Tag Archives: Old School O7

Luhrs, WEB

The Luhrs endures: Adaptive reuse, retail breathe life into iconic downtown building

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.

Bitter & Twisted

Bitter & Twisted

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.

“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.”

Old School O7, on the corner of 7th Street and Osborn Road, was a $2M adapative re-use and urban in-fill project by RSP Architects, Wetta Ventures and Chasse Building Tream. Phase I, which was completed 4Q 2013, includes the 1,700 SF Starbucks. Photo by James Neal

Making It New Again: Adaptive Re-use Trend Re-Energizes Community

A  church turned into a Taco Guild. An old automotive dealership and service station turned into a restaurant complex. A 60,000 SF building that once housed a television studio renovated to service a health center, theater, pharmacy and vitamin shop. To a city’s residents, a building finding a new purpose is a novelty. But to developers and architects in the Valley, it’s a trend that preserves the cityscape and — with the help of incentive programs and building code leniencies — is cost effective and time efficient.
Adaptive re-use of standing buildings has been a recent trend in the Valley, particularly Phoenix, which has been searching for sustainable solutions to add density to its core areas.
The City of Phoenix first piloted its adaptive re-use program in April 2008. The program became permanent six months later. Phoenix is the only city in the Valley with an established incentive program geared directly toward adaptive re-use development.
“There are a lot more people looking at existing buildings than looking to develop land,” says Jason Blakley, a program manager in Phoenix’s planning and development department. “There has been an increasing trend over the last few years, but I think things are starting to swing back toward new development.”

Building Incentives

The city continues to spread word to potential developers. Since implementing a financial incentive on July 1 to offset development costs, the city has received seven project applications and given away $13,000. The city has split projects into three tiers based on square footage. Incentives per project can reach up to $4,500.
Citywide advantages include revitalizing neighborhoods that haven’t seen much development or change over the last few years, Blakely says. He adds that scrapping a site and developing from scratch creates significantly more materials that will get carried off to a landfill. Adaptive re-use peripherally supports
green incentives.
“We’ve witnessed over the last decade more viability of existing building for projects,” says Diane Jacobs, a principal with Holly Street Studio Architects. Jacobs recently worked on the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the aforementioned Channel 12 building, and the renovation of a 1930s era post office into a recreational space for Arizona State University students.
Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, soon to be Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, is set to officially open in November. It had limited resources and prioritized a central location in Phoenix to building from the ground up. It was unique, Jacobs says, because one half of the building was constructed in the 1950s and the rest in the 1970s.

Student Center at ASU Post Office.

Student Center at ASU Post Office.

“What we wanted to do was take a building split into different parts and pieces and give it an epicenter — a physical manifestation of what they’re trying to do with their organization,” Jacobs says. “They serve all walks of life and want to be a central place.”

Preserving history

“Adaptively re-used buildings come with their own history,” says Jacobs. “By history, I mean not just the story of who was there, but the physical archeology of what was there. It’s our job not to cover up the building, but let its best qualities be revealed. It reminds people there were other people in the building using it. When you have limited resources and you have your parameters set tighter for you, it helps you think about your priorities.”
Jacobs also recently worked on another adaptive re-use project for Arizona State University for which Holly Street helped turn a 1930s post office’s workroom into a student center near the Downtown campus.

Former Channel 12 building, now the Southwest HIV/AIDS Center.

Former Channel 12 building, now the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDs.

There are few absolutes regarding what makes a building ideal for adaptive re-use. Jacobs says buildings must have an open, flexible structure. If the program just doesn’t fit over the structural grid, she says, then the location won’t work.
Though City of Phoenix doesn’t know the exact number of eligible buildings within the city limits, any existing structure permitted before 2000 and measuring up to 100,000 SF is viable for adaptive re-use and will fall into one of the city’s three tiers of incentives.
“Projects with ambitious programs want to start fresh,” Jacobs says. “(Developers are) finally catching onto things architects have known all along (about older buildings). It’s a recent trend because of the economy and slowdown in growth. It made us understand we couldn’t keep up with this building and growing and moving out further, but to just look at the resources we already had.”

Urban movement

Little Cleo's at the Yard.

Little Cleo’s at the Yard.

In the last two years, RSP Architects’ Michael Rumpeltin has tackled two adaptive re-use projects — a Starbucks at Osborn Road and 7th Street, within a development known as Old School O7, and The Yard, the repurposed automotive and morotcycle repair shop mentioned earlier.
“I truly believe that there is a cultural shift going on in the Valley,” Rumpeltin says. “The city itself is maturing and we’re seeing a great deal more interest in urban places throughout Phoenix. In addition to repurposing these older buildings, or simply renovating and updating them, it is also important to be thoughtful about how you add to the existing building stock … I consider myself a steward of these buildings and my ability to help breathe new life into them ensures — at least for the immediate future — that they don’t disappear and instead remain a part of the urban fabric.”
One thing Jacobs and Rumpeltin agree on is the citywide benefit of adaptive re-use projects: it brings the community together.
“When we talk about repairing or infilling or rebuilding urban places, these kinds of social spaces are exactly what we need to bring people together and serve the community,” Rumpeltin says. “Unlike an office building or a private residence, these places are more public and because of that can be shared and enjoyed by more people within the community.”

Culinary Dropout at The Yard.

Culinary Dropout at The Yard.

Venue Projects and John Douglas Architects recently formed a partnership that is a prime example of such a space. Their project, The Newton at Camelback and 3rd Avenue, will house a Changing Hands Bookstore and The Lively Hood community workspace in the former Beef Eaters restaurant. The Newton, named for Beef Eaters founder Jay Newton, will be finished in spring 2014, with the mission to centralize community members.
RSP Architects, Rumpeltin says, begins a project by identifying the audience, researching the surrounding neighborhood and accounting for the building’s history and future before the design process begins.
“I can’t drive down the street without seeing a building that I start imagining a new restaurant in, or new shops or a boutique hotel,” says Rumpeltin, who keeps a journal of buildings throughout Arizona he’d like to revitalize. “As much as trying to match locations with developers and users, I like to be very involved in the creation of a project’s identity.”
Though he didn’t share specifics, he’s working on one such building that has been in his notebook for more than a decade. He says the project will open in a year.

Rendering of the 45,000 SF Pascua Yaqui Tribal Services Center being built by Concord General Contracting.

Project News

Adaptive re-use project coming together at 7th and Osborn

Work is progressing by the team for Old School O7 consisting of Wetta Ventures as developer, RSP as architect and designer and Chasse Building Team as general contractor for a July turnover of a new ground-up mid-century inspired building and a reimagined church and school building in Central Phoenix. The adaptive re-use project at 7th St. and Osborn has secured Starbucks as tenant for the new building, and Taco Guild restaurant for the church building. On-site, the team has been reacting to the unforeseen conditions that arise on re-use projects. The team discovered three large windows that had been blocked in. By restoring these, the space now has increased light and dimension. The team also decided to rebuild vs. remove a wall which will now serve as a History Mural to celebrate the 128-year “local” history of the property.  Beautiful wood ceilings which were hidden by acoustic tiles were uncovered and stained glass windows are being left or repurposed throughout the project. Subcontractors include Sterling Sandblasting, Creative Masonry and W&W Structural Steel. After the shell building’s turnover, tenant improvements will quickly commence for a scheduled project in the fall.

 DPR projects Include ASU, Osborn Medical Center, Banner

TI at the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation 2 and refurbishment work at Osborn Medical Center are two of several projects in the works by DPR Construction.
• SmithGroupJJR is architect for the 16,000 SF NHI2 Fifth Floor TI project, approximate value at $540,000. Work includes TI of existing shell space consisting of 23 offices and two dean offices.
• The Osborn Medical Center public restroom refurbishment include work on 21 public restrooms within the hospital. This includes new ceramic tile, plumbing upgrades and miscellaneous accessories.
• Phoenix Design One is architect and Alliance Project Advisors is construction manager of the 13,000 SF TI at the Avalon School of Cosmetology. Subcontractors include Brown and Son’s Electrical Contracting, Alpine Mechanical and Service, Arnett Plumbing, Fortress General Contracting, Ganado Painting and Wallcoverings, Wholesale Flooring, Styles Brothers Custom Millwork, D.H. Pace, Mountain State Drapery, TP Acoustics, RCI Systems, Dickens Quality Demolition and KDM Contracting. The TI includes salon, pedicure, treatment area, reception, classrooms, break room, offices, restrooms and laundry.
• HKS is architect for the $1.5M Banner Gateway Kitchen and OR renovation. Work includes expansion and renovation of the kitchen and physicians’ lounge and renovation of OR No. 8.

DL Withers finishes sports venue

DL Withers Construction recently completed the Southern Arizona Community Sports @ Curtis Park project in Tucson. The architect is Swaim Associates Architects. This state-of-the-art facility will include nearly 40,000 SF of versatile space, accommodating up to five basketball courts, eight volleyball courts and other activity space for sports and other programs that promote health and wellness for Tucson and the surrounding community’s youth.

Concord eyes 4Q finish for 2 projects

A tribal services center in Guadalupe and a multi-family project in Phoenix are scheduled for 4Q 2013 completion by Concord General Contracting. At the $2.8M, 23,000 SF Verde Villa multi-housing project, Concord is converting 66 one-bedroom and studio units to a combination of 36 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Architectural Resource Team is the architect. Subcontractors include Shadetree Mechnical, Rowley Plumbing, Parker Design and Construction, Gazda Electrical and Bold Framing. At the $5.5M, 40,500 SF Pascua Yaqui Tribal Services Center (architect Merry Carnell Schlecht), Concord is building a new, 2-story administration building. Subs: Commercial Air, Noble Steel, Grace Electric, CJS Enterprises and Irontree Construction.

JE Dunn, DLR Group to team on ADOC Buckeye prison expansion

JE Dunn Construction was selected as construction manager on the new Arizona Department of Corrections 500-bed Maximum Custody Prison Expansion in Buckeye. The $50M, 110,000 SF prison will be designed by DLR Group, adding to JE Dunn’s extensive correctional experience with the design firm. The expansion will include three new housing units within the existing Arizona State Prison Complex Lewis and will utilize existing water, waste water, electrical, natural gas, communication and secure perimeter infrastructure. Preconstruction began in April with 4Q 2014 completion date.