Visual Arts

2 Roosevelt Row Properties Slated for Demolition; Petition Seeks Adaptive Reuse and Mural Preservation

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In the process of rallying support for an adaptive re-use alternative, the petition's authors committed something of a faux pas by writing their petition and putting it online without talking with Cole and Dayna Reed about their plans. Cole Reed learned of the petition last Friday, after her phone "started ringing off the hook." She read the petition, and felt its semantics implied they were skipping town without a care for what became of the building that's been their home, business and working studio for nearly three years. "It's a matter of respect," she says -- and people making false assumptions.

She contacted petition organizers about altering the petition's wording, so they substituted the building address for GreenHaus. The address has a colorful history that includes serving as headquarters for Phil Gordon's mayoral campaign and a drag bar dubbed 307 Lounge. Petitioner Connor Descheemaker says it's important to preserve the building because of its significance in the Phoenix LGBT community's history.

Petrisko insists no slight against the Reeds was intended, but Cole Reed hasn't forgotten unkind comments shared by those who see their move to Portland as a betrayal of the Phoenix art scene. Some figured they'd stay once gay marriage was legalized in Arizona (which happened on October 17 this year), but Reed says that's not enough. She wants to live in a state with favorable laws towards adoption by same-sex couples, since Dayna is pregnant with the couple's first child. They'll be here for February's First Friday, and part of the Saturday to follow.

See also: Cole and Dayna Reed of greenHAUS to leave Arizona, Despite Legal Same-Sex Marriage

Once the petition's authors decided what they wanted to say, they simply ran with it, says Petrisko. Think enthusiasm, rather than deliberate decision to leave the building's current occupants out of the loop. Diehl says he felt the Reeds had already done enough, paying to have the DeGrazia murals cleaned and assuring they stayed safe behind protective walls during their tenure at the site. "They took a shell," he says, "and made it a living thing."

Now that they've got several hundred signatures, petition organizers will have to decide on a next step. Their petition is actually addressed to four entities: Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, property developer Baron Properties, architect Kym Billington, and Phoenix historical preservation officer Michelle Dodds -- who was featured prominently in a recent article published by The New York Times.

When we spoke to Diehl Tuesday morning, he was itching to call the developers to arrange a time to discuss the petition. He's convinced they've got enough signatures to make a compelling case for building apartments around the existing 222 East Roosevelt structure, leaving it intact for use by a business that's compatible with the Roosevelt Row arts scene credited by Mayor Stanton and others with helping to fuel economic development downtown.

The mayor's office tells us he'd like more information about Baron Properties' plans before commenting. He's not alone. We at Jackalope Ranch have been waiting for the developer to reveal details about their plans, and make a clear statement about whether there's any wiggle room for walking them back to something that preserves the 222 East Roosevelt building and its mural art.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble