Rainbow Over RoRo

Douglas TowneMay 1, 2023
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Rendering of Rainbow Road; renderings courtesy Libeskind Studio Design
Rendering of Rainbow Road; renderings courtesy Libeskind Studio Design

An Italian architect and a video-game-crazed Valley developer bring a touch of Nintendo to Roosevelt Row.

“We were able to turn this property into a living piece of art,” Zac Cohen, managing director of Valley-based InveStellar Corporation, says of his Arizona company’s project on Roosevelt Row. “We wanted interaction, we wanted connection, and to create a sense of community in the arts district. Rainbow Road will be a place where all these things intersect.”

The boutique apartment complex, designed by Milan-based architect Lev Libeskind, marries multi-family development with the aesthetic of Nintendo. The building features sharp angles, slanted surfaces and a Mario Kart-inspired rainbow road that spills from the courtyard onto the sidewalk.

“I thought it was a great challenge to bring a video game to life architecturally, not in a kitsch way, but with a contemporary spirit,” Libeskind says. “It’s not intended just for fans of the game, as I think that even if one has never played Mario Kart or any video game, the building’s geometry and visual style will be intriguing.”

Libeskind was attracted by the opportunity to contribute to RoRo’s unique vibe and funky urbanism. “It’s only fitting that the Roosevelt Arts District would serve as a natural incubator for more innovative and playful architecture, and I wanted to design something special in its spirit,” he says. “It’s an incredible city that’s growing and evolving in unexpected directions at a dizzying speed. There’s a sense of enormous potential.”

Future Rainbow Road residents may feel like they’ve found their pot of gold in the 36-unit building, set to open at the corner of First and Portland streets in spring 2024. The renderings are breathtaking, but how will video-game-inspired architecture age? 

“I hope well!” Libeskind says. “There’s something youthful about the design – but like all artworks, one can only hope that it survives the test of time. Only time will tell.”

Phoenix Rises Again 

Hybrid crash pads redefine living space at these innovative high-rises


This apartment-retail project on RoRo’s doorstep, opening in 2024, mixes the McKinley Medical Office’s historic vibe with a new 23-story building at First Avenue and West McKinley Street. hatterassky.com

WaterWalk Phoenix North Happy Valley

Four stories of flexible accommodations cater to footloose workers enjoying extended stays, and locals liberated from leases, opened in March at 1905 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd. waterwalk.com

X Phoenix

Find your tribe at this 20-story complex offering affordable co-housing units and apartments Downtown at 200 W. Monroe St. The development’s second tower, X Phoenix II, opens in 2024. thexlife.co/phoenix



Percentage of new and existing homes sold in Greater Phoenix in the fourth quarter of 2022 that met minimum standards of “affordability” for a U.S. family with a median household income, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. It was the lowest affordability rate for Phoenix since 2012 and dramatically lower than the U.S. rate of 38.1 percent. Los Angeles had the nation’s lowest percentage of affordable homes at 2.2 percent.

—Craig Outhier