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MAY Friday Morning Breakfast

Posted By Heather Garbarino, Thursday, May 23, 2019


Adaptive Reuse


Repurposing our history to create news spaces for the future



The development world defines adaptive reuse as “the process of taking an old building or site, and reusing it for a purpose other than it was designed. It is closely related to historic preservation or conservation around cities with rich history.”


The Valley has established itself as a leader when it comes to adaptive reuse. Evident throughout Metro Phoenix are buildings that are given a second life through adaptive reuse. Now, a new generation of Arizonans gets to experience these structures with a new vision for the future.


The conversation was lively at the May 17 Friday Morning Breakfast as the panel dug into the topic of adaptive reuse. The highlighted projects and their representative: Papago Plaza in Scottsdale, Lee Mashburn, President, Pivot Development; ARRIVE Phoenix, Lorenzo Perez, Co-Founder, Venue Projects; and Park Central, Stan Shafer, Principal and CEO, Holualoa Companies.


“I was in Los Angeles talking to 12 different institutional investors and one thing we heard was the traditional suburban office product is a bit out of favor,” said moderator Chris Toci, Executive Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield. “What’s in favor is creative, adaptive open architecture. Investors can’t get enough of it.”


A look at the projects:

>> Park Central: This iconic shopping center has been the buzz of the development community and Midtown Phoenix neighborhood for the past year. The former site of a dairy farm was once the shopping destination of Phoenix residents. It featured some of the Valley’s big-name department stores such Goldwater’s and Diamond’s.


As other malls cropped up around the Valley, Park Central began to decline as major tenants moved out. It was sold to a special servicer who didn’t have much luck with it, according to Shafer. In 2016, Holualoa Companies and Plaza Companies came to the rescue.


“My inspiration was the Warehouse District,” Shafer said. “It had light rail access, surface parking and onsite amenities. It presented us with a great adaptive reuse opportunity. We were able to unlock the ability to develop the entire project.”

When all the phases are complete, Park Central will feature new retail and dining destinations, a multifamily project, a new parking garage, and Creighton University’s Health Sciences Campus.  


“This project is the collaboration of many stakeholders,” Shafer said. “By 2021 it will be a dynamic location and will revitalize downtown Phoenix.”


>> ARRIVE Phoenix: A stone’s throw from the Newton, one of Venue Projects’ signature adaptive reuse collaborations, is ARRIVE Phoenix. The innovative project features a 79-room boutique hotel that includes a rooftop cocktail lounge, a tropical-shaded pool, coffee shop and popsicle shop (where guests check in).


The project will occupy a pair of obsolete office buildings at 400 and 444 Central Avenue.


“This project opened doors for us,” Perez said. “We are bringing a sense of place and preservation of our heritage. We found a creative opportunity and solution. Our plan with this project is create, not compete.”


With a focus on urban infill, Perez said, Venue Projects pursues transportation-oriented development. Its other signature adaptive reuse projects are The Orchard and Windsor and Churn in Phoenix.


>> Papago Plaza: This aging retail property presented a big challenge to the developer. At the corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads, it sits pretty much as a diagonal on the side. Walking from one end of the plaza to the other, Mashburn said, is the equivalent of crossing three and half football fields.


A re-imagined Papago Plaza will feature a grocery anchor, a hotel, a four-story apartment building, a four-story parking garage and restaurants and retail shops. Another great Scottsdale landmark, SkySong, sits across the street.

“We looked at all the options here and think we’ve come up with a great solution,” Mashburn said. “We will do something with this project that they didn’t do in the 80s.”





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