Why it's taking so long to restore the Professional Building
When first I heard that my favorite old building Phoenix, an Art Deco masterpiece called the Professional Building, which is on the southeast corner of Central and Monroe, was going to be restored, I was thrilled. It was all boarded up, and it had been for decades, but when I squinted my eyes I could see that it must have been quite beautiful when it was new, in 1931. I had been contacted by the people who had planned to restore it, as they had done enough research to determine that it had originally been Valley National Bank, and they contacted Bank One, and someone there knew that they had to talk to this guy Brad Hall (me) who was completely obsessed with Phoenix history, and could tell them about the building. That was in 1994.
Since then, of course, I've been waiting patiently. No, I have no vested interest in the building, I just like it. And I know that a lot of money has been spent, and lost, trying to restore that building. Part of the story involves Scott Coles. No, I didn't know Scott, and I'm not going to talk about him here. And I would prefer if you wouldn't, either. You can Google him if you want to know.
A few years ago I heard that the plan was to restore the building to make it a hotel in time for the 2015 SuperBowl. That was pretty exciting! That was when I donated the original sign that I had been storing in my garage, and I am hoping to see it in the lobby in the not too distant future. It wasn't doing any good sitting in my garage!
So that's what I know, which isn't much. I wandered past the building a few weeks ago, and you can see that there's a flurry of activity there. You can even see inside, although there really isn't much to see, the interior was gutted in 1994 to remove the asbestos, and all that was left was the metal superstructure.
I did get to get inside of the building, in 1995, when it was safe to do so, and all that I really remember is seeing the elevators. Hopefully they have survived, or if not, the architects will do a good job keeping with the art deco feeling. I've talked to the people who are restoring "my building" and they look like they will do a great job. If it takes a little longer, that's OK with me.
Posted by Brad Hall