CSM Lodging, a division of CSM Corporation, has announced plans for the renovation of the historic Professional Building - the former Valley Bank & Trust building - located at North Central Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix, and the property's conversion to a premium select-service hotel. The hospitality management, ownership and development company, which owns and operates 39 hotels in locations across the country, completed the purchase of the landmark property on December 20. Bill Upshaw, president of CSM Lodging, made the announcement.
"It is a pleasure to announce CSM Lodging's plans for this historic jewel in downtown Phoenix," said Mr. Upshaw. "Our company has a particular love for bringing landmark properties back to life, transforming them into hotel space the public can enjoy, and providing a future of commercial viability." Upshaw continued with, "CSM Lodging feels this property is ideally situated to be converted to a premium select service property, which is currently missing from the downtown market. We look forward to working with Phoenix, which has been so supportive, to open the hotel in time for the city's hosting of the 2015 Super Bowl."
The Professional Building has a rich and diverse history in Phoenix. The 13-story Art Deco structure opened in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression, housing the offices for Valley Bank & Trust on the three lower levels and the Maricopa County Medical Society above. Designed in the classic Art Deco style of the period with strong vertical lines, a central tower with set-back wings and windows, and decorative grills above the main entrance doors on Monroe Street and Central Avenue, the building was later crowned with a vast rotating Valley Bank sign, which became iconic and remained for many years. This sign and the Valley Bank & Trust building received a nod in 1960 from legendary Hollywood director, Alfred Hitchcock, as it can be seen in the opening scenes of one of his most storied films, Psycho. The bank also added a private dining club on the 12th floor for their top clients. To do so, a cantilevered walkway was constructed that gives that floor a unique appearance.
In 1993, the Professional Building was included on the National Register of Historic Places. Vacated in 2000, a subsequent planned conversion to a high-end boutique hotel ended when the project lender filed bankruptcy. After several attempts to complete the redevelopment, CSM Lodging provided the combination of experience and skill-set to bring the project forward and close on the property's purchase just prior to Christmas.
A New Hotel for Downtown Phoenix
A New Hotel for Downtown Phoenix
"CSM Lodging is very excited for the property's future and the unique positioning opportunity we have with the Professional Building," continued Mr. Upshaw. "We are able to provide a brand new select service hotel with all of the modern amenities -- which is currently lacking in the downtown market -- wrapped in a stunning historic building, and, importantly, new employment opportunities for the City." CSM Lodging has a solid track record in historic preservation and conversion of a classic structure into a first rate contemporary hotel. In 1999, the company saved a 19th century train depot along the Mississippi River in the historic heart of Minneapolis, converting it into The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel. The conversion received rave reviews for preserving the best of the historic train depot and integrating unique architectural features into the full service hotel. The project was so successful that it sparked a revitalization of the region immediately surrounding The Depot, and features of the hotel have received national honors and recognition.
CSM Lodging plans a similar restoration of the Professional Building, which is currently budgeted at $40 million. The project includes renovation of the historic Art Deco exterior and the installation of new insulated windows; new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; as well as full renovation of the magnificent, soaring former bank lobby inside, which will serve as the main reception and gathering place for hotel guests. This space will include a lobby bar and a grab & go coffee area for guests. The hotel will consist of 165 guestrooms on 12 floors, a rooftop terrace, 5000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, 1300-square-foot fitness center, and on-site parking. The project will also include approximately 8000 square feet of retail space along Central Avenue. CSM Lodging is currently meeting with potential tenants and exploring the right complements to the property.
Additionally, CSM Lodging is actively exploring branding options for the property, including Marriott and Hilton, but appears to be focused on the Hilton Garden Inn brand, due to the lack of Hilton product in the downtown market.
Upon opening, Hotel Monroe is expected to add 105 jobs to the downtown Phoenix marketplace, with an additional 106 jobs created during construction. In addition to the project cost of $40 million, a commissioned Elliott Pollack Study projects the overall economic and fiscal impact from the project to be estimated at $18 million to Phoenix.
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