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Friday, March 24, 2017

Makeover Set to Begin at Yourland Project

With financing in place and demolition complete at Yourland, a cultural mixed-use redevelopment center on the southwest corner of 16th Street and Buckeye Road, all that’s needed before construction can start is a signed lease from an anchor tenant.

And that should happen fairly fast, says Martha + Mary’s Sloan McFarland, developer of the 20-acre site.

“We’re in negotiations with several people for the production anchor,” he added.

Once complete, Yourland will consist of three components – a hospitality section, an arts and entertainment area, and a production anchor.

All the existing structures on the site will remain, but they will be completely remodeled. Additionally, many items removed during demolition were saved and will be re-used.

Most recently, tenants at the site included Walgreen’s, a barbeque restaurant and – until about a year ago – a car wash, hair salon and flower shop. The first Smitty’s supermarket opened at the site in 1961.

“We’re really having a soft touch in making sure that some of the special historical elements stay in place,” McFarland said. “We’re working with former Smitty’s employees to get them on board and help rebuild it.”

The Yourland property has been in McFarland’s family for about 90 years. His great-grandparents, who were immigrants from Italy, bought the land while working as garbage collectors for the city of Phoenix.

One of Yourland’s confirmed tenants is The Welcome Diner, an M + M project located at 10th and Roosevelt streets. The full-service diner will open its second location in the old Smitty’s restaurant space.

An event area, which will seat 1,000 people and include an outdoor media screen, will anchor the arts and entertainment component. In addition, a coffee shop is planned in the hospitality section.

A hotel is included in a future phase.

“We want to make a place you can call home,” said McFarland, whose projects include 4404, a restaurant and retail center at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Turney Road, which includes Lux Coffee and Pane Bianco, the lunch restaurant of Chris Bianco, owner of acclaimed Pizzeria Bianco. McFarland also operates Old Southern, an urban gardening and compost project near 7th Street and Southern Avenue.

Although hesitant to give an opening date, McFarland did state the build-out will take 7-9 months. The first tenants likely to open will be the restaurant and production anchor.

McFarland encourages neighborhood residents with stories from the past or anyone who wants to share their Smitty’s memories to contact him.

“We’re so open to working with people and hearing their ideas,” he said. “We’ve been in the neighborhood for a long time, but we want to grow in that area. There’s such a rich story that can be told – and wants to be told – and we want to be a part of that.”

McFarland can be reached at 602-234-8933 or visit http://www.marthaandmary.net.

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