Co-Development Negotiations Underway for 5-Acre Hayden Flour Mill Redevelopment

Phoenix-based adaptive reuse experts Venue Projects and Scottsdale-based legacy developer Sunbelt Holdings have been selected by the City of Tempe to co-lead the redevelopment plans for the 5-acre Hayden Flour Mill, one of Tempe’s most revered landmarks and an integral part of Tempe’s history.

Located at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, the vacant 1918 mill building and 1950’s grain silos officially closed in 1998, with light restorations of the mill and grounds completed in 2011.

The City’s redevelopment scope includes the rehabilitation of the mill and silos, and a lease and development of the remaining 5 acres for mixed-use redevelopment of a culturally-inclusive, family-friendly project designed to appeal to all ages and reflecting the rapidly evolving lifestyle environment of Downtown Tempe.

The selection committee included members of the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission, Tempe Historic Preservation Foundation; the Four Southern Tribes and Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, along with City of Tempe staff.

Tempe has extensive experience working with Sunbelt Holdings. The company has delivered some of the city’s most beautiful developments, including Marina Heights, where State Farm is located. Venue Projects is very experienced in respectfully working with historic properties.

“I’m excited to see what Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings will design for the Hayden Flour Mill. This is such a creative team and they have made an incredible impact on our community,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods. “Development that values the history of the Hayden Flour Mill, the cultural significance of Hayden Butte Preserve and the well-being of our residents can truly benefit our whole city.”

The highly respected and best-in-class development collaboration between Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings is envisioned to deliver a once-in-a-generation adaptive reuse outcome that prioritizes preservation, anchors Mill Avenue with irreplaceable culture and history, and draws programmatic inspiration from its original heritage. The proposed plan includes a creative and dynamic program of uses oriented toward specialty retail food and beverage, events, arts, office, and hospitality.

“The intersection of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway is a key gateway to our downtown. A future Flour Mill development could bring high quality jobs, great new restaurants and businesses, and generate revenues that can provide residents with everything from beautiful neighborhood parks to well-maintained roads,” said Economic Development Director Donna Kennedy.

The developers intend to submit the Hayden Flour Mill for the National Register of Historic Places and to reuse or preserve machinery inside the Mill.

The Venue/Sunbelt collaboration proposes taking a “light-touch” and “community informed” approach to the site and its iconic heritage buildings, returning their respective elevations back to their original form as much as possible, with minimal intervention to integrate and update the structures into modern day use as a commercial mixed-use property.

“We believe the mill and silos are the stars of the 5-acre campus and any additional development surrounding them should be thoughtful, sensitive, carefully composed and subordinate in scale to preserve and frame views of these iconic structures,” said Lorenzo Perez, principal and co-founder of Venue Projects. “We envision crafting a dynamic indoor-outdoor experience the City of Tempe and State of Arizona will be proud of, that’s adorned with beautiful desert architecture, a curated mix of interesting tenants and activities that will complement each other and bring energy, spirit and quality products and services to the property and neighborhood.”

The redevelopment project is anticipated to be completed in multiple phases over the next three to four years.

“We have been talking with Venue about the possibilities and potential of this site for a while now and are grateful for the opportunity to have been selected to join forces and partner with the City of Tempe to complete the kind of thoughtful restoration and creative repositioning of Hayden Flour Mill that Downtown Tempe has long deserved,” said John Graham, Chairman and CEO of Sunbelt Holdings. “We are committed to honoring the legacy and culture of the community and creating a sense of place that will honor its heritage and pave the way for the future.”

Venue Projects is an entrepreneurial and opportunistic redevelopment practice based in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in creative urban infill and adaptive reuse projects. Co-founded, January 2008 by design/builders Jon Kitchell and Lorenzo Perez, Venue Projects designs develops, builds, owns, and operates projects that embrace, celebrate and express Arizona Culture through the creative preservation and sensitive reuse of heritage buildings and sites. In fourteen years of practice, Venue has been consistently recognized for its design centric, collaborative approach and commitment to context sensitive development, crafting one-of-a-kind environments and experiences that are sensitive to people and place. As property stewards, Venue Projects respects its roles as a Community Builder and Economic Developer as much as they value their role as a Property Developer. Notable high-profile redevelopment and adaptive reuse projects include Rise Uptown Hotel in Phoenix, The Alhambra in Mesa, The Newton in Phoenix, and The Orchard in Phoenix.

Sunbelt Holdings has been a recognized leader in real estate development, management, and investment throughout the Southwest since 1979, steering the development of more than 55,000 acres of land. Early projects like the Phoenix Gateway Center remain successful icons. Best known for being a ‘place maker’, Sunbelt has been instrumental in the development of successful and sustainable large-scale master planned residential communities including Vistancia in Peoria, McDowell Mountain Ranch in Scottsdale, and Union Park at Norterra in Phoenix, as well as urban living developments such as Portland on the Park in Downtown Phoenix, and Culdesac in Tempe. Sunbelt entered the Tucson and Pima County market in 2013, developing master plans for La Estancia, Star Valley and Red Rock Village.  In 2017, Sunbelt Holdings completed Marina Heights, the largest single-tenant office development in Arizona history, spanning 20-acres adjacent to Arizona State University in Tempe and serving as the regional hub of operations for State Farm Insurance. Each development has been thoughtfully planned to create an exceptional place for living, learning, working, and interacting with the greater community.

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