Warehouse District Re-Envisioning in Downtown Phoenix | This Could Be Phoenix
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Warehouse District

  • Phoenix Warehouse District
  • Phoenix Warehouse District
  • Phoenix Warehouse District
  • Phoenix Warehouse District
  • Phoenix Warehouse District

About This Project

This envision project’s goal is to show that the Warehouse District, in spite of its many challenges, can still become a vibrant, 24/7 urban neighborhood and destination through connectivity, increased sense of community and a variety of mixed uses. It uses its location close to sports and entertainment venues not as the sole defining element, but as one of many key pieces that can be leveraged to form a strong community and sense of place as a strong, urban neighborhood that serves at the southern front door to downtown. By creating this strong neighborhood, the foundation for a place that invites visitation will be formed.

The main focus is area is Jackson – Grant, 7th Street – 4th Avenue.

Download the full Warehouse District Envision Project PDF here


Currently, The Warehouse District is extremely disconnected from its surrounding, both literally – being separated by deadzones such as parking lots and garages and lacking transit – and figuratively – by a lack of awareness and visibility.

A connected district is one that offers mobility for those using any mode of transportation, with infrastructure that creates a safe environment and encourages development. It is one that has an identity and provides visitors with a unique sense of place and residents with a feeling of belonging.

To achieve this sense of connectivity – internally and externally – this project looks at the following key points:

  • Sustainability: creating a model for sustainable development in the Phoenix metro by bringing jobs, education and residences into a centralized location, prioritizing infill and adaptive reuse, and setting standards new buildings
  • Branding: developing a brand image and identity for the community and using it in marketing materials, in streetscaping themes, etc.
  • Design: using natural materials to complement the industrial history of the District will give the area a cohesive look and feel and identity
  • Transition Sites: identifying key points that cause a disconnection between the District and neighboring communities, and providing solutions for how to use these sites
  • Infrastructure: extending pedestrian and bike infrastructure throughout the entire District, making it friendly to all modes of transportation
  • Transit: building off a future light rail connection at Lincoln/Central with extended bus and streetcar systems, while planning for future commuter and passenger rail by reopening the historic Union Station


The Warehouse District also lacks a sense of place because of its lack of community. Currently, there are very little residential options and of the ones that do exist, few integrate themselves into the Warehouse District and contribute to any critical pedestrian mass. 

For the Warehouse District, building a community means leveraging existing buildings to create affordable and sustainable spaces and utilizing new public spaces for recreational amenities and community events. It also means leveraging the unique cultures that have shaped the area by developing cultural assets such as museums and other attractions. Finally, to attract and cultivate this diverse residential base, new services must be encouraged and developed.

This project looks at building a dense community with a sense of place through:

  • Adaptive Reuse: leveraging existing building stock and historic buildings to provide a unique sense of place, affordable living spaces, and creative retail opportunities
  • Public Spaces: place green, public spaces throughout the District for community members to engage with the site and their neighbors
  • Community Amenities: ensuring that the community is adequately serviced to instill a sense of pride; examples include a community garden, community center, and a wide range of educational opportunities
  • Cultural Attractions: paying respect to the history of the District through the restoration of buildings, dedicated museums, and new cultural centers
  • Mixed Income Neighborhoods: guaranteeing an accessible and affordable community by keeping the cost of living low and mixing incomes to prevent gentrification


There will be certain nodes where a concentration of uses – such as entertainment or arts – is most heavy, but the vitality of the community is dependent on spreading these uses throughout the entire area. By keeping a mix of uses throughout, visitors are encouraged to explore the entire District, increasing (the perception of) safety and increasing the opportunity for chance encounters and purchases. This is largely accomplished through the N-S streets which connect the E-W roads that each have distinct planning characteristics.

Jackson Street

Adjacent to the sports venues and entertainment district to the north, Jackson will become the entertainment spine from 4th Street – 1st Avenue.

  • The Jackson Street Promenade will run from 4th Street – 1st Avenue, and will be the only zone in AZ where open containers are allowed on the streets. Uses in this zone include hospitality, highrise residential, clubs, theatres, bars, restaurants, and sports-related businesses.
  • Between 1st Avenue – 4th Avenue, Jackson Street becomes more of a neighborhood “main street,” with small offices, midrise rentals, converted warehouse lofts, etc.

Railroad Tracks

Uses along the railroad tracks will be diverse to draw foot traffic south from Jackson.

  • Underutilized land adjacent to the tracks will form the Warehouse Industrial Parkway, a green multiuse path from end-to-end.
  • Old warehouses along the way will be converted into music venues, bars and nightclubs, isolating noise from residential areas and taking advantage of the large floorplates.
  • New development will be encouraged along the parkway, with ground level uses serving as a noise buffer to the activity and scene along the streetscape.


Buchanan would form the main residential spine of the District.

  • From 4th Street – 1st Avenue, The Buchanan Artisan Corridor will be lined with mixed use buildings, with artisan retail – such as furniture, recording studios, dance studios, bakeries, art schools, and more – on the ground level and residential above, creating an active street scene.
  • From 3rd Avenue – 7th Avenue, a new, dense residential neighborhood will be developed using modular housing and overlooking the new Union Station park.

True Live/Work/Play Opportunities 

In order to create a true live/work/play neighborhood, employment offices will be developed throughout the District.

One focus area will be sustainability, near 2nd Avenue/Jackson, where there are already several ‘green’ businesses already. Here, several amenities can be found to help foster growth in the sector:

  • High school academy for sustainable sciences
  • Phoenix College School of Sustainable Sciences
  • Eco-friendly housing for students, professors, etc.
  • Research center
  • Small business incubator

Other employment hubs will be developed in a similar fashion.

Big Box Stores

Currently, downtown and South Phoenix lack many of the amenities that suburban Phoenix offers. This makes the central city a less desirable place to live, and also forces those who do live in these areas into their cars in order to meet basic needs. The Warehouse District, with its large empty lots and abandoned warehouses makes for a perfect, centralized, transit-accessible location for these big box stores. Such stores would be hard to locate in the core of downtown because of the space and parking needs necessary.

Locating these stores in the southeast quadrant of the District allows visibility from 7th Street and I-17, and allows for easy access from auto, bus, future light rail, and potential streetcar modes of transportation. These stores must still be designed in an urban fashion – built to the street with little setbacks, as part of mixed use projects when possible, etc. – to integrate them into the District. Examples include:

  • A grocer on the empty lot bound by 4th and 5th Streets, Buchanan and Lincoln
  • An office supply store on the lot bounded by 5th and 6th Streets, Buchanan and Lincoln
  • A home goods store on the lot bounded by 6th and 7th Streets, Lincoln and Grant

Additionally, warehouses such as the former Ultimate Consignment could be easily retrofitted to house one of these big box stores. These stores would provide tax revenue and amenities for the District, while increasing visitation from nearby central city residents.


By enhancing the connectivity of the District and improving its visibility to neighboring communities, providing a unique mixed income neighborhood with community amenities and cultural attractions, integrating existing businesses into a new plan for the District, attracting education and employment opportunities, and fostering a 24/7 live/work/play environment, the Warehouse District can fulfill the potential it has to follow in the footsteps of similar districts throughout the country.

By achieving these goals and implementing these tactics, the District will become one that is:

  • Safe
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Visible
  • Connected
  • Inclusive
  • Sustainable
  • Identifiable
  • Mobile
  • Diverse
  • Vibrant

Project Location

Warehouse District, Jackson St. to Grant St., btwn 7th St. and 4th Ave.

Created By

James Skinner


Design Studies and Marketing Graduate

This is an envisioning of the possibilities of this location, and is by no means a project that is planned or overseen by the site or property owners. With these hypothetical projects, we hope to spark a conversation to help imagine the city's future, and our ideas do not reflect actual plans.

Streets and Districts
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