Downtown Phoenix Partnership employees potentially expanding duties

(Evie Carpenter/DD)
Downtown Phoenix Inc. may soon contract the employees with the Downtown Phoenix Partnership in an effort to help expand the organization’s services to more downtown and midtown areas. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

In a continuing effort to make the relatively young Downtown Phoenix Inc. the focal point for all things downtown, the administration and staff of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership may soon become employees of its umbrella organization Downtown Phoenix Inc.

By switching the partnership staff to Downtown Phoenix Inc. staff, employees will be able to provide services to the greater downtown community, which includes Roosevelt Arts District, Evans Churchill neighborhood, Grand Avenue and parts of midtown, said David Krietor, president of Downtown Phoenix Inc.

“Downtown has changed,” Krietor said. “We’re trying to do some things better. We’re trying to make sure we’re focused on the things that will help create a more vibrant downtown.”

Downtown Phoenix Inc. was created last year in an attempt to combine multiple downtown organizations under one umbrella. It includes the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Community Development Corporation and Phoenix Community Alliance. The board also includes representation from the city, neighborhood associations and businesses downtown.

Although the shift would not be a formal contract change, Downtown Phoenix Inc. would contract Downtown Phoenix Partnership employees allowing them to provide their services to the umbrella organization, said David Roderique, president and CEO of the partnership.

The partnership provides services such as street ambassadors, graffiti clean-up and marketing for businesses within the Enhanced Municipal Service District, also known as the Business Improvement District. The area is what used to be considered the core of downtown from Seventh Street east to Third Avenue, and Fillmore Street south to the railroad tracks.

The funding for the partnership, which comes from an additional tax on businesses within the district to provide the service, will remain within the enhanced municipal services district, however, and will not be used for services in the expanded boundary, Krietor said. The partnership’s board will stay the same, he added.

The city of Phoenix contracts with the partnership said Jeremy Legg, the city’s economic development program manager. If the contract between Downtown Phoenix Partnership and Downtown Phoenix Inc. helps the partnership continue their services within the municipal district, it would be a positive move, Legg said.

Assistant to the City Manager Paul Blue said this is another step in improving downtown.

Blue added that he hopes five years down the line the umbrella organization will be the focal point for downtown, include all “walks of life,” bring high quality development and program large-scale events.

“DPI is taking steps to continue to solidify the stakeholders in downtown to help continue advancing to good things happening in downtown,” Blue said.

But as the understanding of downtown’s core expands, so do the boundaries.

The possible shift will be presented to the Downtown Phoenix Inc. board in the first week of April and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership board in the second week of April during their board meetings, Krietor said. Pending the boards’ approvals, the organizations will work to formalize the change with the city.

Roderique said the partnership has been talking with staff for some time about the transition and believes it would be a positive move that minimizes redundancies in administration.

“I think it’s going to create some cost savings for us on the administration side, which means we can plow more money into our services,” he said.

Downtown Phoenix Partnership and Downtown Phoenix Inc. are both housed in the US Bank Center high-rise on First Avenue south of Van Buren Street, Krietor said. He hopes to have both organizations under one roof on a street level building to help increase visibility in the downtown community.

Downtown Phoenix Partnership still has about 1 ½ years on its lease, however, so Downtown Phoenix Inc. will not start hunting for a new location until the summer, Krietor said.

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