By Robert Plea | Phoenix New Times
Before it was Phoenix’s hottest downtown concert venue, The Van Buren was home to the Phoenix Motor Company, a high-profile car lot and auto service center. In the interim, it was a vacant shell. And earlier this month, it became a precedent-setting example of the city’s interest in working with preservationists.
Earlier this year, the city approved a $250,000 rehabilitation grant for the building, contingent on an approved restoration by its owners, Pat Cantelme and James Kuykendall. The conditions of the grant were built around a 30-year historic preservation contract stipulating that if any changes were made to the building outside the grant’s guidelines, the owners would be made to pay back the grant in full.