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Larry Pobuda

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Larry Pobuda Joins Transwestern's Phoenix Team

 

Transwestern announced that commercial real estate veteran Lawrence (Larry) Pobuda has joined its Phoenix office, increasing its role in the leasing and sales of office buildings and providing in-depth expertise in development and investment.

As senior vice president, Pobuda serves institutional, corporate and private owners, as well as corporate users.

“It is exciting to make strategic expansions in our range of services with someone such as Larry,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Bill Zurek. “His national relationships and experience in a variety of real estate disciplines will enhance our already strong capabilities.”

Pobuda arrives from Minneapolis where he co-founded Stewart Lawrence Group, a partnership involved in acquiring and developing commercial real estate assets. In Minneapolis, he provided advisory services to key clients including the University of Minnesota.

He also served as senior vice president and member of the five-person executive team at United Properties/NorthMarq, a 500-employee, full-service commercial real estate firm. Pobuda also served as the 2010 National Chair of NAIOP, the 15,000-member commercial real estate development association.

His recent role as NAIOP Chair also brings an additional national perspective to Transwestern’s Phoenix team. Pobuda will maintain his relationships in Minneapolis in order to facilitate connections between those clients and Transwestern’s Minneapolis office.

“I am delighted to join Transwestern’s Phoenix team, which offered me the rare opportunity to interface between the worlds of development, investment and brokerage,”  Pobuda said. “Phoenix is a wonderful community where I have felt at home even while I was based in Minneapolis. As the region’s economy continues to improve I look forward to helping grow Transwestern’s business.”

Pobuda’s activity in Minneapolis included tenant representation, project and facility management and lease administration. He served such high-profile clients as BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, Ecolab, UnitedHealth Group, Silicon Graphics and Macromedia.

Responsible for the leasing oversight of 1.8 MSF of Class A office space, Pobuda successfully closed more than 2 MSF of leases with an aggregate value of more than $420M for companies including GMAC/RFC, Bank of America, Weber Shandwick, Oracle, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, William Mercer and AON.

 

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Greater Phoenix CVB promotes 3 as part of reorganization effort

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit organization that markets metropolitan Phoenix as a visitor and meeting destination, has promoted Michael Mooney to the position of Executive Vice President.

Mooney, who previously held the title of Chief Operating Officer, will continue to serve in that role. He joined the Greater Phoenix CVB in 1997. In the 16 years since, he has risen in rank and responsibility, from Director of Information Technology to Chief Financial Officer to his new position as the CVB’s No. 2 executive.

Prior to joining the Greater Phoenix CVB, Mooney served as the senior financial and technology officer for a private enterprise that operated in the tourism-related realms of aviation, hotel lodging, restaurants, ground transportation and golf in Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, California and Nevada. Immediately preceding that career path, Mooney developed computer software for the casino industry, specializing in timekeeping, slot accounting and guest tracking.

Born in New Jersey, Mooney has called Phoenix home since his high school days.

Mooney’s promotion follows two other recent reorganization moves at the Greater Phoenix CVB: Melissa Gogel was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Tourism; and Scott Dunn was elevated to Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gogel, who has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB since 2000, takes the supervisory reins of three departments: marketing (which is responsible for the CVB’s advertising, branding and website); communications (which coordinates media relations efforts); and tourism (which markets Phoenix to travel agencies and tour operators).

A native of Nashville, Gogel had previously served as Director of Marketing. She began her career at the CVB as an assistant in the Membership Department. Prior to coming to Phoenix she worked as a marketing analyst for Harold’s clothing stores in Norman, Okla.

Dunn, also a native Tennessean, has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB for six years, serving as Communication Manager and Associate Director of Communication. Before coming to Phoenix he spent 14 years in the journalism industry, working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Utah, New Mexico and South Carolina.

family entertainment uptown alley

Family Entertainment, Restaurant Venue Brings Unique Experience To The Valley

A unique family entertainment experience. Get your game on at Uptown Alley, a 60,000 square foot entertainment and restaurant venue that is perfect for the whole family. The venue features Red Embers Bar & Grill, 40 lanes of bowling, over 75 video and prize games, two-story laser tag attraction, live entertainment and more.

Strike-up the fun for all ages, with high-tech bowling lanes that will complement all skill levels, from beginners to league bowlers. Uptown Alley will open in May at The Boulevard at Surprise Pointe at 13525 N. Litchfield Road.

The main attraction will be 40 high-tech bowling lanes. Catering to beginners, social bowlers or competitive league bowlers, there are opportunities for everyone to have fun.

“We are thrilled to bring Uptown Alley to the families and community of Surprise,” says Rebecca Bowers, General Manager. “This is a place the city can call its own and is perfect for a fun night together with friends and families.”

The chef-created menu at the venue’s full-service casual dining restaurant, Red Embers Bar & Grill, includes house specialty BBQ, gourmet pizzas and pasta, mouth-watering burgers, sandwiches and other Americana favorites. An open exhibition kitchen will create a distinct dining experience, seating 140 guests indoors and 60 on the outdoor patio.

Guests can let loose with two full bars and a large sports theater inside Uptown Alley. Signature libations and over 24 draft beers will be available for our guests. The enveloping sports theater rotunda will have six 55” flat screen HDTVs and a 15’ X 20’ projection screen for “front-row seats” to the big game.

Uptown Alley’s two-story, state-of-the-art laser tag arena will accommodate up to 24 players at a time for the ultimate laser tag experience. Specialty lighting and lively music makes this innovative laser tag course one of the highlights of the venue.

In the gaming area, individuals will discover a plethora of video and prize games, offering opportunities for everyone to find ways to challenge their skills and redeem points for great prizes.

Uptown Alley will also feature a 10-lane boutique ultra lounge called The Approach for guests 21 and over. In addition to “rock n’ bowling” with a contemporary sound system, The Approach will include a bar, entertainment and comfortable lounge areas with private party rooms and billiards for the ultimate social gathering experience.

Uptown Alley will host bowling leagues including programs for kids, teens and seniors. Private party packages for corporate events and individual functions are also available, accommodating up to 1,500 people.

Follow Uptown Alley on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uptownalleysurprise and on Twitter at @UptownAlleyAZ. For more information, visit the website at www.uptownalleysurprise.com. Uptown Alley will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call Uptown Alley at 623-975-PLAY (7529).
AJ’s Fine Foods Best of the Best 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Entertainment

Entertainment Honoree: Wine Specialty Shops

AJ’s Fine Foods

AJ's Fine Foods - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Photograph by Duane Darling

AJ’s Fine Foods provides an unparalleled shopping experience that delights the senses. As Arizona’s leading gourmet and specialty store, AJ’s offers the highest level of customer service and attention to detail. AJ’s Cellar Masters are on hand in every location to recommend new varietal experiences and to suggest the perfect wine to pair with a steak or fish dinner. Every year during the Summer Wine Spectacular, Cellar Masters personally taste, evaluate and rank more than 200 wines from around the world to bring only the best to AJ’s.

Owned and operated by Bashas’ Family of Stores, AJ’s operates 14 stores in Arizona. AJ’s has been voted Best Place to Work by its members three years in a row. For more information, visit www.ajsfinefoods.com.

22402 S. Basha Road, Chandler
480-895-9350
www.ajsfinefoods.com

Year Est: 1985 
Wine Tasting: At Desig. Locations
Principal(s): Bashas’ Family of Stores


Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: Southwest/Eclectic

LON’s at the Hermosa

Built in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee, LON’S at the Hermosa has a rich history and melds artful American cuisine and spectacular views to create a truly unique dining experience. LON’s diners can enjoy awardwinning, artful American cuisine on a romantic patio or by one of the glowing fireplaces. In addition to the warm ambience, LON’s is the proud recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond award. The menu at LON’s offers a memorable culinary experience, which captures spirit, creativity and warmth using bold flavors and compelling combinations that reflect a contemporary take on a multitude of foods originating in the Western Hemisphere.

5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley
602-955-7878
www.lons.com


Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: International

T. Cook’s at Royal Palms

Under the direction of Executive Chef Lee Hillson, Royal Palms Resort and Spa features the awardwinning T. Cook’s restaurant — serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Located in the original 1929 mansion of the Royal Palms, it creates a residential dining experience that’s comfortable yet elegant. Enveloped by palm trees, citrus, flowers and fountains, T. Cook’s is a true oasis in the desert. Receiving the highest ratings from both national food critics and locals for its select seasonal dishes, the menus feature a wide variety of creative dishes from the Mediterranean and exotic surrounding regions.

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-808-0766
www.royalpalmsresortandspa.com


Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Tourist Group 2008

The Tourist Trade

By Don Weiner

Arizona’s tourism industry expects to take more than a few hits from an uncertain economy. “Whenever we see a downturn in the economy like this, especially when the staples of life are so much more expensive — food, gas, that sort of thing — it does have some downward pressure on leisure travel. People are less inclined to travel,” says Jonathan Walker, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They’re traveling for shorter periods of time or cutting out travel altogether.”

tourist trade 2008

But for every hit from soaring fuel prices and consumer cutbacks, Arizona tourism can deliver some pretty effective counterpunches. Its luxury resorts and spas, gourmet dining establishments and world-class golf courses are no less attractive to high-value visitors. Scenic wonders such as the Grand Canyon and a favorable climate are still huge draws. Major events should continue to attract crowds. And visitors from near and far are still intrigued by the state’s mixture of Hispanic, American Indian and cowboy cultures.

“What’s great about Arizona is we have the whole package,” says Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association.

Cheryl Cothran, a Ph.D. and director of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center at Northern Arizona University, notes that the travel industry has historically been a big part of the state economy.

“Tourism has always been important,” she says. “It looks like going forward a couple of decades it’s going to continue to be that way.”

She also points to a few factors that, while not recession-proof, are still encouraging.

Cothran says state tourism is population-driven. As the metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson areas continue to grow, an increasing number of visitors are coming to see family and friends. In fact, a research presentation for last year’s Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism shows that 46 percent of nonresident overnight visitors indicated they came here specifically for that reason. It was still the main reason when it came to Arizona’s resident overnight visitors. In other words, don’t expect Mom and Dad to give the kids a pass on visiting just because they’re feeling some pain at the pump.

Then there are those who fill the resorts, book the tee times and top off their days with some fine dining.

“Those high-income visitors who travel to the expensive resorts and spas are probably not going to change their plans that much,” Cothran says.

In fact, a report she prepared, “Arizona’s Tourism Future: Effects of Population & Demographic Change,” states that the bulk of travel spending is by the top 20 percent of affluent households.

Even with this market segment, however, there are some definite challenges.

First, experts agree that Arizona is primarily a fly-in market, and the fact is that airlines are trimming routes and downsizing some planes heading to various destinations.

Also, according to Johnson, visitors may be doing some downsizing of their own.

“I think what you see generally sometimes is that people who might have stayed at a … luxury resort are maybe dropping down a tier,” she says.

This has resort operators working extra hard, says Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“The only thing that you can do in a destination like this, where you are very dependent on a fly-in market, is really to just look at your customers and hopefully you’ve done a very good job of creating value, a great experience and (are) making it very, very difficult for your customers to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to skip my trip to Scottsdale this year,’” she says.

This may equate to credits that can be used for spa treatments, meals or golf. It may even mean gasoline credits.

cover october 2008

“Maybe there are high-end customers less concerned about discounting, but they certainly want value,” Sacco says. “And the smart approach is make them feel like they’re always getting more than what they’re giving.”

Sacco also says area restaurants and retailers are feeling the pinch. Some have told her tourism accounts for as much as a third of their bottom line.

“And for a restaurant to even say 20 (percent) or 25 percent, that’s a large amount,” she says.
One sensible marketing strategy, according to Johnson, is to reach for what she calls “lower-hanging fruit.”

“I think what we’re finding and what we’re seeing already is that people are traveling closer to home,” she says. “And so for us, what that means is kind of changing a little bit of our marketing strategy and make sure that we’re doing a good job of marketing to our residents and to people that are within a good driving distance to Arizona.”

www.visittucson.org
www.azhla.com
www.nau.edu
www.scottsdalecvb.com