[Source: Susan Felt, Arizona Republic] — For Russ Haan and Mike Oleskow, it was the perfect site for their inner-city renewal project: a quarter-acre of dirt on the north side of McDowell Road between My Florist Cafe and Phoenix Art Museum. Today, the project includes a design business; an art gallery; an upper-level home with sweeping mountain and city views; a basement and wine cellar; and plenty of off-street parking.
Haan and Oleskow — founders of the Max&Lucy greeting-card and gift company, as well as After Hours Creative and After Hours Gallery — want to see other projects tackled throughout central Phoenix. For now, it’s one shining but small example that inspires other possibilities. In August, After Hours hosted the monthly meeting of Get Your Phx (fix), a group of “urban enthusiasts” who want to revitalize central Phoenix.
Rather than complaining about the state of downtown Phoenix, Haan said he and Oleskow decided to transform one of the area’s many vacant lots into a business-home with a gallery. Haan emphasizes the scale of the project: It’s small. Not all urban infill projects need to be measured in numbers of units and size, he says. One building, one vision can transform a quarter acre of land. [Note: Read the full article at Small, artistic step in downtown Phoenix renewal.]