Empty lot to be revitalized with art-embellished walls representing downtown community

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The empty lot near the Coronado Hotel may be transformed into an art installation for the community’s enjoyment. The Phoenix Urban Collaborative says it is backing the installation. (Carolina Marquez/DD)

A collaborative team says it plans to revamp a vacant lot near the Coronado Hotel on First and McKinley streets into a new installation for the community.

The nonprofit Phoenix Urban Collaborative is behind the lot’s possible re-creation. Architect and ASU alumnus Michael Lu owns the lot and is one of the project leaders.

Lu and his wife originally bought the lot to create an office for themselves but, because of the economy, Lu said he decided to put the empty lot to a different use. He says he is making the lot into an art installation for the community but is still brainstorming definite plans for the lot.

Lu said he would like to create an original wall for the community. The wall would divide the sides of the lot with different art styles on either side. One side would be for English art and the other side would be for Spanish art to represent both aspects in the community.

The lot would be available for the community to transform and evolve the property into whatever they envision, essentially an outdoor art studio for the community.

Another of Lu’s ideas is to use his property as an art venue where an artist could transform the lot into an exhibition for all to see during the making of his or her piece.

Lu said no matter which plans they decide on he wants the lot to be for the community.

“(We) need hands and ideas for what these sites could be,” Lu said.

The site is not limited to use as an art installation. The wall could also be used as a projection screen for the community to play movies on.

Two local graphic design firms, Nanogram and Worksite, are also sponsoring the project.

Architect and ASU alumnus Bob Wilkinson worked on the lot and said he is very passionate about this lot’s future and potential.

“If every (empty) site had some clean up and organization, everyone would come up with something different,” Wilkinson said.

Currently the lot has a dirt path running through it, which Wilkinson helped create along with friends.

“The path definitely brightens up the spot… it’s an expansion opportunity for First Friday,” journalism junior Eddie Ralph said.

The collaborative nonprofit wants to create a movement of transforming empty lots into something much better.

Though the nonprofit is still in the idea phase for what to do with the lot they want to bring life to it with the path that has been created. Lu said he wants it to be used and not to be just another dead lot.

Nicolae Sinu of the Coronado Hotel said that he thinks the lot will be great.

“We need more installations here, we have a lot of lots that need to be filled in,” Sinu said.

For more information and pictures of the project go to pucstudio.wordpress.com.

Contact the reporter at jesse.millard@asu.edu