As a downtown Phoenix developer who is invested in community building, infill projects and repurposing forgotten buildings, my heart is heavy to see the demolition of the historic St James and Madison Hotels in the warehouse district. The reason behind their destruction – to make way for a VIP surface parking lot for Phoenix Suns ticket holders – makes it even harder for me to swallow.
As an entrepreneur who is dedicated and committed to investing my time and resources into this city, I’m worried actions such as this send a very poor message to other creative potential investors. In the face of opportunity and growth, the City of Phoenix allowed for the demolition of not one, but two pieces of downtown Phoenix history.
Vibrant cities cherish their history. People love traveling to places with rich history because it elicits a connection to the past, a feeling of community and a sense of place. If we as a city want to see more young developers such as myself choose to make Phoenix their home, we must work together to ensure that every unique piece of history in this city isn’t razed for the convenience of a few.
We must learn to see the potential that exists with these forgotten buildings and repurpose them to benefit the majority. These are the threads that will tie our city together – as small, interesting spaces are just as vital to the urban fabric as large stadiums and malls. I think it’s fair to say that most people will not be interested in visiting or living in a large asphalt parking lot. I know I’m not.