[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] -- For decades, Valley men turned to Hanny's for a polished, new look -- a natty suit or crisp shirt. This year, the shuttered department store's a getting the makeover. It could reopen as a swank restaurant as early as December in downtown Phoenix. Hanny's, at First and Adams streets, has been vacant for 20 years but is in the midst of a $5 million renovation, said Grady Gammage Jr., the owner's attorney. Karl Kopp, the businessman behind Scottsdale hotspot AZ88 as well as restaurants in New York's Soho neighborhood and Milwaukee, plans to channel that buzz into Hanny's. On Wednesday, Scottsdale designer Janis Leonard, eyed the 1947 building's shell as crews poured concrete and rebuilt a wall. "We want everything to slowly reveal itself ... not hit you over the head," said Leonard, who would say little about of the future decor.
Her firm designs AZ88's art installations - which change every month - and won a national award for work on Kopp's Soho project. Hanny's will be a mix of old and new, Leonard said. The first-floor display windows will showcase the dining area and bar. Art could hang in an empty elevator shaft. The kitchen will be tucked in the back of what once was the store's men's department. There will be lots of amber light, an undulating mezzanine level - which is original to the building - and a few spots where she plans to keep the building damage intact. "I like the rough edge," she said. Hanny's will also keep its name and some original department store signs. Hanny's is a survivor, one preservationist says. Hanny's was burned over and over again to train city firefighters, said Debbie Able, a former Phoenix historic preservation officer, who's now a consultant for the project. When Able worked for the city, many officials asked if the city could raze Hanny's.
Since Phoenix bought the building with federal funds, it couldn't be torn down, said Able, who was a preservation officer from 1989 to 1998. Kopp ended up with Hanny's because another downtown building that he planned to use for a restaurant was in the path of Arizona State University's downtown campus. The city gave Kopp the Hanny's building as part of a swap, Able said. Kopp also got nearly $370,000 in preservation funds to repair the roof, said Barbara Stocklin Phoenix's historic preservation officer. The rebirth of Hanny's is another sign of the wave of change downtown is experiencing, said Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson, whose district includes Copper Square. Phoenix's core needs more destination and trendy eateries, and Kopp can help bring that energy downtown, he said. That energy also will bring life to a once-unwanted department store, Able said. "Nobody understood why it should be saved," Able said. "Now it will be a gem."