Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition

February 22, 2024


Dear Councilwoman Pastor, Mayor Gallego, Vice Mayor Stark, Members of the Council,


The Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition is comprised of people throughout neighborhoods within the city.  We come together because we value the history of Phoenix and seek to share our love of our city’s historic neighborhoods to preserve not only the buildings but to help stabilize and build strong communities.


The Coalition strongly opposes Phoenix Resolution 22183, declaring eight historic districts south of Thomas Road to be in the Central Business District Boundary Update. 


These historic districts: Fairview Place, Del Norte Place, Margarita Place, Encanto Manor, Encanto Vista, Encanto-Palmcroft, Willo, and Villa Verde are some of the most desirable in the central city.  These thriving neighborhoods do not fit the profile to be included in a redevelopment area. 


Historic neighborhoods were recently highlighted in a study by Place Economics demonstrating the massive benefits these neighborhoods have brought to our city, in Preservation Phoenix Style!


The study found these neighborhoods are: more dense than the rest of Phoenix, more walkable, recession resistant, more diverse in housing stock, more diverse in housing prices, more shaded, operated as magnets for small business, supported legacy businesses, and finally that neighborhoods with older homes frequently provide affordable housing alternatives for low income and extremely low income residents. 


Residents of these eight historic districts have spent millions of dollars over several decades to improve these historic homes. Historic Preservation has awarded millions in grants to help maintain these charming homes, thus creating a setting that provides a picturesque and vibrant adjunct to downtown.


While the Community and Economic Development Department of our city may view these historic homes as way past their economic life, the Coalition does not believe it is equitable for CED to make this arbitrary judgement without involving the community of stakeholders that live, work, and play within Midtown Phoenix. 


Which “community” is Community & Economic Development serving?  If it is serving our entire community, why does it seem to neglect the longstanding residential community? Why are not all of the stakeholders being involved when their neighborhood may be designated as a Redevelopment Area?


The Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition was never contacted prior to the Expanded Business District map being exhibited to the Encanto Village Planning Committee on February 5, 2024.  The members of the Village Planning Committees are closest to the communities in which they live and are in touch with the community.  The EVPC usually receives the agenda for the meetings a week in advance, but not this time.  The revised agenda was received less than two hours prior to the actual meeting.


Most significantly, the Arizona State Fairgrounds are included in the Redevelopment Area designation.  There are several buildings on the Fairgrounds, four Cattle Barns, and the Home Arts Building, that have the distinctive, historic, irreplaceable Lamella Roofs that must be considered prior to the adoption of this map with seemingly arbitrarily selected boundaries.  The Fairgrounds are owned by the State, and is the largest staging area in the state as a place of refuge for survivors of any natural disaster.  It would be shortsighted and nothing less than a than potential disaster to have the city designate the Fairgrounds as a “Redevelopment Area”, thus upsetting the working relationship with the State by essentially criticizing the State’s management of the Fairgrounds.  

The extension of the Central Business District Boundary may well make economic sense for the purpose of allowing Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) in a broader area, however, the unintended consequences of doing so by arbitrarily labelling vast areas of land as “slum” and “blight” and/or a Redevelopment Area carry their own risks and may well come back to haunt us.  The City should carefully consider just whose property it wants to label blighted and described as a slum.  The GPLET incentive is simply not worth the mischaracterization of historic neighborhoods nor describing the Arizona State Fairgrounds with its historic uses and properties as blighted. 


The Coalition requests that this Proposed Expansion of the Central Business District be rejected by the Mayor and Council and that the Community and Economic Development Department be directed to devise a plan that saves our homes and heritage and does not destroy the hopes and dreams of thousands of residents.


Thank you for your time and attention to this information.


G.G. George, President

Encanto Citizens Association & Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition

1102 W. Palm Lane

Phoenix, AZ 85007




CC: Ann O’Brien

    Jim Waring

    Betty Guardado

    Kevin Robinson

    Yassamin Ansari

    Kesha Hodge Washington

    Helana Ruter