Phoenix Builds An Invisible Hotel That Only Phoenicians Can See


This weekend we were listening to a Cubs game over the radio (because we wanted to hear them lose and drop out of playoff contention) and color commentator Ron Santo would talk through the replay footage he was watching (“Oh, yeah, see right there, he’s definitely out.”), seemingly oblivious, per usual, to the fact that he was being broadcast over a medium that visual cues don’t play so well over. Those bits of frustration remind us very much of this story reported in The Arizona Republic about a massive Sheraton hotel they’re building downtown, the first project since 1976, which apparently has everyone in an uproar about how it looks. So you think, of course, you’d work in some photos of the finished plans, wouldn’t you? Or give you some details about the architect responsible? Or at the very, very least, give you some kind of vague description? Well, apparently that’s asking far too much. Instead, you get a lot of quotes saying how ugly the thing is, how people are unhappy while other people are sticking up for it, and a wonderful photo of the interior structure, which looks like, yep, a lot of metal beams. It’s like reading a review of a movie, but they only talk about how the audience reacted to it.

“I heartily applaud the city on its efforts to be creative and look past the cookie-cutter non-imaginative designs,” enthused Gilbert resident Cheyenne Rowell in a letter to The Arizona Republic.

On a recent afternoon, however, several Valley residents panned the building.

“It looks low-budget,” said credit analyst Linda Jones, 42, a downtown worker who lives in Surprise.

“Maybe it will look nice on the lower level, but all I can see is the tower,” said Jones’ co-worker, Kim Clark, 41, of Glendale. “I thought it was ugly.”

Arg. What looks “low budget”?! What “tower”?!