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Redevelopment, reusing old buildings a focus in Phoenix

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As cities like Phoenix mature, there is a movement to repurpose buildings that create a sense of place and maintain character.

At least that’s what Lorenzo Perez, co-founder of Phoenix-based Venue Projects, thinks.

“People love old buildings, places and stories,” he said.

Perez, who was a panelist at a discussion on adaptive reuse of real estate and redevelopment hosted by the Arizona Economic Development Association, said: It is more sustainable and protects the place and its culture.

The Perez development company has led some of the most visible examples of repurposing older buildings in the Phoenix area.

This includes Newton, formerly a Beefeater restaurant on Camelback Road and Third Avenue. Venue Projects revamped the site to include the Changing Hands Bookstore, Southern Rail restaurants, and other retail and event spaces.

“We have 18,000 square feet of unique architecture and it would have been a shame to send it to the landfill,” Perez noted, noting the building’s Queen Creek adobe.

Perez’s group was also one of the co-developers selected earlier this year. Restore and redevelop the historic Hayden Mill in Tempe. With co-developer Sunbelt Holdings, Venue Projects’ plans include new buildings for restaurants and retail, and the repurposing of the ground floor of the factory for dining and shopping. The upper floors of the factory can be used as office space.

Building codes can be difficult in older buildings

Amy Malloy, managing principal at Evolve Ventures, said many of the issues that could hinder the conversion of older buildings are regulatory issues.

“In many cities, the development code actually corresponds to developing 300 to 500 (apartment) units from scratch,” she said.

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Malloy said several cities in the Valley have recently expressed interest in improving and repurposing their downtown buildings. A recent move to revitalize Glendale’s historic downtown And Queen Creek’s efforts to secure a developer on a vacant lot in downtown to create a city center.

“Some of these cities have very good architecture,” she said.

Perez says it’s important to look at neighborhood conditions when deciding which buildings make good adaptive reuse projects. This is because repurposing a building often means changing its use, and developers need to ensure that the intended use makes sense in the area.

Also importantly, SmithGroup principal Michelle Ray said they are making sure the building is suitable for its new use.

“If you don’t, it’s going to be an uphill battle,” she said.

Building a restaurant is a popular way to repurpose small buildings, Ray said. Large buildings like department stores are successfully repurposed for office space. Park Central Mall in the heart of Phoenix.

The project turned much of the retail space into offices and added new buildings to the parking lot, including plans for the Creighton University medical school, apartments and a hotel.

large-scale retail has fallen out of favor

Changes in the retail industry and the decline of large indoor malls have spawned major redevelopment projects in Phoenix. Both Paradise Valley Mall and MetroCenter Mall are being redeveloped, along with Park Central, which has preserved most of the existing buildings. This involves the demolition of most of the existing buildings and clearing of large portions of the site for new uses.

“We are seeing the need for redevelopment in Paradise Valley and MetroCenter,” says Malloy. “But it needs to be redeveloped in a way that works with the neighborhood.”

The plans for both malls are heavily focused on apartments. The former Paradise Valley Mall, now called PV, Construction is underway on Phase 1, which will include a 400-unit luxury multi-family home, Whole Foods Market and Harkins Dining in Theater..

majority of Metro Center to be demolished later this yearbut the developer plans to keep parts of the building on the property, including a self-storage building, a Walmart, and other uses, as an amenity for the planned new apartment complex. The plan calls for an “urban village” with a focus on affordable rental housing.

Revitalizing a failed mall is important to the character of its surrounding area, said Chris Mackay, the city of Phoenix’s director of community and economic development.

“Old and failed malls become dark and vicious places where bad things happen,” she said.

In Mesa, where the now-vacant Fiesta Mall remains vacant, a city council member said last fall: Efforts to Consolidate Ownership Site improvements may lead to progress.

On a small scale, the former A large retail center on the border of Phoenix and Scottsdale It is planned to be redeveloped into 350 luxury apartments and small commercial facilities.

Phoenix leaders are also taking steps to address the amount of vacancies We are considering plans to revitalize vacant buildings in the city that already have more retail space per capita than the national average. Maricopa County has a retail vacancy rate of approximately 5.6%, with approximately 12.6 million square feet of vacant retail space in Maricopa County, according to CoStar Group data. This number includes retailers of all sizes, from empty malls to small stores.

Preserved downtown buildings

Finding creative ways to reuse existing buildings is a priority, said McKay, the city’s director of economic development, who will be building the Home2 suites in the warehouse district south of downtown Phoenix. He made reference to the plan of

The hotel was planned near Jackson and First Streets, but there was already a building at that location. Although it was not listed as a Historic Landmark, it was something the city wanted to preserve. Mackay said the original plan was to demolish the building, but after working with developers and using city funds for its preservation, the building will be adaptively repurposed as a hotel lobby and wine bar. The plan was changed as follows.

Another project south of downtown is Closing Union Station near 4th Avenue and Jackson Street, Reuse as an event space and restaurant is also planned. Part of the vacant lot adjacent to the station will be developed into a residential tower and an office building.

not everyone is happy

Panelists said that not all buildings are suitable for conversion. However, even when a building is determined to be worthy of preservation, some buildings may be bulldozed down despite attempts by defenders to save them.

Repurposing and preserving old buildings requires the development team and owners to be creative and willing to potentially sacrifice profits, which is not always the case in Phoenix. .

apart from Efforts from the City to work with previous owners The Phoenix Public Market Cafe’s 76-year-old building was demolished, after which the site was sold to a developer who plans to build a luxury apartment complex near First and Pierce Streets in downtown Phoenix.

In 2016, Phoenix ceased negotiations with developers who agreed to preserve portions of the building that housed the now-closed Circles Disk and Tapes store, ultimately issuing no tax incentives. . but demolished the building instead Meanwhile, the discussion was still ongoing.

Please contact the reporter at [email protected]follow her on twitter @CorinaVanek.

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