An Artsy Substation? APS Reveals Plans for Roosevelt Row

We snapped this image of an APS substation rendering during a Zoom meeting on March 10.
We snapped this image of an APS substation rendering during a Zoom meeting on March 10. Lynn Trimble
A project taking shape at Roosevelt and Seventh streets is set to bring about another substantial change to the Roosevelt Row landscape — and provide more fodder for those who decry increasing gentrification in the neighborhood.

Arizona Public Service Company is building a new substation at 950 North Seventh Street, and it will be vaguely artsy; the exterior will include metal artworks, murals, and wayfinding designs. A performance space is planned for the property as well. It will sit on the former site of a gas station, where construction is already underway behind perimeter fencing.

“We hope to have the buildings done by May of 2022,” says Kendra Lee, a government affairs, franchises and technical services liaison with APS.

Lee shared an update on the APS substation during the March 10 meeting for the Evans Churchill Community Association, which was held via Zoom.

click to enlarge Another angle of the APS substation rendering. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Another angle of the APS substation rendering.
Lynn Trimble
APS worked with Espiritu Loci, a Scottsdale-based firm that does development and planning, on design for the site. Part of the process involved inviting input from community members. “We’ve incorporated all of the elements that people have asked us to incorporate,” founder and CEO Trevor Barger explained during Wednesday’s meeting. (They’ve been gathering community feedback since 2018.)

Plans call for a central concave wall on the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Seventh streets, with visual elements that incorporate the Roosevelt Row name. Barger described it as a “grand welcome corner for Roosevelt Row.”

The design includes shade structures, benches, a clock tower, a Roosevelt Row marquee, and movie poster boxes where the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation can post event information. A large-scale map of Roosevelt Row is also in the mix.

Plans call for the performance space to be located on the northwest corner of the development. The project will additionally include substation office for the Phoenix police department, which typically has a visible Roosevelt Row presence during First Friday art walks.

Details for other art elements will be discussed during a 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, March 15. “In the near future, there is going to be a call for artists’ crafted,” according to Artlink president and CEO Catrina Kahler. New Times has requested details about that meeting, which is happening via Zoom.

Lee notes that the meeting will be open to the public, and says a project website will go up that same day. “Whoever wants to be involved, we want them to be involved in the process,” she explains. “We don’t want to exclude anyone.”
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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