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New city council tool helps small biz adapt old buildings to new useNew city council tool helps small biz adapt old buildings to new use<div class="ExternalClass3212C5B12B604CE5887B778F02EF3BEC"><p>A new business is looking for its first location, and there’s this funky old house on the edge of the commercial district that looks like it would be perfect for a little café. A couple of blocks over, there’s an old commercial building that has a novel character, but needs a ton of work. One of these could be the perfect location in Phoenix for hip, cool, success. </p><p>The challenge is adapting old cool buildings into modern uses and keeping development costs competitive.</p><p>“It takes a lot of work to adapt an old building like the Flower Shop, into new uses,” said Niels Kreipke, founder and CEO of Desert Viking LLC. Despite the ease demolition and rebuilding would make for The Blocks of Roosevelt Row, Kreipke wanted to integrate the small commercial feeling of the 1950s Flower Shop building and its brightly colored murals into new development. “There are significant costs in this type of renovation and without the city’s help, we would have torn the building down.”</p><p>Phoenix Heritage Preservation allows a property owner to sell the city rights to ensure the building is maintained through a conservation easement. Kriepke recently sold easements for the Flower Shop and a 1910 Bungalow, 909 N. Fifth St. The city paid $135,000 for Desert Viking to maintain those buildings for the next 30 years.</p><p>“As Roosevelt Row continues to develop, we have to protect the fun and funky character that has made it so special and transformed it into one of America’s great neighborhoods,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Protecting these unique properties helps move Phoenix forward while preserving our past.”</p><p>These are the buildings that give culture, character and “cool” to the city of Phoenix, and the City Council wants to see those live on. That’s the key to Phoenix Heritage Preservation. </p><p>“Although these buildings are not eligible for the city’s historic property register, maintaining the buildings helps preserve the small business character of Roosevelt Row and other transitioning neighborhoods, said Kate Gallego, councilwoman for District 8, representing the arts district area. “This program is important to keep Roosevelt Row unique and try and help entrepreneurs facing pressure from the current economic climate, and incentivize the protection of Roosevelt Row’s heritage.”</p><p>The city council is putting money behind policy to help small property owners interested in preserving a piece of Phoenix’s heritage. The city buys the right to ensure the building is maintained through a conservation easement, and the owner has money to maintain the façade and upgrade a building for contemporary commercial use. July 6 the city approved the purchase for Desert Viking and another $75,000 to purchase a conservation easement on the 1912 Wurth House, 901 E. Roosevelt St.</p><p>“As a property owner, I’m committed to maintaining the original appearance of the building and its materials,” said Kimber Lanning, owner of Lanning’s Modified Arts LLC, and the historic Wurth House, moved to the corner of Fifth Street and Roosevelt Road. “I couldn’t have saved this building without the funds from the city.”</p><p>Lanning plans to use the funds to finish the building she rescued from demolition and relocated to a new address. Plans include an office, Roosevelt Row Arts District Welcome Center, and retail use for the nearly completed building.</p><p>“This is an important new tool for small business and small property owners,” said Gallego. “It helps the city save the unique buildings built over the years that define our heritage.”</p><p>Gallego said that the smaller buildings are crucial to maintain a walkable scale in the arts districts and neighborhoods with character throughout the city. She points out that tourist like to visit unique buildings in cities.</p><p>“The conservation easements are one way the city responds to community concerns about losing heritage buildings,” said Gallego. “Property owners are the key decision-makers in this case; if help is needed to update a building, the city can help offset those expenses.”</p><p>Kriepke said that without the funding, he would have had to tear down the buildings. He pointed out that not all structures with character can be preserved. The Block of Roosevelt Row assembled the Flower Shop on Roosevelt Road and three bungalows on North Fifth Street. One bungalow was destroyed in an arson blaze, another has structural problems beyond the tipping point to be restored. The third bungalow has a façade with porch worth preserving. That’s where a portion of the easement money is going.</p><p>“It’s more difficult restoring a building. Building materials have changed over time,” Kriepke said. “When these bungalows were built during territorial days a two-by-four was two inches-by-four inches. Now it’s 1-5/8 by 3-5/8 inches. We sometimes have to have custom materials created for the restoration.”</p><p>Desert Viking brought back Tato Caraveo, the original artist of the Flower Shop’s south facade mural to repaint new murals on the south and east sides of the shops. The east side of the building features of mural by Tyson Krank. </p><p>The building’s street-side façade was stripped of years of paint to reveal the original brickwork and tile insets.</p><p>“Roosevelt Row is one of the great streets in America, according to the American Planning Association and others,” Gallego said. “The city wants to see new development, but we want to make sure we’re preserving our heritage.”</p><p>Information about Phoenix Heritage Preservation is available from the Phoenix Office of Historic Preservation. Money to acquire the conservation easement comes from a partnership with Phoenix Community and Economic Development, which provides the funding without using city tax revenues.</p> </div>8/3/2017 1:00:00 PMEric Jay TollCommunity and Economic Development Communications Manager602-617-3797