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Phoenix, Don't Tear Down This Building

December 23, 2009 by J Seth Anderson

It’s always sad to see something go out of business, especially when it’s a Valley landmark. I am sorry to see Circles Disks and Tapes have decided to call it quits after nearly 40 years Downtown. But to be honest, I can’t say I was a great customer. The last time I purchased an actual CD from a store was in 2004. Everything since then has been a digital download to my computer stored on my external hard drive. Come to think of it, I don’t even have a CD player. Unfortunately that’s is the nature of the electronic/music business.

circlesNow with that building soon to be vacant, the city is presented with a unique challenge. Phoenix, don’t screw up this opportunity! The thing that must not happen under any circumstances for any reason is a demolition of this building with the promise of some new high rise. No! Phoenix, you can not gut yourself anymore. Reuse this building. Let it be a new restaurant with patio seating on Central. Let it be a bar. Let it be a club. Let it be a brewery. Let it be a museum or an indy movie theatre. Let it be anything other than a pile of rubble or a parking lot. This building is awesome and it looks like nothing else Downtown. The circles break up the monotony of the right angels and boxy squares that are so pervasive. It is also built the way buildings in a city core should be built, i.e. up to the street. Phoenix, I got to tell you, if this building is slated for demolition, I will chain myself to it.  I’ll be that crazy, chained to a building person, bellowing about preservation and reuse until they drag me away, kicking and screaming, a few blocks to the county jail.

But, my beloved Phoenix, it doesn’t have to come to this. If you let this building become something new, something exciting, I will patronize it and spend money there. I will write about how cool it is on Yelp and other Web sites. I will take my friends from out of town on the light rail and we’ll go there, whatever it is, to spend our money and not complain about paying sales tax. Bottom line: this building can be something of great value for our redeveloping core. It can be used to create another reason for people to be Downtown, to want to live Downtown. Another parking lot will only shred what little urban fabric we have left.

Perhaps I’m jumping to hasty conclusions, but can you blame me? Phoenix, your track record doesn’t inspire much confidence. Please, Phoenix, no matter what happens, do not allow anything bad to become of this building. Mr. Gordon, DON’T tear down these walls!


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