Just about everyone has heard the saying “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” When it comes to new apartment construction, that wisdom is debated as the need for housing and density is weighed against the benefits of fine-grained development. Muse, the apartment building at the northwest corner of Central and McDowell may not be perfect, but it has a major strength: a record of attracting local, independent businesses to its retail space. One of those establishments is appropriately named “In Perfetto,” incorporating the Italian word for “perfect.” Continue reading “In Perfetto”
What happens to wine bars when they grow up? A wine bar is often thought to be small, intimate, and subdued with a primary emphasis on the grape and a small food menu meant to match, but not overpower, the beverage selection. That description applies to the original Uptown location of Phoenix wine bar Rott n’ Grapes, but when it came time for this wine bar to grow up, the decision was not to expand or transform the original location, but instead to open a second site, more a restaurant than a wine bar, at the north end of Downtown. Continue reading “Rott n’ Grapes RoRo”
Long ago, the only place for pizza in Downtown Phoenix was a lonely Pizza Hut on First Street. The area was so desolate that the chain pizzeria reportedly wouldn’t even deliver to some addresses a few blocks away. That Pizza Hut is still present on First Street, but in recent years, the surrounding neighborhoods have become home to half a dozen high quality pizza restaurants of local origin. One of those, Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana, is situated directly across the street from its franchised counterpart. Continue reading “Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana”
For the last few years, it seemed like light rail was inching closer to Glendale. Those hopes were dashed, at least for the time being, by a recent vote of the Glendale City Council. While the city’s financial struggles and unresolved issues of the track’s final destination may be keeping trains out of Glendale, it’s thankfully still possible to enjoy one of Downtown Glendale’s best restaurants in Downtown Phoenix. La Piazza PHX, an offshoot of Glendale’s La Piazza al Forno, is located just a block or two from multiple light rail stations in the city center. Continue reading “La Piazza PHX”
It’s become a common complaint that “high rises” and “condos” are ruining Roosevelt Row and nearby neighborhoods. In reality, most of the construction isn’t tall enough to be meet any widely accepted definition of “high rise,” and most of what is being built is apartments rather than condominiums. More importantly, while a few businesses have been displaced, many are finding new homes in the ground floor of new residential mid-rises. Forno 301 is one of those businesses, having recently relocated from west Roosevelt to the Muse apartments a half mile to the north. Continue reading “Forno 301”
An Australian real estate magnate recently made headlines with his thoughts on why young adults find home ownership an increasingly distant goal. For Tim Gurner, one cause is overspending on lattes and avocado toast. Various responses have noted that buying a house can be an insurmountable task for even the most frugal. Whether Gurner is right or wrong, it’s interesting that his comments have come at the same time that Press Coffee, a local purveyor of both lattes and avocado toast, has been expanding, mostly at locations in apartment buildings. Continue reading “Press Coffee”
For one historic building in Downtown Phoenix, it has taken over a decade to arrive at happy ending. The Professional Building, formerly the headquarters of Valley National Bank and home to several floors of medical offices, languished for years in a state of disrepair without tenants or a clear future. After a false start derailed by the collapse of Mortgages Ltd., the 12-story Art Deco tower has finally been reborn as a Hilton Garden Inn hotel, and its ground-floor restaurant on the corner of Monroe and Central Avenue is known as Nook Kitchen, or just Nook for short. Continue reading “Nook Kitchen”
Updated March 30, 2012: The Strand has recently become a full service restaurant and has updated its decor and menu.
Late last year, Downtown Phoenix enthusiasts got just a little excited when there was speculation about an urban Target store coming to the vacant lot, now underutilized as surface parking, between the Collier Center and CityScape. For now, it appears the buzz was just that — a sort of wish list item not associated with any concrete plans. Still, if there’s a prospect of a big red store in the downtown core, new Italian restaurant the Strand seems to have gotten a head start with its own all-red color scheme.
|exterior from First Street|
If it’s not too painful, think back three years. Around this time in 2008, the nation’s financial system faced collapse, and the local real estate market was going from downturn to freefall with the Mortgages Ltd. debacle becoming a poster child for the burst bubble. In Downtown Tempe, that bankruptcy left the Centerpoint Condominiums standing half finished as a testament to unfulfilled dreams along Mill Avenue. It wasn’t exactly the best time to open a restaurant designed to appeal, in part, to residents of towers that were indefinitely delayed.
|West Sixth, formerly known as the Centerpoint Towers|