Knipe House development incorporates historic preservation

New developments, which will be a mix of commercial and residential property, include a 50-year preservation of the Knipe House.
(Rebecca Spiess/DD)

A development of the Knipe House and its surrounding area approved by City Council, designed by historic preservation experts in conjunction with a downtown Phoenix-based developer, received praise upon its passage last week.

The new developments, which will be a mix of commercial and residential property, include a 50-year preservation of the Knipe House.

Growhouse owner Kenny Barrett will continue the garden’s operations as a tenant of the Knipe House, according to the developer, True North LLC.

The architectural plans were created with help from architect Mike Davis, of DAVIS Architecture, working in collaboration with Bob Graham, an architect who specializes in historic preservation. The intent was to create a space constructed in harmony with the Knipe House’s renovations.

Dorina Bustamante, consultant to True North Holdings, described the new space on the east side of the development as an artist’s space, which will include the Knipe House and cap at five stories tall.

“All of the new buildings that are built there will look like they’ve always been there. They will be inspired, from a design standpoint, by the aesthetic of Knipe House and Monorchid,” she said. The housing will be lower density and encourage pedestrian traffic.

The west side will include a more modern, eight-story parking garage with a rooftop amenity deck and at least 250 public parking spaces. The project will also include a 19-story office building within the existing 250′ zoning.

Wayne Rainey, the owner of downtown’s Monorchid, is the cultural curator of the project. He will work with Truth North developer Jonathon Vento to create the layout.

Artspace will be the consultant in creating at least 32 units of housing for community artists in the residential buildings.

Council members praised True North’s efforts to honor the community’s requests in regards to these issues.

“We should be doing more projects of this kind,” District 2 Councilman Jim Waring said. “We don’t really have to spend anything. Let’s try and emulate this a little bit more.”

He especially praised the fact there was no Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) agreement involved and that the city would not have to spend money from the General Fund for this deal.

A majority of the $3.56 million the City will gain from the sale of the properties will be allocated to the Downtown Community Reinvestment Fund.

District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski said he was proud the development was in his district.

“I really want to thank the staff and the developer for really sitting down with the community and working things out,” he said.

The Council agenda item said four other buildings are proposed for construction, including two five-story commercial office buildings and 1,200 more parking spaces.

The project is expected to generate about $151 million in new capital investment, $2.8 million in construction tax revenues, and 2,300 jobs during construction.

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Correction: December 4, 2017

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified True North Holdings LLC as being Scottsdale based. The story has been updated to reflect the correct location, downtown Phoenix.

An earlier version of this story also incorrectly listed the height of the parking garage. It has been updated to the correct height as 8 stories for the parking garage and 19 stories for the office building.