Steinegger Lodging House risks demolition after 1889 construction

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The downtown Phoenix building that once housed Steinegger Lodging House, Golden West Hotel, and Newman’s Cocktails may soon be demolished.

The Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission voted at its June 15 meeting not to initiate historic preservation overlay zoning on the building, meaning nothing is now preventing the owners, CSM Lodging, from demolishing it.

Located at 27 E Monroe St., the building sits between the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown, which was once the Professional Building, and the Renaissance Hotel. Built in 1889, it is one of the last 19th century buildings in Phoenix.

Although the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is not on the Phoenix Register of Historic Places, according to historic preservation officer Michelle Dodds.

The national registry does not grant protection for the building from demolition, Dodds said. Only the local registry can do this. Once demolished, it will be removed from the national register.

Nick Wood, a zoning and land use attorney who represented the CSM at the commission meeting, said the CSM used to save historic buildings such as the Professional Building and the would also have saved if that had been possible.

CSM acquired it in 2014, during the purchase of the Professional Building. After construction of the Hilton was completed, CSM constructed a plain white siding on the facade of the neighboring building due to deterioration of the exterior.

Now that CSM will be able to move forward with the demolition, Wood said the company plans to build a residential tower made up of condominiums or apartments in its place.

A chasm problem

Wood cited several structural engineering reports that have been done on the building since 2005, all of which reported that a sinkhole on the west side of the building was causing the wall to sink. and move away from the ground. Wood said this was the main reason the owners wanted to demolish the building rather than trying to renovate it.

“Why it is so important for my client to demolish this building and solve the problem regarding the geological problem caused by the sinkhole, is because it not only threatens the continued liability of this building, but it potentially threatens the professional building. , which of course is the Hilton Garden Inn, ”said Wood.

During the Commissioners’ discussion before they vote, Commissioner Sherry Rampy said the issue had been brought before the committee several times over the past decade and that they had never been able to find a solution.

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After many conversations with the owners and even after visiting the building herself, Rampy doesn’t think it can be restored, she said.

“If they could restore it, I believe they would restore it. They can’t restore it. It’s sad, it’s like when we lose a great person in their old age, but they’ve been sick for a very long time, ”Rampy said. “Financially, it’s not feasible to restore it, and I don’t even know if it’s possible given the abyss. “

Rampy also pointed out that it would be difficult to restore the building given that much of its original structure is long gone, including its facade.

Commissioner Dan Garcia disagreed with Rampy, arguing that it would be up to the commission to initiate a historic preservation overlay on the building and spend time with the owners to find an alternative solution. He said he thinks the owners are choosing demolition only because it would be cheaper than renovating.

“We could talk then about return on investment and how much money it’s going to cost, but there is no discussion about investing in the people of Phoenix and our history,” Garcia said. “It is clearly a question of money, it is not a question of historical preservation.”

CSM filed for demolition on June 2. In accordance with the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance, there is a 30-day stay on demolition for all commercial buildings over 50 years old. After the commission’s decision, Dodds said the CSM will be able to begin demolition as early as July 6.

A historic place

The first public mention of the building at 27 E Monroe St. was in a May 7, 1889 edition of the Phoenix Herald as a notice to contractors filed by Alex Steinegger, asking for bids “for the proposed Steinegger block”.

A few months later, on July 11, the newspaper announced the opening of the building:

“Mr. A Steinegger’s new two-story building on Monroe Street is nearing completion. It is brick, measures 34 by 06 feet and will have twenty rooms, which can be rented individually or en suite. Cost approximately $ 4,500. “

The Steinegger Lodging House building was nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. According to the nomination form, the building is important not only for its architecture, but also for its relationship to the Phoenix trade between 1889 and 1935.

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The nomination form indicates that the building was expanded in 1911 due to an increasing demand for hotel space in Phoenix.

“The completion of the Roosevelt Dam in 1911 ushered in a new era of prosperity for the farmers and businessmen of the Salt River Valley. read form. “These newcomers needed a place to stay, and the Steinegger Lodging House served them well.”

In 1935, the facade of the building was altered and covered with stucco. The nomination form states that the 1935 remodel is “representative of modern influence in Phoenix” and that the Victorian elements of the facade are still intact.

“In the context of Phoenix, the Steinegger Lodging House is a rare surviving example of proportionality, scale and mass from the Victorian period. Only one other building, the Frye Building from 1885, remains relatively intact from this period,” says the form. “The Steinegger Lodging House is therefore a significant example of Victorian-era architecture in Phoenix. Although modified, it still retains its essential design features.”

The building has undergone several name changes since 1889. Around 1896, it was renamed The Alamo, according to Phoenix historian Donna Reiner. Then in 1908 it was the St. Francis Hotel and Apartments.

During the 1920s, the Southern Pacific changed its route to go through Phoenix, and the building’s name was changed to Golden West Hotel in 1929. In 1934, a few years after the professional building was completed, the west side of the hotel has become the Golden West Buffet.

The buffet was transformed into Jones Cocktail Lounge in 1946, according to Reiner, and later became Kissel’s Cocktail in 1963. It received its final name, Newman’s Lounge, in 1963. Newman’s Lounge remained in operation until October 2005.

The Golden West Hotel has deteriorated over the years, according to Reiner, and began serving transients in the 1980s. The original 26 rooms were divided into 109 “sleeping areas.”

The Golden West Hotel finally ceased operations in 2004, when it was closed by the Maricopa County Public Health Department.


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