Plans to demolish a historic hotel site near Van Buren Street and Grand Avenue to develop a new technology-focused modern destination hotel have preservationists and developers at odds.
The 600 W. Van Buren site, once known as the City Center Motel, currently houses a Travelodge where owner Nimesh Dinubhai has working with the City of Phoenix to provide temporary housing for the homeless. Dinubhai has applied for a demolition permit, however, and is working with EV Hotels to create a $25M-$27M, 124-room hotel with ultra-modern elements including robotics, a cryptocurrency focus and a small number of Non-Fungible Token rooms. No specific plans have been filed yet, but reports claim per-night pricing could range from $149-$40K if the site is developed as envisioned.
Because of the location’s architecturally distinct elements, downtown advocates want to stop the demolition and compel at least part of the existing structure into the design for the new hotel. Officials with the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission have received more than 50 emails hoping to save the motel. Preservation supporters also spoke at a December 18th virtual meeting on the project.
The owner has agreed to pause the demolition request, and commissioners have begun the process of implementing a historical overlay for the property. Demolition permits will be denied during that process. However, unless Phoenix designates the building as “significant,” the overlay will only protect the property for one year. If the designation is made, demolition opponents will have three years to talk the developers out of their intent to demolish.
EV Hotels Founder and CEO Ken Patel did not provide specifics on plans or timelines. Mancini Duffy is the project architect.
The next historic preservation meeting is scheduled for January 10th. (Source)