From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.
114 W. Adams St. in Copper Square
Today’s Orpheum Lofts are a prime example of 1930s Art Deco design — one of the extreme few structures still remaining in this architectural style in the city core. Converted into open, airy loft spaces in 2003, this building was hardly meant for use as living space. But, the exposed ducts, views of Copper Square, hardwood floors, brick walls and flexible floor plans makes this 11-story high rise one of the more desirable urban living spots in Phoenix.
Originally named the Phoenix Title and Trust Building, it opened on January 31, 1931, being praised as the “most modern office building in the West.” For years, the building housed two of the city’s largest law firms, a bank and some ground-level retail throughout its 11 floors. It was the largest office building in Arizona for a number of years.
But, as the retail vacated and the firms left, the building was left vacant for a number of years. Well preserved, it is a prime example of Art Deco design. The steel frame, with a façade of brick, stone, terra cotta and granite, remains completely untouched, with most or all of the original windows and frames still in place.
Though the interior of the building has largely been reconfigured to accommodate living spaces (in most cases, stripped clean — walls were hacked down to expose the base-layer brick), with some new wood floors and updated fixtures, appliances and counters (granite) installed.
Of note is the main elevator lobby off of Adams Street. It still features the original marble and decorative metal detail work (of note: the original mailboxes), a staple of Art Deco structures. The original stair rail, building directory, stamped metal doors and door frames and baseboards remain untouched.
The 90 units in Orpheum lofts range from 712 to 1,800 square feet. Originally priced at $150,000 to $1.5 million, prices now vary.
Sources: Phoenix Historic Building Survey by Charles Hall Page and Associates, Sep. 1979; Orpheum Lofts
Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at email@example.com with the address and a brief description.
Good evening and welcome to the pre-event for tomorrow’s Downtown Voices Coalition Visioning Conference.
You know, Downtown Voices was formed in a place just like this. As a matter of fact, if the Matador bar wanted to, they could create a new drink called the DVC. All you need is a shot of good tequila and a signature on an article of incorporation!
What some may not realize is that Downtown Voices Coalition was the culmination of a chain of events that began with a move to bring a pro football stadium to downtown. As the art folks and small business owners got wind of the plan, they felt their work to make a new and interesting arts district was going to suffer with a giant stadium plunked in its center. Though the protests didn’t stop the demolition and razing of the Evans Churchill neighborhood by speculators and the City, it did manage to shine a light on the project, and successfully persuade the city officials to put the idea aside.
For the first time, artists and small business folks started talking to each other. Then, the Jerde Project, a big box mall development, was floated as another direction for downtown. Ideas were being discussed for another ASU campus, and suddenly the University began as a player in the fate of the downtown community. The fledgling organization known as D-PAC, the Downtown Phoenix Arts Coalition, felt now was the time to get the other voices heard, ones that didn’t have political power or an outstretched hand looking for tax incentives and variances.
The result was an event singular in the City’s history: A one-day facilitated discussion at the Icehouse of over 80 downtown stakeholders, to determine what WE as a group wanted for the future of downtown Phoenix. The resulting report created from the discussion was titled “Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown”. It was not only presented to the City of Phoenix, but also found its way into many of the aspects of the newly created Downtown Strategic Plan.
On that day, when we all met and talked, new relationships were formed.
Artists, business owners, developers and, yes, even city officials began to realize that the ultimate goal of the downtown stakeholders were actually very similar.
However, as the dust began to settle from the good work done, development projects in once untouched and unwanted areas began to rise. We as stakeholders learned how zoning by variance and self-imposed hardships could dramatically change the development rulebook.
A key group of stakeholders, coming from different backgrounds yet tied together with similar concerns, realized it would be beneficial to speak with one voice, the voice of what became the Downtown Voices Coalition. We met with a lawyer at the old Ramada Inn downtown bar, and with a toast, began our first mission and organization.
Negotiating a better project for the Summit at Copper Square became our first test, and as we created our organization’s by-laws and elected officers, we found direction from that initial Downtown Voices document.
It was a boom time, and it seemed many times we were playing Whack-A-Mole, that great carnival game where hitting one pop-up mole only made another rise. We found ourselves as a group both welcomed and disparaged. The tactics of “Agitate, Negotiate and, when all else fails, Litigate” brought us through a series of events with many successes and some sad losses.
A Tibetan Buddhist Lama, whom when asked at a conference the definition Buddhism, replied “Divine Common Sense”.
It is regular old commonsense that drives our group, and something else just as tangible. Dr. Howard Cutler has worked with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to write three books, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Happiness at Work, and The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World.
In each book, the over-arching view expressed that people as a common goal ultimately desire happiness above all else.
As I’ve worked with this group of fellow DVC members, I’ve come to realize that each member seeks the same thing: Happiness in their lives and in their community. There isn’t one member of DVC who wouldn’t want happiness above all other things. The desire is a better place to live, a better place to create sustainable businesses and a genuine dedication to staying here and making it a great city for all of us.
An example of how different this sentiment can be expressed was in one particular issue, when a proposed out of scale development’s lawyer declared in front of City Council that he’d “never dealt with people who didn’t want to raise their property values.”
The truth is, we represent people who aren’t moving toward the next buck or the next city, to which it’s more important to raise living values than financial values.
Since 2004, new blood with new ideas have entered the downtown picture. Individuals are drawn to the small-town feel of the 5th Largest City in the Nation, great small businesses have enhanced neighborhoods, partners have been found in thoughtful development and the ASU Downtown campus is showing signs of like-minded goals for that sustainable, cool and enhanced downtown where we all will happily live, work and recreate.
In these circumstances of a down-turned economy, it seems appropriate to take a breath, reflect a bit on the past, but, most important, look Forward.
What is the City that we hope for?
What have we achieved and what can we improve?
How can we get more voices to speak as Downtown Voices so that together we can create that happiness we all desire?
These are tomorrow’s questions, and the facilitated discussion we begin at 10 am tomorrow at the A.E. England building at OUR Downtown Civic Space will help to provide some answers.
Tonight we reflect, remember old battles, good friends, vocal and silent partners. Tomorrow we begin anew and renewed, with new ideas and voices, to create a better Phoenix.
I toast the future. To the City of Phoenix!
To say that I was excited for this restaurant opening would be an understatement. I have been anxiously hearing through the grapevine that this place was about to open. And, Monday night arrived, in all of its splendor, to deliver unto the world (dun dun dunnnn) The Main Ingredient Ale House.
Compared to Lisa G’s place (where The Main Ingredient now resides), it seems like there have been just a few tweaks to the interior. My experience leads me to notice the at-home feeling I had once I crossed their threshold. It’s cozy, but not too small. This is the perfect place to chill with a brew in hand (convenient, since that is what I will be doing most nights now).
My ol’ reliable stomach was hankering for some exquisite cuisine. Apparently, if I was following my stomach, it was leading me to glory. At the jest of Courtney Diamond, one of the new co-owners, I ordered Mindy’s Mac ‘n Cheese. I realize it sounds odd to order a seemingly childish dish, but after eating this melty, cheesy bowl of amazingness, it should be at the top of your list every time you go. Blended and melted perfectly, Mindy’s Mac ‘n Cheese rocks the palate and takes a classic dish to new places. Flavored with just the right amount of green chillies, this might be the Main Ingredient’s dish to beat.
No trip to an “ale house” is ever complete or real without scouring its beer menu and judging accordingly. The Main Ingredient has several draft brews made close by at Four Peaks, along with one that seems to have been crafted just for the place — The Main Ale. This brew is a golden Sunbru-esque beer. It is refreshing and seems to combine the characteristics of my favorite types of beer, hefeweisen and blondes.
Being a self-described beer elitist, this brew making my top list is a big win. If I hadn’t been attempting to try everything that they had on tap, I would have just ordered seven of these. So, welcome to the neighborhood, TMI. I could not be happier to have you here and will probably make you feel welcome by occupying space at your finely crafted bar at the end of most days.
The Main Ingredient Ale House is located at 2337 N. 7th St. in Coronado — 602.THE.MAIN
DPJ is proud to bring you the best Yelp reviews of your favorite Downtown restaurants, boutiques, venues and everything in between. Every Tuesday, visit DPJ for a finely crafted, tell-all account of a Downtown spot straight from the experts: the people!
Some might say that Phoenix is a city without much culture. That may be true in some aspects, however we have to remember that Phoenix is a young large city compared to other cities that lie within the United States. So you can say that this city is a work in progress on catching up with everyone’s culture expectations.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix is only seven years old. Very new to the park scene for this metro, I have to say that it looks great and will only keep getting better in time. That will happen if people stop saying there is no culture in Phoenix and become a part of the evolving city by visiting places such as this. The admission and/or donations will fund a more desired park for all.
The grounds of the garden are very beautiful with a nice flowing stream, several waterfalls, coy fish, and many species of plants. I can’t wait to go back in the next several years to see it become a wonderful masterpiece.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is located at 1125 N. 3rd Ave. in Roosevelt — (602) 256.3204
The DPJ Yelper of the Week offers honest insight on a Downtown business to help you explore your core. DPJ hopes that by partnering with Yelp to spread the good word about well-loved Downtown spots, you’ll spread your patronage and support local business.
Yelp is a social networking and local search engine that provides the reviews of places and things that matter to you. Simply log in, pick a place and queue up your inner critic. You can write a beaming review of your favorite gelato spot, or a scathing portrayal of that rental car facility you had to use after that curb came out of nowhere. Yelp’s reviews are at once honest, uncensored, wildly hilarious and true. Heck, the site must be doing something right — it had 25 million viewers just last month!
The Phoenix metro area is still in a recession. There are too many empty office buildings, too many unfinished projects and too many tax increases and service cuts being discussed by state and local government.
If small and local organizations want to make it through, they’re going to need to help themselves. We can’t wait for Phoenix to construct a better Downtown and we can’t sit on our laurels for local politicians or corporate leaders to make good on urban promises they have been dodging for years.
Enter CenPhoCamp. Organized by local activist Yuri Artibise and Tyler Hurst, CenPhoCamp is designed to allow small businesses to help small businesses. The afternoon-long camp will have three presentations per hour, with an accompanying roundtable session. The agenda will be written on a white board outside room 252. It will be set up along these tracks:
- Beginner: teaching those new to marketing about basic approaches
- Technology: offering instructions on the latest Web apps
- Community: businesses enable their customers to be their best advertisers
- Roundtable: discussions led by industry experts
The event, free of charge and staffed by volunteers, isn’t your typical conference. The camp designation signifies an “unconference” that encourages audience participation, leaving one session for another and break-out conversations based on material learned. The presenters should be thought of as conversation moderators, as they usually get as much out of the interaction as attendees do.
Please register at cenphocamp.com/registration.
Location: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
555 N. Central Ave. — light rail station at Central/1st Ave and Van Buren
Phoenix, AZ 85004