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Historic downtown Phoenix hotel to undergo renovation

A major makeover is planned for a 95-year-old hotel in downtown Phoenix.

When Hotel San Carlos opened in 1928, the San Carlos was Phoenix’s first air-cooled, high-rise hotel. The seven-story, Renaissance style building attracted Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe. Their names, and others, are inscribed in gold stars along the sidewalks of Central Avenue and Monroe Street as part of the hotel’s 65th anniversary. 

Now, the current owner, Rockbridge Capital, is planning a complete renovation, adding rooms, a destination restaurant, lobby bar, meeting space and more. 

The city will provide a half a million dollar grant to support historic preservation on the exterior. In exchange, Rockbridge has agreed to record a new 40-year conservation easement on the entire property, which will protect its historic status. The hotel was listed in the Phoenix Historic Property Register in 1987. 

Work is expected to be completed in 2025.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.