Posted May 12, 2007, 6:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Parkmerced, San Francisco, California
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 $2 million for studying what kind of redevelopment would best suit the fairgrounds, Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the adjacent neighborhoods.
"The buzz is occurring all around there. You'll see a lot more of that going on," Keuth said.
Last edited by combusean; May 12, 2007 at 8:26 PM.
Reason: palcromft -> Palmcroft @#$!