Tag Archives: Summer Jackson

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.”

shops at esplanade

2 new restaurants opening at Esplanade

Cushman & Wakefield today announced the opening of two new restaurants at The Shops at Esplanade, located on the southeast corner of Camelback Road and 24th Street.  The new tenants are part of Esplanade owner, MetLife, and Cushman & Wakefield’s efforts to revitalize the property’s retail presence.

“We have worked diligently with MetLife to attract an exciting and successful blend of restaurants and retailers at the property that will suit this market,” said Jon Cowen, Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield.  “The Camelback Corridor provides a fabulous market opportunity for the correct tenants and we’re pleased that ownership’s plan is coming to fruition.”

Pearl Live!, a Scottsdale–based company, will open a sushi restaurant with live entertainment.  Pearl Live! at the Esplanade will be the second sushi/entertainment concept for renowned restaurateur, Jimmy Carlin.  The Esplanade location will feature a large, outdoor patio, an indoor/outdoor bar, and live music.  Situated directly across from the Ritz Carlton, the space was previously occupied by Morton’s Steakhouse. Mr. Carlin plans to cater to the business lunch and happy hour crowds, but also provide an upscale venue at night.  Bob Tam, former corporate chef for PF Chang’s and current Director of Culinary Operations for Maven Hospitality Group (who recently opened The Strand Urban Italian in downtown Phoenix), will be responsible for the creation of Pearl Live!’s menu.  The approximate 7,977 square foot sushi restaurant is slated to open in May.

Solo Trattoria, a new concept from Chicago-based Gemstone Café Group, plans to open their doors at the Esplanade in mid February.  Brittany Harrison of Catalyst Commercial represented the tenant in this transaction, bringing the company’s first location to Arizona.  The Modern Italian restaurant leased approximately 2,555 square feet of space which was previously occupied by Picazzo’s Pizza.  Solo Trattoria, with its cozy and inviting ambiance, will feature fresh tasting Italian food, including Naples style thin crust pizza, authentic pastas, imported cheeses, and wine and beer.

Jon Cowen and Summer Jackson of Cushman & Wakefield serve as exclusive leasing agents for the Shops at Esplanade, while Larry Downey, Jerry Jacobs, and Michael Crystal lease the available office space for property owner MetLife.