Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Phoenix City Council to hear latest on former VNB site proposal on Nov. 7

[Source: Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix] -- After several continuations at several levels of government, the Mayor and City Council will finally hear three rezoning cases in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood on Wednesday, November 7:
  • Chase Bank (formerly the 100th branch of the Valley National Bank) on the southeast corner of 44th and Camelback;
  • Camelsquare on the northwest corner; and
  • Grace Communities on the southwest corner (behind and adjacent to the Londen Center).

The following is brief description of these projects which total approximately 1,400,000 square feet:

• Chase on SE Corner -- Will revise zoning from single family residential, surface parking, and commercial to all commercial. If approved, open space will be gone, some of the mushroom columns will be removed, surface parking will be reduced, and most all of the current mature trees and landscaping will be uprooted. Furthermore, Chase’s out of state parent has still not indicated acceptance of any long term arrangement to save the bank building itself.

• Camelsquare on NW Corner -- Will replace current 283,000 SF of office space with 950,000 SF of retail, hotel and residential. Condo towers will be 110’ tall (40’ taller than Londen Center) including mechanicals.

• Grace Communities on SW Corner -- Will replace current office, residential, and retail with a 400,000 SF mixed use project that will include office, a 125 room business man’s hotel, residential and retail. Our objection is to the two four-story buildings planned to the west of the Londen Center, which we would like to see kept to three stories and the removal of 12 single family homes.

Historic preservation advocates are encouraged to attend the hearing and, if you can, WEAR A YELLOW SHIRT. While the Planning Commission has historically favored developers over neighborhoods, your attendance on November 7 is critical. It will send a strong message to the City Council which is the next body to hear the subject cases. Details of the hearing are as follows:

  • Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2007.
  • Time: 5 p.m. Try and be 20 to 30 minutes early to sign in and fill out position cards in opposition. There will be neighborhood representatives in front of the Council Chambers to assist you.
  • Place: City Council Chambers, round building at 200 W. Jefferson.
  • Parking: City garage on Southeast corner of Washington and 4th Ave. or at surface parking where available.

To review the National Trust for Historic Preservation's letter concerning the VNB site, click here. To review Opus Development's latest site plan, click here.