Progress + Preservation: The Monroe Street Abbey


Phoenix’s Historic Downtown Baptist Church has been slated for the long overdue resurrection it needs, but with the management expertise of all collaborators, the project is truly coming to fruition. The church, affectionately dubbed “The Monroe Abbey,” is transforming into a new hub of bustling active space for downtowners and visitors to enjoy.

“This was finished in 1929, just before the depression. It was a big church; 1,400 or more were here for services. It was designed for chorale singing and mass choirs,” former Arizona Attorney General and First Baptist Church advocate, Terry Goddard, explains.

The extreme contrast between the massive new high-rise construction and preservation of the town’s heritage was highlighted at a recent meeting hosted by Kasten Long at the Abbey, located at 302 W Monroe in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Goddard provided an overview of the growth of the downtown area and credited Michael Crow, Arizona State University’s President, as the most influential driving force. Currently, there are more than 12,000 ASU students in downtown Phoenix. Jon Brodsky with Phoenix Community Alliance highlighted the existing and planned high-rise development, the need for more housing units, the impact of the new Fry’s grocery store and the evolution to a 24/7 environment with activities for all. He noted that more than 40 major residential and commercial projects have been completed since 2008 and 6 residential projects with 1,789 total units are currently under construction. 

As noted by Terry Goddard and Katherine Patry - a Kasten Long Commercial Group agent who has been overseeing the reinforcement/construction at the Monroe Street Abbey - as important as the growth of the downtown area is, it’s also important to preserve our heritage. The Monroe Street Abbey was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, but was nearly destroyed by fire in 1984. Even after its interior destruction, the building has been an anchor for downtown Phoenix. The extensive efforts of several organizations to redevelop the building while keeping both the integrity of the structure and working the majestic beauty of the natural growth are truly priceless for the community.

The Abbey will be a unique destination for visitors and city dwellers alike. In addition to entertainment and food, the Abbey will provide studio, gallery and office space. Work, play, art and entertainment will mix with food and drink in this dynamic mixed-use space.

For more information on the Monroe Street Abbey and all downtown Phoenix activities: 

Katherine Patry, [email protected], 602-695-3228 

Jon Brodsky, [email protected], 602-682-6624