As part of a young and fast-growing metropolitan area, Tempe, Arizona, doesn’t have a lot of historic buildings. So with two new mixed-use projects it is taking care to build on its heritage without obliterating it. Located on opposite sides of Mill Avenue, Tempe’s main thoroughfare, One Hundred Mill Avenue and Hayden Flour Mills will incorporate two of the city’s oldest structures, an adobe house and a flour mill.
One Hundred Mill Avenue calls for three steel-and-glass towers, with a post-tensioned concrete structural system, designed by the local firm Davis. The 25-story towers overlook Tempe Town Lake, whose enlargement from a dry Salt River bed almost a decade ago helped transform the adjacent Mill Avenue District downtown. The $300 million project will include a hotel, 300 condominium units, and street-level shops and restaurants; possible green features, aimed at attaining a LEED certification, could include photovoltaic cells integrated into a high-performance glazing system. Developer 3W Companies hopes to break ground by 2009 and finish construction in 2013.
The podium of the first tower will stand roughly six feet south of La Casa Vieja, an adobe Sonoran-style row house built in the early 1870s by city founder, Charles Trumbull Hayden. This landmarked property is the oldest continuously occupied structure in the Phoenix area, having served as home to Monti’s La Casa Vieja restaurant since 1956. The Monti family has sold the land but will continue to operate the steakhouse; the oldest portion of the building will be retained. The city had rejected an early design for the new tower, which incorporated La Casa Vieja into its base. Now the top-most floors of the adjacent tower will cant out as much 30 feet, of which 12 feet will extend over the air space of the historic structure.
Across Mill Avenue, developer Avenue Communities is remaking the 5-acre site of Hayden’s Flour Mill, which originally opened in 1873. The mill is the oldest cast-in-place reinforced concrete building in Tempe as well as excellent example of the daylight construction method. A grain elevator with four silos at 155 feet tall, and 14 reinforced-concrete silos measuring 120 feet tall, was added in 1951.
The $500 million redevelopment, designed by a collaboration between Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle and Substance Design Consortium, will create 50,000 square feet of retail and office space, shaded public plazas, as well as an archeological garden revealing a long-buried canal that supplied the mill with river water. Inside, the mill building’s original wood floors, steel piping, grating, and windows will be refurbished. And, earning the project points towards a goal of LEED gold certification for core and shell, 50 percent of existing roofs and walls will be reused.
Avenue Communities hopes to begin construction this summer and complete the first phase 18 months later. This will include three low-rise buildings as well as a six-story, glass-walled addition on top of the mill building. A future phase of construction could see the grain elevator and silos being transformed into a boutique hotel.