EQ Properties and Gallo Blanco Expand the "Local" in Garfield
Blog contributed by LFA intern, Alyssa Kiefer
EQ Properties has flown below the radar as one of the most cutting-edge adaptive reuse developers in and around downtown Phoenix. Their newest project located in the Garfield residential neighborhood utilizes historic buildings filled entirely with hand-chosen local tenants. Several businesses call the block home: The Pueblo plant nursery, Blok Photo Studio, Gallo Blanco, and Fraley’s Salon. Local First Arizona spoke to the developer, Chuckie Duff, and each business owner about how their location is helping to build a stronger local community and local identity.
LFA: Why did you choose to locate in the Garfield Neighborhood? What's your connection to this community?
Chuckie’s friend used to live in the neighborhood, and alerted him to the available property, which he soon fell in love with. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco liked the community and wanted to invest in the neighborhood. Matt of Blok Photo Studio saw the opportune location nearby a community center, and the possibility of future collaboration and classes to improve community development. Michael (The Pueblo) and Haley (Fraley’s Salon) both live in the community in which they chose to locate their respective businesses. Nowadays, it is truly unique to both live and work within a few miles, and the cohesion that produces within the neighborhood is unparalleled!
LFA: Why did you choose to be in a historic building?
Chuckie is drawn to the aesthetics and ambiance of an old building and knows that tenants tend to appreciate it. Matt sees the building as a contributor to history, similarly to Michael and Doug. They believe the historic building provides more to the sense of community - a static piece in a transient city. Haley was especially excited to know that her location was a barber shop nearly 90 years ago, and is preserving history by providing a similar service to the residents of today.
LFA: How does being near a residential development help your business? How does being surrounded by other local businesses help your business?
Being located residentially is viewed positively by every business owner in the development, and being located nearby other local businesses is seen as beneficial rather than as competition. Chuckie, Haley and Matt recognized that Gallo Blanco has the potential to draw in customers from outside the neighborhood with a recognizable, established name, but the plentiful community of the other different businesses keep people in the area. Doug believes the cluster of local businesses promotes diversity and density to help the neighborhood thrive. Also, being close to the residents they service maintains a local, home-y feel.
LFA: How does foot traffic and walkability play into your business?
Foot traffic and walkability play a large role in attracting customers and clients, both from the neighborhood and abroad. Parking is limited, so walkability keeps traffic and parking issues down. Plus, it’s good for the environment, and being able to walk to places can increase quality of life and happiness. Furthermore, The Pueblo has expressed interest in improving walkability of the neighborhood even more through a tree-planting service it offers: trees along sidewalks can keep the pavement cooler and provide shade during hotter months, making the area ‘walkable’ even during ‘unwalkable’ times.
Are you interested in learning more about our efforts to support thoughtful and sustainable development in the Metro Phoenix area? Check out our initiative For(u)m.