New Life Coming To Abandoned Church In Downtown Phoenix

Published: Saturday, March 4, 2017 - 5:05am
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The former Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Phoenix will become the Woodland Arts Center.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The worship hall at Zion Lutheran Church at Ninth and Woodland avenues opened in 1938.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
An attorney for the property owner says the center will feature visual arts, music, film and the spoken work.

Phoenix City Council members approved a zoning change to allow a historic building that served as a church to be used for commercial purposes.

Attorney Taylor Earl represents the property owner, Charlie Levy, who also runs a downtown music venue called Crescent Ballroom. He told council members the building at Ninth and Woodland avenues will be used as an arts center.

While the owner wants to transform the former Zion Lutheran Church into a place for theater, visual arts, music and films, Earl told council members it will still look like a church. 

“The pews will remain, the chandeliers, the woodwork … even up to the window panes,” he said. “There’s a couple window panes that need to be replaced, but we have found the original company that did the window panes years and years and years ago and were able to get those replaced to their historic quality.”

The worship hall opened in 1938 but some parts of the building are even older. The property was almost demolished a couple years ago. Earl says the arts center could lead to more projects west of Central Avenue. 

“What we’re hoping to do is really re-activate Van Buren, pull it a little bit further west,” he said. 

One man spoke against the project over concerns about future liquor sales. No opening date has been set. 

Earl told council members that the owner will work with the community and adapt to “the things that they want to see here, the things that are popular, the things that do well.”