Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monti’s Restaurant in Tempe will have neighboring towers

[Source: Garin Groff, Tribune] -- Michael Monti has made peace with historic preservationists who blasted his initial plan to build a high-rise tower above the Valley’s oldest building. Tempe’s Historic Preservation Commission signed off on his plans Thursday to build two towers next to Monti’s La Casa Vieja, just weeks after rejecting an earlier proposal. Monti’s first plan included a pair of towers, one of which would have stood on piers that surrounded the adobe structure built in 1871. Critics said the plan shrouded the building and could get it kicked off state and national historic registries.

The new plan leaves the oldest part of the building as it stands today, and won compliments from those who opposed the original plan. The building is perhaps the Valley’s most significant historic structure. It was built by Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden, whose son Carl was born in the house. Carl Hayden served in Congress for 57 years and has been called Arizona’s most important person. Monti plans to tear down newer additions to the restaurant and keep the oldest 11,000 square feet of the structure. He intends to sell the property to developer 3W Cos. but continue to operate the restaurant that his father bought in the 1950s. The new buildings will include shops, condos and a hotel. The hotel’s name will include the name Hayden. [Image source: DFD CornoyerHedrick, the same architectural firm that proposed the design concept for condos in and atop the Sun Mercantile Building in downtown Phoenix.]