The announcement in February 2019 that the Santa Fe-based immersive arts collective Meow Wolf intended to build a hotel in downtown Phoenix, complete with a permanent exhibition and performance space, was exciting news here in the Valley (although a few locals did grumble about it).
The plan was for Meow Wolf to build the attraction in Roosevelt Row, in partnership with True North Studio, a real estate development firm that's been extremely active in the neighborhood over the past several years. The space, which would have opened in 2024, was to be located at 811, 813, and 817 North Third Street and would have included a 400-room hotel and a 75,000-square-foot exhibition area, 10,000 square feet of which would have been a music and performance venue.
Dreamy stuff for Phoenix art lovers. Unfortunately, it's not happening.
Last week, Meow Wolf celebrated the opening of its Las Vegas experience, called Omega Mart. While checking it out, we caught up with co-CEO and chief content officer Jim Ward, who confirmed that the Phoenix hotel concept is off the table.
"That’s not going to come to pass at this point in time," Ward said.
Ward, who resides in Phoenix, didn't give specifics as to why the plan got scrapped.
"It’s our evolution as a company, what our roadmap is, combined with capital formation and all sorts of variables that got into it," he said.
True North Studios declined to comment on the project's demise.
The next Meow Wolf experience scheduled to open will be in Denver, followed by Washington, D.C., so the new Las Vegas space will be the closest location to the Valley for quite some time. (Check out photos from our inside look here.)
Ward said that Meow Wolf would still like to come to Phoenix someday, though not in a hotel format.
"Sometimes those plans don’t perfectly align, but that doesn’t meant they couldn’t in the future. Phoenix is very much still on our radar, and remember, one of our co-CEOs lives there," Ward said. "I want something in my backyard."