The property, 520 West Van Buren Street, was purchased in June 2015 by Los Olivos Office Partners, LLC, a Delaware-based company headed by local real estate developer Michael Lieb, who's known locally as "the king of infill."
On April 9, 10 days before the fire, a preliminary site plan for redeveloping the property was submitted to Phoenix's planning and development department. The meeting to discuss that plan was scheduled for May 7, staff confirmed.
McDade said that it was too early to say what caused the fire or if it appears to be suspicious. Given the size of the building, it will likely take a few days before the Fire Department can make that determination, he added.
According to records from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office, the building is 51 years old. (Ironically, it once housed the Phoenix Fire Department's administrative offices.)
wait 30 days after they apply for a demolition permit before they can begin demolishing a commercial building that's more than 50 years old, and are also required to notify community members and preservationists about their plans.
That policy, which was approved in 2016, prevented the iconic Melrose Liquors building from being torn down last year.
After a building catches fire, however, it's up to the fire marshal to decide whether it presents a risk to health and safety and requires demolition. A structural engineer from the city’s planning and development department has already deemed the building to be a hazard that cannot be occupied because it isn’t structurally sound, city spokesperson Tamra Ingersoll said.
Lieb, the building's owner, did not return calls on Thursday.