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Did You Know: Phoenix Security Building Had Top Floor Penthouse

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Friday, September 25, 2015 - 4:06pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 11:42am
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(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
The ballroom of the Security Building is located on the 8th floor. The room has been restored to its original look. Much of the intricate design on the ceiling was part of the restoration and rebuilding.

The Security Building was once considered among the most modern structures in Phoenix. Today, the structure located in the heart of downtown, is restored in part to its heyday.

On the corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren Street is the Security Building. It was constructed in the 1920s. It was the office building to many powerful movers and shakers of Arizona. But did you know the building originally had a penthouse on its top floor?

“When the building was built, it was the tallest building in Phoenix, and there’s a cupola, a light, steeple tower up there, and the light could be seen for 30 miles,” said Steve Granillo, with the Maricopa County Facilities Management office.

“It was built by Dwight B. Heard. And him and some other wealthy businessmen here in the city of Phoenix formed a syndicate, and they called it the Security Building. What they did is they gathered up monies among themselves to go after making this building.”

Heard was considered one of the most powerful business leaders in Arizona at the time. He owned a cattle and investment company, and also owned the Arizona Republican newspaper. Granillo said the building was home base for the local farming, citrus and cotton industry. It was also home to other local leaders, all of whom were Heard’s friends.

“This actually was a powerhouse. It was a very influential place. It was probably every bit as important as the Phoenix Convention Center is today now for us,” he said.

The building was originally the shape of an "L." By the 1930s, an additional wing was added on the southern side.

By the 1950s the building was sold to a bank whose president was another well-known Valley businessman, Walter Bimson.

“The Valley Bank came to own the building at one point in time that’s why he basically said 'OK, I’m president of Valley Bank, we own this, we own the building, so, I want to have my residence there,'” Granillo said.

So he had the ninth floor added to the Security Building and had a 4,000 square foot penthouse built there. It included an outdoor patio with grass and a gazebo.

From the penthouse it's a clear view of the Valley as far as Camelback Mountain. The outdoor patio has been converted into a viewing area.

Maricopa County purchased the building in 2001. Much of the building has been restored to its original state.

There has been talk that the Bimson Penthouse had a pool in the outdoor area. But Granillo said the county hasn’t found any documents that show there was one.

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