Heather Rasmussen, a project manager in the city’s community and economic development department, shared preliminary details of the potential project during a recent meeting of representatives for several downtown neighborhoods. The parks and recreation department is also involved with planning for the project, which includes a site just south of Burton Barr Central Library.
The project would “rehabilitate that firehouse into a full-service dining experience,” Rasmussen explained during her presentation to Downtown Voices Coalition, which met via Zoom on Saturday, May 8. “We’re really wanting to increase amenities for visitors to the park, residents, and tourists who may be coming in, while still maintaining the basic aesthetic and design of the firehouse.”
The city is still pulling together the specifics, and a spokesperson for the community and economic development department says it could be months before there’s a decision about whether or not to proceed with an RFP.
Even so, the city has shared some basic information that could help interested parties think about what they’d like to propose if the RFP comes together. Details about the larger Hance Park revitalization project are posted on the city’s website, where a map shows the former fire station sitting at the center of the park redevelopment area just east of the Irish Cultural Center.
Under the current proposal, the restaurant would have a 10-year lease, and officials would want the restaurant to bring an annual cash return that equals the appraised value for the property. Hence, they’d be looking at the “financial capacity” of people who submit a proposal, rather than just their experience and qualifications.
The city is still finessing the fine print, so people will need to read the RFP once it’s issued to get the exact requirements, assuming the project moves forward. Anyone can sign up to get notifications from the city when those are issued through "The Hot List."
The area is already home to numerous restaurants and cafes, including several located in hotels or midrise housing developments. The long list of dining options near Hance Park includes Fair Trade Café, Fez, The larder + the delta, Thai Basil, and many more.
“That unique food scene that we have in Phoenix is something we all really cherish," she says, "So we’re hoping that we’ll have some really interesting concepts come in.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version.