Daily Archives: March 7, 2009

Phoenix Warehouse District site to house restaurant, farmer’s market, and store

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1928 Anchor Building, downtown Phoenix (pre- R&R Surplus).

[Source: Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] — The founders of a successful national retail chain are launching a new concept in the most unlikely of places: a 1928 warehouse at the corner of Central Avenue and Lincoln Street, on the southern fringe of downtown Phoenix.  The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has housed a variety of businesses, from a Ford dealership to the Hensley & Co. beer distributorship.  “We fell in love with it the day we saw it,” said Steve Rosenstein.

He and his wife, Andi, are renovating the 14,000-square-foot building to house a restaurant, a farmer’s market and a retail store called R&R Surplus. Collectively, the project will be called The Duce in honor of the many produce markets that once defined the area.  They expect the project eventually to employ 20 to 30 people.

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Renovated interior of R&R Surplus adaptive reuse.

The store concept centers on reclaimed and recycled fashion with a twist, including European-made thermal underwear embellished with Swarovski crystals, old-school collegiate sweats, bomber jackets, army duffel bags, cargo pants, PF Flyer gym shoes, and vintage Schwinn bicycles.  The retail store, sandwiched between the future market and restaurant, is open by appointment only.  The Rosensteins plan to open the store and the food market to the general public in October.  The restaurant, which will focus on locally grown fresh produce and food products, will open when a partner is found, but the couple is in talks.

As renovations continue, products also will be sold through private events and through R&R Surplus’ Web site, which went live March 3.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

New downtown Phoenix med school buildings postponed

University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University (UOACOMPIPWASU for short)

[Source: Aaron Mackey, Arizona Daily Star] — While several Arizona public university construction projects that had been held up by a state legislative committee are back on track after a compromise, still others, including an expansion to the University of Arizona medical school in downtown Phoenix, won’t be financed until the next fiscal year at the earliest.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix dons new label to lure locals, tourists

Downtown Phoenix[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Downtown Phoenix is giving itself an image makeover to raise its profile, both among out-of-state visitors and Arizona residents.  Following the lead of other major cities, Phoenix is looking to establish its own brand, the same promotional strategy that can launch a successful coffee chain or compact car.  Las Vegas is known as an adult playground.  Austin is known as a live-music destination.  Phoenix hopes to similarly set itself apart.  Its new brand: “Arizona’s urban heart.”

“When we see downtown Phoenix, so much of Arizona comes here because it’s a political center, a business center, an education center,” said Eric Kingsbury of SHR Perceptual Management, the firm that the Downtown Phoenix Partnership paid $160,000 to help shape the new brand.

The brand touts Phoenix as the best place to have a cosmopolitan experience in Arizona, said Kingsbury, whose firm’s clients include Volkswagen.  A new brand alone won’t draw more tourists overnight.  The partnership says this is the first step in a years-long process to build an identity for downtown.

Phoenix has a long way to go, partnership CEO David Roderique said.  “Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch” to say Phoenix is among the most dynamic metropolitan areas of the West, Roderique said.  [Note: To read the full article and viewer comments, click here.  To read Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini’s 3/4 critique of the new logo, click here.  To read the Arizona’s 3/7 editorial about the new branding campaign/logo, click here.]

Latino arts groups call for a cultural home in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — When Elizabeth Gauna closed the Museo Chicano in January, it wasn’t just the end of a small Phoenix museum.  It left a city of 1.5 million people, 40 percent of them of Hispanic descent, without a Latino art museum.  While major Latino museums have sprung up in big cities, including Long Beach, Calif.; Albuquerque; and San Antonio, Phoenix has lagged behind.  An alliance of 12 Arizona arts groups has an ambitious plan to change that.

The demise of Museo Chicano has fueled an effort to create a major Latino museum and cultural center in downtown Phoenix, said Martín Moreno, a local resident and nationally known muralist.  Advocates for Latin@ Arts & Culture plan to begin efforts this month to raise $200,000 to open and operate a small Phoenix cultural center later this year.  Five years down the road, the group envisions a $10 million facility.  “It’s kind of embarrassing,” said Moreno, who sits on the consortium’s board of directors.  He said Phoenix needs a center that preserves and nurtures Latino, Chicano and indigenous contributions to the arts.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]