Category Archives: Adaptive Reuse

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Florence IDA has been marching to its own beat for 40 years

[Source: Daniel Dullum, Florence Reminder] — Traditionally, IDAs exist solely as fundraising conduits. In 1968, the Florence IDA established its own independent approach that also includes land ownership and involvement in historic restoration. The IDA’s list of accomplishments is impressive. It includes restoration of the Suter house, the Brunenkant Bakery building and the building that houses Total Concept. They helped build Jacques Square, financed facades, and helped establish the Townsite Historic District.

And, when McFarland State Historic Park faced closure, the IDA prepared a comprehensive resolution that helped keep the park open in perpetuity. “We’ve done a lot within that 40 years,” Florence IDA president Peter Villaverde said. “I’m sure we’ve spent close to $2 million for various projects, starting with the Visitor’s Center, which is now going to be the Main Street headquarters. “My project is Jacques Square. We purchased that for $20,000, the town participated, the community participated. … The developer who restored what is now Total Concept was really impressed by what the community can do when working together, and donated the watering system for the trees.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Mark Cowling, Florence Reminder. Pictured: The reconstructed Cosmopolitan Saloon, one of the Florence IDA’s many accomplishments.]

Preserving our sense of place (op-ed)

[Source: Arizona Republic] — As construction workers labored to transform a former bank tower in downtown Phoenix into a splendid boutique hotel, an industry consultant noted approvingly that “there is demand for this.” Indeed, there appears to be much demand for new projects downtown. The Hotel Monroe (pictured) under construction – formerly the Valley National Bank – is but one of many developments. But the declaration that “there is a demand for this” prompts the question: What is this? Merely another hotel? Well, there is growing demand for hotels in downtown, certainly. But projects such as the Hotel Monroe represent something more.

In Phoenix, perhaps more than in any other major American city, there is a need – a demand, really – for the old to be incorporated into the new. This concept is becoming increasingly important to this burgeoning community – adaptive reuse of existing spaces. “More than ever, we are realizing how important adaptive reuse is when your goal is to build a truly sustainable city,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, acknowledging the city’s role in celebrating National Preservation Month. As the outward push of development slows precipitously, now is a good time to emphasize those landmarks we already possess and what new uses we might make of them. The $100 million Hotel Monroe, in fact, is but one (albeit, spectacular) example of adaptive reuse of existing structures in the center city. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]