Arizona-based Desert Viking Development is the developer behind The Blocks of Roosevelt Row, an adaptive reuse project of three bungalow-style homes, the Flowers building and construction of a new three-story commercial building on the corner of Fifth and Roosevelt streets in Downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District.

The bungalows were originally constructed in the 1900s and will be expanded and renovated. The new commercial building will be a market-style retail space catering to the art’s community in the area. This is a closer look at the tenants setting yup shop within Downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District.

Currently open for business, a barbershop blending art and artistry, while upcoming openings in early 2018 will usher in brick and mortar locations for a favorite Valley-based food truck company and a collaborative pop-up retail shop. These three new concepts in the Flowers Building will join the highly anticipated Taco Chelo, a partnership between chef Suny Santana, artist Gennaro Garcia and restaurateur Aaron Chamberlin.

Downtown Phoenix
A photo of the Flowers building on Fifth and Roosevelt Streets taken in May, 2016. (Photo by Samantha Pouls)

Recently opened, True North barbershop blends the art of styling hair with work from local artists. Owner, Ray DeCandia, has always been a fan of art, especially tattoo art. “I hired tattoo artists and buddies of mine to create pieces for my walls, the window work was crafted by a local pinstriper and sign painter. My girlfriend, Andrea Jackson, does cool woodwork that she stains with coffee grinds. She created two pieces in True North, including an Alice Cooper image and the logo on my wall.”

Accompanied by local artwork, True North is a barber shop specializing in traditional men’s haircuts such as pompadours, flat tops, and executive contours along with hot towel shaves and beard trims. DeCandia is thrilled with the opportunity to create something of his own. “I’ve always wanted to open a shop down here. I used to live near the area and always thought it was a really cool place. It’s amazing to see how it’s evolving and it seems like the perfect area for my type of barbershop.”

Opening its first brick and mortar location is local retail pop-up shop POP PHX. Featuring an ever-changing mix of vendors who sell jewelry, home goods, apparel and more, POP PHX is a venue dedicated to retail entrepreneurs and supporting the local economy. Founder Ashley Bourget is eager to bring her first store concept to The Blocks of Roosevelt Row. “I am excited to be located next to such amazing, creative, and talented entrepreneurs. I love how the project is using existing spaces and transforming them into a new and vibrant experience for the community.”

Always looking for new merchants to showcase, Bourget adds the new POP PHX shop will provide built-out display stations where vendors and artisans can quickly setup their mini shops and sell their products. The mission of POP PHX is to support small independent retailers by providing a venue to gain exposure the community. POP PHX acts as an incubator allowing merchants to develop and scale their brand without the financial risks associated with leasing their own space. “My hope is that these small retailers will be able to grow their business and open their own brick and mortar shop, or whatever their dream may be. The more independent retailers we have in Phoenix, the better.” POP PHX is slated to open January 2018

Also coming soon to the Flowers Building is BBQ Trapp Haus, a home for one of the valley’s favorite food trucks, Phil the Grill. Owner and Pitmaster, Phil “The Jay-Z of BBQ” Johnson, who gained national acclaim after appearing on Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters” is excited to open his new BBQ spot in the heart of Phoenix. “The downtown area has such a diverse, eclectic and growing scene. It is drawing in people from other areas of the valley who want to experience good BBQ. The Blocks of Roosevelt Row will be the new stomping ground for Downtown Phoenix!”

Visitors to The Blocks of Roosevelt Row will notice some new mural artwork created by local street artist, Tyson Krank. He replaced his previous mural on the east facing wall of the Flowers building with a new piece. Krank drew inspiration from one of the first people he met in downtown Phoenix. “This portrait is of Davina Griego. Davina was one of the most positive people I’d met here.” Krank goes on to say, “I incorporated the plants and doubled up the portrait of the person to signify the different people within ourselves. Or just to kind of pay a little homage to the unity between nature and people and consciousness in general. How we’re all kind of one organism.” With the assistance of his older brother, Denny, Krank completed the entire mural in just under 24 hours.

Artist, Tato Caraveo, a longtime favorite among Roosevelt Row’s street art scene, is also newly featured at The Blocks of Roosevelt Row. Caraveo created a graffiti-style mural expanding the entire backside of the Flowers Building. Using only spray paint, Caraveo says he used the graffiti style to form a design without any letters or words, so that its meaning could be translated in more than one way. “I went in on this mural with a color concept in mind and just transferred those colors to the wall. I usually don’t do concept drawings for pieces like this one. I just figure out the color palette and free form the design,” Caraveo explains.

Having been involved in the downtown art scene since the early 1990’s, Caraveo was happy to showcase his work at The Block of Roosevelt Row. He says, “The different mindset of property owners in the area nowadays is very inviting to a muralist and helps the area reflect its arts community.”