Thursday, February 28, 2008

Phoenix pumped to host All-Star Game

By: Paul CoroSource: The Arizona RepublicThe Las Vegas Strip.

New Orleans' Bourbon Street.

Downtown Phoenix's Copper Square.

The similarities among the city districts make for a short list, but Phoenix is following two of the nation's most famous entertainment areas in one way. Phoenix is next in line to play host to the NBA All-Star Game, a weeklong hoopapalooza that is as close as the NBA gets to Super Bowl week.

Much like downtown New Orleans underwent a makeover for the days up to and including Sunday's All-Star Game, downtown Phoenix will transform into an unfamiliar sight of activity and pageantry for next February's events, parties and games."Phoenix will be off the chain," said LeBron James, a Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star player. "I can't wait. I'll need some good weather."

The basketball bonanza will be equal parts showcase for the NBA's top talent and downtown Phoenix's new look, which will have light rail, Sheraton hotel and Phoenix Convention Center expansion completed by then.

"This is our red-carpet event," Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson said after watching All-Star Saturday's shooting, skills and slam-dunk contests from a New Orleans Arena suite of Phoenix representatives. "This is our flagship event."

Downtown Phoenix will be transformed with block parties and "wallscapes" that cover the entire sides of the city's skyscrapers and buildings with photos of NBA players in ads.

The marquee events for 215 nations watching on television will be the 59th All-Star Game and the contests for All-Star Saturday at US Airways Center, where the large introduction stage will need to be carved somewhere into the lower bowl. However, most local residents are more apt to take part in NBA All-Star Jam Session, a family-themed fair that will be on two levels of the Convention Center with a 3,000-seat "Center Court" created for All-Star team practices. In New Orleans, tickets were $20 for adults and $12 for kids, seniors and military. "I think people are going to eat up Jam Session," said Suns public-relations director Jamie Morris, who spent her ninth day site-checking in New Orleans with a group that reviewed the events with local organizers Monday. "It's going to be so fun. Everybody I talk to here is so excited for Phoenix."

The Suns sent events, arena, security, community relations, marketing and information-technology staff to New Orleans to shadow their peers there. The city also sent high-ranking airport, police and fire officials as well as Steve Moore, president of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. Unlike this year's Super Bowl or college football bowls, Phoenix game organizers want to keep as much activity in downtown Phoenix as possible. Some spread is unavoidable, but planners will use various downtown buildings to house the social and corporate events, player appearances, a Technology Summit and parties that take up the week."We want them in a concentrated area," Johnson said. "You can't have a better venue to have an activity than the city of Phoenix downtown."

Our goal is to use as many venues in the Phoenix downtown area as possible to make sure that we're keeping most of the activity in downtown Phoenix."Crowds are expected to be much larger in Phoenix than New Orleans, where attendance problems with its conference-leading Hornets translated to empty seats at All-Star Weekend, as well."

It'll be great in Phoenix," said Tim Duncan, a San Antonio Spurs All-Star. "It's spread out. It's a great city. Warm weather. Never can beat that."

After horrible public-safety reviews for Las Vegas, New Orleans had an incident-free experience until a non-fatal triple shooting early Monday in the French Quarter. Police cars were parked on every block, and officers rode horses along Bourbon Street in a city that had just come off Mardi Gras. The All-Star Game attracts a younger party crowd for the week's social scene, and much of that could come by car from California. That happened in Las Vegas last year, as well, but the league did not have control of hotels like it will in Phoenix, which is expected to attract more of the corporate crowd seeking to pair up basketball with golf or spa experiences.

The Suns will be the first team to host the All-Star Game (and games for celebrities, NBA rookies and sophomores and Development League All-Stars) in three years. Las Vegas (2007) is not an NBA city, and the New Orleans' Hornets had been displaced to Oklahoma City at the time the city was awarded this year's game, so the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau handled much of the planning.

Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and his family spent the weekend in New Orleans, taking in two days of Jam Session and the nighttime events with Sarver's mind trailing off to issues like traffic and pedestrian flow."

A lot of it has to do with moving people - egress, ingress and getting people into events quickly," Sarver said. "I think we're going to get a big crowd turnout. It's a tremendous undertaking, but everyone's excited to do it."There will be everything from street litter and counterfeit sales to TNT setting up shows along streets decorated with banners."It'll be a great time in Phoenix," said Joe Johnson, Atlanta All-Star and ex-Suns star. "The weather will be nice. The All-Star Game anywhere brings a different crowd and joyness to the city."

Search for a historical phoenix home in downtown Phoenix.

Historic Phoenix bank building to be renovated into hotel

Historic Phoenix bank building to be renovated into hotel
By: Jahna BerrySource: The Arizona Republic

The developer behind a 34-story downtown Phoenix condominium tower plans to spend about $100 million transforming a 1931 bank building into a 150-room boutique hotel.

Scottsdale-based Grace Communities in the midst of renovating the Art Deco style Professional Building at the southeastern corner of Monroe Street and Central Avenue.

The Hotel Monroe is scheduled to open in October 2008.

"It's such an important building for Phoenix because we don't have a lot of great old historic buildings," said Ryan Zeleznak, a principal for Grace Communities.

The company's 44 Monroe condominium project is being built a short distance away.

Tri-Star Hotel Management Co. will operate the Hotel Monroe, officials said.

That's the same company that operates the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Casino.

The boutique hotel will have a full-service restaurant, a pool and a bar in the basement, which still holds a bank vault, Zeleznak said.

The project will help fill a huge future need for hotel rooms, said Doug MacKenzie, spokesman for Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Phoenix Convention Center's $600 million expansion will be complete in 2009, which means the Valley will need more than the current 55,000 hotel rooms in metro Phoenix, MacKenzie said.

Search for a home near this historic building.

Historical Timeline for KPHO and Phoenix TV

Historical Phoenix TV Timeline
KPHO and Phoenix Area Television

TV station (and the only station between El Paso, Texas and San Diego, CA). Studio is located at 631 N. First Ave. in the Westward Ho building.

1950 -- April, debut of Lew King Ranger Show broadcast live on Ch. 5 with a young Wayne Newton as announcer. First local TV Newscast, with Jack Murphy as anchor.

1952 -- Meredith Corp. buys Ch. 5 for $1.5 million - by this time Ch. 5 is affiliated with four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and DUMONT).

1953 -- Ch. 12 signs on the air with NBC, followed shortly by Ch. 10 (CBS).

1954 -- “Wallace Snead” debuts as a character on Goldust Charlie Show, a kid’s show starring Ken Kennedy (Wallace Snead played by Bill Thompson soon gets his own show called “It’s Wallace”).

1955 -- Ch. 5 loses its last affiliation and becomes independent. Ch. 3 (ABC) signs on the air.

1956 -- ASU baseball star, Ladimir Kwiatkowski is hired as cameraman –soon joins “It’s Wallace Show.”

1959 -- First videotape machines arrive (2”).

1960 -- Pat McMahon is hired as a weatherman --soon joins Wallace Show. (July) Transmitter site moves from top of Westward Ho to South Mountain Park.

1961 -- KAET, Ch. 8 signs on (PBS).

1964 -- During major Phoenix power outage, Ch. 5 is only station to remain on the air due to backup generator.

1965 -- Ch. 5 broadcasts in color (first film color camera).

1966 -- First “live” color broadcast (July) at 4 pm on Wallace & Ladmo, beating Ch.10 by one hour!

1971 -- November, Ch. 5 moves from Westward Ho to new building at Indian School & 1-17 freeway.

1978 -- July – Ch. 5 purchases 3 x 1” VTR’s --begins switch from 2” to 1.”

1981 -- First feed off of Satellite dish.

1982 -- First station in Valley to install ADO.

1985 -- First stereo broadcast (Dec. 25).

1989 -- Final Wallace & Ladmo Show airs Dec. 29th after almost 36 years on the air.

1994 -- Ladmo dies of lung cancer on March 2.

1994 -- May –Biggest “Network Shuffle” in modern TV history is sparked when Ch. 10’s parent company announces merger with Fox. Eventually Phoenix experiences a 4-station flip-flop: Ch. 10 (CBS) becomes Fox. Ch.15 (Fox) becomes ABC. Ch. 3 (ABC) becomes independent and…

1994 -- Sept. 10, Ch. 5 becomes a CBS affiliate by signing on at 7 am with “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles.”

1999 -- November – KPHO became one of the state’s first digital broadcasters on UHF DT-17.

2005 -- April 4th – Kent Dana joins the CBS 5 news – first day on air – Legendary Broadcaster Kent Dana joined KPHO after leaving KPNX after 25 years of services.

2006 -- CBS 5 broadcasts “March Madness” multicast – a first ever in Phoenix all 63 games were broadcasted.

2006 -- September 5th Sean McLaughlin joins the CBS 5 Weather team as Chief Meteorologist – Sean McLaughlin comes back to Phoenix after a 3 years on national network MSNBC.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Price is Right and the Big Sale is ON!

The Price is Right and the Big Sale is ON!
Thursday, February 21, 2008

SACRAMENTO, CA - Housing markets are H-O-T! Despite soaring numbers of foreclosures and in many areas dropping home prices, now is the time to buy real estate.

That's right. Interest rates are at near record lows, buyers have lots of choices because inventory is abundant, and most importantly -- the price is right! "Who doesn't like to buy quality product at 30, 40, 50 percent and more off retail prices?," says Alexis McGee, president and co-founder of, the California-based real estate publisher that's been analyzing and publishing real estate and foreclosure data for more than 20 years.

"The real estate sale is on," adds McGee, "I'm not advocating rampant speculation or stealing a property out from under a homeowner on hard times. What I am suggesting is that now is a great time to invest in real estate -- either as your residence or as an investment. Home prices will rebound -- if they haven't already -- in your area, so it's the buy low, sell high and/or buy low/hold and prosper theory," adds McGee, author of The Guide to Investing in Pre-foreclosures Without Selling Your Soul (Wiley 2007) and The Guide to Advanced Investing Techniques You Won't Learn Anywhere Else (Wiley, Spring 2008).

"Don't be scared off by the gloom and doom talk swirling around housing markets either. It's a S-A-L-E. Plus, the news isn't all bad, either. Interest rates continue at record lows. Not all housing markets are depressed. The most recent LoanPerformance HPI (tm) that tracks home price trends, showed 31 states with gains over the past 12 months.

"There are brighter spots in some economic numbers, too. Unemployment is below 5 percent; foreign orders for durable goods show persistent strength, worker productivity continues to climb and exceeded forecasts in the fourth quarter as companies held down labor costs. The latter is a sign that inflation pressures may recede.

"Housing starts are down, too," adds McGee. "But that's a good sign in part because that means, unlike previous downturns, builders today are compensating for slower markets with slower construction until supply and demand stabilize.

There's even more news to celebrate. The stimulus package that was just passed by the Senate is a huge BOON to homebuyers and refinancers who can take advantage of bill's increased mortgage market provisions. That portion of the bill will give more of a long-term financial boost to the economy than the tax rebates of $600 directed to individuals, $300 to children and $1,200 to couples.

The stimulus package included a provision that will raise the conforming loan limit to allow Fannie and Freddie to purchase or guarantee many jumbo mortgages originated between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008. The increase from $417,000, to as much as $729,750 in high-cost areas (125% of the median price), will also apply to Federal Housing Administration loan guarantee programs.

This will absolutely take the many buyers off the sidelines, grabbing deals and propel our real estate market BIG TIME as soon as these new loan limits take effect!

"What's the bottom line? The bottom of the market is coming. If you do your homework, pay attention to your local markets, make sure the price is right -- as in at a big enough discount -- obtain the right kind of financing, you can capitalize on the big sale and pick up a solid property at a good price. But don't wait too long. Today's sale is for a limited time only!" adds McGee.

Search for a historic home in Phoenix, AZ and contact Laura B. with DPR Realty, LLC today at 602.400.0008.

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