Historic Grand Ave. building seeing renovation, new tenants after Phoenix grant

(Alexandra Scoville/DD)
Thanks to a grant from the city of Phoenix, the historic O.S. Stapley building will soon be the home of local technology company Heckler Design, among other companies. (Alexandra Scoville/DD)

Through a $300,000 grant from the city of Phoenix, the historic O.S. Stapley building near Grand and Seventh avenues is beginning to see new life.

Mark Abromovitz, the owner of the O.S. Stapley building, said he felt it was vital to do everything he could to preserve the building because of the historic value it holds. After explaining his ideas for the use of the buildings to city officials, the city awarded Abromovitz the grant.

“There are not many buildings left in downtown Phoenix that are worth saving. We’ve found one here with immense history, a diamond in the rough,” Abromovitz said.

Renovations were being finished and local company Heckler Design planned to move into the new space, Abromovitz said. The move will mark the first permanent space for the design firm. The office technology company started in 2007.

“I didn’t want any old office,” Dean Heckler, founder of the company, said. “I feel the office is linked to employee satisfaction and morale. I had this image of my head of an old, red brick warehouse.”

Heckler said that he felt the move into the building was a no-brainer.

The O.S. Stapley Building features 6,000 square foot floor plans per section and was built in 1927 as the center for O.S. Stapley, a hardware company that Abromovitz said “helped build Phoenix.” The building was inducted into the Phoenix Historic Property Register in September 2012.

The building now includes trusses and skylights, but maintains the original structure and design. Perhaps the most interesting new additions are the large glass front doors that allow passersby a peek into the buildings from Grand Avenue. Abromovitz said he believes this will allow “transparency” from companies inside to those outside, ultimately providing a higher sense of community. Although vacant lots exist on Grand Avenue, he said he hopes other businesses will move fill the lots.

According to Abromovitz’s business partner Brian Cooper, who is also the owner of AROK Construction Company, they are still looking for more local companies, restaurants or other businesses. Cooper, however, said that they will not accept just any company that applies and that they would prefer local groups. Abromovitz added that they were open to creative, art-oriented groups.

As the owner of AROK Construction Company, Cooper has been heavily involved in the reconstruction of the site. They have teamed up with CCBG Architects to renovate the buildings. CCBG specializes in the adaptive reuse of both historic and non-historic buildings, according to project architect Mark Phillips.

There will be an open house geared towards investors, but also for the community, of the Stapley Buildings on October 17th.

Contact the reporter at Matthew.John.Barry@asu.edu