Culture News

Phoenix City Council Passes Proposal on Roosevelt Row Housing Development

Phoenix City Council passed a proposal on Wednesday, January 29, to sell a city-owned lot at Roosevelt and Second streets to Roosevelt Housing Associates and approve RHA's proposal to build a mixed-use development, called The Row, and rehabilitate the historic Leighton G. Knipe House.

See also: Phoenix City Council to Vote on Roosevelt Row Housing Development Proposal

The 8-1 decision came, with Councilman Jim Waring voicing the one vote against the proposal, after community members voiced their varying opinions on the project.

Speakers against the project included Roosevelt Row business owners Wayne Rainey of MonOrchid, Reid Butler, Jason Freeman of Golden Rule Tattoo, Carly's Bistro owner Carla Logan, GreenHaus owners Cole and Dana Reed.

Some reasons for opposing the project were that it wasn't a good fit for the area, that residents 55 and older would not appreciate the activity and noise that come with First Friday, and that Rainey's petition for the City to restart the proposal process had garnered 1,400 signatures.

Jim McPherson of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, Roosevelt Row CDC's Nicole Underwood (who voiced a few concerns, despite being in favor), and Dianne Barker of the Roosevelt Action Association were among those in favor of the proposal.

Reasons for supporting the project included: the adaptive reuse of the Knipe House, increasing diversity by incorporating older people in the arts scene, and that the developer had taken community feedback and modified its original proposal.

Mayor Greg Stanton also spoke in support of the City Staff-approved project, as did Council members Michael Nowakowski, Laura Pastor, and Kate Gallego.

The the housing portion of the now-approved development is slated to include 56 to 75 units in buildings between three and five stories, with ground-floor resident amenities, offices, and live-work units. Between 80 percent and 85 percent of the units would be age- and income-restricted, meaning that at least one person living in such a unit would need to be 55 or older and not exceed a specified income level.

Additionally, under the approved proposal the Knipe House will be revamped as a craft brewery and restaurant.

This project proposal was chosen from four submissions: DAVIS/RoTwo (Mike Davis); Rainey Development LLC/Butler Housing Company Inc. (Wayne Rainey, Reid Butler); Roosevelt Housing Associates; and Urban Sol Development LLC (Feliciano Vera and partners).

After taking community feedback on its original proposal, the developer agreed to have approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the units (about eight to 15 units) at market rate, with no age or income restrictions, creating a diverse, mixed-income project; require all tenants to sign an affidavit acknowledging they are moving into a vibrant arts district; develop street-level units as live/work artist studios; actively market the project to artists; and dedicate a portion of the common area space for local artists to prominently display their works.

Renovations to the Knipe House are expected to begin in 2014 and be complete in early 2016. Construction on the residential portion of the project is scheduled to start in 2015 and be complete in 2018.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski