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January 23, 2014

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To tear down Barrister Place or the Luhrs Tower is and would be a tragedy, a desperate act of a souless city and its politicians grubbing for money and influence, and the final nail in any hope of a downtown worth visiting, let alone living in.

This is the first time in weeks that I've managed to get online, I think. My apologies for waltzing in and posting something only tangentially relevant, but I had wanted to comment on something seen in a previous thread.

It was asked why apartment building in Phoenix continues apace. The question supposed that this was mysterious and one answer suggested was that developers are simply on automatic pilot.

I think the answer is much simpler: because vacancy rates are low and heading lower, and multi-family housing is in demand after many families were displaced by foreclosures, and single-family home building has yet to recover.

According to a Summer 2013 nationwide survey by Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services, the year-to-date vacancy rate was just 5.4 percent, down from 11% in 2010 and forecast to continue lower. At the time of the report there were just 14,124 vacant units, which is considerably smaller than population growth: the report shows an increase in Metro Phoenix of 47,930 households in just the first half of 2013 and a population increase of 129,510. See p. 33:

https://www.cassidyturley.com/DesktopModules/CassidyTurley/Download/Download.ashx?contentId=2646&fileName=Cassidy+Turley+US+Multifamily+Report+Summer+2013.pdf

Developers usually put their money where they expect a good return. After being bitten pretty badly during the housing crash I think they are considerably more prudent about building: the days of automatic pilot await the passage of many years if not decades.

I'm hoping that Laura Pastor will extend her election commitment to historic neighborhoods to include historic preservation of commercial structures. Time will tell.

Also Jon, the really amazing building that I'm sure you saw and was razed many years ago was the Luhrs Hotel. You'd think they would have understood the significance of the "Barrister"before they gutted the interior after the loss of the Luhrs.

Jon,

This article has slightly different info on occupancy of the 2 Luhrs buildings.

"The 10-story Luhrs Building, built in 1924, is now fully leased. The 14-story Luhrs Tower, built in 1929, and the connecting Post Office Station have some vacancies, although Hansji declined to say how large."

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2014/01/14/80-million-high-rise-marriott-hotel.html?page=all

Noted and fixed, SteveD. Thanks.

I LOVE that building..hell, I'd bet a developer could take that building and the street level could be retail/restaurants, 2,3,4 and 5 could be two or 4 condos per floor, while 6th floor could be one huge, or two large penthouses!!
Just sayin........

Insightful article, but "behold what your city council risks becoming"? You're a little late to the party, Jon.


When the city coucil voted 7-1 in favor of the Circle-K expansion on 7th St/Roosevelt - despite city staff's recommendation against, opposition by a majority of the community & several neighborhood (& other) organizations - the message was clear.


A majority of our council is already OWNED by big corporate interests.


So, the answer to your question, "Is a change to the City Charter the answer, including more council members and a strong mayor?" -- is a resounding YES.

Late to the conversation, but Barrister Place being integral to historic deco downtown revitalization - with all the focus on re-inventing collaborative incubators and retro-boutique projects, a developer may see options of return on investment (not so much as tearing down, rebuilding sterile box).

And speaking of tea party councilmen, I witnessed their bogging down council business, by inviting 2-3 obstructionists to dominate agenda rudely/belligerently crying "letting the people speak" - prior to council business (since then, placated with 3 min each, at end public discussion - jez, poor moderates and the rest of us have to listen to such inanity - democracy yep). My, and other downtown advocates reason for attending this council meeting was agenda item re:Circle K's 7th and Roosevelt disappointing project, approved by those you pointed out in your blog.

Thanks Jon

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