Sunday, October 9, 2011

Work to start on renovating retail center

Developers are gearing up to renovate a retail complex on the northeastern corner of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, replacing at least two major tenants and updating the look of the center.

Lawrence & Geyser Development began buying the property, in the Willo Historic District, piece by piece in 2006. Construction begins Monday.

The developers intend to preserve the historical character of the complex while implementing improvements, according to Lawrence & Geyser co-owner Jeff Geyser. Plans include swapping out storefront glass and cracked tile, treating exterior bricks, bringing in "old-style" lamp posts, replacing the metal awning and adding landscaping to make the surrounding area more pedestrian-friendly.

"The idea was never to really change it and make it look like every other strip center you see in metro Phoenix, but rather to create something that looks a little fresher," said Gabe Ortega, retail vice president at NAI Horizon, the real-estate company hired to fill the center.

Pizzeria chain New York Pizza Dept. will replace an antique market. The name of the tenant preparing to replace My Florist Cafe on the endcap won't be released until a lease is finalized, but Geyser confirmed that the spot will be occupied by a regional burger-and-sandwich restaurant.

Developers expect the renovations to be completed by February or March.

by Maria Polletta The Arizona Republic Oct. 7, 2011 02:01 PM

Work to start on renovating retail center

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