Phoenix City Council to Vote on Roosevelt Row Housing Development Proposal

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A senior housing complex could be built on this lot off of Roosevelt Row.

Phoenix City Council members will vote Wednesday, January 29, whether to approve a proposal to sell a city-owned lot at Roosevelt and Second streets to Roosevelt Housing Associates and approve RHA's proposal to build a mixed-use development, called The Row, and rehabilitate the historic Leighton G. Knipe House.

See also: Initial Redevelopment Plans Revealed for Phoenix's Hance Park

If approved, the housing portion of the development would include 56 to 75 units in buildings between three and five stories, with ground-floor resident amenities, offices, and live/work units. Between 80 percent and 85 percent of the units would be age- and income-restricted, meaning that leaseholders in such units would need to be 55 or older and not exceed a specified income level.

Additionally, the Knipe House would be revamped as a craft brewery and restaurant.

After taking community feedback on its original proposal, the developer has agreed to have approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the units (about eight to 15 units) at market rate, with no age or income restrictions, creating a diverse, mixed-income project; require all tenants to sign an affidavit acknowledging they are moving into a vibrant arts district; develop street-level units as live/work artist studios; actively market the project to artists; and dedicate a portion of the common area space for local artists to prominently display their works.

This project proposal was chosen from four submissions: DAVIS/RoTwo (Mike Davis); Rainey Development LLC/Butler Housing Company Inc. (Wayne Rainey, Reid Butler); Roosevelt Housing Associates; and Urban Sol Development LLC (Feliciano Vera and partners).

The fact that the housing complex would be age-restricted has caused a kerfuffle.

In a mass e-mail sent Monday, January 27, Wayne Rainey, owner of Roosevelt Row's MonOrchid, shared his opinion on the City Staff-approved project. He wrote, "The possibility of AGE-RESTRICTED Housing, which would be irreversible for 30 years, could so quickly undo the momentum and alter the course of our Arts District forever." MonOrchid is located next to the lot at Roosevelt and Second streets.

In the same message, he also urged the city to restart the process and request new proposals, with mixed-use, mixed-income, and mixed-density housing, for the lot.

As noted above, Rainey had submitted a proposal for the lot. His vision included micro-apartments, 50 parking spots, an eatery installed in the Knipe House, a redesign of Second Street to connect Roosevelt Row to Hance Park, and a rooftop cinema at MonOrchid.

Rainey has a change.org petition calling for the city to restart the proposal process and include more community members and nearby property owners in the discussion about what to do with the lot. As of this writing, it has 486 supporters.

Architect and former Phoenix resident Taz Loomans took to bloomingrock.com to pen a response in December 2013 to Rainey's ongoing petition. She also overviewed the potential project and explained her stance on the matter. "I urge you not to sign this petition," Loomans wrote. "It is riddled with false and sensational statements and is working against a project that promises to be very good for the future of downtown Phoenix."

Loomans went on, "Let's not stop the positive evolution of downtown because of false propaganda. This is a solid development that will help the area immensely. It may not be everything to everyone (what is?), but it is a big step forward and fills in a gap in a downtown with many gaps to be filled. Squashing this development will just mean squashing the forward momentum that is happening in downtown."

Whatever your opinion, Wednesday, January 29's City Council meeting is open to the public and begins at 3 p.m. at Phoenix City Hall. The vote on the lot's sale and the development of The Row is the 23rd item on the agenda that afternoon.

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Location Info

Map

Leighton G. Knipe House

1025 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Monorchid

214 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Margaret T. Hance Park

1134 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


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29 comments
A_big_yes
A_big_yes

Let's see, you have artists and galleries that want sell art and people with a good amount of disposable income.  Sounds like a perfect pairing.  The artists and galleries need to embrace this opportunity and start figuring out how to get these new community members to spend money in their galleries.

Jackalope Ranch
Jackalope Ranch

That's a good point. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Dianne Nowicki
Dianne Nowicki

I know from living in an apartment near an age restricted City, that what people sign, and what they complain about are two different things. Old folks in my area push for things like restrictions on behaviors that in most ways are unlike their own activities. It would be sad to see them get active to suppress the loud music, large crowds, extremely heavy traffic that happens with the draw of the arts in that area.

Jessica Wells
Jessica Wells

No!!! This is free parking for those of us that work at ASU and I don't want to give it away but I a new development could be both good and bad for the neighborhood.

Nicole Goard
Nicole Goard

Signed. Everyone share the petition! Only 354 signatures needed.

raineystudios
raineystudios

Newtimes outdoes self again. You give Taz Looman's column inches calling me a liar but not bothering to ask her what they are. Everything I have written or said about this project is true and the proposed changes to the development have only occurred because of the opposition to an exclusively very low income age restricted project. What you have left out is that the market for this type of housing is not a factor. People don't choose this housing- they line up for it. This will not be a matter of if the neighborhood is to their liking but "is there a vacancy" and once in they will never move. If this happens the clock will start on the end of First Fridays on Roosevelt and you can forget about concerts at Hance Park as proposed. Do you really think that when the 75 old calls the police to complain about the noise and crowds outside that the officer will ask to see if she signed a vibrance waiver? It's naive reporting at best and city killing in potential. Nice work NT.

Bryan Jorgenson Wallis Hardie
Bryan Jorgenson Wallis Hardie

WHAT!?!?! Turning the most vibrant, artistic part of town into an office complex/retirement home. Who thinks this is a good idea!!??!

Barbara Hagerty
Barbara Hagerty

I am completely against ageism and restrictions based on age. The young benefit from the old and the old benefit from the young. No government entity should foster or approve of segregation based on anything. Age included. The perceived benefits are an illusion. Everyone looses with this project!

Danger Maserati
Danger Maserati

bad deal. please sign the petition. I would say, change it to take away the age restrictions but enforce income restrictions so the properties do not become party palaces. You dont want 100 frat houses in this area or it will go south in no time. I dont mean like 80K a year just that the lease owner must make at least 80% of Phoenix median income for a period of 3 years in order to apply. So that puts it at like 37-40K Which will mean you will have respectable tenants that can afford them. I have lived in artist communities/SOHO's and this works. The idea of using people over 55 to ensure payment is made on rentals is not good for urban life style. Go to Suncity or Surprise or any Del Webb Community.

Zander Buel
Zander Buel

A town that can't figure out why it's not the exciting new arts mecca of the nation is considering desecrating its only art district with housing that caters to people of 55 or older who will contribute absolutely nothing except the continued bludgeoning a small atmosphere of creative thought and liberal imagination.

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

It's the reason I moved out of Scottsdale. All they do is move into an area and bitch and complain and get in the way. Stay in Scottsdale or Sun City or Mesa and keep sucking the life out of those areas and leave the revitalization to the more open minded folks.

Cameron Enriquez
Cameron Enriquez

Well if it passes we will just have to be louder, drunker, and rowdier hahha That'll show em

Cameron Enriquez
Cameron Enriquez

BOOOOO!!!!! Downtown phoenix needs to stay young and vibrant! Its so much fun down here. I work at a very young company near chase field and we love tearing it up and spending our money downtown. What has been done so far is great and the city needs to keep it goin! Sorry 55+ stay in Peoria.

Nick Roen
Nick Roen

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” John F. Kennedy

Nick Roen
Nick Roen

Thank you for covering this.

Nicholas Gonzalez
Nicholas Gonzalez

I signed the petition. As a Roosevelt Row resident, and member of the community. There is, in my opinion already enough "Age-Restricted" (Senior living) housing downtown. 2 large units one NEWLY renovated that I know of. Look, Downtown Phoenix, AZ is such a great place, full of arts and food, music and has tons of potential for A LOT more growth. Seniors have a entire CITY here in Arizona, that is enough. Keep downtown, open to all ages, of all incomes.

Michelle Clark-Lewis
Michelle Clark-Lewis

The affidavit is an interesting new development. My loyalty remains with the current shops/restaurants and galleries. I hope it ends well for them.

Jackalope Ranch
Jackalope Ranch

Just to play devil's advocate: If residents have to sign papers that say they know they're moving into an arts district, why or how might they negatively affect galleries/vendors?

Michelle Clark-Lewis
Michelle Clark-Lewis

I don't feel the age restriction is a good idea with that specific location. It seems like a possible conflict for the First Friday vendors and galleries. Why not just affordable housing for any age?

rainey1
rainey1

@A_big_yes What disposable income - this housing restricted to very very low income requirements. Way below poverty levels.


james8394
james8394

@raineystudios Why are you generalizing about older people? If the same types of prejudices were voiced about any other group they would be shouted down. I'd like to think that as an artist you would have already realized, even at your young age, that ideas can come from anywhere.


Sometimes, people reach a point where the upkeep and maintenance on a house in say, Story or Coronado is too much but they don't want to give up their painting or ceramics studio or darkroom or whatever they like making. This project would seem to fit perfectly that kind of person. 


If nothing else, it would expand gallery space, something I'm sure we can all agree on.  

rainey1
rainey1

@james8394 @raineystudios  Im not generalizing. What most people have failed to understand is that this housing is not like any other. The occupants will not shop for an area and decide which. There is an enormous shortage of subsidized senior housing and the supply shortage is growing exponentially. The very day this dev opens- it will be fully leased- no question. There is a list already and it's very very long. When someone is in need of this type of housing- they don't go and shop for it. There is no choosing. It 's "thank god there is a spot for me" and this is all wonderful at first. Look I hope I am wrong and for some reason this project gets a bunch of active art loving late night super seniors. But although the minimum age req is only 55 the average age will be in the mid to late 70s and after a few months of pounding music and packed streets the luster will have worn off. There is no waiver in the world the prevents someone from making complaints. Once that starts activism begins and neighborhoods change. Look Im not making this all up- just look at history. Do a little reading about some of the most exciting neighbors in history and see why they "faded away."


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