Venture is floated by downtown Phoenix groups

Holding company would allow sharing of resources

by Emily Gersema – Oct. 27, 2011
Courtesy of The Arizona Republic

[Editor’ Note: Light Rail Advisors supports being efficient and consolidating organizations which have similar purposes. is pro business near light rail]

Two downtown Phoenix business groups with similar missions are considering a new partnership to share resources.   

Martin Shultz, chairman of the Phoenix Community Alliance, wants the alliance and the tax-funded Downtown Phoenix Partnership under the umbrella of a holding company. This would enable them to share some functions, such as marketing the downtown area or staff.

Shultz envisions that some city officials and business leaders would sit on the board of the holding company, which he said would be a non-profit group, similar to a holding company he visited in Denver.

“If you set up a holding company, you’ll have people who will be in charge, and then you’ll have the functional organizations (the partnership and alliance) below that,” Shultz said. “We believe strongly that events production — festivals and special events — could be the focus.”

Downtown Phoenix Partnership President and CEO David Roderique said the partnership has a small subcommittee studying PCA’s idea.

“We’re probably four or six months away from knowing if we want to do something or not,” Roderique said.

Phoenix Community Alliance officials have mentioned the idea informally in the past, but the alliance made a formal presentation this month at the partnership’s quarterly meeting.

The two groups share a goal — develop downtown Phoenix into a bustling business and entertainment area — and they have many of the same members, such as officials with Arizona Public Service, the Phoenix Suns and The Arizona Republic. Both groups also promote downtown business and events.

“Is a partnership (between the two groups ) a viable option? The challenge is that the organizations are very different,” said David Krietor, a Phoenix deputy city manager.

Krietor said the two groups could share equipment or staff members. But their funds probably can’t be merged, he said.

The groups have separate funding sources and governing boards. The alliance , a non-profit group formed in 1984, is funded by membership dues that business leaders pay. It’s overseen by a 15-member executive committee made up of officials from various Phoenix businesses.

It reported $744,810 in revenue for fiscal 2009, according to its latest tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service available through GuideStar, a charity watchdog.

The partnership, a non-profit founded in 1990, is funded by a special city property tax on businesses within a 90-square-block area of downtown. This “enhanced municipal services district” is sandwiched by Third Avenue, Fillmore Street, Seventh Street and the railroad tracks near Jackson Street. It is the only tax district of its kind in Phoenix.

The partnership answers to a 30-member board of directors and the Phoenix City Council, which oversees its spending and budget. DPP’s revenue was $3.15 million for fiscal 2009, according to the most recent IRS filing from GuideStar.

The partnership spends its annual budget on several services. It pays about a dozen orange-shirted ambassadors who act as a sort of civilian security force and guide lost visitors to their destinations. The partnership also pays for streetscape projects, graffiti and litter cleanup, marketing and a downtown trolley.

Jeremy Legg, a Phoenix manager of community economic development, said funds for the two groups couldn’t comingle.

“But theoretically, you could do something like that Denver (holding company) here,” Legg said. “The city has a five-year contract with the DPP to provide certain services. DPP would need to continue to do that.”

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *