Save 222 E. Roosevelt & the Oldest Murals in PHX - with Adaptive reuse instead of Demolition
In a city progressively known internationally for its downtown's mural art, arguably the oldest surviving murals in downtown (along with the building housing them) are now threatened with imminent destruction.
Located inside 222 E. Roosevelt St., the murals were painted by Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia in 1950. The building itself has a uniquely authentic history that dates back more than six decades, an increasing rarity for any building downtown as our city develops.
However, there's plans for new housing to be built at this location, after the current business (GreenHaus) relocates in February 2015.
While the developer (Baron Properties/North Roosevelt Apartments LLC) has yet to publicly release all design details, the general plan includes demolition of both the 222 E. Roosevelt building and the adjacent multi-story office complex, on the northwest corner of 3rd St & Roosevelt, for this new construction.
Along with the building, and DeGrazia's murals inside, we'll also be losing the contemporary mural art of Lauren Lee ("Three Birds") and others, seen on its exterior. The 222 E. Roosevelt property is reportedly slated to become a stairwell as part of the planned multi-story residential project.
All of which raises the question: Is this the best plan for our "walkable future", or is PHX simply settling for "good enough" again?
Some members of the community suggest it's the latter, and community organization This Could Be PHX has re-imagined a better alternative (see photo); one that instead preserves the 222 E. Roosevelt building, as part of an inclusive and pedestrian-friendly design.
This alternate plan encourages walkability of the area, complements existing nearby businesses, best engages a growing student population, and can benefit residents of the planned corner-property housing by more fully integrating the project with its surrounding community from the start.
We ask the developer, city officials, and community-at-large involved, to re-examine and work toward amending this proposed project, to include the continued adaptive reuse of the 222 E. Roosevelt building, for reasons noted above, thereby providing a sustainable future for the oldest known downtown murals as well.
- City of Phoenix, Historic Preservation Officer
- Baron Properties
J. Jeffrey Riggs
Save 222 E. Roosevelt and the Oldest Murals in PHX - with Adaptive reuse instead of Demolition
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