Phoenix Seeks Plans for Downtown Observation Tower; "The Pin" Would Rise 420 Feet and Charge Fee for Visitors

Categories: City Hall

phoenix pin from above.JPG
Image: BIG
Phoenix is getting serious about a proposal for a 420-foot observation tower in the downtown area.
The city of Phoenix is taking a step toward the possibility of having a 420-foot observation tower built with private funds in the downtown district, issuing a call for detailed plans for the project.

Last week, the online news site wrote about Phoenix's recent issuance of an "RFP" -- for non-wonks, that's a request for proposal -- for "development and operation of entertainment and tourism attractions." Los-Angles-based writer Guy Horton speculated that the RFP meant that Phoenix was getting serious about the tower, nicknamed "the Pin" by its designers. Eric Johnson, the economic development program manager for Phoenix, agrees with that assessment.

See also: Guggenheim-Inspired Observation Tower Proposed for Downtown Phoenix

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Photo Illustration: New Times
The Pin -- with Brown Cloud.
The RFP doesn't actually state that Phoenix wants an observation tower, but was "in response to" the plan set forth in December by Phoenix-based developer Novawest for the Pin. It's the official call to developers that will allow city planners and the public to learn more details about the proposed $60 million project, which could be built near the Arizona Science Center at Sixth and Adams streets.

The proposed tower was designed by Netherlands-based architecture design firm Bjarke Ingels Group for Novawest and features Guggenheim-Museum-style spiral walkways with an overall "honey-dipper" appearance. Architectural illustrations indicate that the open-air, multi-level observation platform will include screens to prevent the Pin from becoming a haven for suicidal jumpers. Naturally, the illustrations don't feature the Valley's infamous Brown Cloud, which would be among the most noticeable landmarks able to to be seen from the tower, or when looking at it from afar.

Retail and office space would be available at the tower's base, and Pinheads, as the Pin's users might be called, would pay a fee for the privilege of viewing Phoenix from a few hundred feet up.

Johnson says the RFP could bring in plans for another project -- a TV and entertainment museum.

Or maybe other developers have ideas for some exciting plan for downtown Phoenix -- perhaps the country's second-biggest ball of twine?

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My Voice Nation Help

I like the idea.  We have enough pinheads in state government and in the legislature to more than fill it...


Or, for half that amount, build photovoltaic shade structures with integrated arbors/trellises and misters to encourage and improve pedestrian traffic in and between downtown amenities.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Memo to downtown developers: This is absurd. $60M to build this pathetic boondoggle? Instead they should have a contest concerning better uses for that money. And another thing... it's no CN Tower, Eiffel Tower or Space Needle. Stop this crazy project before it even gets started.

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