Beadle building could be demoed for condos

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PixelPixie
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Beadle building could be demoed for condos

Postby PixelPixie » Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:23 pm

This article came across my desk by way of Eddie Jones, architect.

http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/ ... tory1.html

Joe Pinsonneault, a San Diego developer, is proposing a two-tower community called Phoenix Resort Towers...

... right on top of the site for Al Beadle's "Mountain Bell" building (now Qwest).

Consultant to the developer's team and attorney Nick Wood doesn't expect Beadle enthusiasts to oppose the project.

Hmmm. Interesting. Wonder what we can do about that?

Eddie Jones is attempting to postpone the demolition so a historical significance can be established by the Historic Preservation office. Stay tuned for next steps in supporting preservation.

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Postby jarson » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:25 pm

This is a tragedy in the making. Every effort should be made to save this bulding.

Early on we worked very hard along with the Construction Zone and others in packaging a development concept with the land speculator/developer that owns this building. I have actively tried to package at least a portion of this project off to other developers who value the unique architectural legacy of this building to no avail.

At one time we were so close in realizing a sensitive conversion of this building and there still may be some hope. I have since removed my firms attachment to this project but do have contacts with the developer, who I feel has simply partnered with the wrong people.

I am happy to at least keep the conversation going and am in the unique position to pass some groundswell interest along to the right people.

There is not another genuine Mid-century Modernist building like this in the Southwest US outside of California. Let's get vocal on this one. Once it's gone, it is irreplacable.

This tower sould convert to about 80 units of residential. I had considerable interest in this project when it was pure in conceptand offered up for interest on our site. Should we get a new interest list to show this developer the value of Architecture? Who would want to put there name on a list like that?

Color me frustrated and dissapointed... :cry:
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Postby goredesignco » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:40 pm

I too am disappointed that this building is scheduled for demolition. It is a shame that so few people in this area have an appreciation of historical buildings. I used to work downtown and have seen many buildings demolished to make way for something new. Perhaps that is the reason Phoenix lacks the "soul" so many other cities have. I was just in Tucson and drove by a project called the Ice House Lofts, a historical warehouse conversion. If only Phoenix could be so forward thinking as to NOT destroy the past, but preserve it, maintain it and update it to meet todayís needs.
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Qwest Building

Postby pmoran » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:52 pm

Scott,

I am willing to do what I can to make a difference. Just help steer me in the right direction.

Paul Moran
Moran Architects

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Postby avandelay » Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:37 pm

I too am saddened that the current plans are to demolish the building. My office looks out at the two Beadle buildings that straddle thid street and I was genuinely excited to hear about the remodel of the old Qwest building.

That being said, and all due respect to Scott Jarson, I was somehwat shocked at the price point that I saw reported in The Business Journal back when the project was first proposed. My recollection is that it was between $350 and $400 a foot. If my information is incorrect I apologize but if not I wonder why such a project (and this is but one example) is priced so that only the truly wealthy can afford it.

Perhaps there would be more interest, and certainly more community support, if the price point was such that it could attract more than just a tiny sliver of the potential market. If we are just preserving modernist architecture simply to turn it into yet another status symbol for the rich it seems that it will be hard to get the public too excited about it.

And I understand that perhaps in this case the economics dictate the price point but I do think that as a general matter the point stands. Brandon mentions the Ice House in Tucson whose price point is closer to $200 per foot. Still expensive but much closer to earth.

I am neither a builder nor an architect, just a humble working stiff who is inspired by and appreciates modern design. And like all of you I want to see Phoenix preserve and grow its modernist heritage to counter the influx of McMansions that appear to be taking over the Valley. And I am convinced that there is a market just waiting to be tapped if only that market could afford it.

Just my .02.
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Postby PixelPixie » Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:47 pm

I don't know the first thing about organizing a grassroots effort for preserving significant buildings but know that a few of our contacts do. At the very least I can offer our boards up as a forum for information dissemination and collection of interest statements, and help as I am able. Last night's notice about this issue went out to 85 interested parties.

Let's see what Eddie finds out from the preservation office.

I sent him the link to the Recent Past Preservation Network's help page, which is a great resource if anybody wants to start organizing a petition or letterwriting campaign, for whatever they're worth. Certainly more impact can be made if we are organized.

http://www.recentpast.org/help/index.html

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Postby lavardera » Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:14 am

Maybe its time to start a Docomomo chapter.

http://www.docomomo-us.org
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Postby cara » Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:40 pm

I'd love to help the preservation effort; whatever I can do---
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Postby PixelPixie » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:15 am

Jones is still waiting to hear from the Historic Preservation folks and will keep calling them until the next direction is known.

In the meantime I am looking into some memberships. If anyone else would like to be the State Representative for filtering information coming through that would be great.

http://www.recentpast.org/rppn/statereps.html

From their website

<i>"...Reps keep the membership informed of new actions in their state along with notable preservation wins and losses. Reps help guide members to regional resources as well."</i>

First year of membership is free to all state reps!

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Postby PixelPixie » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:53 am

Six out of the top twenty search engine requests leading to the Modern Phoenix website have the keyword BEADLE in them.

That's almost one third, over all the rest of the giants we have listed.

Perhaps it is because there is such a dearth of information out there on the Web about Beadle. Folks look and look and look until ours and a scant few other sites are all they can find.

The world wants Beadle.

What are you going to do about it?

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Postby PixelPixie » Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:46 pm

Here are two contacts for the Phoenix Historic Preservation office:

Barbara Stocklin 602-262-7468
barbara.stocklin@phoenix.gov

Lorraine Verduzco 602-261-8699

Please call and write in the next few days to respectfully make our numbers known.

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This post is what prompted me to register in this forum...

Postby don85259 » Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:01 pm

*cracks knuckles*

This building is a particularly poor example of "influential architecture" in my humble opinion, as it is too short. At least if it had some height, it might be worthy of saving. It is not. As the Arizona editor at http://www.skyscrapers.com, I can't even add this building to our database because it is so short. At minimum, a building must have 12 stories or be at least 35 meters tall - this ugly box of a building is neither.

The exterior is plain glass. It is not even as interesting as the Abacus Tower across the street, which at least has some height to it, and some detailing around the entrance to make it interesting.

Historic? It's not capable of being registered on any sort of historic register. If it pre-dated 1950, I might be swayed by the argument to save it, but it is currently a bland 1960's or 1970's eyesore. In addition, the condition of the property is appalling.

The developer considered trying to save this building, like the nearly-vacant Century Plaza tower further east, on Central Avenue. Century Plaza is going to be rehabbed into residential units, but at least it has some height: some 15 stories tall. In addition, two 25-story buildings have been proposed for the Century Plaza site.

Unfortunately, the effort to rehab the Qwest building foundered when the developer found asbestos inside the building. Not only is it too short to provide a sufficient number of units to ensure a good ROI (return on investment), unlike Century Plaza, it is going to now be much more expensive to rehab. Not to mention that it is in much worse shape to begin with.

As much as I hate to see any building get torn down, I'm not the one footing the bill for rehabbing the building, and as long as we aren't capable of putting our money where our mouth is, it is not our place to be telling others what to do with their property. The current property is an eyesore and needs to go away. If it cannot be restored, then it needs to be destroyed and the land re-used for a better purpose. As much as I would like to see the developer rehab the building AND put up his new towers, there probably isn't enough room on that parcel of land to do that. Keep in mind the neighbors will probably fight with him on the height of the new towers, so it's not like he can just "build higher" to get enough units in to make the project work financially.

Phoenix has too many NIMBYs and BANANAs as it is, which is part of the reason why we have the MOST PATHETIC skyline of any major city in the world, and why we are a laughingstock amongst others. Worldwide cities on the same level as Phoenix's population of about 3.8 million include Sydney, Barcelona and Berlin just to name a few. Phoenix is one of the most poorly connected cities in the world, and the economy here is much too dependent on sprawl and single-family homes. Like Detroit with their over-reliance on the auto industry, Phoenix is a one-horse town. Projects like the Phoenix Resort Towers are desperately needed to expand our economy and get us out of this "sprawl at all costs" mentality that is eroding our quality of life.

The "world" doesn't "want Beadle" if this is all we have. Again, if it could be rehabbed, then I would be all for it. However, wants and desires must give way to fiscal realities of life. I may "want" a Ferrari, but if I can't afford it, it won't be happening. I may want this building saved, but if it is a poor investment, even if I had the money, I would not waste my money on such a thing. Far be it for us to dictate to someone else how to spend their money, as much as I would resent someone telling me what to do with that Ferrari because it has some sort of "historic value."

As an aside, there is current precedence for this project: Monroe Place Lofts was supposed to be the rehab of a vacant 1960s 10-story office building in downtown Phoenix, which was under way by Grace Communities, LLC. They are actually had gutted the building when, because of very strong demand, the developer decided to raze the project instead and build a 34-story tower instead. The new project is called "44 Monroe," which is the street address of the site (44 W. Monroe, Phoenix AZ 85003).

That's my two cents worth. That and 79 cents will buy you a cup of coffee. Assuming it does get destroyed, I hereby offer to take my Canon 20d (8.2 megapixel dSLR with my 28-70 mm L-series lens) and thoroughly photograph it from all angles for posterity's sake, and to make those photos available to anyone free of charge.

Thanks for reading all of this. I hope it does not offend anyone, but it is my opinion, for whatever that's worth.

--don
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Last edited by don85259 on Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby PixelPixie » Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:19 pm

Hey Don, your perspective is exactly the kind of thing we have been waiting for. I love having different perspectives represented. Personally I am enchanted by the idea of short-rise living, but then as you mention, I'm not the developer footing the bill.

I just wanted some facts before the thing went down, and you seem to have provided plenty. Just curious as to your sources, though... I didn't have the time or energy to go on a full-blown research mission but it sounds as if you are pretty intimate with the details.

It would be one thing if this shortrise was built by some anonymous architect who really didn't amount to much more than strip malls and corporate plazas. But it was designed by Al Beadle, and this is not "all we have" of Beadle. The building rounds out his credibility as a architect of commercial structures -- downtown no less -- in complement to his extensive residential legacy. And it's kinda cute in a pudgy black borg sort of way. Since you're new to the whole modern aesthetic, it may be a while before you sprout your own modernist goggles and see the bigger picture -- but that's what we're here for, is to up everyone's consciousness through sharing.

I agree with much of what you have said about the Phoenix skyline. I was approaching it from the east the other day during a gorgeous sunset and thought to myself, what the hell kind of skyline is that? But then I'm partial -- having lived in NYC for 10 years, I'm quite spoiled on skylines.

I appreciate your offer to provide photographs and will gladly publish them in our Morgue. Take your camera quick, though, Matthew noticed that the entryway feature has already been dismantled.

I look forward to seeing your website, too. Seems we have much in common aleady and I invite you to stick around.

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My sources are ample...

Postby don85259 » Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:43 pm

...and I draw on many different areas to gather my information. The information on asbestos in the building probably came from an article in either the Arizona Republic or the Phoenix Business Journal, both of which I read daily. I also have sources at the city of Phoenix that feed me information from time to time, and of course being an editor at skyscrapers.com helps as well. Just today, an e-mail came my way from an architect who advises the new downtown convention center hotel will be 36 stories, not 25-30 as bandied about initially.

Thanks for the warm welcome and I hope to become a regular contributor, time permitting, of course.

We do have cool sunsets:
Image

Image

I'll grab some photos of Al Beadle's swansong early next week, as soon as our weather clears up. :)

--don

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Beadle building could be demoed for condos

Postby Sophia » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:21 pm

Well, you all talk about sprawl and I live in Laveen (51st Ave & Dobbins) which is going to be the king of sprawl in the next 3-5 years.

The attorney representing this case is N. Woods and he is in front of our community almost every month explaining why we should give up our houses on acres and put in high density "cracker boxes".

I say good luck to you all. If I can provide other info, I will.


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