True North Studio is hoping to build a seven-story parking garage on top of an existing parking lot at Third and Moreland streets, located inside the Roosevelt Row arts district. It's just the latest in a series of plans announced by True North Studio, a real estate development firm headed by Jonathon Vento.
Several True North Studio representatives presented the firm's parking garage plans during the August meeting for Downtown Voice Coalition, a community group that typically meets monthly to discuss diverse aspects of downtown life from walkability to affordability. About two dozen people attended the presentation.
The developer already owns one parking garage in the area, located just east of its Ten-O-One building at Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street. That's where Kayla Newnam recently invited community members to help her paint a mural anchored by a giant peacock.
True North Studio will need various city permits and approvals to complete the project as planned. That plan includes leasing land for 30 years from Grace Lutheran Church, which owns the existing parking lot on the south side of Moreland Street just west of Third Street. Grace Lutheran Church is located at 1124 North Third Street, south of Phoenix Center for the Arts.
The garage is slated to be 65 feet high, and include 425 spaces. It’s designed to provide parking for several of the developer’s projects, including the Cambria Hotel that’s currently under construction at 222 East Portland Street. Others include the Godfrey Hotel, Pemberton House, and Josephine’s, all part of True North Studio’s growing footprint in Roosevelt Row.
True North Studio is calling the parking garage a “multi-modal parking, public art, and placemaking project.” And it has identified a theme: “a tribute to the native people of this land, their elders past and present.”
According to images shared during the August 9 meeting, which True North Studio call draft conceptual artist renderings, the exterior of the garage will include artwork by Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, whose murals dot the downtown Phoenix landscape.
Last September, Marcus collaborated with Nyla Lee and Japanese artists WHOLE9 to paint murals on the Pemberton House, a True North Studio property located at 1121 North Second Street. He’s one of several artists whose work is featured along an alleyway just east of The Churchill at 901 North First Street. Years ago, Marcus spearheaded the Paint PHX mural project.
Now, he’s serving as curator and artist for the parking garage project. Renderings show exterior artwork inspired by water, in addition to plants flowing across parts of the garage’s exterior. The renderings also include an adjacent promenade with additional public art.
Several people at the meeting noted that building more garages props up the car culture they'd like to replace one day. Even so, True North Studio attorney Nick Wood says it's too soon to transition away from cars in urban spaces. "We can't just ignore the fact that people will be coming downtown in their cars."
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