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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Construction Begins on Yourland at 16th Street and Buckeye Road

Economic delays may have stalled Yourland, a cultural mixed-use redevelopment center on the southwest corner of 16th Street and Buckeye Road, but construction is now underway.

The first phase involves remodeling approximately 50,000 square feet of the main existing structure for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The government agency is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and oversees lawful immigration to the United States.

Martha + Mary’s Sloane McFarland, developer of the 20-acre site, announced USCIS as Yourland’s first tenant during the summer of 2009. He said the agency’s space should open in mid-August and discussions are ongoing with other possible tenants.

“We’re still focused on the original vision of having community- and service-based groups,”McFarland stressed. “We’re working with groups that will provide immigration-related services, and we continue to want to have restaurant, retail, and event and music space.”

Plans for the event area, which will anchor Yourland’s entertainment component, include seating for 1,000 people and an outdoor media screen.

A hotel is also a possibility for the project. “It’s not something we’re looking at for this (first) phase, but definitely in the future,” McFarland added.

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

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

For the Yourland project, all the site’s existing structures – about 90,000 square feet total – will remain, but are being completely remodeled. Many items removed during the demolition process were saved.

“The shell construction is LEED-certified, and we will continue recycling and re-using materials as the project continues,” added McFarland, whose other projects include 4404, a restaurant and retail center at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Turney Road, and Old Southern, an urban gardening and compost project near 7th Street and Southern Avenue.

The area around the structures will soon see new landscaping and asphalt. A rooftop garden is a possibility as well.

Since Yourland was first conceived, McFarland has involved neighborhood residents in the planning process. Due to the historical significance of the property, he hopes more people get involved as the project progresses.

“We’re looking forward to delivering on this phase,” he said. “We continue to be reached by community folks and get their input. We’re excited about the relationship with them and to provide such a fantastic service to the community.”

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