Phoenix-based artist JB Snyder, best known to many for his murals bearing bright, curvy blocks of color, shared news of the demolition on his Facebook page on Monday, November 12. “This is what my old house and art store
The bungalow was demolished by Desert Viking, a Phoenix-based developer that acquired several properties from the Pappas family to create a mixed-use development called The Blocks of Roosevelt Row, which will include retail, small business, and restaurant spaces.
Located at 915 North First Street, the bungalow was a staple of the Roosevelt Row arts scene for more than a decade. That’s where Snyder opened Fifth Street Paint Supply with friend and business partner Jeff Hoopes in January 2014. The shop was located in the front room of the bungalow, where they’d lived since 2012. Before that, the bungalow was home to Matt and Leslie Yazzie’s Longhouse art gallery.
Demolishing Snyder’s former paint shop wasn’t part of Desert Viking’s original plan. But the condition of the house made it necessary, according to Niels Kreipke, the firm’s founder and owner.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t save one of the bungalows because of lack of footing and structural supports,” Kreipke says. “There’s no foundation under the building, which
They’ve worked for nine months to find a solution, he says. In the end, they decided that retrofitting the structure wasn’t worth the expense and effort.
The Blocks of Roosevelt Row is being developed in three phases.
In June 2017, Kreipke asked the city of Phoenix for a conservation easement to help preserve both the Flowers building and the 909 bungalow, citing the need to stabilize and reinforce the existing structures, restore exterior walls and roofs, replace doors and windows, and do foundation work.
In July 2017, the city council approved using $135,000 from the Downtown Community Reinvestment Fund, to help Desert Viking further rehabilitate both properties.
“There’s a lot of development pressure in that area,” Michelle Dodds explained at the time. She’s the historic preservation officer for the city of Phoenix. “This is a way to incentivize people to keep existing buildings instead of demolishing them.”
Originally, Desert Viking planned to build a three-story space. But Kreipke says current plans call for a one-story building with mezzanine. “There will be retail and an art space,” he says. “The art space will probably include studios but we’re still trying to define it.” He’s hoping to complete phase two in nine or 10 months.
The third and final phase will transform a bungalow at 902 North Sixth Street, which was formerly the site of Roosevelt Growhouse and GROWop Boutique, into a restaurant. “We’ll probably start renovations in February or March, and shoot for opening everything by September 2019.”
For now, all eyes are on the rubble where Snyder used to operate Fifth Street Paint Supply. A lot of artists are taking it hard, he says. “That was our community epicenter for a long time."