Originally posted by Angela Gonzales, a Senior Reporter at the Phoenix Business Journal on Feb 1, 2023
Lev Libeskind — son of internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind — is designing his first property in the Valley.
And there is more to come.
His first project in metro Phoenix is called Rainbow Road, a 36-unit boutique apartment building to break ground this year at the southwest corner of First and Portland streets in the Roosevelt Row District in downtown Phoenix.
The community boasts a rainbow road through the courtyard and onto the sidewalks, reminiscent of the Mario Kart video game. Some of the units also will feature video-game inspired steps leading to the entrances and in-unit functionality for casual and experienced gamers.
Libeskind said he found the exact color palette for Mario Kart, and that became a defining factor of the building.
The architectural style of the building will feature floor-to-ceiling angular glass windows, giving the illusion of movement in the building.
“Looking at the building, it plays tricks with your mind,” said Zac Cohen, managing director of InveStellar Corp., developer of the project.The courtyard, sidewalks and on-site art gallery will showcase artworks by Libeskind, along with other local well-known and up-and-coming artists.
Cohen met Libeskind 10 years ago when he was building hotels in Europe.
“He and I share the same vision,” Cohen said. “In my mind, Arizona — especially Phoenix — is a blank canvas. It’s really important to infuse some intelligent high design, some different types of architecture so the city is not at risk of becoming a city full of identical cookie-cutter looking buildings.”
The value of architecture is profound on the human psyche, Cohen said.
“In Rome, when you’re walking around, passing some old beautiful buildings, they inspire you; they put a smile on your face,” Cohen said. “We lack that here. Buildings designed to impact the community as a whole would be really beneficial to Arizona.”
COSTS, RENTAL RATES STILL UNDETERMINED
Construction is expected to begin during the second quarter of 2023 and be completed by the second quarter of 2024. If that timeline stays on track, pre-leasing would begin during the fourth quarter of 2023.
Cohen said it’s too early to determine rental rates.
It’s also too early to put a price tag on total development costs, since he hasn’t solidified a general contractor. He has narrowed the general contractor job to two firms.
InveStellar bought the 13,500-square-foot parcel for $2.25 million in December 2021. It currently is used as surface parking.
Speaking of parking, the property is too small to include parking spaces for residents, so Cohen forged a deal with the rainbow colored parking structure on Roosevelt Street that will allow residents to park there.
The building will include one-bedroom units on the first and second floors. The third floor will feature two-floor units.
Cohen also hopes to attract retail to the ground floor — perhaps some type of coffee shop or cocktail bar that the public also could enjoy.
InveStellar still has an office in Ireland, but Cohen has moved the company headquarters to the monOrchid building within the Roosevelt Row District.
He said he plans to team up with Libeskind on other projects in the Valley.
“We are looking for more deals,” he said. “We are looking to bring interesting design that makes communities better.”