Jan 4, 2023 - Real Estate

Canal-front apartments to replace Hinkley's Lighting in Phoenix

Artist's rendering of a five-story apartment building along a canal

An artist's rendering of the proposed apartment complex on Central Avenue. Courtesy of RAS Developments

A Valley developer is planning a mixed-use, mid-rise apartment complex that will replace the iconic Hinkley's Lighting building on Central Avenue in Phoenix.

State of play: Hinkley's shifted its operations to a preexisting north Scottsdale location in 2021 after 70 years in business in central Phoenix.

  • The building, along with three neighboring parcels between the Grand Canal and Coolidge Street in central Phoenix, is currently vacant.

What's happening: RAS Developments is planning an apartment complex with 150 units.

  • Company president Lorne Wallace tells Axios Phoenix that the complex will offer studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. He said they won't be luxury apartments and will have rents that are closer to average.
  • The plans call for a little more than half of the apartments to face into an open courtyard
  • Wallace acknowledged that the building is iconic but said its condition is "really not sustainable."

Details: On the ground floor of the canal side of the property, RAS has plans for a coffee shop, juice bar, bakery or some other type of business that will meet the city's goal of making the waterway more walkable and interactive.

  • There's only 16 feet of space between the property line and the canal, which he said has made it difficult to find a use that complies with the city's vision.

Yes, but: RAS Developments needs the property rezoned. As part of that process, the city wants to know how its plans will help implement its Uptown Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan, Josh Bednarek, Phoenix's deputy director for planning, tells Axios.

  • TODs are the city's frameworks for investment and development for key nodes in Phoenix's transit networks.
  • An important part of the project will be whether it has a mixed-use component on the ground floor.
  • "To the degree it can have a great interaction with the canal, that's a plus. But if it didn't have anything on there at all, that would be a pause point for us just in general," he says.

What's next: RAS Developments hopes to do a "rapid build" that would begin in June or July, with tenants moving in about a year later.

  • "A lot of people tell me it's very aggressive. It's doable, though," Wallace says.

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