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Phoenix Sells Historic Barrister Place Building Downtown

By Dustin Gardiner for The Arizona Republic

The historic Barrister Place building in downtown Phoenix is a structure with significance, from its 1915 opening as the tallest building in the state to its cameo as a backdrop in the opening of the 1960 horror flick “Psycho.”

Now, city leaders say the building will play a key role in the transformation of the city’s once-sleepy urban core, bringing new residents and retail space downtown (AZBEX, Sept. 2, July 25, April 29).

Phoenix City Council last week approved a plan to sell the city-owned building to P.B. Bell Companies and Davis Enterprises for $2.3M in a deal that includes a controversial property-tax incentive for the developers.

The companies will retrofit the Barrister Place’s interior to include apartments and ground-level storefronts. They also plan to build two other six-story buildings on surrounding land, which will include additional apartments and 189 parking spaces.

Altogether, the $27M project is expected to bring 114 new apartments and up to 11KSF feet of commercial space. Construction is expected to start next year and could be complete as early as 2016.

Historic preservationists and city leaders cheered the agreement, noting it requires the developers to keep the building’s exterior intact for at least 25 years — the brick-and-concrete structure is on a dwindling list of historic downtown building fronts that remain.

Phoenix acquired the building on Central Avenue and Jefferson Street in 1990 and used it to house public-works offices and the Phoenix Police Museum, but the city closed the building more than three years ago, citing high maintenance and energy costs.

The city has since struggled to find a feasible use for the building.

The developers’ proposal envisions reviving the building as the centerpiece of a bustling residential and commercial complex, complete with a shaded pedestrian arcade and roof-top pools.

Read more at The Arizona Republic