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Old Phoenix Public Market Cafe building could soon be demolished

Posted at 4:27 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 06:27:48-05

PHOENIX — A building in downtown Phoenix, once home to the Phoenix Public Market Cafe, could soon come face-to-face with a wrecking ball.

A demolition request was made at the end of January but a permit has not been purchased yet. While the building's future is still up in the air, there is a fight to stop the possible demolition from happening.

The history of downtown Phoenix can be found within many of its buildings.

"It really is a double-edged sword - keeping the downtown local charm, with also being able to have, you know, the ability to live right in the middle of it," says Martin Trevino, who lives downtown.

Phoenix Public Market Cafe was a vibrant spot for seven years before closing during the pandemic. The building it was in, plus two others along Pierce Street between Central Avenue and 1st Street, could soon be gone. The new property owner recently submitted an application to demolish them. The former owner of the cafe understands it is making way for progress.

"I will tell you that downtown is more vibrant than it's ever been; there's more creative ideas than there ever has been," says Aaron Chamberlin, the chef and owner of Phoenix Public Market Cafe.

Some living downtown say they are not ready for a complete change.

"I loved that little café. I love all the little shops down here downtown, that's what drove me to actually move here," says Trevino.

Roger Brevoort, the advocacy director with Preserve Phoenix, says knocking these buildings down would be a major loss.

"They are part of the character and fabric that make downtown interesting," says Brevoort.

City of Phoenix staff has spoken with the landowner, stressing the significance of the property, its heritage and discussing redevelopment proposals.

"As we get more and more of the high-rises, we're going to gain population but we're going to lose human interest, so there's a balance there," says Brevoort.

The decision of what to do with the property is ultimately up to the landowner. The city is hoping they will consider options other than demolition.

Read City of Phoenix's full statement below:

"The property was placed on a 30 day hold because it is more than 50 years old. Historic Preservation staff conducted research and although the property was not found to be historically significant, it is significant from a commercial heritage standpoint within downtown Phoenix. The hold has expired, but at this time, a demolition permit has not been paid for by the applicant. City staff has communicated the significance of the property to the owner and is engaging with them on redevelopment proposals. While the decision is ultimately up to the owner, staff is hopeful they will consider other options."