“Always do the right thing.
This will gratify some people,
and astonish the rest”
An $80 million high-rise hotel stamped with two Marriott brands is slated to break ground this spring within the historic Luhrs block in downtown Phoenix, the California developer told me this week.
After some recession-induced delays, Irvine, Calif.-based Hansji Urban is moving forward with the 19-story project at a time when nearby hotel development has been picking up.
The hotel — dubbed the Luhrs City Center Marriott — will rest at the northwest corner of Madison Street and Central Avenue, where an existing vacant two-story office building will be razed. The site is located within the Hansji-owned block bounded by Central and First avenues and Jefferson and Madison streets, which includes the landmark Luhrs Tower and Luhrs Building.
It will join other new downtown hotels, such as Hotel Palomar at CityScape one block north and the iconic Hotel Monroe, which was purchased last month for nearly $8 million and is slated for redevelopment, about four blocks north.
The new 320-room hotel will bear two brands: a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott. The lower 120 rooms will be dedicated to the Courtyard, while the remaining uppermost rooms will be for the Residence Inn, said Raj Hansji, president of Hansji Urban. The two brands will share a lobby and other amenities, such as the fourth-floor pool.
Hansji also has a 50-year Government Property Lease Excise Tax, or GPLET, incentive on the project, which kicks in after construction is complete, Hansji said.
“We submitted drawings for plan check before the end of the year and our goal is to start construction in late spring,” Hansji said.
Steve Noblet, a team leader with the city’s Planning and Development Department, said they expect to issue the demolition and construction permits by the end of March. Construction should take about 22 months and the parking structure directly west of the site will remain.
Records in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office show that Hansji Urban bought the block back in 2007 for $28 million. The company spent another $10 million rehabilitating the Luhrs Tower, Luhrs Building and the Luhrs Post Office Station & Arcade, the one-story structure that connects the two high-rises. The company received a $500,000 city grant to help with renovations.
The 10-story Luhrs Building, built in 1924, is now fully leased. The 14-story Luhrs Tower, built in 1929, and the connecting Post Office Station have some vacancies, although Hansji declined to say how large.
Both the Building and the Tower hold historic desginations, according to the city’s Historic Preservation Office. The vacant office building being demolished for the Marriott has no such designation.
Kristena Hansen covers residential and commercial real estate.
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