Vintage Partners Has Plans For New Project Along Camelback Road

Published: Monday, November 6, 2017 - 3:32pm
Updated: Monday, November 6, 2017 - 6:20pm

CHRISTINA ESTES: A local company recently announced plans for a new project along Camelback Road in Phoenix. Vintage Partners wants to transform two midcentury mid-rises at 4th Avenue into a boutique hotel and dining destination. Vintage is also behind Uptown Plaza, the adaptive reuse project at Central and Camelback.

The restaurants and shops at that intersection attract a variety of customers, including nearby residents, people who work in central Phoenix, and snowbirds craving Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Two months ago, the Urban Land Institute of Arizona named Central and Camelback the hottest intersection in the Valley. But, head just half a mile west and there’s a much different look and feel.

Phoenix Vice Mayor Laura Pastor discusses economic development along west Camelback Road.

Standing on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Camelback requires full attention. Between eight vehicle lanes, the light rail line and heavy foot traffic, you need to stay alert.

LAURA PASTOR: I describe that area as an evolving area. I describe it as an area that needs some love and care.

ESTES: That’s Vice Mayor Laura Pastor. The intersection of Seventh Avenue and Camelback is in her council district.

PASTOR: We have a huge homeless population right now and we’re being challenged by it. And, once again I’ll say light rail provides access and it can provide access to everybody. And so you see  some off the dynamics on some of the corners that is happening, but we are addressing that and we are looking at that and we are trying to figure out how to address it and understand what the needs are of that population.

ESTES: The northwest corner of Seventh Avenue and Camelback is home to a grocery store and a health club. Right in between them, is a large lot that’s sat empty for years. Pastor says the way the property is sliced can make things tricky.

PASTOR: There’s several investors and several owners in that area so that is one of the challenges. One will do one thing, the other won’t want to. What I can tell you is that I’ve been working with them. I’ve also been working with the businesses that sit there and understand what some of their challenges area/ And it all just depends on who’s proactive and who’s not proactive.

ESTES: One mile west is the intersection of 19th Avenue and Camelback.  

PASTOR:  It’s considered the hot spot by police in just population, density, so population, a lot of people move through there. It’s one of our biggest challenges in the city.

ESTES: Earlier this year, a city bus stopped at Fourth Avenue and Camelback to pick up riders for a special tour. Pastor and others pitched investors, developers and property owners on the possibilities along the light rail line.

PASTOR:  We met at where Arrive Hotel is going to be built and we got on the bus and we started talking about this property we would like to see this, this property we need help on. And, so we just had that whole conversation of what the vision would look like.

ESTES: When I tell Pastor I’ve heard several developers say things like they can’t get financing for the area or the demographics won’t generate a high enough return on investment, she replies this way.

PASTOR: So, I’m not really sure when they say the money’s not there. Because, if we really look at the neighborhoods around Seventh Avenue all the way to 19th Avenue, the money is there.

ESTES: She’s been meeting with neighbors to learn about their vision. Turns out it’s pretty similar to the scene a half mile away at Central Avenue and Camelback Road.

PASTOR: “We want to be able to go to a local restaurant within our neighborhood. And, develop that feel of the local restaurant, kind of like the Cheers feeling. We want to be able to see economic development in here. And, retail, they did not want a lot of big box or not anymore thrift stores or dollar stores. They wanted really an upscale, more upscale, middle scale I guess environment within their area.

ESTES: Pastor says investors *are moving in and so are new residents. She points to condos at Seventh Avenue and senior housing at 19th Avenue. There’s a lot riding on the future of this area — for Pastor and Phoenix.

PASTOR: We own a lot of property there. We own the Park and Ride on 19th Avenue and Camelback Road. We own the Park and Ride on Central and Third Avenue. We own the Park and Rideon 19th Avenue and Montebello. So there’s a lot of property there there that will eventually go up for sale and so it’s important to us, especially with the investment of the light rail, that we build that up. So, I have great hope, great pressure, to make it happen.

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