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April 29, 2019


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According to Trulia.com, this house dates back to 1918. Central & Glendale would have been far outside Phoenix city limits a hundred years ago. Do you think this was originally a homestead on an old farm? The house's age and the huge setbacks have me wondering.

These were acreages that gradually shrank ( my great-aunt had a lovely one at Seventh Avenue just north of Glendale. Some were surrounded by working citrus groves and other agriculture. And some were original homesteads.

Last week a tiny beautiful house with lots of acreage was leveled. 3rd Avenue and Friar. https://goo.gl/maps/yCfV96Kwi1cuS9UPA

Called and sent 2 emails.

The house has been on the market for $1.85 million.

At that price, it is probably way too small to attract someone to buy it and live in it, as is. So, after your initial outlay of $1.85 million, you'd be looking at another $600k minimum to get it into acceptable 2019 shape. Plus all the hassles and hoops you'd have to jump through with zoning.

It is, however, on almost two acres of prime North Central land...so, it would be much easier to scrape it and then cram as many mini-mansions as you can onto the lot.

It ain't pretty, but, sadly, it is the way things are.

Are they turning this plot into a strip mall? As I recall there is not one at Central & Glendale.

Katie Coles, formerly of the city planning department, posted this on Facebook:


It is easy to vilify a governmental entity about the loss of historic structures. As with any issue, it is rarely black and white, and knowledge of the nuances can help move feelings from anger and helplessness, to determination and action. Here's my perspective.

The lack of the robust kind of historic preservation in Phoenix, that so many in this group desire, is very directly related to state laws and attitudes. From the time Arizona was a territory, individual property rights have been sacred. Few would argue against the premise that the Phoenix economy has been centered on growth/development for decades.This economy funds the campaigns of many elected officials and it is then no surprise that the laws and policies rarely support actions that will prevent or slow down development.

Therefore, the powers of both the State Historic Preservation Office and Phoenix’s Historic Preservation office are quite limited. Historic Preservation (HP) designation for individual properties at the national and/or local levels is not generally done without a property owner’s permission.

In Phoenix, properties with an HP designation are subject to complying with HP design requirements and review when doing work which requires permits. In terms of “protections” from demolition, due to the pro-property rights atmosphere in Arizona, Phoenix’s HP ordinance only provides for the option of a one year stay of demolition, the rationale being that a year would give the time for others to raise money or identify an angel rescuer to purchase the property and avert a demolition. There are no public funds designated locally to intervene and facilitate the purchase and renovation of historic structures.

A few years ago, the HP Commission (comprised of City Council-appointed volunteers), being acutely aware of all the HP-eligible (but not designated) structures which were being demolished with no notice, were successful in getting the city's building code amended. (HINT: This was a really big accomplishment because it had to be approved by the City Council.) The new code requires a 30 day review period for:

Commercial or residential properties listed on the National Register.
• Commercial or residential buildings that have been determined HP eligible.
• Commercial buildings where construction is 50 or more years old.
• Commercial buildings where the age of construction cannot be determined.
• All buildings in the Downtown Code District that are 50 or more years old

More information, including links to pending and issued demolition permits, can be found here:

There is no one, long-established, privately funded historic preservation society which exerts power and influence over the process. In other states these entities are typically well-endowed by wealthy donors and interest in preservation has been cultivated for not just decades, but for hundreds of years.

So, what about Phoenix? There ARE people who believe in preservation and work to advance it.

- The historic preservation planners who work for Phoenix are passionate and knowledgeable. Remember, they are required to work within the constraints of state and local regulations. YOU can make a difference. Pay attention to the demolition permit applications (see link above). Pay attention to the schedule and agendas for HP Commission hearings (ask to be notified: historic@phoenix.gov). If they are not talking about things you believe are important, start showing up and asking for those things!

- Look for and support these groups on Facebook:

Arizona Preservation Foundation

Arizona Vintage Sign Coalition

Modern Phoenix

Preserve Phoenix

Preserve Postwar Phoenix

Support the David and Gladys Wright House

FINALLY.....VOTE! Tell politicians that this is important to you. Work to gain influential allies. Vote for officials with tangible plans to invest in historic preservation, and insist on funding when the city issues bonds again.

Phoenix voters have always supported historic preservation and have shown this by voting for bonds to fund efforts for preservation and rehabilitation.
1989 $15 million
2001 $14.2 million
2006 $13.1 million
There's a good history of this program in this old document. https://www.phoenix.gov/pd…/Documents/…/pdd_hp_pdf_00038.pdf

You can see that there's a big gap between the first bond and the second, and the funds are really meager when stretched out over two decades. It's been 13 years since the last infusion of money and I believe the bond fund is now depleted. I have not heard of any near term plans to go to the voters with a new bond program (for any type of investment, not just historic preservation). People smarter than me can explain why this is the case, as it involves the city's taxing structure, property values, bonding capacity and other things about which I do not have adequate knowledge.

Questions? The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation office can likely answer them by writing to historic@phoenix.gov or you can look here:


Just before we headed back to Canada for the summer, my wife & I took an evening (dusk) drive thru some of the historic neighbourhoods. It's always a shame to see structures of character replaced by faceless crap. The "Historic Preservation" or "Heritage" branches of local governments rarely have any teeth.

Unfortunately, I live in Glendale, or I'd some standing on this issue. But I am all for efforts to keep the city from taking this house away! Damn. History is the soul of a city's character, not just its people.

There's such dwindling of historic homes in Phoenix, I hope this is removed from the chopping block

The construction variances being allowed in historic districts are slowly destroying those districts. The new owners dont seem to care about the tax break if you maintain the historic construction. Eventually the towers will take over. The neighborhoods near the Phoenix Country Club will probably lose the battle to keep a high rise from being built on the NE corner of 7th street and Thomas.
There was a time when that corner and the Corner of Central and Washington were only desert soil inhabitated by creosote bushes. And that day will come again.
Not long after the, "Ice is Gone"

The Republic does a story, quoting me:


So just why is this request being made? Someone with more dollars than sense who wants to spite others for not ponying up for their $1.85 million price tag? What, is there another interstate going right through there or something?

Instances like these need massive digging. When a piece of fabric is threatened to be torn from a sense of place, it's time for the owner to fess up and put their cards on the table.

When this area was platted in 1885, the lots were 20 acres. There are NONE left. There are only 8 historical estate lots -ranging from 1 to 3 acres. They are being purchased by developers who pay way over market value to build cookie-cutter houses. The out of state owner was gifted this house in 1996. They haven't done anything to it in 23 years. It's been on and off the market, always with double market value asking prices. They only want a developer to buy it. Demolition by neglect isn't a good argument. The neighborhood is strongly opposing this, especially since there is a generous offer on the table from a family who wants to restore it as their forever home. If you haven't sent in an email to support a historic overlay and oppose the demolition, please DO! Please send your email to historic@phoenix.gov; mayor.gallego@phoenix.gov, District6@phoenix.gov; council.district.3@phoenix.gov. The Historic Preservation Commission meeting is Monday, May 20th at 4:30 p.m. at City Council Chambers. We need lots of bodies to fill the meeting.

The (surprising) good news is that the Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously last night to initiate an HP Overlay on the property! That is just the beginning of the major efforts needed to restore that house, and the ongoing fight to protect other vulnerable historic properties. Sincere thanks to Mary Crozier, Ann Enders, and the others who spoke so eloquently in support of historic preservation.

The Republic's latest update on this house, for those who are interested: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/05/22/100-year-old-north-central-phoenix-home-saved-demolition-now/3713961002/

Why destroy such a beautiful place ? Why do we have historically committees if they do not protect places like this. The owners have gotten a good offer for this home. They are just gold diggers. They were given this home.

I'm all about historical preservation but looking at the photos in the article you posted above, looks like a VERY expensive project for anyone to take on to make it even livable. And while it's beautiful on the outside and I love walking by it, I feel strongly that we can't force something on to someone else's property. This is about the gov being able to take away property rights without compensation and I'd hate for that to happen to me.

Based on your comment, Danielle, you are not **all about** historic preservation.

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