Tag Archives: downtown

Luhrs Building: Iconic building towers over important adaptive reuse project in downtown Phoenix

The Luhrs Endures

Nestled among the steel and glass high rises in downtown Phoenix, the Luhrs Building stands as a symbol of the iconic brick-and-mortar structures that once graced the inner city.

As the City of Phoenix embraces the concept of adaptive reuse, the Luhrs Building, constructed in 1924 at a cost of $553,000, is part of this trend to repurpose existing buildings with retail or office additions.

According to the City of Phoenix website, the number of adaptive reuse projects – renovating buildings and turning them into new spaces – has increased since it started its adaptive reuse program in 2008. There were 17 projects in the first year. That number jumped to 48 in 2013.

“Historic, unique buildings are excellent prospects for adaptive reuse,” says Summer Jackson, associate director with the retail services division at Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, the brokerage firm handling the retail leasing assignment for the Luhrs Building.

“Many restaurateurs are taking advantage of these spaces to create new concepts that cater to the demand in the area. It’s an opportunity to do something innovative – something different,” Jackson adds.

One such establishment that has taken advantage of the opportunity is the Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, 1 W. Jefferson. Owner Ross Simon says he was looking for a space with a great history and some genuine “wow factor.” A space, he says, that had a real city feel for a concept that would be at home in any major city around the world.

“Also something that could lend itself well to the cocktail-centric concept,” Simon adds.

Adaptive reuse is evident elsewhere around Phoenix. Some of the more notable examples include:
» Culinary Dropout at the Yard, a former motorcycle dealership built in the 1950s on 7th Street.
» Taco Guild at Old School O7, the former Bethel Methodist church on Osborn Road.
» Southern Rail and Changing Hands bookstore at the Newtown Phx, the former Beef Eaters restaurant built in 1961 on Camelback Road.
» Windsor and Churn, which share a restored 1940s building on Central Ave.

“Consumers are looking for an experience,” says Courtney Auther Van Loo, Associate Director with the Retail Services Division at Cushman & Wakefield. “While maintaining historical architecture styles and a building’s unique iconography, developers and tenants have created one-of-a-kind experiences and breathed new life into these landmarks. This style of reuse combines a contemporary feel with a touch of the classic.”

When he was selecting a site, Simon says he wasn’t necessarily looking for a space in an adaptive reuse project. “But after I revisited the space and thought about the layout a bit more to know it would work, I was sold on it,” he says.

Bitter & Twisted, as well as Subway sandwich shop have become retail tenants at the Luhrs Building. “I had a real idea of what I wanted the overall place to look and feel like from an operational standpoint and from a guest experience point of view,” says Simon, who adds that Bar Napkins Production worked on the initial layout and all the architectural plans. Southwest Architectural Builders was the general contractor.

As the light rail whizzes by the Luhrs Building on Jefferson, it’s evident a sense of “newness” is also being felt downtown. An $80 million, 19-story hotel – the 320-room Luhrs City Center Marriott – breaks ground later this year at the northwest corner of Madison Street and Central Avenue.

The project is being developed by the Hansji Corporation of Anaheim, Calif. It’s the same family-owned company that purchased the “Luhrs Block” in 2007. For the past 38 years, Hansji Corp. has developed more than 2MSF of office, retail and hotel space.

coutney-summer-ross-rajan

“It (the Luhrs Block, which also includes the Luhrs Tower) was really our first historical building,” says company President Rajan Hansji. “We knew it was something special. You can’t recreate this. It’s history. It gave me a new appreciation (for historical properties).”

Hansji says he is pleased with the outcome of Bitter & Twisted and its historical feel, including exposed original walls and beams.

“That corner is going to define the block,” Hansji says. “It (Bitter & Twisted) will be the catalyst for the rest of the block. It’s an amazing and unique space. The hotel’s exterior will utilize different brick colors and utilize the Luhrs’ history.”

legends

Legends district partners with Southwestern Eye Center

The Legends Entertainment District, a first-of-its-kind joint venture between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, announced a new partnership with Southwestern Eye Center that features the District’s first static super graphic with a 3-D embellishment. The announcement was made by Legends Entertainment District General Manager Judd Norris.

“The Legends Entertainment District continues to break the mold of traditional ‘billboard’ advertising by bringing to life its first three-dimensional concept,” said Norris. “Southwestern Eye Centers challenged us to do something unique and memorable. Taking that into account, we were able to bring their already recognizable glasses campaign to life on a 36’ x 42’ super graphic. The glasses are so unique that the creator of the image, BlueMedia, has submitted the design into several marketing concept competitions.”

The first-of-its-kind graphic is located on the Phoenix Convention Center Garage at the corner of 5th Street and Jefferson, across from Chase Field. It is one of 36 static signs in the District that also features four LED signs, six window graphics and five custom signs.

“As a locally based company celebrating 30 years in business, we are excited to be part of something that hasn’t been done before,” said Southwestern Eye Center Vice President and General Counsel Shane Armstrong. “We value the opportunity to work with Legends on this advanced project and to be part of the revitalization efforts downtown.”

Celebrating 30 years in business this year, Southwestern Eye Center, founded in 1982, is dedicated to providing the best possible care for patients seeking or in need of LASIK, cataract surgery, retinal surgery, cosmetic surgery or glaucoma evaluations and treatment throughout the Metro Phoenix area and rural communities of Arizona. With several accomplished specialists in the areas of LASIK, cataracts, retina, glaucoma and cosmetics, Southwestern Eye Center is able to provide patients in Arizona and New Mexico with improved vision by using some of the most advanced and sophisticated techniques and technologies available today. There are 23 Southwestern Eye Center locations in Arizona and three in New Mexico. For more information, visit www.sweye.com.

Southwestern Eye Center joins a growing list of partners for the Legends Entertainment District, including APS, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Fox Sports Arizona, Fry’s Food Stores, Gila River Casinos, AZ Family, MillerCoors, AZ Pain Centers, Cox Communications, Dodge and the Arizona Rattlers, among others.

The Legends Entertainment District offers customized, larger than life out of home opportunities that run 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. The project was designed to encompass landmark downtown facilities, extending from 1st Avenue to 7th Street and Washington to Jackson Street.

In addition to the corporate partnership signage, the Legends Entertainment District provides digital informational programming in the form of LED news tickers and other relevant content that can change on a moment’s notice.

Nearly two billion individual LED lights are used to illuminate the Legends Entertainment District, which includes 13 screens for a total of 6,819 square feet of LED and over 50,000 square feet of static signage. The fiber optic cable laid end to end is 228 miles in length, which is equal to the distance driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. The Legends Entertainment District includes nearly 100,000 pounds (50 tons) of steel and more than 140,000 feet of electrical wire.

Downtown Phoenix attracts more than eight million visitors annually at over 700 events, while 57,000 office workers are based out of the area. For more information about the Legends Entertainment District, visit www.legendsentertainmentdistrict.com.

Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe, AZ

The 27th Annual Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe, AZ


Mill Avenue District in Tempe, Arizona.

Photo Credit: Flickr, planetc1


This year’s Fiesta Bowl Block Party is all about new traditions, new additions, and celebrating the New Year.

This year marks the 27th Annual Fiesta Bowl Block Party, Arizona’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration. Attendees can expect to see headlining band Jimmy Eat World and opening band The Maine take the main stage, university bands marching through downtown, nonstop entertainment, the two fireworks displays kicking off 2011 and much more.

More than 100,000 locals and visiting college football fanatics annually attend the Fiesta Bowl Block Party, a family friendly event.

Because the Block Party had to relocate last year to the Mill Avenue District between Rio Salado and University, Rich Ripley, Fiesta Bowl Block Party’s event coordinator, said the relocation hasn’t and won’t hinder the success of the Block Party.

In fact, the relocation of the event has allowed them to put entertainment on every corner in downtown Tempe, and the light rail provides easy access to the Block Party.


Mill Ave. Bridge in Tempe, AZ.

Photo Credit: Flickr, twak


So what was the real challenge this year, according to Ripley?

“Our challenge every year is how to keep the event fresh for the people that attend,” Ripley said. “Some of the new things this year are a stage for Scandelesque, an outdoor sports club, [and] the video dance display. We also keep old favorites that people love like Dueling Pianos and the Craig Davis Magic Show.”

The multimedia displays are a new addition to the Block Party this year. They will add a sound and light experience never seen before.

“We have basically taken a dance club and put it into the middle of an intersection,” Ripley said. “We have had [it] at the Block Party for 7 or 8 years.  We decided to move it to the Center of the Party and make it fun for everyone who attends.”

As for a new tradition added to the event, it started last year – the confetti blast at midnight.

“Our midnight tradition now is our confetti blast with the fireworks in the sky,” Ripley said. “People love it and we have made it a tradition. It is quite amazing to be in the middle of that.”

27th Annual Fiesta Bowl Block Party:
December 31, 2010
5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Please visit Fiesta Bowl Block Party’s website for more information.

Mill Ave in Tempe, Arizona

2 Valley Treasures Will Receive A Little TLC

Phoenix (November 29, 2010) – The Tempe City Council recently voted unanimously to move forward with plans to restore Papago Park and Mill Avenue. The Papago Park restoration plans focus on improvements to marketing and park amenities while Mill Avenue will receive some much needed clean-up and landscaping.

Papago Park Master PlanPapago Park Master Plan – The cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale together with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) joined forces to conduct a public planning process to develop a vision and series of recommendations to guide the future of Papago Park as a premier regional park serving these cities and the larger region. Papago Park is situated in the heart of the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area at the intersection of the municipal boundaries of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale.

master plan is to protect, preserve and enhance the physical, social, recreational and cultural resources the park provides to the regionThe park’s 2,000 acres include recreational open space and a wide variety of privately owned and leased facilities which serve a myriad of users. The intent of the master plan is to protect, preserve and enhance the physical, social, recreational and cultural resources the park provides to the region which will hopefully provide the ingredients necessary to achieve ‘Great American Park’ status.

Papago Park Regional master planThe Tempe City Council recently approved their City’s part of the Papago Park Regional master plan. The comprehensive planning process, embarked upon jointly by the cities and SRPMIC, resulted in a plan that includes measures aimed at restoring key areas of the park and promoting it as a single attraction. The master plan addresses the deficiencies in marketing efforts for the Park, which includes such tourist attractions as the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden which are self-promoted. The Council’s approval includes a plan that proposes signage, advertising and better connections between trails in the park to encourage visitors to see more than one attraction during day trips. Mayor Hugh Hallman focused on the promotion of some of the park’s Native American ruins, which include art and landmarks used by the Hohokam, who settled the Salt River Valley in the 400s. He feels very strongly about the interest of visitors in such sites as Hole in the Rock.

plans to improve Mill AvenueMill Avenue - City Council also approved plans to improve Mill Avenue with the collaboration of the Downtown Tempe Community. A private company that helps businesses on Mill with marketing and outreach, the DTC will soon begin employing crews to clean up trash on the street and remove graffiti six days a week. The DTC crews will double as ambassadors who can answer visitors’ questions and distribute district maps. The City will provide landscape improvements in the medians.

Through this process, DTC and the City have also worked together to address the issues of business owners in the district. Their efforts include distributing a flyer to better illustrate the problems that business owners have with damage, litter, graffiti etc. in order to connect the business owners with the various City or DTC departments that can help resolve those issues which have long been a source of confusion.

One Lexington

Snapshot: Downtown Phoenix Buildings

Gallery of downtown Phoenix buildings. HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique was added to the photo to give a more dramatic effect.


Luhrs Tower


HDR is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight.


CityScape



Phoenix City Hall


The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple photographs, the latter of which in turn are individually referred to as low dynamic range (LDR)[2] or standard dynamic range (SDR)[3] photographs.


Chase Tower


Tone mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect. —Description courtesy of Wikipedia


Bank of America


Jeff Roberts Opus West

Jeff Roberts – Vice President Of Real Estate Development At Opus West

About 10 years after its Phoenix headquarters opened in 1979, Opus West came up against a major recession in the Valley. It survived that test and is weathering today’s economic downturn with the same tactics.

A division of the Minneapolis-based Opus Group real estate development company, Opus West is going head-to-head with Arizona’s moribund economy with its corporate structure, diverse product base and a development philosophy that has served it well.

“We are vertically integrated and that allows us to react quickly in good times and bad,” says Jeff Roberts, vice president of real estate development.

Opus West has in-house property management, construction, design and development services. Presently, the company’s design-build staff is opening new revenue streams by offering its services to outside clients, such as corporations and governments.

The company still looks for opportunities and is more likely to find them within its broad line of products — retail, industrial, office and residential, including condos, apartments and senior housing.

As part of its approach to development, Opus West does not hinder its flexibility with a sizeable property portfolio and keeps its land inventory low, Roberts says.

“In the late ’80s and early ’90s (recession), many companies accumulated a large portfolio and were much more affected, while we had built our buildings and sold them for a profit,” he says. “That makes us much less subject to market cycles.”

In these tough times, Opus West is again focused on finishing existing projects to get new tenants moved in, taking care of existing tenants and keeping the door open to build-to-suit projects for tenants that are willing to commit, Roberts says. Projects on its plate include the 263,000-square-foot mixed-use Tempe Gateway building in downtown Tempe and the 170,000-square-foot Mill Crossing shopping center in Chandler.

One bit of good news Roberts sees in today’s economy is a “reasonably strong amount of large tenant activity” as companies move for economic reasons or to take advantage of a down market and upgrade to nicer space. Roberts expects little new construction in 2009.

“I don’t look at it as a year where there will be any major projects,” he says. “It will be a year of people working through leasing up what they’ve got and, hopefully, a year we hit bottom and see things heading back up. The big question is whether the economy picks up enough where we can get some significant net absorption.”

Roberts has more than 17 years of real estate experience in eight different cities. Prior to joining Opus West, he was an asset manager for Beta West in Denver. Roberts holds a bachelor of science degree in real estate from Arizona State University.

www.opuscorp.com