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vertex May 9, 2007 6:10 PM

The Metro Phoenix History & Preservation Thread
Tired of clogging up the phoenix development thread with flame wars? Here's your chance to discuss the status of historic buildings in metro Phoenix.

Use this thread to discuss anything related to pre-war or post-war architecture. You're encouraged to post links, articles, and photos of buildings that are threatened.

I have some links to websites that may be of interest. Many of these have been previously posted elsewhere in SSP.

The Arizona Preservation Foundation, including its' list of Arizona's most endangered buildings.

The Philidelphia Architects and Buildings website, which keeps a terrific nationwide database of historic buildings, including over 300 in Maricopa county.

The blog keeps a pretty good record of many of the historic/quasi-historic buildings found there, including the infamous Sun Merc.

vertex May 9, 2007 6:24 PM

Let's begin with the the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network, a website featuring (mostly) local, mid-century architecture.

Unfortunately, a lot of the buildings featured are threatened, or have already been demolished. The Valley National Bank branches from the 1960's come to mind.

The Tempe Dome bank is now gone, although ASU intend's to preserve the dome shell.

And there are plans to radically change the branch at 44th st. and Camelback.

Western Savings also contributed some terrific bank branch architecture to the valley. The Washburn Piano building on 20th st. and Camelback was a good example. Unfortunately, that is gone as well.

Hysonk May 9, 2007 7:08 PM

The Valley Bank Building at 44th and Camelback was one of the landmarks that my uncle first showed to us when we moved to Phoenix back in 1968. I had never seen something so amazing. The other cool thing was the Phoenix bird at Town and Country. It's still there and hopefully will remain.

soleri May 9, 2007 8:02 PM

Town & Country is one artifact I fear is doomed. The City Council granted them much greater density, so the owners are no longer committed to its preservation. The rents have skyrocketed in the center not for any market reasons but because the owners appear to be forcing out long-term tenants like Jutenhoops. The rambling, sloping structures are probably more appropriate to Rancho Palos Verdes than Phoenix but it's one of the nicest outdoor public spaces in the Valley. Before Starbucks, the coffee house Dos Baristas was probably the pleasantest of hang-outs.

And don't forget this is where Pizzeria Bianco started (and Rancho Pinot, too).

PHX31 May 9, 2007 8:29 PM

Any pics of the Town & Country you speak of?

I'm starting to come around slightly to mid-century architecture. Like Soleri has mentioned "there is a lag time in terms of public consciousness. We may not care now but we probably will later when the buildings are gone." And that may very well become true, it has already happened with much of Phoenix's pre-war stock.

The only thing is that this mid-century stuff is so damn ugly (again, though, it grows on you), it just looks shabby and shoddy and most likely uses much cheaper styles of materials (as opposed to the pre-war stuff). And to top it all of, much of it is auto-centric, coming about when the car was king, and is non-urban, which again, seems to be what everyone on this forum craves.

To me people on this forum enjoying mid-century architecture is just like having some kind of crazy bed-fellow or mistress. All day you're out preaching the qualities and positives of having an urban society that can embrace non auto-oriented transit or be much more pedestrian in scale, but at night you go home and sleep with your whorish dark-sided mid-late-century architecture slut which goes against everything you stand for.

soleri May 9, 2007 10:44 PM

^if I had to choose, it would be the pre-war beaux-arts style of architecture. Those kind of buildings define the street much better than the car-oriented modernist stuff. But as we all know, Phoenix is one hell of a car town, so we have to celebrate ourselves in context.

You see the midcentury style probably a little better in the downtown Scottsdale area (Valley Ho, Bon Vie, et al). Every now and then I come across a really nice example of a good redo and get a bit of buzz. One of my favorite buildings of this style, btw, is at 1st St and Willetta, the brick Valley National Bank branch, now a charter school. The proportions are perfect and the materials are solid. There's a smattering of buildings on 1st St north of Roosevelt, and some fine examples are Camelback Rd by Al Beadle and Ralph Haver. The building housing the furniture store Red is, by any standard, a beauty.

A mecca for midcentury modern is Palm Springs. LA, of course, has lots of fine stock. Raising the level of consciousness about this style is important, needless to say since so many have been destroyed.

combusean May 10, 2007 1:13 AM

Why anyone would make a case for saving Town and Country is beyond me. Its interior is a dismal maze of courtyards and deadend pathways into struggling small retailers, while the businesses that are lucky to have street frontage do quite well.

I think the new Camelback East plan will leave significant buffers between Camelback and any allowed development, effectively asphalting a massive parking lot out front. But even still, T&C's future on the chopping block is eagerly anticipated for additional height.

The Arches in Tempe, however, they at least stuck the parking in back and I kind of liked the quaintness of it, but most of that is gone now as well as is Hogi Yogi. Gentle Strength was kinda cool as an old lumber yard in the middle of downtown. Club Rio is more the kid's memories than the architecture fan's, but still. I don't even remember the former president's house on College and Broadmor. And one last pause for the old adobe barrios in the suburbs....High Town is one of the last, southeast of Chandler Boulevard and McClintock. Most of Gilbert's have been entirely leveled for the suburbs. At least we have the treasures in Guadalupe, with, what, 86% of the building stock that needs to be substantially renovated or razed. At least they're not likely to go anywhere for a while.

Apache Blvd doesn't look the same anymore--a massive stretch around McAllister, south of Adelphi Commons, was cleared for that American Campus Communities project under construction now. Maybe all the vacant lots weren't quite as nasty back then but after the hard construction its well due for a makeover.

South Scottsdale is the mecca for midcentury apartment sprawl--block after block of one story ranch style apartments, relatively well kept up but absolutely choking on cars and the local retail fare decidedly budget Mexican. From one of my friends who's an apartment manager in one of these places, they talk about developers buying all of say, Cheery Lynn St west of 68th for a few blocks. Sooner or later this stuff will evaporate but a blanket case for saving all of them is silly. If 50 years is the new threshold for preservation, I almost wonder why demolition permits aren't coming in sooner.

But if they can do this in Scottsdale, what kind of future does Phoenix's warehouse district and Grant Park/south of the tracks area have? A bleak one, no doubt. That's why I'm a bit irked that the MCM preservationist movement is getting the attention it is when a square mile or so of the last stuff we have dating back to World War 1 will probably be gone in 5 - 10 years if downtown pans out to how we all want it.

I like the MCM thing, but only for its own quirkiness and the sad admittance that the wacky 60's resort-era stuff that killed the city is really the one last unique thing we can grasp on to. With these circumstances, maybe you do have to shift the preservation ring back till after WW2, but I don't think most of old Phoenix is safe with the patchwork of owners and regulations we have today. Jackson St, Disneylandish as it might look, is our saving grace. The alternative is too depressing to watch; ironically, an endless supply of last chances to snap that building is hardly rewarding as a photographer here.

soleri May 10, 2007 2:49 AM

^context is as important as individual buildings. For example, if Jackson St was largely intact with its old warehouses and Chinatown artifacts, I think a much better case could be made for the Sun Merc building's pristine preservation. An even stronger case could have been made for west Jackson St before the County plundered it for their new jail complex. What we see now are bits and pieces of history washed over and strewn about.

Even with historic registers, tax credits, zoning overlays and whatnot, preservation is never a slam dunk. Sometimes it's just fortuitous. Benign neglect is sometimes the agent of deliverance. Downtown LA is an example here. Much of it was simply abandoned as business moved west to Wilshire, Figueroa and Grand. Now old treasures are being renovated and retrofitted.

Phoenix doesn't have much but that doesn't mean we shouldn't care. We have to advocate for this city's small treasures and architectural legacy because it will have a definite impact on future development. Midcentury modern reveals the autocentric city in its robust youth and optimism. There's an analog in Googie-style architecture, and futuristic kitsch. We can laugh, but these eras and tastes do appear to be unique. That they stake their own claim to our collective interest is a testament to their solid design and construction. Not everything is equally worthy, but even ordinary buildings were often very well done.

Town & Country has been bowdlerized over the years but even with its mazes and warrens, the charm is still there. I won't lose sleep over its demise but I will remember when it functioned better than almost any other public space in Phoenix. It probably hit its peak 10 to 15 years ago. At one point, there was a blend of retail that even made Mill Avenue seem staid: Everything Earthly, The Hemp Store, Pizzeria Bianco, Unicef, Jutenhoops, AMC theaters (a real shame those theaters didn't become independent venues), Trilogy New Age, Dos Baristas. There was simply nothing else like it.

nbrindley May 11, 2007 3:29 AM

The Chase bank at 44th and Camelback is a fantastic building, it's like something out of an old sci-fi movie. I used to bank there regularly when I worked at 40th and Camelback, and I would always just stare around the building while waiting in line. Ten years ago or so I would have dismissed it as old and kitschy and ugly. But since then, I have really gained a sense of appreciation for midcentury modern architecture. Yes, it may be tied to post-war suburban sprawl, but there are so many cheap plywood and plaster muffler shops and whatnot (that look like they were built with a 1000 bucks and 2 days of labor) that it would be a real shame to lose these gems that represent a significant era of architecture. It's not like the city is paved in these buildings, it would be great to see the refurbished and cleaned up to their former glory. I think the biggest reason people don't appreciate these buildings is that they've seen 40 years of use and grime. If we saw them as they were when they were first built, I think people would be much less likely to tear them down.

As for Town & Country, I used to go to movies there occasionally when I was in high school about 10 years ago. I do remember there always being a decent crowd there at the various shops and restaurants, but even then it seemed kind of dark and in it's twilight years. Architectually speaking, I don't really see any reason to keep it, there isn't anything particularly striking about it if my memory serves me.

combusean May 11, 2007 6:18 AM

^ Did you work at Wild Oats by chance? I used to live at that corner ... Stephanie is probably one of the coolest cats I've met at a grocery store.

nbrindley May 11, 2007 11:25 PM

Nope. Worked at Cookies In Bloom directly next door.

combusean May 12, 2007 6:10 PM

I'm copying this article from PDN as it relates to the Palmcroft Apartments on 15th Avenue and McDowell ... a really sketchy complex built as wartime housing and I'm guessing has been decaying ever since.

This complex is amongst many other properties in a multiblock zone that has been on the National Historic Register for years. It is by far the worst of the bunch, and is probably one of the last properties to be built in the Encanto Palmcroft Historic district which basically runs from the 20's to WW2.

The article touches on it, but at the request of GG George--she's really nice but probably one of the most ardent historic preservationists I've ever met--the Phoenix City Council started to add commercial properties fronting McDowell Road to the historic district to the north--too bad you can't just do that and adding properties to a historic district requires a majority vote of the properties affected. None added in, the developer sued, GG George is probably really pissed off over this, but what Phoenix doesn't get through the process is what's missing after it.

The last few historic buildings that have been torn down have actually positive repercussions. Since the demolition of MSG, Phoenix initiated adding a series of historically black and latino properties to a historic register, and after Sun Merc Phoenix is doing the same for the Asian community.

Unfortunately, no such action is pending for a survey of the remaining WW2-era housing complexes built in the Phoenix area. I know that the Palmcroft complex under demolition is not unique--a property I looked at around 16th St and Camelback was built under similar circumstances.


The Business Journal of Phoenix - May 11, 2007 by Jan Buchholz The Business Journal

Residential and commercial developers have plans to invest big bucks in the urban neighborhood near Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road.

For many years, the area south of Encanto Park and north of Interstate 10 has been a hodgepodge of dilapidated housing and run-down retail alongside finely maintained historic homes and a handful of loyal, well-kept businesses.

Now, a California real estate investor and developer plans to build an 87-unit Santa Barbara-style condominium complex on the site of former wartime housing, between 13th and 15th avenues north of McDowell. The four-story Encanto Parkside project, adjacent to both the Encanto and F.Q. Story historic districts, will consist primarily of luxury high-density residences priced between $400,000 and $900,000, with some commercial space, underground parking and an athletic facility.

"I've been investing in Phoenix since 2001, but until now I've only done single-family homes," said developer Scott Haskins. "This is the largest project I've ever done."

The 2.2-acre site has been an eyesore and high crime area for some time. But ironically, Haskins had to fight city hall to get his upscale project off the ground.

After he purchased the property in April 2006 for $5.4 million, the Phoenix City Council overlaid a historic designation on the site. This would have protected the decaying Palmcroft Apartments, built in 1943. Haskins protested the council's actions by filing a lawsuit. Last month, the City Council backed off and Haskins quickly emerged with his redevelopment plans.

"I think this is an A-1 site in the most beautiful and best historic neighborhood in Phoenix," he said. "I think I hit the sweet spot."

Asbestos removal has started on Palmcroft's 33 units in preparation for demolition, which is scheduled to begin next month. Construction will start in early 2008.

When buyers move in around mid-2009, emerging and established retailers will be ready to serve them.

A Starbucks recently opened there, and in June a Pei Wei Asian Diner will open next door in a restored building on the southwest corner of Seventh Avenue and McDowell.

Logan Van Sittert, a Phoenix architect and developer, has owned that property (circa 1930s) for years, but it wasn't until recently that the pieces fell into place for a viable redevelopment plan.

"It was a project whose time had come," Van Sittert said. "People are really happy with it. All we get are nice compliments."

Phoenix-based Indianola Partners is co-developer with Van Sittert Associates.

Besides owning and developing the Starbucks and Pei Wei, Van Sittert owns property to the west, including his architecture offices.

Next door, marketing and public relations company E.B. Lane has been a mainstay in the area since 1971. The company started with one Spanish-style stucco home and kept remodeling adjacent residential properties. Now it occupies 22,000 square feet of rehabbed space.

"We've had the same address for over 35 years. We're very committed to real estate in the area," said E.B. Lane President and Chief Executive Beau Lane.

Although Lane is credited with keeping faith in the neighborhood through tough times, Van Sittert said David Lacy, owner of My Florist Café and Willo Bakery on the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and McDowell, really has driven the neighborhood's most recent resurgence.

When Lacy purchased the aging retail site in 1993 to start a wholesale bakery, the former anchor tenant, My Florist, had been closed for several years and the building was vacant. The busy corner attracted attention, if only for its tattered facade.

Lacy conceded it was a risky investment.

"I had friends questioning my sanity," he said. "It was pretty forlorn looking." It was, however, "perfect for a wholesale bakery."
The bakery was a success and started attracting retail customers. Lacy then opened My Florist Café, "and little by little others joined in," he said.

More redevelopment is on tap now that Lacy has sold his properties to Tempe-based Lawrence & Geyser Development Corp. He's leasing back the space he uses.

"We actually own now everything from Seventh Avenue to Fifth Avenue on the north side (of McDowell)," co-founder Jeff Geyser said. "Our goal is to create a nice retail center."

The company will preserve many of the structures, including Lacy's businesses.

"Those are wonderful buildings. We're meeting with several (potential) tenants," Geyser said. "There's definitely more excitement to come. We see that intersection as a gateway to the historic neighborhoods."

Don Keuth, president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, believes this is just the beginning of more positive activity in the area.

"That whole area down to the fairgrounds is ripe for development," Keuth said.

He noted that the $900 million city of Phoenix bond program passed last year included more than $2 million for studying what kind of redevelopment would best suit the fairgrounds, Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the adjacent neighborhoods.

"The buzz is occurring all around there. You'll see a lot more of that going on," Keuth said.

soleri May 12, 2007 7:31 PM

I know GG George from my days as a Willo neighborhood activist. She's got that indomitable spirit which is great when you agree with her and irritating when you don't. Encanto-Palmcroft is her passion but the days have long passed when it was under any real danger. The danger now is that it will simply use blind NIMBYism to fight some appropriate development along its borders.

The apartment complex being demolished was "renovated" in the 1980s to look like a slum. Before that, it was modest but attractive. Why anyone would want to preserve it is beyond me although some preservationists will ride any old hobby horse as long as they think they look good in a saddle. The real issue is probably the height of the proposed project. At four stories, it will permit some viewlines into Palmcroft backyards, a trauma for those who thought city living included nude sunbathing.

There was one rezoning case in Encanto Palmcroft that was particularly nasty. A physician had bought a house for her office on 7th Avenue. She was the type who respected the neighborhood and adjoining houses. Her only sin was that she would be caring for a limited clientele. GG George fought her tooth and nail, calling in all her chits in city government and the Council. She prevailed. But the physician was not a substantial corporation and could only afford modest legal representation. This time, it's different and I find myself actually sympathizing with greedy developers. What the inner city needs, even this neighborhood, are more affluent residents. Yes, protect those gorgeous houses. But don't make a principle out of passion. That simply leads to pointless battles instead of strategic accommodation.

combusean May 15, 2007 12:46 AM

I just put the earnest deposit down in a unit at 636 Studios, a very quaint 10 unit complex of studio condos on 4th avenue and McKinley. Built 1930, renovated 2006. There are a few even smaller units left at $110k, but not as good value..either way you have all the luxury appointments, just not the size. :D If you are a first-time homebuyer like myself (or otherwise), they've got a relatively cheap way to get in with no closing costs or down payment, just the earnest deposit. Just get loftlovr as your realtor first as my guy was rather vacant. ;)

Realtor photos:

Phoenix is going to be stuck with me for a while. :D

jvbahn May 15, 2007 9:59 AM

Congrats Sean! We need interior pics when you move in. I saw those about a year ago, when the prices were a tad higher. Thought it was a good investment, like a mini-PHX-Melrose Place, and that neighborhood will be supercool when all is built in the long-run. Cibo will probably see you a lot.

combusean May 15, 2007 1:56 PM

Yeah, I vaguely recall seeing these on the MLS when they were something like twice the price. I took enough time off from looking so I could actually buy and found these quite randomly.

Don B. May 15, 2007 2:05 PM

^ I forgot - where are you living now? Regardless - congrats. Party at Sean's!? :D

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


sundevilgrad May 15, 2007 6:04 PM

Shameless plug... I like it.

Don B. May 15, 2007 8:29 PM

^ Well, not really. More like laziness - it's the only image I have where I have the contrast side by side without having to host up each individual image with an explanation. That and I'm in the middle of my last final - a bitch of a Contracts II exam - and time is limited today.

If someone has a problem with this (most of you aren't my target audience anyways), then I'll be happy to fix it tomorrow. Recrop and rehost.


sundevilgrad May 15, 2007 8:47 PM

I actually like it, and might be contacting you when (if) we put our house on the market...

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.

Kroney Aug 1, 2007 1:22 AM

Move date for the Morin House
I e-mailed Dan Klocke inquiring about the move date of the Morin House. His response is below. I've never witnessed the move of an entire house so I plan to be out there that night. I'll take pictures for the benefit of the forum. Who knows... maybe I can help out in some way.

Thanks for the e-mail. It is an exciting project and I am happy to be in the Roosevelt neighborhood. We just set a date of August 24th/25th-the Friday night/Sat morning. There will be activity in the evening but the house will likely not move until 2 am Sat morning. If there is bad weather it will be Sept 8/9. It should provide for some interesting photos to say the least. Thanks for your interest

andrewkfromaz Aug 1, 2007 4:40 AM

Sweet! Make sure you post pics!

JimInCal Aug 4, 2007 5:15 PM

Polly Rosenbaum Archives
Here is an exerpt from the article about the archives facility being build near the capitol. The full story is at the link below. Also, they include a nice animation with explanation of the approach to the building design and its purpose. I included a link to that as well. It's not building preservation but preservation of Arizona's history...I thought it fit in this thread.

History Lesson
Arizona Archive Preserves the Past to Protect the Future

By Scott Blair

The $32.3 million Polly Rosenbaum Archives in Phoenix will preserve Arizona's important documents. The 125,000-sq-ft space will also treat and restore these materials through a variety of unique rooms, including a document blast-freezer and a fumigation room.

Irreplaceable records of Arizona's history are being destroyed every day because of a lack of space to properly house them.

That's the alarming message state archivists delivered to the Arizona State Legislature more than 10 years ago. After years of false starts, state lawmakers finally approved $32.5 million for the construction of the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building, and construction began in January.

"It's important for people to understand this building is not great-great-aunt Sally's diary of crossing the plains," says GladysAnn Wells, director of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. "As much as I might be interested in reading that, these records are what protect personal entitlements, property and water rights."

The building is located on a vacant lot near the State Capitol on 19th Avenue and Madison Street, and is named for Arizona's longest serving state representative and a long-time advocate for historic preservation.

Vicelord John Aug 4, 2007 5:40 PM


Originally Posted by HooverDam (Post 2938101)
^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"?

I like! how many signatures do we need to place this on the ballot?:yes:

combusean Aug 4, 2007 7:01 PM

^ 1,500 for Phoenix.

NIXPHX77 Aug 15, 2007 6:25 PM

Phx HP office job opening

Salary Range: $52,603 – $74,755 annualized

Recruitment Dates: August 13 to September 10, 2007 (first review of applications)

Requires two years of experience performing public or private planning, preservation or architectural work plus a bachelor's degree in architecture, history, planning, historic preservation, archeology, or a closely related field. Knowledge of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, historic architectural styles and building construction techniques is essential. Strong writing and communication skills and experience in working with government, non-profit boards and commissions is desirable. Experience managing historic rehabilitation projects, performing federal compliance work, and overseeing grant programs are preferred. Other combinations of experience and education that meet the minimum qualifications may be substituted.

Coordinates and assists in the implementation of the City's Historic Preservation Program. Prepares and processes historic preservation zoning cases; performs design reviews of Certificate of Appropriateness applications; manages major rehabilitation work on city-owned historic sites; reviews city projects for compliance with city, state and federal historic preservation regulations; performs historic research and survey work; helps to manage historic preservation incentive programs; performs public outreach; prepares reports and makes public presentations; enforces the city historic preservation ordinance; and provides technical, architectural and historical design guidance to City staff, elected officials, citizens, boards and commissions.

Some positions in this classification require the use of personal or City vehicles on City business. Individuals must be physically capable of operating the vehicles safely, possess an appropriate valid Arizona driver's license, possess personal insurance coverage, and have an acceptable driving record.

Based on resume and cover letter. In your cover letter or resume, please describe your knowledge of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, historic architectural styles, building construction techniques, and all other related historic preservation experience. Only applicants who meet the experience requirements will be placed on the eligible-to-hire list. Previous score cannot be reused.

The City of Phoenix supports a drug-free workplace. After an employment offer is made, external applicants will be required to take and pass a drug test. Employment will be contingent upon successful completion of this drug test, and consideration of background, reference, and other job-related selection information. For more information go to

DowntownDweller Aug 15, 2007 6:46 PM

I would so apply for that if it wasn't a pay-cut even at maximum salary.

jvbahn Aug 16, 2007 12:00 PM

I dunno what Combusean does, but sounds like he's the guy for the job.

Kroney Aug 25, 2007 2:37 PM

The Morin House did not move last night. This is not surprising given the rainy weather this morning. Looks like Sept 8/9 is the new target.

PHX31 Aug 25, 2007 2:45 PM

Damn, I totally forgot about that. How's that, we have a couple weeks of clear weather and then Dean's moisture comes and effs it all up. Oh well, thanks for reminding me. I hope someone can get some pictures of the move (I'll be out at Lake Powell that weekend :))

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