Location: Downtown Chandler
Quick Pitch: Movie theater + dining + condos
Developer: Vintage Partners
ETA: Late 2016
Walter Crutchfield subscribes to a slightly more progressive, Valley-centric definition of “mixed-use” than the industry standard. “Some would say mixed-use needs to be stacked,” the Vintage Partners acquisition specialist says. “Unless you have one use below, and another use above, it doesn’t count.” For car-dependent Phoenicians, that’s too constrictive, according to Crutchfield. Consider The Row in downtown Chandler. Named in honor of Chandler’s bygone 1930s-era Rowena movie theater, the L-shaped development will initially pair an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema with up to eight food-and-beverage tenants. Later, a conjoined multi-family residential development will be added. Not stacked, “but easily walkable [for residents], which is the crux of mixed-use appeal,” Crutchfield says. The marquee draw will be Alamo, the brash, Austin-based movie exhibitor that successfully anchored a similar project in Minneapolis. Perfect for all those sci-fi geeks at Intel.
Valley developer and landscape guru Bill Tonnesen knew he wanted to tame the grungy two-story office building at 4700 N. 12th St. the moment he saw the “For Sale” sign. Caked in cheesy orange stucco, the 57-year-old building looked like a Moroccan brothel but had the guts of Fort Knox, with 40-foot precast concrete T-beams. “There are zero interior load-bearing walls, so you can do what you want,” Tonnesen says. “I envisioned concept restaurants downstairs, and offices upstairs, where you get the most beautiful ambient light.” His only reservation: The building is located next door to the Hi-Liter, a legendary Phoenix strip club. The orange stucco was easy to sandblast away; the lap-dances, not so much. So Tonnesen embraced his neighbors, jiu-jitsu-style, naming the project The Strip and placing life-cast nude statues upstairs. “The whole point of this is to mess with people,” the developer says with a wink. He hopes to have two restaurant anchor tenants in place by early summer.
After weathering the Great Recession that postponed his project for the past eight years, developer Tim Sprague finally broke ground in April on Portland on the Park, a new condo complex consisting of 149 units in three buildings set next to each other like increments in a bar graph: one four stories tall, the second standing 12 stories high, and the third 14. The units will range from 745 to 2,450 square feet, with an additional 7,800 square feet on the ground floor facing Portland Street Park devoted to commercial space – which could include restaurants, a wine bar and a small market. Sprague says he and his company Habitat Metro hope to take advantage of the complex’s prime location, with Margaret T. Hance Park in the backyard and Portland Park in the front. “We are literally a stone’s throw from light rail, and we’re nestled in the very center of the arts district,” he says. Just east of Portland on the Park, Sprague is also working on an adaptive reuse project. A hotel originally built in 1973 will soon become Found:re (rendered above), a new arts and culture-focused boutique hotel featuring 105 rooms, an upscale restaurant and a 4,000-square-foot space that, when not used as a meeting room for conferences, will be an art gallery.
Seeking a site for her mixed-use vision, Irene Catsibris Clary had to look no farther than the land across the street from the offices of her company, Catclar Investments. The Toronto native wanted to bring a unique development project to the area, just south of the 101 and Bell Road in Scottsdale, and the project – SOHO, “Small Office Home Office” – manifests her ambition with 64 townhomes in a 4.5 story building that offers office space on the first floor, along with a restaurant, pastry shop and wine bar. Catsibris Clary has been working with Beijing architect Bing Hu to bring the 2,500-3,200-square-foot townhomes to life. “I like going against the grain, I like trying to develop and building projects that are unique, offer the buyer more than what is typical,” she says.
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