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combusean May 17, 2007 5:55 PM

The old buildings in way of the ASU Downtown Student Housing tower will be cleared Monday morning at around 6 or 7, according to the construction superintendent. They include the Phoenix Forge, probably the downtown dry cleaners, that auto shop on the corner, and that nifty 1 story brick white building built up to the street. As was posted in PDN, the lot is fenced, but I'll see about getting some decent pics anyways. Anyone have an old rug? ;) j/k

jvbahn May 18, 2007 10:45 AM

Thanks for getting some pics of those buildings, Combusean, shame that they couldn't have been integrated somehow into the design, but oh well, VIVE LE ASU Residence Towers!.

combusean May 18, 2007 7:45 PM

[edit] Save for later. There's a lot of stuff in the old assessor map's that I'll do something cool with soon.

combusean Jun 9, 2007 3:51 PM

Thought this was a good article. It's odd living in a metro that's growing so much the little villages and intersections along the way get swallowed up as well. Sunnyslopes, Cashion, probably Wittman and Circle City all have similar fates.


Higley residents hang on to identity

Cary Aspinwall
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 6, 2007 02:30 PM
Note to readers: This story first ran in the Gilbert Republic on April 14, 2006.

Drive a few blocks south on Higley Road after exiting the Superstition Freeway and you're there.

Mail a letter at the Higley Post Office, take a tour of Higley High School, stop off for a chili dog at the Higley Hot Dog Hut. Just don't go looking for Higley's town hall.

Because while Higley is a road, a school district and a postal district, it isn't a town.

While people living in those areas may call Higley home, most live in the newer part of fast-growing Gilbert.

Some are in unincorporated areas of Maricopa County, but no one really lives in Higley.

Try telling that to residents like Wayne Johnson. He was at the Higley Post Office this week, packing a present for his grandmother's 80th birthday. He says he lives in Higley.

"That's what my address is," he explains.

Most residents here get water bills from Gilbert and have Steve Berman for a mayor. But their mail and school buses say Higley; so many assume that's where they live.

How did this identity crisis come about?

Blame the United States Post Office. Back before Gilbert was a land-swallowing sea of houses, the area people refer to as Higley was mostly farms. The farms were not part of Gilbert or Queen Creek, but farmers needed somewhere to pick up their mail.

Hence the Higley Post Office and its corresponding ZIP code, 85236.

It was built in 1910 inside a general store on the strip of businesses at Higley and Williams Field roads that make up the heart of Higley, where a convenience store now stands.

But the newer Higley Post Office on the northeast corner of Higley and Ray roads still looks like it belongs in a small town. There are historic photos on the walls, the lines are short and there's a drop slot just for local mail -- anything going to ZIP code 85236.

Gilbert native Cheryl Harper works at the Higley Post Office.

"Sometimes, people are confused," Harper said. "I try to explain to them it's a postal district."

It doesn't help that people who live in the area send their children to schools in the Higley Unified School District, either. In 2004, the Gilbert and Higley districts attempted to consolidate so that children living in most of Gilbert could go to Gilbert Public Schools. It was voted down; Higley wanted to stay Higley, apparently.

After all, there's been a Higley school district almost as long as there's been the "town" of Higley, more than 90 years.

Lynn Croom and Terri Enzmann lunch occasionally at the Higley Hot Dog Hut. Both women know they live in Gilbert, but they have no idea what Higley really is.

"If that sign didn't say Higley Hot Dogs, we wouldn't even know we were in Higley," Enzmann said.

A clue to Higley's bizarre history sits framed on the wall inside the hot dog hut, right next to the counter where customers pick up their Chicago-style hot dogs and chili-cheese fries. It's a news article from 1977 about the "town" of Higley being for sale, again. Population then? 17. Asking price for the chunk of land that included a gas station, grocery store, post office and laundry? $650,000.

Just think, Scottsdale residents: For less than the median price of your homes, you once could have had a whole town.

Jeri Kryza's Hot Dog Hut is on that plot of land, still an unincorporated Maricopa County island. For her and other merchants, Higley is their community, even if it's not really a town.

The businesses there are part of a cluster of county islands slated for annexation soon so they can get Gilbert fire protection and services.

But even if Gilbert does annex the land where the Hot Dog Hut stands, she said, the defiant mustard-yellow building and sign will still say Higley.

Higley: A brief history

The name Higley comes from the community's original owner, S.W. Higley, a railroad impresario who came to Arizona in 1900 and bought more than 8,000 acres. The general store and post office at Higley and Williams Field roads were sold in 1922 to homesteaders Mary and Homer Owens. Although it never officially became a town, Higley became a community through residents banding to build roads and schools and to establish electrical and irrigation districts.

In 1982, some residents living in the area made an attempt to incorporate. They were about 200 residents short of the 1,500 needed. Other attempts at incorporating failed, and Gilbert began to swallow Higley for the next few decades. By 2004, 25 acres of what was originally known as Higley remained.

Sources: "Higley, Arizona: A Rural Community" by Sue Sossaman, and the San Tan Historical Society

loftlovr Jun 11, 2007 7:28 AM

Congrats on the reservation-
For the location, the price cannot be beat and it sure seems like a great long term investment....

As for MCM architecture- It will be a bit more mainstream popular I imagine in the next decade or so-
Like any era, there are fine pieces and there are the less exciting examples.
Every now and then, you get a great example with a Frank Lloyd Wright or an Al Beadle home, or a googie cinema or bowling alley....

Sometimes you wouldn't see the beauty until rennovated.
(As with Red Modern furniture building)

Whether or not I agree with some of the buildings being saved- I try to understand that what are beautiful landmarks to some are junky old eye-sores to others.

I didn't like the Washburn piano building much- but it could have made a killer nightclub or so if rennovated. I wasn't so crazy about the dome on Apache but I did want it relocated to another portion of that lot.

I do like the 44th street mushroom bank.
There is an Al Beadle building on 3rd and Thomas area that is weak and I wouldn't care to see it go.

-Some I fight for- others I do not mind- but I want the majority to stay in tact. Otherwise we will never have any buildings of meaning since we're replacing them every 20 yrs.

Vicelord John Jun 11, 2007 8:16 AM

Don, when I was a real estate admin, I used to do similar shit. I'd use my 20D (still cant use it right) and tell my boss he was worthless at MLS and I'd write up the ad's and take ALL the pix.

JimInCal Jun 16, 2007 6:23 PM

Phx Union HS Reuse

June 12, 2007

Phoenix Receives Two 2007 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards

The city of Phoenix will accept two of the 10 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards at a special ceremony 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at the Elks Opera House, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott.

The two awards are for the Phoenix Union High School Exterior Rehabilitation for the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Post World War II Commercial Historic Building Photography Project.

The awards, presented by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Arizona State Historic Preservation Office/Arizona State Parks, are to promote public awareness and recognize various groups and organizations that promote the goals of historic preservation in Arizona.

“The preservation and rebirth of the city’s first high school have given three of the city’s most important historic buildings a future, and allowed them to play an exciting new role in education for the 21st century,” said Mayor Phil Gordon.

Three vacant historic buildings on the Phoenix Union High School campus were saved from the wrecking ball by the city and are now the centerpiece of a modern medical campus for the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. The Domestic Arts and Sciences Building, Auditorium and Science Hall were transformed in 18 months with new interior state-of-the-art facilities while preserving key historic features such as wood floors, coffered ceilings, display cases and grand staircases in the auditorium.

More than 200 wood windows were replicated in the three buildings based on historic photographs and their historic exteriors were restored to original condition. The historic flagpole and World War I Memorial Sundial in front of the auditorium also were restored. The result has been to save three significant historic buildings and provide a University of Arizona medical presence on the biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix. This project was a partnership between the city of Phoenix, Arizona Board of Regents and University of Arizona College of Medicine.

“The documentation of the city’s post World War II architecture is significant since it helps raise awareness about key landmarks built during Phoenix’s phenomenal growth in the 1950s and 1960s,” said Barbara Stocklin, Phoenix Historic Preservation officer.

Phoenix photographer and artist Michael Lundgren was commissioned by the city to create a photographic portfolio of important post World War II commercial historic buildings in Phoenix.

The photos will be on display at the city’s Burton Barr Central Library for one month beginning Aug. 3 and will be exhibited in city buildings as part of the city’s permanent Municipal Art Collection.

Some of the locations include the Federal Building, 230 N. First Ave.; Courtesy Chevrolet sign, 1233 E. Camelback Road; Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, 1326 W. McDowell Road; Celebrity Theater, 440 N. 32nd St.; and Phoenix Towers, 2201 N. Central Ave. The project was a collaboration between the city’s Office of Historic Preservation and the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program.

andrewkfromaz Jun 22, 2007 11:07 PM

It would be fun to go visit the old high school sometime. My friend might be going to medical school at UA Phoenix next year.

I finally ate at Pizzeria Bianco for the first time. Food was AMAZING! The ambiance of the ancient building was really memorable too, I highly recommend checking it out. It was totally worth the >2 hour wait, although if we'd have arrived before 4, we could've halved that. Heritage Square needs more shade.

DowntownDweller Jun 24, 2007 7:23 PM


Originally Posted by Don B. (Post 2836157)

You should let me photograph your unit with my wide-angle lens. I can make a small place look positively enormous with it. :)

Now, if only you were shooting Nikon ;):cheers:

combusean Jul 6, 2007 7:35 PM

Calder Tower that we discussed in Phoenix Development News is slated in place of a one-of-a-kind warehouse in Phoenix on the southeast corner of 4th avenue and van buren. Stock MLS photo shown:

The detailing in this is exquisite, and yet it's going away: From Barbara Stocklin, Phoenix Historic Preservation director after an email this morning:


It is an eligible historic property, but is not designated. The developers filed for demolition on the property a few weeks ago, and received a demolition permit. There was really nothing we could do to stop them. As I understand it their project requires a rezoning for the height waiver (probably on file now with planning department), and we were requesting at the preapplication meeting that the building either be preserved or at least the property be properly documented as a stipulation of the rezoning case. Prior to the rezoning case being formally processed, the developer filed the demolition request on the building and basically preempted any discussion on the preservation or documentation of the historic building as part of the rezoning from our office's end of things. You could contact the planning department to find out the status of the rezoning.
I've lost a lot of respect for Senior and Kristoff.

sundevilgrad Jul 6, 2007 8:23 PM

It is kind of a shame with the abundance of vacant lots in the immediate vicinity, but at the same time I would much prefer the Calder Tower to that warehouse. However, it sound like we're going down a familiar path:

Demolish nice older building for prospective highrise

Empty dirt lot takes place of older building, zoning variances are granted

Prospective highrise doesn't get built

Owner of property turns it into a land bank and leaves it empty until the end of time hoping to line their greedy pockets with a few more million

HX_Guy Jul 6, 2007 9:06 PM

I've got a feeling it will turn out the same way, and we'll end up with another dusty lot. The planned ground breaking for Calder tower is 2008, why do they need to demolish the building already? Why not wait and see if in 2008 they are still ready to move forward?
According to MLS, the building/lot sold for $2.6 Million. Like you said, they will probably raze the land, sit on it for a while, and try and get $3.6 Million for it.

There is an surface parking lot right next to this building on the same block, about the same size...I wish they would use that, but I'm guessing who ever owns that is also sitting on it to sell it later. That's the problem it seems with all these empty lots, they are sitting empty but not for sale.

HooverDam Jul 6, 2007 9:31 PM

^Yah I have the same concern, if I had to choose between the tower and had an assurance it would be built or the current structure, I'd take the tower. Can't they make some sort of law like "if you knock down a historic structure and don't build the tower you promised we'll let Vandercook beat you up"?

loftlovr Jul 11, 2007 1:07 AM

:haha: :haha: :haha:

combusean Jul 11, 2007 3:25 PM

After speaking with Mercury yesterday, I will take back what I said about losing respect for them as it appears there's more than one side to this story. We had a productive discussion and it was very kind of Kim Kristoff to take the time out to address my concerns after a simple phone call.

Evidently, the cataloguing of the building that's there now is already a given and they are already amicable to preserving parts of the building that give it its significance, eg, its ornamentation and its ceramic tiling. While they do have a total demolition permit on it, it seems that they're going to go with the preservation (reassemblage) on their own terms rather than wanting to tie it in with the rezoning but still entertaining comments and suggestions from the community regarding the overall project. I think at this point a "facadomy" seems a long shot but I don't rule out anything, especially if I can help get DDO in on the deal. Mercury still needs zoning variances and they still need allies so it seems logical, albeit I dislike pulling out the big guns so early in the process and I wasn't too keen when I heard a "perfect compromise" couldn't likely be found. I don't operate under that framework--it's not naivety, it's always pushing for superior outcomes no matter what.

Looks better than it did a little while ago. They're gonna do what they're gonna do, and given that it's on private property and not HP zoned, I am loathe to make a big thing of it--hopefully it doesnt get anywhere near that.

vertex Jul 24, 2007 11:08 PM

Downtown vintage buildings dodge the wrecking ball

Jahna Berry
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 24, 2007 12:00 AM


These days, it's either move it or lose it, downtown Phoenix preservationists say.

It's becoming more common for residents, with the city's help, to pluck vintage buildings out of the path of development and put them in new neighborhoods.

Moving an entire building used to be rare in Phoenix. The process was so complex and expensive that usually only one building moved each year.

That's changing. Downtown Phoenix land values have skyrocketed, and many old buildings sit on prime real estate. Arizona State University's new downtown campus, a $600 million Phoenix Convention Center expansion, light-rail construction and condo high-rises have ignited a building boom.

Some high-profile demolitions - including Madison Square Garden, a 1929 former boxing arena in downtown Phoenix that was razed in 2005 - also have increased public pressure to save rare buildings.

Plus, more city leaders want to see new uses for vintage spaces in the downtown development mix.

"We have moved more homes in the past five years than we have in the past 45," said John McCollough of McCollough Move-A-Home, a firm that has been moving buildings for more than four decades.

McCollough estimates that his company has moved 100 houses in the Phoenix area in the past five years.

Saving a piece of history
Traditionally, preservation is a harder sell in the West because of the "new is good and old is bad" mentality, said Jim McPherson,one of two Phoenix advisers for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Now, "there is this sense that maybe we need to slow down and not be so proactive with demolition and look at the alternatives," he said. "What we are trying to do is play catch-up."

A Phoenix historic preservation hearing officer Wednesday helped clear the way for a resident to move a rare, 98-year-old two-story brick house in late August.

Earlier this year, preservationists moved six tiny buildings - 260 square feet each - used during World War II. The structures now stand behind the Paisley Violin restaurant on Grand Avenue, which plans to use them for artists' studios.

Last year, developers moved five homes that stood on city land planned for the downtown biomedical campus and another owner moved a 1910 home.

Even if a building is rare or has a tie to Phoenix history, the property owner ultimately can always tear it down. Buildings on the National Registerof Historic Places aren't protected from demolition. If a building is on Phoenix's historic register, the city can delay the wrecking ball for one year, which gives officials time to negotiate with the owner.

Plus, there are more than 40 historic buildings in and around downtown that are eligible be on Phoenix's register but are not on the list, said Barbara Stocklin, Phoenix's historic preservation officer. That's what happened with the 1909 brick home built by M. Edward Morin that will move in August.

Heart and wallet
The owners, who could not be reached for comment, opposed the city's 2004 effort to put the property on the city's historic register. Later, they wished to put the house up for sale and asked the city for a demolition permit.

Dan Klocke, a Phoenix resident whose family lives in another vintage home downtown, stepped forward and asked to move the house.

"I never imagined myself doing this," said Klocke, who plans to move the house to a vacant lot on Fifth Avenue in the Roosevelt neighborhood. "It's definitely a decision of the heart rather than the wallet."

The house originally belonged to M. Edward Morin, owner of the Phoenix Bottling Works, a major employer in Phoenix at the time. The home sits at 1115 N. Second Street, just north of Roosevelt. Once a block with swank homes, it now bustles with condo-construction crews.

It's blocks away from Arizona State University's growing downtown campus, the emerging biomedical campus, Roosevelt Street art galleries and future light rail.

Last resort
Putting an antique house on the back of a truck is a last resort, preservationists say. Ideally, the building should stay where it is because its location and setting also are historically significant.

And the costs can be staggering.

To move Morin's 1,850-square-foot house, workers will use equipment that will gradually lift the home off its foundation. The porch must be removed and rebuilt. Utility lines must be disconnected and re-established at the new property. Traffic signals in the path of the move must come down.

Klocke said the move itself may cost more that $150,000. He may spend up to $500,000 more after adding in the land, costs to rehab the house after the move, landscaping, parking spaces and other improvements, according to a city report. Klocke plans to rent the house to a business. The city will give Klocke $250,000 in historic preservation funds to offset some of his costs.

After the move, there can be other headaches, an architect says. When buildings move from one location to another, they are considered new buildings under the building code, said Steven Helffrich, a Phoenix architect who is helping to renovate the six World War II buildings. That can mean expensive plumbing upgrades and other improvements, he said.

Still, to those supporting preservation, the costs and potential headaches are well worth the effort. After the war, the small buildings near 17th Avenue and McDowell Road sat vacant for two decades. Now they will have new life as the artist studios behind the restaurant.

"We want to bring them back to life," said Derrick Suarez, the restaurant's co-owner.

Do you hear that Robert Sarver? They can move buildings now. Wow...

vertex Jul 24, 2007 11:09 PM

Sidebar to the above article:


The setup

Crews remove asbestos and other hazardous materials from the house. Utilities are unhooked. Workers dismantle staircases and other fragile fixtures. The owner must get proper permits.

The lifting

Crews cut holes in the house and insert steel beams, which form a grid that is used to help lift the house. During the course of several days, a hydraulic jacking system lifts the building about 6 feet in the air.

The move

A specially designed truck is hooked to steal beams attached to the house. The truck slowly pulls the house to the new neighborhood. Weeks before the move, the owners ask utilities and city agencies to move traffic signals, utility lines, etc., that are in the truck's path.

The foundation

The house is put on pre-made foundation, or the house is put on cribbing and a foundation is built underneath.

Some 2006 building moves in Phoenix

• 11 E. Ashland Ave.
New address: 531 E. Lynwood St.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: Old site now commercial site.

• 817/819 N. Fourth St.
New address: 615 N. Sixth Ave.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: On biomedical campus site.

• 414/416 E. Pierce St.
New address: 615 N. Sixth Ave.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: On biomedical campus site.

• 616 N. Fifth St.
New address: 615 N. Sixth Ave.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: On biomedical campus site.

• 814 N. Sixth St.
New address: 615 N. Sixth Ave.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: On biomedical campus site.

• 715 N. Fourth St.
New address: 804 S. Fourth Ave.
Move date: April 2006.
Reason: On biomedical campus site.

Source: City of Phoenix

PHX31 Jul 27, 2007 1:29 AM

You know what house would be prime for a relocation and restoration... that 1896 house directly next to O'Neill printing on 2nd Ave behind the YMCA. That is such a shame 1.) everything around it was torn down (if that gem was once part of a neighborhood, I wonder what was lost) and 2.) that god awful shite of a building that is O'Neill printing was built directly next to it.

That house would look good somewhere else in Roosevelt.

DowntownDweller Jul 27, 2007 3:15 AM


Originally Posted by PHX31 (Post 2974607)
You know what house would be prime for a relocation and restoration... that 1896 house directly next to O'Neill printing on 2nd Ave behind the YMCA. That is such a shame 1.) everything around it was torn down (if that gem was once part of a neighborhood, I wonder what was lost) and 2.) that god awful shite of a building that is O'Neill printing was built directly next to it.

That house would look good somewhere else in Roosevelt.

That 1896 house already has plans attached to it. I read something about it a while back, but cannot find it right now.

HooverDam Jul 27, 2007 4:01 AM


Originally Posted by DowntownDweller (Post 2974765)
That 1896 house already has plans attached to it. I read something about it a while back, but cannot find it right now.

I haven't heard anything about this, if you refind it, be sure to post it. I've always thought that would be a great place for a restaurant, especially once Jet is complete.

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