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Stanton, community leaders launch PHX Renews — the largest transformation of vacant land into public space

Mayor Greg Stanton along with Keep Phoenix Beautiful, Barron Collier Companies and community leaders opened PHX Renews — a major project that’s transforming a 15-acre vacant lot in central Phoenix into a sustainable public space.

PHX Renews is the largest transformation of vacant land happening in the country and sits in the heart of Phoenix on the northeast corner of Indian School Road and Central Ave, at the historic Steele Indian School Park. The initiative is partnership between Keep Phoenix Beautiful, a nonprofit, and Barron Collier Companies, owners of the property.

Mayor Stanton looks on as artist Anthony Galto shows his mural on display alongside plans for the 15-acre space.

“When I became mayor, I recognized the negative impact vacant lots have on our community and businesses.  So, we got to work to bring businesses, community members and non-profits together to transform these lots into new opportunities,” Stanton said.  “This is the first step to creating a vibrant urban core for Phoenix.  I want this project to serve as a prototype of a living, learning laboratory of how other vacant properties can be transformed into great public spaces.”

As a creative partnership, this project brings no additional cost to the city since the land is on loan from Barron Collier Companies and all design and building services are provided by Smith Group/JJR Design Firm.  The project will be managed by Keep Phoenix Beautiful.

The audience listened to representatives of the City, Barron Colliers Companies, Keep Phoenix Beautiful, and observed a Native American blessing, in honor of the land’s history.

“Barron Collier Companies is pleased to provide this opportunity to the citizens of Phoenix, and we have enjoyed working with the mayor and city officials to make this a reality,” said Gary DuBrock of Barron Collier Companies.

Today is just the start and over the next 18 months, PHX Renews will evolve as a community driven effort showing how citizens, nonprofits and organizations can work together to shape the future of their community.  Mayor Stanton also wants to make it easier to get city approval for more projects like this in Downtown Phoenix and in light rail areas.

“Keep Phoenix Beautiful is proud to partner with the City of Phoenix, Barron Collier Companies and Smith Group/JJR to transform the corner of Central Ave. and Indian School Road. While this project is very important to us as an organization, it is a stepping stone to transforming vacant lots across the city,” said Tom Waldeck, Executive Director of Keep Phoenix Beautiful.

These are the projects happening right now at PHX Renews:

  • Urban community farming supporting local non-profits, communities and Valley refugees
  • Sustainable technology to improve energy, water and food cultivation
  • Outdoor education space for local schools focusing on environmental science programs with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office
  • Educational opportunities for nearby schools and community members teaching everything from small urban gardening, recycling, wise energy and water use to alternative transportation
  • Large community art displays and cultural projects
  • Creative use of play and social spaces

All of these sustainable projects and outdoor displays will be temporary since the end goal is to attract redevelopment in the years ahead. However, the partnerships between community and business leaders will continue to grow and bring real solutions for this vacant lot problem.

The partners of PHX Renews are:

  • Mayor Greg Stanton, City of Phoenix
  • City of Phoenix managerial executives and leadership
  • Keep Phoenix Beautiful
  • Barron Collier Companies
  • Smith Group/ JJR Design & Build Firm
  • Cornerstone community partners

 Renderings provided by the City of Phoenix.