This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

November 30, 2014

The continuing attempts to re-purpose the Professional Building in Phoenix, Arizona

As a frustrated architect (I couldn't do the math), I settled on Graphic Design. But I still have a fascination with architecture, and I am a defender of design. And my favorite building is an old art deco building, built in 1931, and which immediately had become the headquarters of Valley National Bank of Arizona. It's on the southeast corner of Central and Monroe in Phoenix, and has been empty ever since I first saw it, in 1992, and as far as I can tell, for many years before that.

When I first started working at Bank One Center (now Chase Tower), my area of the Marketing Department, on the 31st floor, looked down on the old building. It was a dirty, scary-looking building, badly stained, that looked kind'a like something from a Tim Burton Batman movie. It adjoined a flophouse, where people were often passed out on the sidewalk, and did, uh, other stuff. Most of my co-workers just tried not to look in that direction.

But I squinted my eyes, looked at the building, and thought that it had probably been quite beautiful at one time. And I searched out old-timers who remembered it, and I found old photos. Within a couple of years, when the first attempts were made to restore it, I had become the *expert* that was consulted when the developers contacted the bank.

I've lost track of the number of failed attempts there has been to do something with the building over the last twenty years, but I've been fortunate to have at least gotten a glimpse of it. After the asbestos was taken out, in the late 90s, I got to go inside of the building. The interior walls were all gone, but the elevator was still intact, of course beautifully art deco, and I am hoping that it still is.

The latest attempt to do something with The Professional Building, its name when it was built, is still ongoing. The last I heard the plan was to have a modern hotel ready for the Superbowl in February of 2015. Looks like that deadline will not be made.

But I have not lost hope. As long as the building is still standing, there is at least a chance. I'd like to believe that other people can see the faded beauty of this old building, and I would love to see it restored to its original glory, which must have been beautiful.

The Professional Building sign from 1931

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