Downtown adaptive reuse receives accolades

Christine Keith, Arizona Republic[Source: Eugene Scott, Arizona Republic] — In 1926, many Phoenicians were buying their daily bread from markets.  But a new J.B. Bayless grocery store was working on changing that.  Today, the owner of that downtown building hopes the structure at 825 N. Seventh St. once again becomes a leader in downtown Phoenix’s business community.  Joseph Lewis, owner of the 9,000-square-foot building, bought the building 20 years ago and has wanted to renovate it for years. Lewis was able to do the work after receiving the Neighborhood Revitalization Award from Phoenix.  “I knew it had beautiful bones, but it would take a lot of money to show it in the best light possible,” he said.

Most of the doors and windows had been boarded up with one door allowing access into the historical structure. But in March 2007, that changed when the renovation began.  The $450,000 project lasted nearly a year. Lewis also received a Community Development Block Grant from the city for the project.  “I knew that historic buildings are a lot more expensive to restore than the typical mall-type,” he said.  “So there was a matching grant that we utilized to help pay for the façade renovation to kind of bring it back to its historic glory.”

The Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department recently honored Lewis for his revitalizations of the building.  Ten local businesses were honored part of national Community Development Week.  There is now room for two businesses in the building, although one side is a dollar store, the other half remains empty and Lewis has high hopes for it.  “One half of it is for lease and I’m getting calls for restaurant use, pizza places.  You name it, I’m getting calls for it,” Lewis said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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