New housing options are set to arrive in Downtown Phoenix by way of South America.
Chilean-based development firm Sencorp is bringing their less-is-more design ethos to the valley, developing an empty lot on 2nd and Moreland Streets into a condominium complex, cheekily named en Hance Park.
After arriving in Phoenix in 2006, the team immediately recognized the growth potential of the downtown area, according to developer Alvaro Sande. For the last 50 years, they’ve been creating living spaces in Chile and beyond, and specialize in efficient design, turning small units into liveable homes.
“In my country,” Sande said, “we sell units that are around 700 square feet with three bedrooms. We love designing small areas, and we love to make smaller areas feel bigger.”
In bringing that experience to Phoenix, the layouts at en Hance Park will maximize the team’s goal for smaller, more affordable spaces while incorporating high-end design features.
“We had to make smaller units, and that’s how we bring the price down but we keep the quality. We like modern amenities, we like wood finishes, we like good design, but in a smaller setting. Therefore we allow people to afford a unit,” he said.
The firm has purchased 80% of the block, and plans to build more condominiums once the first phase is complete. The initial building will reach 5 stories, and include a handful of floor plans, ranging from studios, to ground floor units with private courtyards.
Looking out at Margaret T. Hance Park, which is set to undergo welcome renovations, and just a block away from Roosevelt Row, it’s no surprise the project has stirred a fair amount of interest in the community. While they are currently taking reservations, they will not begin formal sales until construction has begun.
Photos courtesy of en Hance Park
From the high seas to the Containers on Grand, shipping containers will soon find yet another home on the streets of Downtown Phoenix.
The Oscar, as it’s currently named, is the most recent shipping container residential project to be approved by the City of Phoenix, and is being engineered by the same firm that created the Containers on Grand, StarkJames.
Although still in the planning phase, The Oscar will be located on Portland and 2nd Streets, and is tentatively set to feature a mixture of ground floor retail and upper level residential units, according to StarkJames architect, Wesley James.
“Our goal is to make it convertible. So if we had a tenant that wanted to have, for instance, an art studio or office downstairs, we would be able to basically connect those two components,” he said.
Because the location is land owned by the city, the firm won the contract by responding to a request for proposal (RFP) from the city. They took their experience with the Containers on Grand project, and proposed a similar solution to the empty lot. Breaking ground is still a ways off, however, as the firm recently moved into the operating agreements phase with the City of Phoenix. If everything goes according to plan, James said they hope to complete this project near the end of next summer.
Meanwhile on Grand Avenue, the Containers on Grand are well underway, with the interior framing and plumbing going in and the containers already on site. And, while the original eight units are still on track, the firm is already in talks with their development partners on a second phase of construction which would add an additional 12 units, if not more.
James noted that while they are maintaining a running list of interested renters, the needs of those who originally expressed interest may have changed in the time it’s taken to construct the units, which means there still might be an opportunity for those who want the experience of living in a shipping container. You can contact StarkJames to inquire about current availability here.
Photos courtesy of StarkJames
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Networking reception and ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of the recently completed Phase 1 of the Roosevelt Road public art and streetscape improvement project in the Evans Churchill Neighborhood of the Roosevelt Row Arts District in Downtown Phoenix.
Representatives from the city of Phoenix will gather with community members to celebrate the recently completed pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly improvements on East Roosevelt Street. The Roosevelt Street Improvement Project started as part of a community-driven effort to enhance the pedestrian environment in the heart of the Roosevelt Arts District.
The project demonstrates the city’s shift to create “complete streets” that are designed to enable safe access for all users; including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
East of Central Avenue, the Roosevelt Street corridor was vastly improved through the addition of bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks on the north side of the street, wheelchair-accessible sidewalk ramps, new curbs and gutters, curb extensions at intersections to narrow the pedestrian crossing distance, energy efficient LED street lights, shade trees, decorative planters and tree grates, a new asphalt overlay and roadway striping.
Additionally, the triangle between Third and Fourth streets was significantly upgraded to create a unique downtown gathering space for area visitors and residents to enjoy. The newly transformed space features the art piece “Shadow Play” by Meejin Yoon, a solar-powered shade structure that lights up at night created and includes decorative seating benches, and new landscaping.
The second phase of Roosevelt Street improvements will span Fourth to Seventh streets, and is currently under design. The project entails similar improvements. Construction for phase two is anticipated to begin later this summer.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 8
Reception: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Ceremony: 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Roosevelt Triangle – between Third and Fourth streets
Mayor Greg Stanton
Councilman Bill Gates, District 3
Councilman Michael Nowakowski, District 7
Representatives from the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and Street Transportation Department
Local community representatives
Roosevelt Neighborhood property owners, business representative and interested citizens recently gathered at the Roosevelt Community Church for a Community Forum that provided insights into what communities can achieve with a Business Improvement District (BID).
While the proposed Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill BID has been a work in progress since last year, the Community Forum was the first opportunity for the general public to understand the process and its potential impact on our downtown.
Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., opened the presentation by pointing out “we are in the midst of building the urban heart of our city right now.” Unlike eastern cities or the coastal cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Phoenix is very young and Krietor noted that “we have a unique opportunity to collectively plan for and build the city we want, district by district.”
The next level of development in the life of the city is happening now in our unique downtown districts and neighborhoods. Increasingly, these areas are coming together to build on those infrastructure bones to create and enhance vibrant neighborhoods that truly bring our urban core to life. A shining example of this important community building has been happening for the last 15 to 20 years in the Roosevelt/Evans Churchill area, which Krietor referred to as “Ground Zero for neighborhood and community building in downtown Phoenix.”
Learning From Others
Three different forum presenters provided their insights into the success of Business Improvement Districts in San Diego, Sacramento and elsewhere, including examples of how participating in a BID assessment has given area property owners an important seat at the table in their cities. They emphasized how property owners in these districts were empowered to make important decisions that have protected and developed the unique features and elements of their neighborhoods.
- Jimmy Parker, San Diego’s Gaslamp District. The success of this BID has meant a $10 return on every dollar invested through the assessment. The Gaslamp District also has developed the highest concentration of affordable housing and the highest concentration of hotels in the city.
- Liz Studebaker, Midtown Sacramento Studebaker’s references to this BID seemed to most resemble the Roosevelt Neighborhood. She explained how the district has been able to support the property owners desire that the arts be a significant defining feature of their neighborhood, followed closely by “third place” amenities such as food, coffee, beer and spirits. As a result of the success of their BID they have developed a much stronger connection with the city and have a direct line to the police for trash abatement and security.
- Allison Harnden, nighttime economy consultant. Harnden showed how planning for nightlife is key, and she pointed out that Roosevelt/Evans Churchill is in a unique position to carefully plan for all of the important elements that will support a thriving nighttime economy in the area.
Locals Weigh In
Greg Esser of the Roosevelt Row CDC and Tim Sprague, of Habitat Metro, a local residential and commercial property developer pointed out that the BID offers an opportunity for self-governance and a collective voice. Sprague openly admitted he’s in the “middle” in terms of his support for the district, but said “It’s a chance to work as a cohesive group.”
The forum concluded with a presentation by Nancy Hormann, the BID consultant who has been working with neighborhood stakeholders the past year to determine what services they want for their area and to develop a proposed workplan.
The consensus is that the added services should include management and administration of the workplan, beautification, added clean and safe services, a parking plan, business and development assistance, event management, and marketing & branding of the area. The estimated cost for these additional services would be $375,000. The city will contribute $75,000 (as an area property owner) and the remaining $300,000 would come from the property owners tax assessment.
By mid-June the final proposed workplan and assessments will be mailed to every property owner (with the exception of single family homeowners, or owners of multi-unit properties with four units or less) in the defined area, which runs east/west from 7th St. to 7th Ave., and from Fillmore St. on the south to Moreland/Hance Park on the north. Property owners will be asked to express whether they support the proposed BID, do not support it, or need further information.
Over the summer months, Nancy and her team will work to reach every property owner to answer questions and provide all of the information they need. Since the total assessment is $300,000, property owners representing $150,001 are needed for the BID to move forward to City Council for approval in the fall.
Property owners can learn more about what’s next for the proposed Roosevelt/Evans-Churchill area BID workplan and assessment by contacting Nancy Hormann directly at Hormann Associates.
As you probably know by now, this weekend is the 27th annual Art Detour event. It’s a free, two-day arts celebration in downtown. Started back in the late 80’s by a group of artists who invited people into their working art studios, it has grown and evolved over the years and now includes individual artist studios, pop up art spaces, galleries, and arts-friendly shops, restaurants and bars. Everyone throws out the welcome map. Many spaces are easily accessible along a route that is serviced by Artlink’s free circulating trolleys, however, there are wonderful spaces that take just a tad extra effort to find and we’re here to help you navigate your own “Detour” off the beaten path and into the Warehouse District.
CityScape, 1 E. Washington St.
CityScape is our jumping off point for this adventure. This pedestrian complex covers two blocks bounded by 1st Ave. and 1st St. between Washington and Jefferson. A central hub for downtown Phoenix, you’ll find restaurants, shops, open air seating, as well as an Artlink Information Hub stop staffed by friendly, knowledgeable Downtown Ambassadors, where you can pick up a Detour map and get any questions answered. The Warehouse District is just a few blocks south of CityScape, so you can either walk, or grab a GRID bike from one of the several GRID stations in and around CityScape. If you are a GRID member, you can reserve a bike online.
It is in the Warehouse District that Art Detour first got started, and there are well established artists who still call it home. Additionally, ASU recently moved their ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to the Warehouse District, bringing even more creative energy to this part of town.
First stop on your Warehouse Detour:
Once you’ve chosen whether to grab a bike or apply shoe leather for this adventure, head south on 1st Avenue or Central to Jackson Street (two blocks south of CityScape). Once you reach Jackson, head west to the IceHouse.
The IceHouse at 429 W. Jackson.
If you’ve never been to the IceHouse, you must go. Once active as a ice storage facility in the days before refrigeration, it houses various artist studios, along with exhibition and performance spaces. With its thick slabbed walls and concrete rooms, it is unlike any building you’ve ever been in and well worth the trip. Its large rooms, tall ceilings, and unique feel have made it a popular wedding destination.
After you’ve explored the nooks and crannies in the IceHouse, head back east to the Jackson Street Studios.
Jackson Street Studios, 15 E. Jackson, #206 – Linda Ingraham Mixed Media Photography
The Jackson Street Studios building has been home to many renowned Arizona artists, including Linda Ingraham, who has been in her second floor studio for more than twenty years. A critically acclaimed artist, her work includes evocative images of botanicals, figures and surreal landscapes, as well as art-inspired jewelry that Linda describes as “Bohemian Elegance.” Linda is warm and welcoming and her studio is full of beautiful finished work, as well as works in progress.
After you’ve explored Jackson Street Studios, hop on your bike for the next leg of your Warehouse Detour. If you’ve been walking up to this point, you may want to grab a bike from one of the nearby stations for this part of the adventure. Head south on 3rd Avenue to Grant Street and east to the Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios at the aforementioned ASU School of Art and Design.
Step Gallery/Grant St. Studios, 605 E. Grant
The Step Gallery serves as both an MFA thesis exhibition space and a proposal-driven, student run gallery. In the renovated warehouse building known to locals as the Levine Machine, this unique art space is worth exploring both inside and out.
Head back over to 3rd Street and cycle north back to CityScape, where you can hop a trolley to discover the rest of the Art Detour spaces. For the more intrepid urban explorer, use your Detour map to continue your bike adventure to Roosevelt Row to the north or over to the Grand Avenue arts district to the west.
Please note that both Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue will be hosting their own neighborhood festivities during Detour this year: Roosevelt Row will be hosting the PAINT PHX block party, with music and a beer garden, on 5th Street on Saturday, and the No Festival Required outdoor screening of Stop Making Sense, on the west wall of Monorchid. On Sunday, Grand Avenue will present Detour de Grand, again featuring “bikes, beer and bands” along with open artist studios and galleries.
Whether you choose to connect the dots for a great Detour adventure on Saturday, Sunday or both days, there will be plenty of outdoor art adventures to discover at this weekend’s Art Detour 27.