[Source: Emily Gersema, The Arizona Republic]
The walls began tumbling down at the old Ramada Inn in downtown Phoenix last week, but some neighbors want to stop the city from turning the site into a parking lot.
Crews with contractor Johnson Carlier have been stripping materials from the hotel at Taylor and First streets where Marilyn Monroe stayed during the filming of the 1956 “Bus Stop.”
Members of the community organization Downtown Voices Coalition have tried to fight the demolition, arguing that the site has historical value, but the city recently won a temporary, five-year permit for a parking lot at the site.
The St. Croix Villas Homeowners Association on Thursday filed an appeal with the Phoenix Board of Adjustment to oppose the permit, said Sean Sweat, a treasurer for the HOA. The condo community is two blocks north of the site.
“Maybe someday the law school will go there,” Sweat said, “but in the interim, let’s not have another damn parking lot in (downtown) Phoenix.”
Sweat said residents would prefer to see some sort of civic space – such as a park – replace the building.
The board scheduled a hearing for the appeal at its Oct. 7 meeting.
The city sought the five-year parking designation to give Arizona State University more time to obtain the capital it needs to build a college of law.
The city bought the Ramada Inn property earlier this year for about $6 million, largely from bond funds, and has been working for weeks on stripping the building of doors and other recyclable materials, and asbestos removal. Johnson Carlier is handling the demolition for $742,000.
The parking lot will have 250 spaces. The Sheraton Hotel is expected to use the lot for overflow, and Channel 12 (KPNX) may work out a deal to park its TV satellite trucks there.