Two buildings start journeys to historic status

The Phoenix Motor Co. Building on Van Buren Street and Fourth Avenue may be rezoned as a historic property. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

Two downtown buildings are on the path to historic preservation status.

The Historic Preservation Commission voted last Monday with no opposition to begin the process for historic preservation zoning for two buildings: the Arizona Sash and Door Company Warehouse at Buchanan and First streets and the Dud R. Day Motor Company building at Van Buren Street and Fourth Avenue.

Historic Preservation Office Planner Kevin Weight said this vote directs staff to file a rezoning application, which will then trigger a series of public hearings that will begin in March. City Council will then make the final decision.

In order to be eligible for historic preservation, a building must be at least 50 years old, have significance that sets it apart from a typical property in Phoenix, and must maintain its historic integrity, Weight said.

The Dud R. Day Motor Company building will be part of a historically preserved zone once a grant is approved. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

An original photograph of the motor company taken in 1939. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

The Dud R. Day Motor Company building today. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

A 1939 photograph depicts the interior of the motor company. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

An Arizona Republic article from 1939 announces the Grand opening of Phoenix Motor Co. in the historic building. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)


The Dud R. Day Motor Company building is currently still in the process of getting a grant from the city to use for rehabilitation. An application was submitted, but will be revised based on new drawings the architects have done according to Weight.

Weight said the intention is to process the grant application in March at the same time of the rezoning hearing with the Historic Preservation Commission. Both are expected to make it to the City Council in early May.

“That’s what we’re anticipating,” said Weight. “We really have very few funds remaining in the demonstration project fund.”

Little money remains from a $13.1 million historic preservation bond that city voters approved in 2006, Weight said.

“We managed over the last 11 years to stretch the money out,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit of money left still in our low income grant fund, but that’s about it.”

Weight said the Community and Economic Development Department indicated they are willing to provide $125,000 as a match, and the owner must provide a match as well.

The Arizona Sash and Door Company Warehouse is one of the few remaining warehouses from the 1920s, Weight said.

“The warehouse district has taken several hits over the years, so preserving a building would certainly be a bless in our eyes,” Weight said.

The historic Arizona Sash and Door warehouse building is just south of the railroad tracks on 1st St in downtown Phoenix (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)
The historic Arizona Sash and Door warehouse building is just south of the railroad tracks on First Street in downtown Phoenix. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

Weight said that the stucco on the Dud R. Day Motor Company building is expected to be removed, but the stucco on the Arizona Sash and Door Company Warehouse will stay.

“We’re hoping with the stucco still there that they’re going to be able to restore enough of it so it will still look like it did in the thirties,” he said.

The stucco on the Arizona Sash and Door Company Warehouse on South 1st St in downtown Phoenix will stay during the renovation process (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)
The stucco on the Arizona Sash and Door Company Warehouse on South First Street in downtown Phoenix will stay during the renovation process. (Courtesy of City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office)

Progress on restoring both buildings has already begun.

“We were very excited that we started the peeling off of the exterior that had been added in the 60s, and on the inside we found all the original windows,” said James S. Kuykendall, who works in commercial and residential real estate, at the meeting. “We’re trying to make this as accurate as possible in every detail.”

Arizona Preservation Foundation Board of Directors President Jim McPherson also said he supported the projects. McPherson said the renovation of the two buildings is important to the revitalization of that part of downtown

Contact the reporter at Holly.Bernstein@asu.edu.