Culture News

Developer Tears Down Former Artist Space in Roosevelt Row

Here's how the former Fifth Street Paint Supply bungalow looked on Friday, November 9.
Here's how the former Fifth Street Paint Supply bungalow looked on Friday, November 9. Lynn Trimble
There’s one less bungalow in Roosevelt Row following the demolition of the former Fifth Street Paint Supply site.

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 look like now,” he wrote.

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.


click to enlarge Here's how the former Fifth Street Paint Supply bungalow looked after being demolished. - JB SNYDER
Here's how the former Fifth Street Paint Supply bungalow looked after being demolished.
JB Snyder
Now, it’s one of two Fifth Street bungalows that’s been demolished. The other, located at 917 North Fifth Street, was torn down following a fire in August 2016. At the time, it housed a Phoenix location for Tempe-based Think! Graphic and Printing Solutions.

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 effected the wall trusses and impacted the integrity of the building.”

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.

click to enlarge This is the bungalow at 909 North Fifth Street, which is part of The Blocks development. - LYNN TRIMBLE
This is the bungalow at 909 North Fifth Street, which is part of The Blocks development.
Lynn Trimble
Desert Viking also owns the 1910 bungalow at 909 North Fifth Street, which once housed the 909 Collective. “We’ll save the other bungalow and turn it into a restaurant,” he says of that space. He expects to announce the name of the restaurant in another three to four weeks.

The Blocks of Roosevelt Row is being developed in three phases. First, the developer renovated the circa-1950 Flowers building, with a financial assist from the city.

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.”

click to enlarge Recent rendering for The Blocks of Roosevelt Row, looking northeast on Fifth Street. - COURTESY OF DESERT VIKING
Recent rendering for The Blocks of Roosevelt Row, looking northeast on Fifth Street.
Courtesy of Desert Viking
Expect to see new construction in the area in coming months, as phase two of creating The Blocks of Roosevelt Row unfolds. Phase two includes not only renovating the 909 bungalow, but also constructing a new building that will sit between the bungalow and the former Flowers building.

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."
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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