Blog Archives

7th Ave. and McDowell: the gateway to downtown Phoenix

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — The intersection of 7th Avenue and McDowell has long been overlooked.  Before SideBar, Pei Wei, and Starbucks moved onto the southwest corner of the intersection, it was an all-but-forgotten red light stop — abandoned antique shops, boarded storefronts, and a gas station.  So many ventures have come and gone on the corner that even the real estate boom of the early 2000s couldn’t lift it out of its hole.  But, things are turning around.

Whether or not you’re ready to admit it, the corner is quietly becoming an important gateway to Downtown from Midtown neighborhoods and points west.  Those invested in the corner couldn’t agree more.  “There are great neighborhoods around it — they’re diverse; they’ve been here forever,” says Josh Parry, co-owner of SideBar, which just celebrated its first anniversary.  “We’ve got walk-up traffic and a really diverse group of people.   This corner has amazing potential.  It’s got everything going for it, but it’s just been ignored by everyone for so long.”

Mike Hogarty, a partner at Desert Viking, the development company rehabbing the southeast corner of the intersection, concurs.  “It’s the four corners of the historic neighborhoods (Willo, F.Q. Story, Roosevelt and Encanto-Palmcroft),” Hogarty says.  “It’s always been a good corner; it’s just been poorly served recently, and it’s time to change that.”  [Note: To read the full article, visit 7th Ave. and McDowell: the gateway to downtown Phoenix.]

It all ‘adds’ up: Christoph Kaiser and his Garfield neighborhood

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Christoph Kaiser at one of his Garfield properties.

[Source: Yuri Artibise, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — Christoph Kaiser is helping to rebuild Garfield one house at a time.  Once an epicenter of gang activity and urban blight in downtown Phoenix, Kaiser’s houses are now at the heart of Garfield’s resurgence, and among the coolest in downtown Phoenix.

Kaiser is part owner of the architectural firm Plus Minus Studio, founded by him and his business partner Hayes McNeil in the fall of 2005. Since its founding, they have added Anson Chen to their team as Project Manager.  The studio has been responsible for some of the most striking projects in and around Phoenix, including transforming Katz’s Deli into Postino Central and the complete remodel of Kitchen Sink Studios in downtown Phoenix.  In addition, Christoph has recently joined Hayes as partner in the new Royal at the Market coffee shop at the soon-to-be-opened Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.

While this portfolio is indeed impressive for a young architect, it is his personal projects in the Garfield neighborhood that captured the attention of DPJ.  Garfield is the oldest historical district in Phoenix.  First established in 1883, it became part of the city of Phoenix in 1899.  Houses in the neighborhood date from the 1890s to the 1940s, with a large percentage built in the early 1900s.  Unlike the grand dames of Phoenix’s historic districts, Willo and Encanto-Palmcroft, which have mostly remained intact and have dramatically appreciated in value, the historical homes in Garfield fell on hard times over the past three decades.  [Note: To read the full article, visit It all ‘adds’ up: Christoph Kaiser and his Garfield neighborhood.]

Nowakowski gives residents chance to voice concerns

Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — McDowell Road bounds five central Phoenix historic districts and representatives of those neighborhoods have told new District 7 City Councilman Michael Nowakowski that improving and revitalizing the thoroughfare is a priority.  And Nowakowski is listening. Nowakowski on Saturday morning staged a meet-and-greet at Encanto Park Club House.  “How can we best serve you all?,” Nowakowski asked about 40 guests.  “How can we bring the District 7 office back to your neighborhoods?”

Resident leaders from Willo, Encanto-Palmcroft, Fairview Place, Coronado, Roosevelt, and Los Olivos shared their concerns and praised Nowakowski’s goal to give a voice back to the people.  Revitalization results have varied in the downtown area, with some neighborhoods just starting to see success, those in attendance said.  Some expressed feeling hampered by gentrification, land speculators, or a city agenda that doesn’t take residents’ wishes and concerns into consideration.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]