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Plaza Recalls PHX’s Midcentury Modern Past

Rendering credit: Vintage Partners

Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal

There are lots of conversations these days about how to preserve, enhance and contribute to an authentic sense of place in our urban core. And while not all projects are as successful as some would like, increasingly we’re seeing innovative, adaptive reuse renovations along the Central corridor.

Uptown Plaza, with its modern brick, masonry and steel midcentury modern construction originally opened on August 25, 1955. It was constructed by Del Webb and was the first “suburban” retail shopping center outside of downtown Phoenix. From the beginning, the unique mix of midcentury design details, along with a variety of shopping and dining options made it a popular destination for Phoenicians. Uptown was home to everything from Jerand’s of Arizona fine fashions and Bostrom’s department store, to the national grocery chain, Piggly Wiggly (currently AJ’s Fine Foods).

Over the years the center has suffered from a series of stucco “improvements” and the once vibrant corner has experienced vacancies and under-use for a long time now. Local developer, Vintage Partners saw a unique opportunity to bring the center back to life. Vintage Partners Principal, Dave Scholl approached the center’s owners to sell them on the concept of a comprehensive revitalization that would restore much of the midcentury modern elements and re-attract a mix of local, regional and national tenants to create a jewel destination in uptown.

Designed by Nelsen Partners, the renovation plans are still being finalized as Vintage Partners and builder Kitchell Contractors determine how much of the original red brick façade (including many interior walls) can be preserved. However, the end results will combine a restoration of the classic lines and low-slung shapes with verdant new landscaping and modern amenities, including rebuilding the original 15-foot shade overhangs with cantilevers to achieve a sleeker, less cluttered look.

Most of the work on the plaza will be completed by September 2015 and new tenants will be able to get in and begin building out their spaces soon after, so Scholl anticipates these businesses will begin opening in early 2016. Some of the current businesses will remain, including AJ’s. Vintage Partners will be working with them on renovating the exterior of the store, which will hopefully be followed by AJ’s themselves renovating the interior of their store.

Read more at Downtown Phoenix Journal