Tag Archives: Willo Historic District

Willo Historic Neighborhood In Phoenix Hosts 30th Anniversary Home Tour

Willo Historic Neighborhood, one of Downtown Phoenix’s first historic suburbs, will host its home tour and street fair on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.

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An Example of an English Tudor In Willo Historic District

The tour invites visitors to explore a variety of architectural home styles, including Tudor, Spanish Revival, Bungalow and Ranch, constructed from the 1920’s through the 1940’s.

The street fair at the event will offer handcrafted goods, unusual gift ideas, jewelry, antiques and local artwork. There will also be food vendors, a beer garden and music, including a dueling piano bar.

“Willo Home tour offers the community a chance to see a historic part of Phoenix,” Tour Chairman Don Vallejo said. “It will also give people a chance to see the renovations and what the future holds for the city.”

To make the 30th anniversary tour special, Willo partnered with The District PHX, a real estate company that has helped put on other local home tours in the past.

Willo is one of the coolest historic neighborhoods in the city,” said Brett Borinstein, The District PHX community relations manager. “The pride of the home owners is obvious, and we’re excited to work with them.

The fair opens at 9:00 a.m. and the tour starts an hour later.

Parking is available at the parking garage located at 1st Avenue and Holly. Guests are also welcome to park in any available location within the neighborhood. Trolleys will be continually running throughout the day.

“This is our first year working with Willo,” Borinstein said. “But I know they’re expecting their biggest and best one yet.”

If you go

What: 30th Anniversary Willo Home Tour

When: Sunday, Feb. 11. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Street fair opens at 9 a.m.

Tickets: $18 Advance tickets and information on the Feb 10 Twilight Tour and Willo Affair can be found here.

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in Central or Downtown Phoenix, or just have some questions about anything at all in or about any one of the historic districts in Phoenix, I’d be very happy to help you! Just call or email me anytime.

Willo Historic Home Tour returns February 11, 2018

The history and charm of downtown Phoenix’s historical neighborhoods will be on display at the 30th Anniversary Willo Historic Home Tour & Street Fair. willo,2018,home tour,neighborhood,home,tour,2018,phoenix,downtown,homes,central,real,estateSponsored by The District PHX, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. February 11 in the historic Willo Historic Neighborhood, attendees can view 13 historic residences and a fire station museum, and the street fair features a classic car show, beer/wine garden, live music, food trucks and more than 80 vendors. Advanced tickets are $18 and can be purchased at WilloPhx.com or on-site the day of the event.

Visitors to the Willo Historic District will experience a variety of architectural styles including Bungalow, Tudor Revival, Greek Revival, American Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Pueblo Revival and Ranches. The Willo neighborhood is located between Seventh and First Avenues, north of McDowell and south of Thomas. Once considered the suburbs of Phoenix, Willo is comprised of 22 subdivisions developed by various entrepreneurs from the early 1900s through the 1940s.

“Now at 30 years, the Willo Historic Home Tour is Phoenix’s largest and longest running historic home tour, reflecting an enormous amount of pride Willo residents continue to have for their neighborhood,” said Don Vallejo, co-chair of the 2018 Willo Home Tour Committee. “This all-volunteer festival represents our main fundraising activity for the non-profit Willo Historic Neighborhood, providing funds for neighborhood events, improvements and beautification.”

The District PHX is the main event sponsor and helps foster the collaboration between neighbors and investors to restore, improve and revitalize the charm of Phoenix neighborhoods. The organization works with homeowners who need or want to sell their home quickly, regardless of the reason. At the same time, The District PHX helps neighbors protect their most important asset, their home, by revitalizing or rebuilding the property completely in harmony with the existing neighborhood. 

WHAT: 30th Anniversary Willo Historic Home Tour

WHEN:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m., February 11, 2018

WHERE:  3rd Avenue and Monte Vista Road in the Willo Historic Neighborhood, Phoenix

TICKETS:  $18 in advance at WilloPhx.com and $20 at the event. Admission to the Street Fair is free.

For tickets, as well as more information on the event and the Willo Historic District, visit www.willophx.com. For more formation on The DistrictPHX, visit www.thedistrictphx.com.

8 Metro Phoenix Neighborhoods You Should Know

For a long time, Metropolitan Phoenix felt distant and had been sorely ignored around the middle. Today that’s not the case. The hottest real estate on the market is smack in the center of town and that emerging historic Phoenix neighborhood you had your eye on is suddenly out of reach. We’ve combed the not-so-mean streets of our city to find eight neighborhoods you might not have heard of and that you definitely need to know more about.

While we’re celebrating these gems, we haven’t forgotten the implications of gentrification and urban development. So we’d like to invite you to be part of the discussion of how Phoenix is developing; what neighborhoods have it right, which are on the wrong path, and what can we do to preserve the past, respect current residents, and create a vibrant future for our city.

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Floralcroft
Boundaries: State Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, 59th Avenue, and 61st Avenue, Glendale
Median home price: $140,000
Origin story: Flora Mae Gillett-Statler founded this neighborhood in 1928 and named it after herself. Ten years later, she founded the town of Surprise.
Why it’s emerging: It’s hard to find a bargain in the Phoenix historic housing game, and these homes have the bones and character to rival way more expensive counterparts in Willo, Encanto, and F.Q. Story.

Long before the age of personal branding, hashtags, and celebrity endorsements, Flora Mae Gillett-Statler did something exceptional. She put her name on a west-side neighborhood. In the early 1900s, the daughter of a pioneering clergyman and land speculator made her mark on the Valley by investing in real estate. She founded a town and a neighborhood, naming the latter after herself.

In 1890, Flora was born in Missouri to Rachel and Charles E. Gillett, an old-school multi-hyphenate who brought his family to Glendale, making them among early city residents. Among other things, Charles was a service-station owner, real estate investor, and friend to Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt.

One of five siblings, Flora married Luther Ward Statler in 1911 and had two children, Vernon and Elizabeth, eventually known as Bette Stofft, a prominent Valley philanthropist and artist.

After World War I, Flora’s father, Charles, opened a service station in Glendale with Homer C. Ludden, with whom he also worked in insurance and real estate. Drawn to speculation, Flora worked at the station and her father’s office. Eventually, she took the reins in Charles’ real estate business, and by the late 1920s, she was ready to branch out and make her own investments. In 1928, she platted an 83-lot neighborhood just north of downtown Glendale and named it Floralcroft.

It’s unclear when she and Statler separated, though public documents note that he spent a lot of time away from home due to business pursuits, including mining. Flora went on to marry her father’s business partner, Ludden, who until 2010 was erroneously credited with founding the town of Surprise. That was actually Flora, who also named the town. (She subdivided land in El Mirage and Yarnell, too.)

Flora resided in her neighborhood — first in a two-story brick house that served as a model to entice potential buyers and later in a Norman cottage revival that happens to be on the market currently — until her death from breast cancer in 1953.

Today, Floralcroft has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to its decades-spanning architectural styles, including ranch, bungalow, and late 19th- and 20th-century revivals. Take a drive through the neighborhood, wedged between Caitlin Court and Northfield, and you’ll find sidewalks lined with black street lamps and charming homes in red brick and pink stucco with original crank windows and white wood siding.

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Eastlake Park In Central Phoenix
Boundaries: Van Buren Street, Jackson Street, 12th Street, and 16th Street
Median home price: $359,900 (based on one home for sale as of press time)
Origin story: A segregated African-American community arises around Phoenix’s oldest park
Why it’s emerging: Recent renovations, a new community grant, and modern-day cultural significance

If you’re unfamiliar with Eastlake Park, there’s a strong chance you’re not alone — and an even stronger chance you’re, well, white. That’s because, for the majority of its existence, Eastlake Park has served a predominantly African-American community. And while those who have lived, worked, or possibly attended civil rights rallies there may already understand the area’s significance, for everyone else who’s unsure as to what Eastlake Park means or even where it’s located (hint: there’s no actual lake at this point), we need to look back at the neighborhood’s history.

Eastlake Park, formerly Phoenix Park, was established in 1890 by Moses Sherman and later purchased by the city of Phoenix in 1914. During its early-20th-century development, Eastlake Park and the surrounding neighborhood of the same name, along with areas in west and south Phoenix, became home to Phoenix’s black community.

This had less to do with choice and more to do with a lack of opportunity for African-Americans. Between limited funds, increasing segregation, and later an all-out combined effort from banks, real-estate agents, and lending agencies to prevent African-Americans from moving north of Van Buren Street, it was difficult for black residents to live elsewhere.

As a result, Eastlake Park was comprised almost entirely of black-owned businesses, churches, and schools such as Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church and the Booker T. Washington School (now occupied by Phoenix New Times). It also bore witness to many of the historic milestones made by African-Americans in Arizona during the 20th century, including speeches by Booker T. Washington in 1911 and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, the founding of Arizona’s first African American-owned newspaper, the Phoenix Tribune, and the founding of the Booker T. Washington Hospital in 1927 by Phoenix’s first African-American physician, Dr. Winston Hackett.

As the Civil Rights movement gained momentum in Phoenix during the 1940s, Eastlake Park became a hotbed for protests against inequality and discrimination. But progress was slow, and by the 1960s, Eastlake Park had begun to change. Housing started to deteriorate, residents who could relocate did, and business development waned, leaving the area in a less than ideal state.

In 2013, Eastlake Park underwent a $4 million renovation to upgrade its facilities. This past spring, Eastlake was one of nine communities selected to participate in the inaugural AZ Creative Communities Institute, a collaborative program for improving communities through creative efforts.

“Eastlake is one of the few truly diversified urban neighborhoods being redeveloped with a history of leadership and community involvement.” says Virgil “Jackie” Berry, one of the team members chosen to represent Eastlake Park in the AZ CCI grant.

The Eastlake AZ CCI team notes that while the neighborhood is experiencing positive change in recent years, it’s been at an inconsistent pace. Still, they’re working to explore ways they can create a better environment for the Eastlake community while at the same time memorializing the area’s past, because at the end of the day they all agree, “Eastlake is the soul of the city of Phoenix.”

squaw peak groves,neighborhood,historic phoenix,phoenix,historic,district,,neighborhood,area,real estate

Squaw Peak Groves In Central Phoenix
Boundaries: 12th Street, 12th Place, Glenn Drive, and the Arizona Canal
Median home price: $423,900
Origin story: Former citrus groves turned midcentury suburb
Why it’s emerging: Trendy new restaurants, a prime central location, and atomic ranch appeal

If you’re looking for the sweet spot south of Sunnyslope but north of uptown, we’ve got three words for you: Squaw Peak Groves. Tucked between 12th Street and 12th Place, Glenn Drive and the Arizona Canal, this hidden gem of atomic ranch homes built primarily between 1960 and 1962 — is a suburban dream.

Set against the backdrop of Piestewa Peak, this cluster of cul-de-sacs and winding no-outlet drives delivers on generous lots, manicured lawns, and quaint facades that feel familiar to anyone who grew up in Phoenix’s more mid-century developments: breeze-blocks, weeping mortar, and yes, maybe even a pastel paint job here and there. It’s ideal for anyone looking to raise a family without relinquishing that coveted central location.

While there aren’t as many, or any groves as the name would lead you to believe, Luci’s owners Ken and Lucia Schnitzer have been bringing the area’s past front and center with their multi-use space, The Orchard.

Located on a former citrus farm and nursery, presumably the source of the development’s original name, The Orchard features Luci’s second location, Splurge Ice Cream and Candy Shop, and Pomelo, an Italian eatery with a citrus name to pay homage to the neighborhood’s history.

Since its opening in 2016, the generous space has become a hotspot for 12th Street corridor in North Central residents looking for a place to gather with their kids, dogs, and the influx of new neighbors. Actually, The Orchard has become a major selling point for the once-sleepy neighborhood, where Ken Schnitzer says that home values have definitely increased. And he’s not surprised.

“Across the United States, people would build housing developments and then shopping centers would go in there and they’d say okay, there’s a need for shopping centers and open a store and restaurants and they’d come in after. Nowadays, the restaurants and places are there and people want to live in the area. So it’s backwards now. You don’t want to move to central Phoenix if there’s no cool places. But if there’s Luci’s and Stock & Stable and The Yard and Windsor … you want to be there.”

And to Schnitzer’s point, there’s very little for sale in Squaw Peak Groves at the moment. Those that are available are a mix of mint condition grandma-chic and newly flipped homes from investors who knew a good deal when they saw one. Either way, interested buyers are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled because a home in the Groves gets snatched up quickly. 

west side clark addition,neighborhood,historic phoenix,phoenix,historic,district,,neighborhood,area,real estate

West Side-Clark Addition
Boundaries: Country Club Drive, Date Street, Second Place, and Pepper Place, Mesa
Median home price: $190,000
Origin story: This was Mesa’s first suburban neighborhood.
Why it’s emerging: Although it’s a suburb, West Side-Clark looks nothing like your average Mesa stucco-and-tile fest. After years in limbo, it was finally granted historic status in 2017.

Mesa doesn’t have a reputation for architecture — let alone historic architecture. But a cluster of bungalows and ranches situated just west of the city’s original townsite bucks that stereotype.

With homes built between 1930 and 1958, the neighborhood, known as the West Side-Clark Addition, stands out as Mesa’s first move from an agricultural settlement to the sprawling, third-largest city in Arizona that we recognize today.

“This is the seventh historic district for the city of Mesa, but it could’ve been one of the earlier ones,” says Lauren B. Allsopp, who worked with the city’s Historic Preservation Office to secure the neighborhood’s recognition as an official Mesa Historic District. The former farmland already had landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Allsopp says West Side-Clark is notable for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a prime example of bungalow and ranch housing that gave Mesa its original architectural style. And second, its residents were passionate about having the neighborhood preserved — even though it took a while to make that happen.

As Allsopp explains it, the process for historical designation began in 2004. But it was shelved when the recession hit and the city temporarily didn’t fill the full-time role of Historic Preservation Officer. (Another city employee served as the acting officer, but had several other responsibilities.) When Allsopp joined the office in 2016 on contract, she was able to help reinvigorate the project.

“It’s not the all-one-color tile roofs that you see today,” Allsopp says. “In the 17 years that passed — believe it or not — the neighborhood hardly changed at all.”

That’s a significant factor in a historic designation. In addition to houses still retaining notable features and materials, there were a few more structures that had aged into historic eligibility — or were resorted appropriately.

“Originally, over on Date, there was a little enclave of row houses that weren’t included, and now they were old enough,” she says. Another home became eligible for inclusion after its owners removed siding that covered original materials used in construction.

Residents worked closely with Allsopp to circulate a petition (which is required by Mesa) to move forward with the historic process. It paid off — and the neighborhood got the preservation nod.

This is the first of what Allsopp hopes will be several preservation success stories for Mesa. She’s working on other projects with the city currently, including a recent analysis of the Nile Theater’s mortar, preservation of the city’s neon signage, and securing grants for other neighborhoods.

Still, she says, West Side-Clark was special because she knows how much work went into it.

“I can show you a bungalow, I can show you a Tudor, and I can show you how people have made it work in the 21st century without ruining the character,” Allsopp says. “This is a neighborhood where you’ll want to walk.” B.B.

garfield historic district,garfield neighborhood,neighborhood,historic phoenix,phoenix,historic,district,,neighborhood,area,real esatate

Garfield Historic District
Boundaries: Seventh Street, 16th Street, Van Buren Street, and Roosevelt Street
Median home price: $269,000
Origin story: Former farmland turned booming middle-class residential development in the early 20th century.
Why it’s emerging: An influx of hot new restaurants and boutiques, a downtown Phoenix resurgence, and still somewhat affordable historic housing.

Tell native Phoenicians — your parents, for example — that you’re looking at houses in the Garfield district, and they might do a double take. That’s because up until very recently — say, the last five years — the historic downtown Phoenix hood had seen better days. Early 20th-century homes had fallen into either poorly stuccoed despair or complete disrepair. Historic storefronts sat abandoned. And despite the heavy foot traffic of the revitalized Roosevelt Row arts district just a block away, Garfield remained more or less a ghost town for downtown visitors.

That wasn’t always the case. In its heyday, Garfield was a thriving residential development bound by what is now Seventh and 16th streets and Van Buren and Roosevelt streets. Between the 1910s and 1920s, approximately 500 houses were built to meet the demands Phoenix’s early population boom — a growth spurt attributed to the 1911 completion of the Roosevelt Dam. By 1935, 85 percent of the former farmland had been converted into housing, offering up a selection of bungalow, Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor, and English Cottage-style homes to primarily middle- and working-class families.

Not only did the neighborhood give residents direct access to the then-essential Phoenix Street Railway, it also offered an assortment of conveniently located commercial spaces: churches, groceries, even a pharmacy. That same pharmacy, now an indoor plant nursery called Pueblo, is just one of the spaces that has seen new life in recent years, thanks in part to downtown’s resurgence as a whole.

“I just wanted to be as close as possible to my own house,” says Michael Lanier, Garfield resident and Pueblo owner. “I wasn’t trying to focus on opportunity. I was just trying to improve the area where I live for the residents and myself.”

Lanier isn’t alone. At the same intersection of 10th and Pierce streets, businesses including Gallo Blanco and Welcome Diner are also laying down roots, bringing with them an influx of hipsters, foodies, and home buyers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Throughout the neighborhood, construction is in full swing, and homes that were once selling well under $200,000 just last year are now going for roughly double the price.

Despite its seemingly overnight popularity, however, Lanier is reluctant to label Garfield as the next big thing. “There’s a really fine line with that, to call it emerging. But it really is on sort of a come-up. I think a lot of the residents that have been here five, 10, 15, 20 years have always appreciated it and have wanted it to be better in the sense that anything could be better.”

Like any homeowner who wants to have his cake and eat it, too, Lanier just hopes that Garfield’s newfound attention doesn’t take away from the initial charm and affordability that initially drew him and others to it. “It’s improving greatly. And hopefully that starts working out for the both longtime residents and new [ones],” he says. K.J.

brentwood historic district,brentwood neighborhood,historic phoenix,phoenix,historic,district,,neighborhood,area,real esatate

Brentwood Historic District
Boundaries: 16th Street, 20th Street, Brill Street, and Culver Street
Median home price: $199,000
Origin story: Former farmland turned early-20th century residential development
Why it’s emerging: Affordable historic housing, a central Phoenix location, and a influx of new restaurants and shops along the neighboring Miracle Mile.

If you’ve ever driven by the modest remnants of Phoenix’s once-thriving Miracle Mile — a generous strip of storefronts along McDowell Road that served as a prominent shopping destination in the 1950s — chances are you’ve passed its even less-assuming historic neighborhood, Brentwood. Nestled between 16th and 20th streets and Brill and Culver streets, this freeway-adjacent residential area has remained, for the most part, undisturbed, thanks to its limited-access streets.

With its collection of 19th- and 20th-century revivals, including Tudor, Southwest, Spanish Colonial, and bungalows, Brentwood offers a vibe not too dissimilar from more established historic neighborhoods, but without the gentrified price tag.

Like other neighboring districts, Brentwood homes began as farmland, but thanks to Phoenix’s transportation growth and a population that doubled roughly every decade between 1900 and 1940 (it quadrupled in the 1950s) the area was platted for residential development beginning in 1924. By the time of its completion in 1956, Brentwood was composed of six subdivisions — McDowell Heights, Brentwood, Brentwood East, Wright Davis, Valley of the Sun, and Governor Hunt Tract. However, a good portion of the neighborhood later had to be razed to make way for the construction of State Route 51 and Interstate 10.

Still, despite some patchy areas, the neighborhood maintains its historic charm and a central location thanks to its proximity to the concentration of topnotch Mexican dining along 16th Street and of course the Miracle Mile, which, according to residents and business owners, is poised for a comeback. Actually, some of Phoenix’s more popular restaurants and retailers have set up shop along the McDowell corridor over the last few years, including Tacos Chiwas, Ollie Vaughn’s, and Rubymint General Store. Artists like Emily Costello and Kathy Cano-Murillo have arrived, too.

When asked if the area is gearing up for a resurgence, Rubymint General co-owner Kui Mi Oh is hopeful. “[It] used to be the main drag back in the day, so it would be nice to revitalize that. There’s a lot of businesses that have been trying to move on the Miracle Mile, so revamping it would definitely be a plus for us, and I think for the neighborhood as well.”

Aislyn Richmond, McDowell Corridor Coordinator, is working to make it happen. Through a partnership among the Phoenix Community Alliance, Banner Hospital, and Trellia, a nonprofit specializing in affordable housing and community development, Richmond is able to host cleanup events, workshops with businesses in the area to help them succeed, and visioning sessions with residents in Garfield, Coronado, and Brentwood to make sure ideas are being heard.

“The main goal is that [the Miracle Mile] is a very locally focused. So it’s supposed to really serve the neighborhoods here and be community-driven with services that the neighbors can really appreciate while still maintaining the history of the area and bolstering that.”

garden art district,phoenix,neighborhood,historic,real estate,historic phoenix,district

Garden Apartment District
Boundaries: 68th Street, Fifth Street, Goldwater Boulevard, and First Street, Scottsdale
Median home price: $180,000
Origin story: South of the Hotel Valley Ho, more than 15 upscale garden apartment complexes were built in the mid-20th century. Originally marketed to seasonal tourists, this is a unique collection of multifamily housing that ranges from luxury to kitschy and dramatic.
Why it’s emerging: As housing prices creep up, apartments and condos are once again prime real estate investments. And this particular cluster of apartment buildings has been recommended for historic designation.

Back in the 1950s, Scottsdale was a Hollywood playground. Swanky hotels, new businesses, and tourist attractions set the stage for a multifamily housing boom. One hundred such complexes were built between 1948 and 1964 to accommodate people who wanted to live in the suburb.

The influx came, in part, because of high-level job prospects at Motorola, which announced plans to open a facility in the suburb in the late ’50s.

Nearly 20 garden apartment complexes popped up just south of Hotel Valley Ho, a resort that opened for business in 1956, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright student Edward L. Varney.

Motorola used the hotel to house employees while they looked for permanent residences in the area. And the Valley Ho welcomed entertainers including professional baseball players and the cast and crew of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Perhaps most notably, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner hosted the reception for their first wedding in 1957 at the Valley Ho.

It was an exciting time for the suburb, says Ben Brosseau, a Realtor and Garden Apartment District resident. That history and Old Hollywood glamour is what drew the midcentury modern enthusiast and film buff back to Scottsdale after living in Los Angeles for about a decade.

It’s also why he’s working to get the neighborhood a historic designation — something that’s been on hold for a few years.

Brosseau lives at the Shalimar Sands complex, which, alongside buildings like Embassy and Capri, mirrored the designs of destination hotels like the Valley Ho, and the neighboring Safari, which was designed by Al Beadle and later demolished.

“People didn’t just buzz out here for a couple days,” Brosseau says. “They came for a week.”

Those two hotels drew visitors, and demand for Scottsdale rentals skyrocketed. Around the same time, multifamily housing construction was supported by government incentives. Hence, the boom.

Turns out, some of Scottsdale’s garden apartments are architecturally significant for several reasons, according to Steve Venker, Scottsdale’s Historic Preservation Officer. Venker says the district near Valley Ho has one of the best collections of upscale garden apartments in metro Phoenix, and it’s important because of “its use of theme designs and dramatic facades as part of ongoing marketing efforts to attract the seasonal resident.” Also of note is the “range of modern styles, varied use of materials, decorative features, and extra amenities.”

Though a study recommended several of the Garden Apartment District buildings as eligible for historic status, the project was shelved a few years back.

But Brosseau’s taking action. “The city can only get so involved with projects like this,” he says. “They have to wait for people to rally a neighborhood.”

That’s why he’s working to get all the buildings’ homeowners associations on the same page, and he hopes to make major progress next year. Then, they can take more formal steps toward preservation.

Regardless, the neighborhood’s time capsule-like midcentury dwellings are just a hop away from Scottsdale’s arts and entertainment districts. Make that a bike ride, as the city’s recently implemented a bike-share. Brosseau asks, “How great is that?!” B.B.

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Warehouse District In Phoenix
Boundaries: Jefferson Street, Sherman Street, Seventh Avenue, and Seventh Street
Origin story: An industrial district and former home of Phoenix’s Chinatown with railroad proximity.
Why it’s emerging: A flood of new businesses, warehouse renovations, and a downtown resurgence.

In major metropolitan cities across the country, warehouses have long been en vogue, operating as clubs, co-ops, studio apartments, and of course industrial chic wedding venues. But like many things our cosmopolitan cohorts have created, Phoenix has admittedly been a little late to the game.

Despite the fact the fifth-largest city does in fact have a bona fide warehouse district — its debated boundaries fall between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street, Jefferson and Sherman — for decades, urban dwellers and developers were reluctant to recognize the area south of downtown as anything more than storage space and potential parking lots.

Fortunately for these early 20th-century buildings — which have housed everything from wholesale grocers to Phoenix’s now-lost Chinatown — preservationists like Brian Cassidy of CCBG Architects have sought to turn things around. Since constructing their own offices at the corner First and Buchanan streets 12 years ago, the architectural team specializing in, among other things, adaptive reuse, have witnessed firsthand how the warehouse district is making an 11th-hour comeback.

So far, roughly two-thirds of the warehouse renovations have been handled by CCBG architects, including spaces like R & R Partners, The Croft, Grant Street Studios, IASIS Healthcare, Moses Inc, and most recently, the 411 Building, soon to be the home of Scottsdale-based software company Scientific Technologies Corporation.

Cassidy, who’s also Warehouse District chair, says CCBG averages two inquiries a month from businesses looking to move into the warehouse district. But at this point, demand outweighs supply. “Nothing is immediately available. All the space that could be available is going to take anywhere from three months to a year to renovate the buildings.”

So why the sudden rush of ready-to-relocate businesses in the Warehouse District? Cassidy has a few ideas. “We’re seeing that a lot of creative type businesses … their employees are more interested in unique buildings and buildings that you can literally walk out the front door and be out on the street — be close to the restaurants, the entertainment, the bars, and so forth.

Cassidy also credits the warehouse district’s upswing to the catalysts of downtown’s own renaissance: ASU’s downtown campus, the expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, and Valley Metro’s ongoing light rail expansion, which is set to extend directly through the warehouse district to Baseline Road.

“I always felt that people living in Phoenix wanted a better urban experience but it wasn’t being offered,” he adds.

Now, however, downtown and its subsequent Warehouse District are finally getting the recognition they deserve, thanks to new bars, new restaurants, a grocery store coming in 2018, and a plethora of high-rise residences, including the warehouse district’s first residential development in a decade, set to break ground next year.

“This area’s really going through a resurgence,” Cassidy says. “And if you could fast forward five more years, you’d really be amazed at what’s likely going to happen down here.”

Entrance to New City Studio on Central Avenue – Article Courtesy Phoenix New Times 

To buy or sell any historic Phoenix home in the Central Phoenix or Downtown area, call Laura Boyajian for her expertise in historic homes real estate.

 

6 BIKE LANE PROJECTS COMING TO A DOWNTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU

6 BIKE LANE PROJECTS COMING TO A DOWNTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU

JULY 28, 2017 BY FARA ILLICH

garfield,historic,district,real,estate,coronado,willo,rooseveltRight now, Phoenix lacks a comprehensive bicycle network connecting the downtown business district with surrounding neighborhoods.

But a number of improvement projects aim to change that.

From road “diets” to restriping, the City of Phoenix is not only focusing on making downtown more bikeable, but more walkable and livable too.

Six projects impacting downtown are in the works, which will add things like cycle tracks (two-way bike lanes), landscaping enhancements, signage, lighting and ADA improvements.

Omar Peters, a director with the Urban Phoenix Project (UPP), sees the changes as a step toward making cycling as comfortable as driving.

“It’s exciting to think about biking this entire area and it’s a nice, easy, protected and pleasurable ride,” he said.

As the special projects administrator for the city’s street department, Mark Melnychenko sets up many of the community meetings advocates (like Peters) attend. Melnychenko gathers public input and helps lead the design and construction process.

“I think we’ve made some pretty good strides in what we’re doing with streets and transportation in the Valley,” he said. “If we had talked about these types of things even 10 years ago, people would not have listened to you, now it’s part of everybody’s vocabulary.”

“Complete streets” are part of that new vocabulary, a concept that emphasizes the importance of multi-modal transportation. In fact, the city just passed a complete streets policy on June 28, ensuring all transportation improvements moving forward have things like walkability and bikeability in mind.

EVANS CHURCHILL & ALVARADO

One example of that is the First Street Pedestrian Improvement Project, which started in 2012, and is slated to conclude sometime this year.

Big changes on First Street have already been made between Van Buren and McKinley Streets, including repaving, reducing the roadway width, widening the sidewalks and adding bike lanes.

Those improvements will extend through the Evans Churchill neighborhood up to Margaret T. Hance Park in the final phase.

Third Street is another major artery running north from downtown. And unlike 1st Street, which dead-ends at Hance Park, Third Street helps bridge the I-10 barrier from Evans Churchill into the Alvarado neighborhood and beyond.

Stretching all the way up to Indian School Road, the Third Street Improvement Project will impact a lot of central city neighborhoods. It already went through the public input process, settling on design plans that reduce the traffic lanes from five to three and add buffered bike lanes. Construction will begin in late 2018 or early ‘19.

CORONADO

Running east-west, the Oak Street Improvement Project will tie into 3rd Street, which links with Roosevelt and First streets, and the rest of downtown Phoenix.

It basically provides a walkable, bikable corridor through the Coronado neighborhood (and areas east of that), in addition to easier, safer passage across major intersections like 7th and 16th streets.

According to Melnychenko, the Oak Street improvements are a great example of how the city is creating one big bicycle network, while trying to keep motorists, residents and pedestrians happy.

“Everything we do with the streets is a balancing act because we have commuters, bicyclists, public transit — and we need to balance the use of the street,” he said. “We have go about it incrementally because it impacts a lot of people.”

Construction on the Oak Street bike lanes is set to begin in 2019, and will eventually tie into the Grand Canalscape near 24th Street.

So while many of these projects aren’t connected yet, they eventually will be.

ROOSEVELT & WILLO

For instance, there’s a bike lane gap between Central and 7th Avenues along Roosevelt Street — but that’s about to change. The street was recently redone east of Central Avenue (along Roosevelt Row), and now it’s the west side’s turn.

In addition to repaving and restriping Roosevelt Street, Third and Fifth Avenues will also get bike lane makeovers, possibly as far north as Thomas Road. As part of the lengthy pre-design process, which concluded in December 2016, key stakeholders provided input, followed by a three-day design charrette.

Because of the all the new development happening in that area and connection to downtown neighborhoods like Roosevelt and Willo, a lot of community members attended the discussions.

UPP was one of the groups present, pushing for cycle tracks on both 3rd and 5th Avenues, in addition to two-way traffic south of Roosevelt.

“When you think about all the new residential that’s happening, there’s a reason why these people want to move downtown,” Peters said. “They want that lifestyle and that includes being able to walk to places, being able to bike to places.”

GARFIELD

The historic Garfield neighborhood east of downtown is also growing, and a new project along Van Buren Street would add bike lanes to that area as well. Spanning from 7th Street to 40th Street, the initial design provides a road diet, buffered bicycle lanes and sidewalk improvements.

A road diet will be used to re-channel traffic, add bike lanes and achieve systemic improvements. While proven safer overall, diets can sometimes be a contentious issue for commuters, who don’t want lanes taken away.

But according to Dan Klocke, executive director of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, it’s time to rethink that mentality.

“Cities originally widened roads so people could get to their far-flung neighborhoods faster,” he said. “It’s time to recapture some of the quality of life for those neighborhoods by reducing the impact of wide roads, and offering transportation solutions for local residents and employees.”

WOODLAND & EASTLAKE PARK

Using the existing roadway and curbing, a restriping project will also affect Washington and Jefferson streets — adding bike lanes to the gap between 7th Avenue and 7th Street.

Lanes currently exist just outside the “Sevens” going west toward the Woodland neighborhood, and east toward Eastlake Park. This would connect cyclists from those neighborhoods to the downtown business district, at no detriment to vehicle traffic.

“In a tight urban area, bikes get a lot of people around and cause no congestion,” Klocke said. “Bike lanes are an important quality-of-life amenity for those who enjoy it, but also a critical infrastructure piece for those who don’t have a car.”

Many of the projects impacting downtown neighborhoods are still open for public comment. For more information on how to get involved or attend a meeting, check the City of Phoenix website.

 

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Chateau on Central is the luxury community in Downtown Phoenix that offers complete customization to make your home a one-of-a-kind brownstone that represents your taste and style on all levels. Options available include Designer/Architectural Services, furniture built-ins and flex space for optional home theater, gallery, wine cellar or game room. Build a lifestyle that stands the test of time at Chateau on Central.

Willo Home Tour 2016

When is the 2016 Willo Home Tour?
Sunday, February 14th, 2016, from 10 am – 4 pm willo home tour 2014 (52 of 73)

Visitors can park at the parking garage located at 1st Avenue and Holly. You are also welcome to park in any available location within the neighborhood. Trolleys will be continually running throughout the day and you are welcome to hop on and off at your convenience.  Or if you live in the area, you can simply walk or bike the tour.

Besides touring the homes there is an incredible Street Fair with over 100 vendors providing food, arts & crafts, area services and lot more. Most of the food will be north and south of Monte Vista and 3rd Ave while the other vendors will be lined up and down the streets on Monte Vista and Holly Street between 3rd and 5th avenues.

Music is always a fun part of the Willo Historic Home Tour. You’ll find bands playing all afternoon near the park at 3rd Ave and Monte Vista. They have quite a line up this year with a great variety of music.

If you know you want to go, Buy Tickets Here

What Is the Willo Home Tour?

Once a year, the Willo Historic District invites residents and Valley visitors to have an inside look at some of the unique homes that make up the neighborhood. Willo is Phoenix’s largest historic district consisting of over 900 homes. Willo is bordered north to south by Thomas and McDowell, and east to west by 1st Avenue and 7th Avenue.

The Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair has something for everyone. Each year approximately a dozen architecturally significant homes and the historic firehouse are open to the public for an inside look. The homes range in style from Tudor to Spanish Revival, Bungalow and Ranch and were built from the 1920’s through the 1940’s.  If laid back relaxation is more your style then you can enjoy the classic car show on Holly at Third Ave. and the beer/wine garden.

Ticket sales and the street fair are centered around Walton Park in the heart of Willo, where Holly and Monte Vista intersect at Third Avenue.

The Willo Home Tour is the sole fundraiser for the neighborhood and provides the funding for neighborhood movie nights, holiday luminarias, Block Watch, Willo Yard Sale advertising, Kids Club activities and other neighborhood events. The Tour is put on by volunteers who live in the neighborhood.

Once a year, the residents of the Willo Historic District put out the “welcome mat” and open their homes to Valley visitors. Stroll Willo’s tree lined streets from house to house, or jump a trolley that will carry visitors throughout the neighborhood.

Don’t miss this fun-filled opportunity to visit architecturally significant, finely decorated homes while supporting the beautiful neighborhood of Willo.

If you have questions about this years 2016 Willo Home Tour please email Laura B. at historiccentralphoenix@cox.net and check out their awesome and informative website for additional information,

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