Downtown's Leighton G. Knipe House Undergoing Restoration, But Its Future is Uncertain
There's a subdued glee in Bob Graham's voice as the local architect describes how his firm Motley Design Group is currently involved with helping restore a piece of Phoenix's history that was previously considered to be unsalvageable. Specifically, the 104-year-old Leighton G. Knipe House located in the Evans Churchill neighborhood just off Roosevelt Row.
Benjamin Leatherman The historic Leighton G. Knipe House, which is being restored after a 2010 fire nearly destroyed it.
"It's substantial work but also important work because it's a unique building," Graham says. "We're trying to help restore it back to its original state."
More than two years after getting torched by arsonists and nearly destroyed by the ensuing conflagration, the historic residence built in the early 20th century is in the midst of being repaired and restored by the City of Phoenix, which owns the property.
However, there's a few wrinkles: The project, which began last spring, involves only a limited restoration and stabilization of the building's structure due to a relatively small budget that came via the insurance settlement from the fire.
Rob Cox, a project management assistant with Phoenix's Community and Economic Development department, says that only has an estimated $350,000 to use in restoring the Knipe House to roughly the same state it was in prior to the fire in June 2010.
"That's all the insurance company would pay for and that's really all we're really doing, repairing the fire damage and that's it," Cox says. "Basically, the project is just to stabilize the structure, because with all the fire damage it had become unstable."
Few, if any cosmetic, refurbishments will be made, as city official state that such things will be the responsibility of whoever takes stewardship over the Knipe House when the project is completed over the next few months.