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Stanton, Business Leaders Kick Off Start Of Arizona Center Makeover

(Photo courtesy of Teri Scholz)
Rendering of designs for Arizona Center makeover.

The Phoenix mayor joined business leaders downtown Tuesday to mark the start of Arizona Center’s makeover.

Mayor Greg Stanton was more than happy to smash tiles on a pillar in the existing Arizona Center — the beginning of a $25 million overhaul in downtown Phoenix.

“I wanna make sure they have a permit for that activity. that being said — that was a lot of fun!” he said, laughing.

Fun and a major step for the mayor who sees the project as overdue and vital for Phoenix.

“The general look of it has remained the same and I think it was time that that be upgraded and better benefit the people of the community,” he said.

The Arizona Center has switched owners a few times in the last decade, and the newest one broke ground.

Parallel Capital Partners acquired the center with Angelo, Gordon & Co. in 2015. The plan is to add a boutique hotel, multifamily housing and renovate the look to be more accessible for pedestrians.

"There’s been some cosmetic enhancements over the years, but nothing substantial," said Matt Root, Parallel Capital Partners CEO. “So this is the first substantial remake since the early '90s.”

Officials say the project is scheduled to take three years to complete and construction starts Monday.

Major changes will include removing escalators and adding a thoroughfare to Third Street.

“We’re just trying to build off of what’s happening in downtown Phoenix," Root said. "There’s a number of residential developments that have been going on. And when I looked at this I thought it was the most compelling urban repositioning opportunity in the country with all of the gentrification happening around it.”

The retail and restaurants in the center will remain in some form, and the center will be open during the construction period.

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Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.