 2011 or 2012, according to the Kimpton Hotels website. Kimpton’s other Arizona property is FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.

Although the two-block project is only about half finished, CityScape developers invited the public last weekend for a test drive. Between other appointments, I went for a short walk on the property late Saturday morning. It felt better than what CityScape replaced: a square-block parking lot and Patriots Square Park.

CityScape’s festivities were tame when I was there, but it was to be expected. It was a Saturday. Many workers start their Saturdays late, after ignoring alarm clocks and enjoying leisurely breakfasts.

During my short visit, I saw several others walking and studying the new downtown project. A music group was testing its window-rattling amplifiers and other equipment.

A couple visitors in lounge chairs soaked in the sun, reading newspapers. Other visitors meandered back and forth across Central on the pedestrian overpass and at street level (Central was closed for the CityScape block party). According to news reports, visitors packed the CityScape plaza later Saturday and then on Sunday for the public picnic.

CityScape officials said the development is nearly 100 percent leased. Much of the 24-story office building will be home to law firms.

The CityScape website,, lists details about the development’s current and future tenants:

• Alliance Bank

• Ballard Spahr

• Breakfast Club

• Brewpublic Craft House

• Charming Charlie

• Corporate Office Centers

• CVS Pharmacy

• Designer District

• Fidelity Title

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries

• Fox Restaurant Concepts

• Gold’s Gym

• Gust Rosenfeld

• Huey’s Diner

• Jennings Strouss & Salmon

• Jimmy John’s

• La Crepe Nanou

• LGO Public House

• Lucky Strike

• Ninety Days at CityScape

• Oakville Grocery

• Par Exsalonce

• Polsinelli Shughart

• Rasputin Vodki Bar

• RED Asset Management

• RED Development

• Republic of Couture

• Silk Sushi

• Squire,  Sanders & Dempsey

• Stand Up Live

• Tilted Kilt

• Urban Outfitters

• Vitamin T

• West of SoHo

• workbench

First downtown pharmacy in decades

When CityScape officials last summer announced CVS Pharmacy signing a lease for 13,000 square feet, they said CVS is the first pharmacy to open in downtown Phoenix in more than 30 years.

This July 2009 construction photo of CityScape, looking northwest from First Street, shows the new development taking its place in the Phoenix skyline. The Metro light rail line’s eastbound route is on Jefferson Street, shown with traffic headed left to right in the photo. (Copyright © photo by Mike Padgett)

CityScape is the latest development in Phoenix’s business core where the economic history has been struggling since retailers followed homeowners in their flight to the new suburbs, starting in the 1960s.

CityScape is surrounded on three sides by the Metro light rail line. Within short walks from CityScape are the US Airways Center; Chase Field; Comerica Theatre (formerly Dodge Theatre); Herberger Theater Center; Phoenix Convention Center; Arizona State University’s downtown campus; and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

RED Development assembled the CityScape property by combining the park on the west side of Central with the parking lot on the east side. RED Development bought the parking lot block in March 2006 from New York architect Emilio Ambasz.

Ambasz purchased the land in the 1990s from the Resolution Trust Corp. In 1999, he met with Phoenix officials to discuss his Monument Towers office development proposal. The two 24-story office buildings were to be covered with unique aluminum skin sunscreens that would resemble the towering cliffs in Monument Valley in northern Arizona. The design was considered too futuristic for conservative Phoenix,

Ambasz’s proposal for Phoenix never left the design stage, but his design wasn’t a total loss. Three years later, he won a 2002 American Architecture Award for his Monument Towers proposal. More details about the design and architectural renderings are available here – – and here –

(To avoid missing news, features and photos on, sign up for convenient email alerts in the FeedBurner box in the right rail. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose.)


(Copyright Mike Padgett: All applicable U.S. and International copyright laws pertain to any and all content on this site. Downloading, hot-linking, copying and/or distribution by print, electronic media or other means is prohibited by law. You must obtain prior written permission of the author for any kind of use.)


(Comments from readers are moderated and will not appear until the administrator has approved them.)


(Ideas for interesting news stories about Arizona residents and businesses are welcome. Please send ideas and suggestions to





Nov 9th, 2010

Comments are closed.