By Corina Vanek | Arizona Republic
As cities like Phoenix mature, there is a push to repurpose buildings that create a sense of place and preserve character.
At least that is the take from Lorenzo Perez, co-founder of Phoenix-based Venue Projects.
“People love old buildings, sites and stories,” he said.
Perez, who was a panelist in a discussion about adaptively reusing real estate and redevelopment hosted by the Arizona Association for Economic Development, said it is more sustainable and preserves a place and its culture.
Perez’s development company has led some of the most visible examples of repurposing old buildings in the Phoenix area.
That includes the Newton, which previously was the Beefeater restaurant on Camelback Road and Third Avenue. Venue Projects transformed the site to include a Changing Hands Bookstore, Southern Rail restaurant and other retail shops and events space.
“There was 18,000 square feet of one-of-a-kind construction, and it would have been a shame to send that to the landfill,” said Perez, noting the building’s Queen Creek adobe masonry.