Tempe enters talks to preserve, redevelop iconic Hayden Flour Mill into commercial mixed-use

The historic Hayden Flour Mill and silos still stand along Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. –haydenflourmills.com

Tempe is pursuing a plan that could bring specialty retail food and beverage, events, arts, office and hospitality space to historic Hayden Flour Mill downtown.

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The city announced that it will negotiate with Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings on preservation and redevelopment of the historic 5-acre property on Mill Avenue near Rio Salado Parkway.

Discussions between city staff and the development team will aim at creating a draft development agreement. There is no timeline for when an agreement might come to Tempe City Council for consideration.

Hayden Flour Mill and silos are owned by Tempe and are among the city’s most iconic landmarks. The buildings are on the site of one of the first businesses in modern Tempe, the first mill dating to 1874.

The site is adjacent to Hayden Butte Preserve. The mountain is culturally significant to the Four Southern Tribes.

A committee that included Tempe Historic Preservation Commission, Tempe Historic Preservation Foundation, Four Southern Tribes — Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Tohono O’odham Nation — Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and city staff chose the proposal by Phoenix-based Venue Properties and Scottsdale-based Sunbelt Holdings.

Sunbelt Holdings has delivered some of the city’s most-beautiful developments, including Marina Heights, home to State Farm. Venue Projects is experienced in working with historic properties.

“I’m excited to see what Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings will design for the Hayden Flour Mill,” Mayor Corey Woods said. “This is such a creative team and they have made an incredible impact on our community.

“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.”

Tempe residents and businesses will have opportunities to give input.

“The intersection of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway is a key gateway to our downtown,” said Donna Kennedy, the city’s economic development director. “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.”

The Venue/Sunbelt collaboration proposes taking a light-touch approach, with minimal intervention as it integrates and updates 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.”

If a development agreement is approved by City Council, the redevelopment project could be completed in phases over 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.”





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