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1920s Chinese-owned grocery buildings in downtown Phoenix could get $200K preservation grant

Plans are underway to save a rare property linked to Phoenix’s early Chinese community. On Wednesday, the City Council is expected to vote on providing a $200,000 grant to the current property owner. If approved, the money will go toward rehabilitating the historic Yaun Ah Gim Groceries buildings.

The corner market at 4th Avenue and Tonto Street opened around 1920 and a residential duplex was added next door. According to city documents, the main residence housed the grocer’s family with smaller units rented out. In 1984, the property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The buildings, vacant for decades, are in bad shape. The city’s historic preservation office has hired an expert to evaluate what needs to be done and what it will cost. The current property owner, Omar Fabian, must personally invest $200,000 in order to get the same amount from the city.  

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