downtown phoenix real estate
Following Ken Cook’s purchase last year of the DeSoto Building in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row, the community’s curiosity soared. What what would be done with the historic 1928 building on the prominent corner of Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue?
The question has now been answered. The classic structure that originally housed a car dealership will now be known as the DeSoto Central Market. Part indoor market, part café and eatery, the market will draw on the model embodied by famous markets from around the world, such as the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco, Eataly in New York and Chicago, or, in some respects, the Union in Phoenix’s Biltmore Fashion Park.
“We want to keep that traditional market feel that you can find in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,” said new tenant Shawn Connelly, who will also manage the market. “Everybody I’ve spoken to about the concept has been excited. I truly feel that something like this will be a catalyst for other growth around this area,” he said.
While maintaining the history and integrity of the building, the interior space will be modeled to feature multiple vendor spaces, a bar and lounge area, and a mezzanine for offices and multi-purpose space.
The market will encompass many functions, but most notably will serve as an incubation hub for “food-preneurs” as Connelly puts it. A portion of the vendor sections will be built as ‘mini-kitchens,’ with everything required to run a restaurant, allowing burgeoning restaurateurs to become completely operational, while avoiding the startup fees of a traditional stand-alone restaurant.
“What we’re trying to model it after is almost like a food truck kitchen,” Connelly said.
The market portion will feature staples such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and will hopefully have a few artisanal purveyors, Connelly said, such as a baker, or dedicated cheese vendor or meat butcher.
The micro-restaurants will serve walk-up customers inside the market, and through outdoor take-out windows along the north wall. The parking lot will be transformed into an eating and lounging area for the cooler months. The nearby light rail stop and urban neighborhoods will hopefully make it an ideal destination in downtown, Connelly said.
“The best use of the space is to make it a great outdoor area,” Connelly added.
“What we envision using it as is a multi-purpose space. Maybe during First Fridays we can bring in other temporary tenants, or during the fall have a pumpkin patch festival…different types of things to where we really try to highlight what’s going on during that particular season.”
If all goes well within the market, the hope is that the owners of these smaller restaurants will one day be able to take the next step by moving out of the space and opening a restaurant of their own.
“What we’re trying to do is really embrace the entrepreneur, people who are passionate about the food industry. We want them to do well and then graduate…and hopefully open up another location. The hope is to expand beyond our walls and make a name for themselves,” Connelly said.
This is the first entrepreneurial outing for Connelly, who began cooking at 17 and continued throughout college, where he majored in logistics management and marketing. After a variety of roles within the the food industry, from kitchen to corporate management, he decided to take a chance on his love for markets.
“I’ve always had a passion for development, food, and markets in general.”
Maintaining a historic building while infusing new activity into the area seems to be the recipe for success in downtown Phoenix. Connelly plans to finalize the interior design soon, and is hoping to open the market by the end of 2014.
“I love Phoenix and I want to be here. I like what’s going on downtown, and I want to be part of the revitalization.”
For tenant inquiries and market info, please email DeSotoCentralMKT@gmail.com.
Renderings by Motley Design Group
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited for clarity since publication.
In downtown Phoenix, our affinity for refashioning the old into new is evident on every street. An old house becomes a new bar, and the classic charm creates something that a new building could never quite capture. It’s part of the city’s unique flavor.
And so, in the sweeping renaissance of our downtown area, add the DeSoto building on Roosevelt and Central to your list of new favorite places. Business owners hoping to create something new in a classic space are quivering with anticipation.
Formally C.P. Stephens DeSoto Motorcars, the DeSoto building is experiencing a long-awaited rebirth at the hands of a new owner and a historically minded architect.
Built in 1928, it was the original home of the DeSoto car dealership, but has housed an array of car companies, motorcycle shops, stores and agencies since, finally turning into a warehouse of sorts. A recent foreclosure sale put it on the market, and ultimately into the hands of the bank. From there, it became a tough sell to prospective buyers due to the age, and less-than-pristine structural status of the classic building.
But after Washington-based developer Ken Cook expressed interest, he asked Bob Graham of Phoenix-based Motley Design Group to take a look. It was Graham’s opinion that the building could be restored.
“Most people went in there … and they ran away screaming,” Graham said. “Most prospective buyers were trying to buy it purely for the land value, but Ken came in with the idea to keep the original building intact, and renovate the space to house new tenants.”
Cook made an offer to the bank, and began the process of restoring the original building with Graham’s help. The restoration became a very involved project, due both to the repairs that were needed and the commitment to maintaining the historical integrity of the space.
“Ken, as the owner, obviously is the driving force. But we designed the project for him, using all sorts of incentives to try to make the project work,” Graham said.
“We were able to get a City of Phoenix building grant from the Historic Preservation Department, and we are also using historic preservation tax credits from the federal government. Basically, any way we can figure out to sweeten the pot and make the project work. As we got into it, we found the details of what the history of the building was, and we’re really trying to leverage that history as being a really big selling point.”
In a twist of fate for a building that was created to sell cars, Graham said he hopes that tenants will exploit the location’s nearness to the Roosevelt light rail stop, and draw traffic from the busy transportation connection. They will have to, as the space only feature 11 parking spots as current plans stand.
“We need tenants that are going to be able to capitalize on light rail, pedestrians, ASU students, whoever. So if they’re appealing to that crowd, then I think it will be fine. We’re not looking for typical suburban use that people will drive for.”
Graham noted that while the exterior renovation will be done within the next two months, the interior renovation would not begin until tenants are secured. The building will house between one and five tenants comfortably, and they are planning on customizing the interior design depending on the needs and final number of tenants.
While the history of this particular building is garnering more attention than a typical restoration project, for Motley Design Group, restoration is their bread and butter. The company is one of the few architectural firms in Phoenix that focuses on historic preservation projects.
“Historic preservation is kind of my specialty. Not many architectural firms around town do it, because, well, we don’t have that much old stuff compared to other cities,” Graham said.
“I think most people like old buildings. The reason that we have so many new buildings in Phoenix is because we’ve torn down most of the old ones. From a developer’s standpoint, it’s a lot riskier to do a historic project than just to build a new one.
“But in this case, I can’t imagine that the end product would be seen by the public as being a nicer thing if it were a brand new building.”
For more information on the DeSoto Building project and tenant leasing options, visit the site.
DPJ magazine’s June/July issue is hot off the presses and ready to celebrate a HOT summer. Pick up a copy at one of 300+ locations in and around the Greater Downtown area. Just a few of the issue highlights:
- Welcome | Meet Guest Editor David Leibowitz and read about his love of Downtown Phoenix
- All-Star BUZZ | Check out the rundown of MLB All-Star Week Festivities, taking place right here in July
- All-Star Regular | Read Leibowitz’s interview with Arizona D-Backs’ Luis Gonzalez and get his take on Downtown
- Paving the Way | J. Seth Anderson’s gets the scoop on a cool new parking lot innovation
- Core Values | Tazmine Loomans gives an account of her interesting conversations with the mayoral candidates
- Eats & Drinks | Justin Lee explores the core and more, helping identify the ideal culinary itinerary for locals and visitors alike
- District Beat | Courtney McCune takes the pulse of the city in a new section that celebrates the haps that make Downtown great
- Centerfold Map | Peruse a four-page, pull-out map and visit some new places on your next First Friday adventure (or any day of the month!)
- Stay up to date on all of the latest Downtown buzz and events, including Phoenix Convention Center’s record summer, the opening of the new Torch Theatre…and more!
If you haven’t picked up an issue, click below for an online view!
For those individuals that are seeking the ultimate urban Phoenix living experience, I can think of no better place than the chunk of Downtown Phoenix that the U.S. Postal Service calls ZIP code 85004.
Virtually everything Downtown Phoenix has to offer can be reached on foot or by bicycle living in this ZIP code. The diversity of “things to do” and “places to go” is overwhelming. In terms of types of dwellings, everything can be found here, including apartments in “luxury high-rise” buildings; recently built loft-style condos and apartments; small, affordable live-work apartments; and even bungalows in historic neighborhoods.
The 85004 ZIP code is bounded by Thomas Road to the north, Buckeye Road to the south, Central Avenue to the west and 7th Street to the east. Within this part of Downtown lies many of our large cultural and sporting venues, such as the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, Burton Barr Central Library, the Herberger Theater, Phoenix Symphony Hall, US Airways Center and Chase Field. Wow!
Consider the Downtown arts scene, with an extensive assortment of locally owned art galleries, gift shops, wine bars and restaurants in and around Roosevelt Row. Here is a limited list off the top of my head: Eye Lounge, Made, the Lost Leaf, Conspire, Modified Arts, Nine|05, the Roosevelt Tavern, Moira Sushi, Carly’s Bistro, Revolver Records, Matt’s Big Breakfast, PastaBAR, The Turf, Sens and the Breadfruit.
What’s next? How about shopping at the Phoenix Public Market? Or here’s a good one. People often complain that they would move Downtown if there were a large grocery store nearby. These people must have never driven by the Safeway at 7th Street and McDowell.
Bored yet? Why not take in a movie at the Arizona Center, with its 24 screens, or eat at one of the many restaurants there. Have a friend coming in to town for a conference at the Phoenix Convention Center? He or she can stay at the new Sheraton Hotel, attend their conference and then come visit you, without even needing a rental car.
I almost forgot about our new Civic Space Park across from the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus. If you attend ASU or the U of A/ASU Medical School, it might be convenient to live in 85004.
I haven’t even mentioned places like CityScape or all of the restaurants in the Downtown core between Van Buren and Jefferson streets. I also haven’t mentioned destinations in the Warehouse District, such as Alice Cooperstown, Coach & Willies, AmenZone Primal Fitness Training and the forthcoming Deuce in the Anchor Building.
Last but not least, in the still somewhat undiscovered Central Park neighborhood, just south of the Warehouse District, lies some varied and unusual housing options as well as eye-candy places like the Bentley Projects.
I will leave the summarization of living in 85004 up to you, the reader. Clearly, there is something here for everyone.
Lyle Plocher is a licensed Arizona real estate broker with the Urban Connection Realty Team at HomeSmart. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The portion of Downtown Phoenix that the U.S. Postal Service considers the 85007 ZIP code is diverse to the max, to say the least. That not only applies to the types of homes and living environments, but also to the commercial sector.
The actual boundaries of this ZIP code are 7th Avenue on the east, 19th Avenue on the east, the Salt River basin on the south and Thomas Road on the north.
On the commercial side of things, you have old warehouse buildings along both sides of the railroad tracks, just west of 7th Avenue, from Jefferson to Lincoln streets, which are currently being used for both industrial and artistic purposes. You may have read here at DPJ recently about the .anti_space Gallery relocating to this area.
Moving west along the north side of the railroad tracks, you have the CASS Shelter. Going further west and slightly north is the state government complex, including our State Capitol building. Continuing north, you arrive at the infamous Lower Grand Avenue, which is emerging as an artistic and vibrant corridor featuring art galleries, cafés (including Sapna Café and the Paisley Violin) and a variety of creative and entrepreneurial businesses.
On McDowell Road, you can get a coffee, Asian food or a cocktail, all at the corner of 7th Avenue where Starbucks, Pei Wei and SideBar all reside. Traveling west on McDowell, you will encounter the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Finally, heading north on 15th Avenue, you can enjoy the very large and beautiful Encanto Park and even play a round of golf at the Public Golf Course at Encanto Park. After finishing your time at the park or on the links, you can stroll over to The Original Hamburger Works, a great Downtown burger shop and pub.
As far as living in 85007 goes, there are a wide variety of choices, with eight different historic neighborhoods, an ultra-modern condo complex (PRD 845) and a variety of apartment complexes. Adjacent to and just south of Grand Avenue, the Oakland and Woodland Historic neighborhoods represent the most affordable opportunities for someone to live in a historic district in Phoenix. Some homes in the Woodland neighborhood date back to the early 1900s.
Just to the north of Grand Avenue, straddling both sides of I-10, is the F.Q. Story neighborhood, with 602 homes dating from the late 1920s and spanning a variety of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial Revival, English Tudor, Craftsman bungalows and Transitional Ranch.
Between McDowell and Thomas and 7th to 17th avenues, wrapped around three sides of Encanto Park, there are five historic neighborhoods, including Encanto-Palmcroft, Encanto Vista, Fairview Place, Del Norte Place and Margarita Place. These neighborhoods feature homes built from 1920 to 1953. Encanto-Palmcroft is the most notable of these neighborhoods, being a past home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Renquist.
Delving into each of these neighborhoods or districts is obviously not possible in one brief blog posting, but hopefully this gives readers a basic overview of some of the things happening in 85007 and what some of their living options may be.
Lyle Plocher is a licensed Arizona real estate broker with the Urban Connection Realty team at HomeSmart. Lyle can be reached at email@example.com.