How Phoenix Will Involve Small Businesses In Unique Project

By Christina Estes, Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 3:21pm
Updated: Monday, July 19, 2021 - 11:17am

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men standing in front of fire truck
Phoenix Fire Department
The original crew stands with the two trucks at Phoenix Fire Station No. 4 when it opened in 1951.

A unique redevelopment opportunity has Phoenix trying something new.

The city wants to turn a former firehouse at the corner of First and Moreland streets into a full-service restaurant. It will be the only restaurant that directly connects to Margaret T. Hance Park, which is undergoing major renovations.

“It’s important to bring our local, small businesses into the fold,” said Michelle Pierson, deputy director of community and economic development for the city.

For the first time, the department will host a pitch session to connect developers with businesses that have no more than a hundred employees.

“They will go out and spend three minutes pitching themselves and their business,” said Pierson.

It could be construction, plumbing, and marketing services or uniforms, utensils and food — anything a business would need to transform a former firehouse into a restaurant.

Phoenix will hold a virtual information session for small businesses or restaurateurs on Tuesday, July 20, at 9 a.m. A virtual information session for potential proposers will be held Tuesday, July 20, at 10 a.m. Registration is required and can be found here.

The pitch session will take place Thursday, Aug. 12, with time and location to be announced. Registration will open July 21 and close Aug. 6.

Later this year, the city plans to issue a formal request for proposal (RFP) to lease, adaptively reuse the building and operate a restaurant. Although the RFP will require proposers to conduct small business outreach, there is no requirement to hire them for the project.

“It will be highly recommended that a proposer or developer partner with a small business in their proposal,” Pierson said. 

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