Crane Alert: Application submitted for 200 Monroe project

The developer of the project at 200 W. Monroe has filed an application to erect a 340-foot tower crane. The crane is to go up in March 2019 and come down by September 2020.

Study (ASN): 2018-AWP-14797-OE
Prior Study:
Status: Work In Progress
Received Date: 09/17/2018
Entered Date: 09/17/2018
Map: View Map
Construction Info Structure Summary
Notice Of: CONSTR
Duration: TEMP    (Months: 18    Days: 0)
Work Schedule: 03/01/2019  to  09/01/2020
Structure Type: Crane
Structure Name: 200 W Monroe Construction Crane
FCC Number:
Structure Details Height and Elevation
Latitude (NAD 83): 33° 27′ 03.69″ N
Longitude (NAD 83): 112° 04′ 37.59″ W
Datum: NAD 83
City: Phoenix
State: AZ
Nearest County: Maricopa
Site Elevation:
Structure Height:
Total Height (AMSL):



About the Light Rail

I had the good fortune recently to attend both City Council meetings regarding the Light rail projects around town. The first of which focused solely on the South Central extension and whether it is to be two or four lanes. I was impressed and heartened by the amount of people who came out to participate in the discussion. I was  especially surprised to see so much support for the light rail extension, since so much of the media coverage leading up to the meeting  had focused on the ‘4 Lanes or No Train’ opposition group.

I took off work early to attend the meeting and filled out a card to request to speak, but had to leave before my turn arrived.

There are a few quick takeaways from this meeting:

1. By the time I arrived home, the City Council approved the 2-lane configuration 6 to 2. (Yay!)

2To construct the light rail in the 4-lane configuration would have required another environmental assessment and would have sent Phoenix to the back of the line in terms of priority for funding from the federal government. In so many words- 4 lanes meant no train.

3. There was a lot of support for the light rail in the 2-lane configuration.

4. Councilman Sal Diciccio ‘will never support light rail’, according to his words.

The Second Meeting

During the second meeting, a controversial project in Kierland mostly took the spotlight, and the Council deferred the Light Rail discussion to the very end, perhaps anticipating more people than actually arrived. I got to speak at this meeting as one of maybe three people who showed up to defend future light rail projects in the city.

This meeting left me wondering where all the allies went. The council eventually voted to kill off the Northeast/Paradise Valley or at least delay it indefinitely. They also indicated they might stick the Camelback extension on the shelf as well due to Glendale’s decision against building their light rail leg, which would’ve connected to the rest of the system around 43rd Avenue and Camelback. Luckily, the Metrocenter, South Central, and Capitol/I-10 extensions are still a go.

I learned a couple more things at this meeting, namely that Waring and Diciccio seem more concerned with how people currently get around as opposed to how they could get around if you simply gave them more options. It’s a position that feels more than a little short-sighted.

Why Phoenix needs Light Rail

The post-WWII years were very kind to Phoenix; millions of Americans moved from farms and cities to live in what became a seemingly endless suburbia, egged on by developers eager to convert wilderness into easily profitable streets of neatly-arranged single family homes. During this rapid outward growth, houses spring like weeds with little concern about building real neighborhood cores, walkability, or bike-friendliness. City planners worshiped at the altar of wide roads and ample parking.  Our culture changed as a result of this process; a driver’s license and a car became a symbol of freedom.

Fast forward to today, and cities are contending with choking traffic, vehicle-borne pollution, identity-deprived neighborhoods, and bloated road maintenance budgets. It turns out that the 2-car garage and white picket fence hasn’t made us happier or healthier – just the opposite, in fact. Americans now commute over an hour total each day, are generally overweight, and spend a full fifth of their income on transportation. We’re ready for a change.

There is a solution, and it can be found downtown.

America sits on a bit of a demographic precipice. Baby Boomers and Millennials alike are revealing a strong preference for walkable, transit-oriented, urban living, and there are 150 million of us. This preference is the driving force behind the unprecedented boom currently being observed in America’s downtown areas. I could throw a bunch of numbers at you (and I might, later) but suffice it to say that the evidence isn’t hard to come by.

Phoenix must become a competitor for the kind of people who are moving in droves from suburbia to places like Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Washington D.C., and others. These cities have invested in mass transit and walkability, and are reaping the benefits in spades.

These cities are attracting young, well-educated, entrepreneurs and professionals looking to start careers in big cities with the big city lifestyles they saw on TV growing up. On the flipside, these same cities are also attracting retiring baby boomers looking to leave their empty nests for places that offer more community and less maintenance.

Phoenix, reborn.

What Phoenix needs is to reinvent itself, much like the legendary bird after which the city takes its name. The thesis is this: In the face of skyrocketing demand for walkable urban living combined with the accompanying crash in demand for suburban living, Phoenix must choose whether to be a city people come to, or a city people leave.

It’s really up to us.


Project Profile: 201 Van Buren


  • Project Name: ?
  • Location:  SW corner of Van Buren and 2nd Avenue (201 W. Van Buren)
  • Type: Mixed-Use
  • Status: Proposed Construction
  • Expected Completion: ?
  • Last Update: 05-Nov-2018
  • Developer: PMG
  • Builder: ?
  • Design Contractor: Kimley-Horn & Associates

Project Details

201 W. Van Buren is a yet-unbranded 2-phase residential project by Chicago-based PMG group under an updated GPLET development contract with the City of Phoenix.

The project will consist of 2 towers approximately 275 ft. tall, each containing about 300 residential units and 20,000 sq. ft. of ground-floor retail. Between them, the agreement also calls for 1000 parking spaces indended to to serve the nearby Orpheum Theater, along with various other improvements.

Note: The current rendering was done for the previous design. An updated one is not yet available.

Quick Facts

  • 2x 275′ towers
  • 600 Total Residential Units
  • 40,000 sq. ft Retail/Office
  • 1000 Parking spaces

New developer,  New design

The agreement is an revised version of one that Phoenix entered into in 2012 with Chicago-based Golub Corporation. Unfortunately Golub was never able to execute on that project due the Great Recession. They have transferred the property to another Chicago developer, Property Markets Group (PMG), to move forward with it.

The original agreement outlined a single high-rise tower with 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 650 parking spots, and ground-floor retail.

To move forward with the conveyance of the property to the new developer, the City of Phoenix proposed new terms.

The changes reflect the updated priorities and market reality in the years since 2012. Commercial space is drastically reduced to 40,000 sq. ft., replaced instead with 600 residential units. Parking is slightly increased, with Phoenix wanting to provide parking for events at the nearby Orpheum theatre. The agreement also carries forward the original GPLET agreement, which was negotiated prior to the 2018 update by Arizona’s legislature that restricted the program’s use after it generated a lawsuit related to another project.

A booming downtown

Downtown has become a hotbed of growth since the end of the Great Recession, adding over 3500 residential units since 2010, with another 5100 in development. Even still, the projected increase is not likely to keep pace with demand. Phoenix ranks 5th nationally in fastest-growing rents, rising 4.4% since 2017, more than twice the national average of 2%. (Data from DTPHX and RentCafe)

The growth is driven in parts by improved economics, the metro light rail, ASU Downtown, and the emerging preferences of Millennials and Baby Boomers alike for a more urban, walkable style of living.

The new agreement calls for construction to begin within 24 months, with an allowance for an additional 12 months if PMG needs it.

Update 11/5/2018 – Post updated to include the design firm and to reflect the address found on design & permit documents.

Project Profile: Berger Project

The Berger Project will be a 20-story multi-use tower located at Central and Adams, on the Southeast corner. New Orleans-based Berger Holdings bought the lot from the City of Phoenix in June for $2.8M. Berger won the bid over another development company which offered $700k more for the lot, but planned to build a 12-story hotel with no office space.  Phoenix opted for the Berger offer due to the multi-use and higher-density aspects of their plan, as well as a higher number of projected permanent jobs (230 over 45). Berger Holdings is partnering up with Sunbelt Holdings, which has a well-established presence in the Valley, for the project. Sunbelt has completed such projects as Marina Heights, the 20-acre complex along Tempe Town Lake.

The tower, will cost approximately $62 million and include 200 hotel rooms, 20 hospitality suites, 2 floors each of parking and office space, and 6100 square feet of ground-floor retail. In addition, the project will make targeted pedestrian and sidewalk improvements to promote walkability along Adams St, which the City considers an important tourism corridor.

laMadeleine at Luhrs Tower to open Aug 15th

A new restaurant is coming to the Luhrs Tower at 1st Avenue and Jefferson. laMadeleine French Bakery and Cafe will open its 3rd Valley location on August 15th, according to several restaurant and construction workers I spoke with.

The Dallas, Texas-based chain has been in business since 1983 and has 86 locations throughout the U.S, including 54 in its home state.

The restaurant opening is a positive signal for the historic Luhrs City Center, which has struggled to attract and maintain tennants ever since the construction of the Metro Light Rail. The only other active storefront is Serafina Coffee Roasters; a Subway restaurant in the complex closed earlier this year as the result to a corporate revitalization effort.

The restaurant will bring additional walkability back to the what has been for years a fairly desolate stretch of sidewalk.

Project Profile: Arizona Center’s Palm Court Tower

The Palm Court Tower is a project taking place on the Arizona Center property at the Northeast corner of Van Buren and 5th Street. It will consist of a 31-story Residential tower on land converted from what is now a grass lawn bounded by palm trees.

The building will cost $100M and will be designed by Will Bruder Architects. It will include 350 residential units ranging from studio to three bedrooms in size. The structure will also include 6 levels of parking, a ground-floor courtyard, and a swimming pool terrace.

Quick Facts

  • Address: 440 E. Van Buren
  • Type: Residential
  • Floors: 31
  • Units: 350
  • Height: About 375′
  • Expected completion: 2019

Arizona Center Update

The Palm Court Tower project is in addition to a $25M renovation currently underway at the 90’s-era Arizona Center. The multi-use facility was built during an earlier renaissance in downtown Phoenix that eventually fizzled out for lack of one essential ingredient: downtown residents. Come 2018 and that’s all changed.

The Arizona Center renovation, coupled with the new residential tower, signals a new chapter for a property that had become a cautionary tale.

Not only has there been an absolute explosion in terms of downtown housing in the last 6 years, but the Palm Court Tower will add 350 families who will need to look no further than the first floor of their own complex for a drink, coffee, entertainment, or a bite to eat.


Above: The Arizona Center, as it opened on Nov. 19th, 1990. Below: A rendering of what the Arizona Center is to look like after the current renovation.

Developer buys Sing High property

Sing High Chop Suey House, a very long-running restaurant located at 1st Avenue and Madison St, will close its doors after nearly 90 years in business on September 30th; the result of the recent sale of the land the restaurant sits upon.

Sing High has been serving Cantonese-style Chinese food in Phoenix since 1928, and has something of a polarizing experience – downtowners tend to either adore by the place, or avoid it completely.

The New Owner

A quick trip over to the Maricopa County Assessor website revealed the site’s new owner: Madison 27, LLC. The principal registered agent listed for Madison 27 is Rajan Hansji of the Hansji Group, which recently finished construction of the $80M Courtyard Marriott hotel just across the street.

The Marriott Project unfortunately required the demolition of the 100-year old Industrial Congress Building, also called the Luhrs Central Building.

Above: The Industrial Congress Building, built in 1914, now demolished. Below: The Luhrs City Center Marriott, completed in 2016.

The Sing High property will be exciting to watch in the coming months. Absent a community effort, however, the building that housed the restaurant is likely to meet the same end as its ill-fated neighbor.

The Luhrs City Center Marriott is admittedly boring from an architectural perspective, and missed an opportunity to honor the neo-classical and art-deco styles of its immediate neighbors. If we must lose the Sing High building, it would be nice to see something more interesting go up in its place.

Project Profile: The Link PHX

The LINK PHX is a 30-story residential project by Chicago-based CA Ventures that is going up at 3rd St and Pierce streets. The building will add 257 units and approximately 7000 square feet of retail space to the area around Roosevelt row and the ASU campus. Once complete, the structure will be one of the tallest in Arizona.

Each of the luxury units will include 9-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, floor-to-ceiling windows, and in-unit laundry. 17 additional penthouses will include higher-end finishings as well as private balconies. Residents will also have access to a fitness center and a rooftop pool, deck, and grilling area.

The project is the first of a planned three-phase development that will consist of over 600 residential units and 20,000 square feet of retail.

  • Address: 702 N. 3rd St.
  • Floors: 30
  • Residential Units: 257
  • Office/Retail: 7000 sq. ft.
  • Scheduled Completion: Aug-2019
  • Type: Luxury Residential w/ 1st Floor Retail
  • Phase 1 of 3 planned.
  • Project Webcam:

Project Profile: Block 23

Block 23, located on the Northeast corner of 1st St and Jefferson, is the site of a multi-use project currently under construction by RED Development and Streetlights residential.

The multi-use project will add approximately 330 apartments to downtlwn, as well as 200,000 square feet of office, restaurant, and retail space. In addition, the area will get its first grocery store.

Block 23 has quite the history, being the site of Phoenix’s first city hall, as well as the beautiful art-deco Fox Theatre, as well as a J.C. Penney’s. For more on the history of the block, ThisCouldBePHX has a great write-up here.

Project profile: The Stewart

The Stewart is a 19-story residential high rise currently being built at 800 N. Central Ave (Central/McKinley). The building will provide 312 units of transit-oriented living and 9000 square feet of retail to the Roosevelt area.

The Stewart will also include partial sections the original building that housed a 1940’s Studebaker dealership as well as a long-running record store (1972-2009)

The dealership was unique in that it featured a glass-encased rotating vehicle carousel right on the corner.

The project generated some controversy when, in the midst of negotiations with the city and community over historic preservation, the developer suddenly demolished sections of the building, rendering it ineligible for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places.

Construction is due to be complete in late 2018.

  • Address: 800 N. Central Ave
  • Residential Units: 312
  • Retail/Office: 9000 sq. ft.
  • Floors: 19
  • Type: Mixed Use (Primary Residential)
  • Project Webcam: