A 15-story Marriott hotel is coming to downtown Phoenix’s Arizona Center in 2019.
The 200-room AC Hotel Downtown Phoenix, part of the Marriott-owned chain, will stand at 5th Street between Fillmore and Van Buren streets. It is the second tower planned for the property, which is in the midst of a significant renovation.
“This is the first time real dollars have been spent,” Matt Root, CEO of Arizona Center owners Parallel Capital Partners, said. Previous owners had not invested heavily in a major renovation like currently underway, he added.
After purchasing Arizona Center about two years ago, Parallel has initiated a number of changes that are now starting to take effect.
These changes include the hotel plans, which come on the heels of a May announcement of a 31-story residential tower also coming to the site, and the retail renovation project.
The refresh, which began in March, is expected to wrap up by the end of January.
What hotel will bring
Construction on the hotel will begin in April, with an estimated completion date sometime in late 2019, according to Jeffrey LaPour, president of contractor LaPour Partners.
The hotel will remove a lawn on the east side of the Arizona Center block, but will not block walkways through the mall’s retail space, as the renovation construction is doing now.
Despite the removal of the large green space, Root said landscaping is planned around the building.
“There was a lot of thought” about nature, he said, but noted that the hotel’s bigger effect is economic.
“The economic impact downtown will be job creation,” Root said, adding the hotel’s presence will feed into Arizona Center’s business.
AC Hotels is a Spain-based European chain purchased by Marriott, and operates as a subsidiary of the hotel giant. This and another Phoenix location are part of a larger expansion into North America.
Retail renovations affect businesses
The Arizona Center’s current and planned changes already are affecting businesses at the outdoor mall.
Amber Cesena, general manager of 1130 the Restaurant at Arizona Center, said the retail space renovations have “really affected business quite a bit.”
Work on the front of the mall on Third Street makes it look closed, Cesena said. The narrow walkways inside the plaza, which weave through sections of construction zones, can lead to confusion and frustration.
She added that a drop in customers was expected, due to extensive changes, but thinks the improvements will take 1130’s previously business back “to 100 percent and beyond.”
Cesena also looks forward to the potential of more business from hotel guests and people in the residences, although she is “sad to see a lot of landscaping” removed.
Like the hotel, the residential tower will remove a green space, on the northwest corner of Van Buren and Fifth streets.
Cathy Eden, an employee at the downtown Arizona State University campus across the street, said she’s had “no problems” with the renovation construction.
Eden, a lifelong area resident who lives in the Willo Historic Neighborhood, said the construction noise, dust and narrow walkways have not made her want to stay away from the center.
“I’m just happy with what’s going on downtown,” she said.
Cesena welcomes any new businesses and restaurants coming to Arizona Center. No new ones have been, though. Fewer options means fewer people are coming to the mall, she said, and increased competition keeps her on her toes.
When she began working at Arizona Center in 2000, the mall was “booming,” Cesena said, but has since dropped in popularity. “It’s nice seeing it become a place to be.”
Downtown grows around center
LaPour said Arizona Center was a good fit for the hotel because of the “facelifts” happening at the mall and in downtown at large.
“It’s a really good time” to build business downtown, he said, because new offices and cultural attractions will bring more out-of-towners to the area.
The residential tower coming to Arizona Center will have 350 apartments with lease prices aimed at higher-income residents.
“A younger, creative and more affluent demographic” are attracted downtown, Root said. “The transformation of downtown is exciting.”
LaPour said downtown’s recent and rapid growth will continue. “In five years, people aren’t even going to recognize downtown.”
Original Article At: AZ Central