3 Empty Downtown Phoenix Sites: Submit your Ideas!
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3 Empty Downtown Phoenix Sites: Submit your Ideas!

3 Empty Downtown Phoenix Sites: Submit your Ideas!

Project Rising Phoenix is coordinating a Call for Ideas for three key downtown Phoenix properties – two adaptive reuse projects and one vacant lot – with strong potential for multiple uses.

  1. Luhrs City Center Arcade, Jefferson St., between 1st Ave & Central Ave
  2. Regency Garage Edge (aka Matador Restaurant space), 125 E. Adams St.
  3. Adams Street Lot, SE corner, Adams St & Central Ave

Developer Goal: Create dynamic project concepts to activate the space(s) and bring vibrancy to a downtown undergoing significant revitalization.

More photographs of each project site are located at http://on.fb.me/1b1WMQr

If you’re interested in submitting an idea to Project Rising, you’ll find more information here.

Project Profiles

Luhrs Arcade

1. Luhrs City Center Arcade

The Site: The Luhrs City Center is situated on the original townsite of Phoenix, between Central and First avenues, and Jefferson and Madison streets. The City Center is a mixed-use complex that includes two historic office towers (the 1924 Luhrs Building and 1929 Luhrs Tower), retail, a parking garage, and a future hotel. The historic Arcade, along the north façade, was formerly used as a post office. The location is walkable and bikeable, with westbound and eastbound light rail stops on Washington Street, at Central and First Avenue respectively.

The Scene: The Luhrs Arcade is approximately 4,500 square foot total. Bitter & Twisted, a new hip restaurant/mixology establishment, is opening in the Luhrs Building at Jefferson and Central. Major nearby attractions include CityScape, the Phoenix Convention Center, US Airways Center, and Chase Field. The CityScape Residences above the Hotel Palomar are now taking reservations.

The Owner’s Goal: Open up the three retail spaces into one marketplace for local businesses, ala the “Union at Biltmore.” The original vision called for multiple eateries, perhaps a “bricks and mortar” home for food truck businesses. The retail space will serve multiple office and residential towers, and hotel and convention visitors. There is a prospective master lessee and operator/manager team for the marketplace.Leave a comment

Adams Street Projects

Background: Both the Regency Garage Edge (aka Matador Restaurant space) and Adams Street Lot are part of the recently completed Adams Street Activation Study performed by Gensler Architects for the City of Phoenix. The study consisted of 30 stakeholder meetings and four public charrettes with over 100 attendees including residents, downtown workers, business owners and operators, college students, neighborhood organizations, community groups, and media.


A summary of the activation study is available here: http://on.fb.me/HDvW8M The City of Phoenix, owner of both properties, intends to issue a solicitation in early 2014. Including both sites in the Project Rising Phoenix accelerator will (a) produce viable community-based projects to submit as a response to the solicitations and (b) represent an innovative example of a private-public partnership.

The Scene: Constituents for these sites are the growing number of residents, workers, hotel and convention visitors, and college students (ASU, UA, and Phoenix College of Law) in a resurgent downtown Phoenix. These projects also present an opportunity to connect downtown’s growing arts and culture scene. Area attractions and light rail stops are the same as those for the Luhrs City Center Arcade project.

The Owner’s Goal: Businesses that generate tax revenue to support civic services and attract residents from the surrounding neighborhoods to create year-round vibrancy. The vision for Adams is a street that promotes connectivity, diverse users, walkability, authenticity, and synergy, and that changes and adapts from time to time.

Matador Restaurant

2. Regency Garage Edge (aka The Matador Restaurant)

This site is situated on the southeast corner of Adams and First streets, adjacent to Steve’s Grill, Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center (ALAC), and Regency Garage, all across the street from Hyatt Regency Phoenix. The space can be accessed of Adams and First streets. The former tenant, the Matador Restaurant, closed March 2012 after operating in the space for 35 years. Substantial interior improvements are needed for the space, which is large enough to accommodate multiple businesses.

Adams Street Activation Study recommendation: Renovate, occupy, and activate the space; encourage restaurants and other uses to support and enhance activity on Adams Street.

Adams Street Parking Lot

3. Adams Street Lot

This site is situated on the southeast corner of Adams Street and Central Avenue, adjacent to Hanny’s and the One Renaissance Tower, and across the street from the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. The total lot square footage is 26,193. Creative parking solutions will need to be considered.

Adams Street Activation Study recommendation: Mixed-use mid-rise with restaurants or grocery at street level and residential above.

Leslie Lindo

Leslie Lindo, CSBA, LEED AP, is the Executive Director of Project Rising Phoenix. Leslie has been involved in community development since moving to Phoenix in 2004. She has championed sustainable design and development practices through the professional training company she co-founded in 2008. Lindo has served in leadership roles for the national Sustainable Building Advisor Institute, Green Chamber: Greater Phoenix, US Green Building Council (Arizona Chapter), and American Institute of Architects (Phoenix Metro Chapter).

  • Perri Collins
    Posted at 09:33h, 11 November

    Building a mid-rise with restaurants or grocery at street level is a bad idea. This idea concept has failed a few times already i Phoenix, The grocery stores end up being too expensive or specialized, and really? Do we need *another* midrise? I’m all for infill, but only of it has a purpose or solves a problem. Right now the lot is used for something downtown desperately needs: parking. The project has the least priority in my opinion. Better to focus efforts on bring businesses to the Regency Garage Edge (aka Matador Restaurant space) and the Luhrs City Center Arcade. I think there’s a lot of potential those spaces can offer, both to people who live/work downtown and tourists.

  • Sean Q
    Posted at 14:40h, 02 January

    I like the idea of adding a grocery store to downtown. That is definitely one amenity that is lacking in the area. It would be great idea to get a locally based grocery store like Sprouts to come in and create urban concept grocery store. Harmon’s which is grocery chain in Utah has an amazing urban concept grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City near their brand new shopping center City Creek. It is incredible inside. It has the grocery store as well as a coffee bar, sandwich shop and smoothie bar.

    • Quinn Whissen
      Posted at 14:46h, 02 January

      We absolutely agree! We know a lot of larger companies have been doing urban concepts to great effect – we could only hope Phoenix is next on their list.

  • James
    Posted at 19:20h, 30 January

    PARKING is not something the downtown core desperately needs and anyone who thinks otherwise is far mistaken and needs to go read the variety of research and resources that all point to a parking surplus in the city center. I don’t believe any of these sites is more or less important than another. The Adams Street projects are important because they are part of the city’s overall master plan for the area; since the city is taking this part of town seriously, so should we. Given the amount of traffic that comes to the area for the nearby convention center, this is a chance to redefine a vital district. I think the corner lot would be best served by a mixed use hotel+residential tower with subterranean parking. 16 stories with a signature lounge/bar on the ground level would provide conventioneers with entertainment and a more upscale/newer option, and infuse 24/7 permanent residents through the apartments above. Aloft previously had plans for this lot and I think it would still be a good fit. A grocer is a great idea for downtown, but not this area; closer to Roosevelt would be ideal. Anyway, if the city is successful in redeveloping the street level of the Marriott, it would be interesting to see real real go into both sides of the street. Shopping is a very common practice when on business, and we know downtown has the restaurant scene covered. I’d love to see an H&M, Century 21, and TJ Maxx line Adams. Lastly, that poor Luhrs arcade… The human race should sue CityScape for the crime of turning its ugly rear toward these beautiful buildings and destroying a potential urban, walkable shopping boulevard. I see potted trees and benches, open air entrances and a hodge podge of things to do- thinking of something like The Deuce, with Yoga instead of boxing. I think 1 spot should be kept on its

  • James
    Posted at 19:22h, 30 January

    (continued) own because I think Luhrs deserves a signature, upscale restaurant, and I’m not okay leaving it with a Subway and bar as the only uses. Also, the more boozer, the likelier they’ll buy some vintage crap at the new open air market.

  • Jacque' Ekladyous
    Posted at 09:28h, 10 February

    I would love to see a Trader Joes downtown. What about using the old Matador as a “pop – up”? Could bring in a lot of new people and new Chefs. A Target, TJ max or Marshall’s would make a great addition to the downtown area for those that live in the area. I think a bookstore is badly needed too. These are things I miss, when walking around. I hate needing to go away from downtown to pick up things for the house. Just my thoughts as I only live downtown a few weeks every couple months.