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.

825 N. 1st St. in Evans Churchill

Exposed brick on the north side of Verde

In continuing my miniseries of exploration of the stretch of 1st Street between McKinley and Garfield streets, we come to the newly renovated Verde. Much like last week’s building, Matt’s Big Breakfast, it’s certainly not designated historic — it was built in 1970 — but the revamping of this space time and time again deserves some praise.

The graffiti near the parking lot was commissioned to local and national artists.

Forty years is a decent amount of time in the life of a building, but 825 N. 1st St. (the street number of the building, by the way, has been redesignated at least twice since being built, logging the numbers 821 and 823 previously) has seen businesses come and go. The Modern-style building has always been zoned for commercial use, and the bones of the structure remain relatively the same as Day 1: a flat roof (though what is on the roof has changed: an inordinate amount of HVAC equipment was added prior to the opening of Verde to satisfy the city’s code), a solid concrete foundation and a wood frame with a stucco veneer. The exposed brick that was sandblasted on the south side of the interior and north side of the exterior of Verde space is original, though it was hidden behind layers and layers of paint, drywall and stucco for decades.

The building itself has seen many different uses: multiple kinds of storage facilities, a seedy strip club and, most recently, OnePlace, a progressive church/performance space that closed in July 2008.

Source: Arizona State Historic Property Inventory

Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at with the address and a brief description.