[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.]
[Source: Brenda Eden] — “I’ve always wanted to take a tour of the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix and recently I finally did… The day I went for the tour, they were having a huge open house tour. There were tour guides all over the place telling about the history of the theatre, but you could come and go and explore the whole place on your own, you didn’t have to stay with the group.
It’s so pretty on the inside. Honestly, it made me feel like I was stepping into some magnificent Disneyland ride! It first opened in 1929 before the Great Depression. It was one of the few places that had air conditioning in the Phoenix area, so you can imagine it was pretty exciting to go there in the summer!” [Note: View more of Brenda’s photos and commentary at Local photographer finally tours downtown Phoenix historic landmark]
[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] — The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) is a sponsor of this year’s Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix in downtown Phoenix, June 18-20. The conference will include a free Historic Homeowners’ Expo on Saturday June 20, from 9 a.m. t0 1 p.m. Four hours of educational sessions on topics of special interest to owners of historic homes, such as improving energy efficiency, researching an historic home, green living, and a mini historic preservation grant workshop. Also included will be a hall of vendors, where trades specific to historic preservation will be available to discuss their work with homeowners. For complete details, click here.
HGTV’s new cable television show, “Bang For Your Buck,” seeks “fun and energetic” people in the metro Phoenix area who wish to showcase their “fabulous” kitchen renovation on TV. Homeowners must have spent between $20,000 to $100,000 on their makeover, and it must have taken place recently (no more than three years ago). Taping will begin shortly, so if you’re interested, request an application as soon as possible by e-mailing or calling Keri Grogan (the producer) at 303-712-3137.