September 13 2012

Historic Hayden Flour Mill Now Open to the Public on Mill Avenue

Hayden Flour Mill

Downtown Tempe is home to Hayden Flour Mill, built around 125 years ago in downtown Tempe, Arizona.  It was re-established in 2010, but up until then, it was a worn-down, old building, that created an eyesore for passersby. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty in tarnished, historical buildings, but this building was closed to the public and fenced in.

The abandoned structure was a common topic of conversation, as many wondered what was going to happen with this spooky building. Even city officials who gave guest lectures in my classes said there have been many proposals for this site, but they had simply not come to fruition. I suppose the trickiest part can be choosing urban design elements for this site that create some permanence in its unique desert environment.

As an architect, landscape architect, urban planner, or designer, it is natural to ask, “What would be a cool, interactive, community-centered space that could be integrated into this abandoned lot?” This question has a location-sensitive answer, nevertheless, an important one, as it will affect the future economy, setting, and interactions of that place.  The city has decided to improve the space in order to make it attractive to developers.

Library Card Hayden Flour Mill

This building has been re-designed into an events venue, where the community can gather.  This renovation truly accomplishes everything a successful historical renovation should accomplish, plus more. It connects different districts of the downtown area, creating a focal point at the edge of one district and at the beginning of another.  It creates a landmark and a sense of place for those who are already familiar with the area.  The true test is waiting as we find out whether or not this renovation proves successful for the City of Tempe.

Hayden Flour Mill has been branding itself ever since my arrival to Tempe.  Even my Tempe Library card was designed after Hayden Flour Mill, with its distinctive orange glow. Hayden Flour Mill has a Facebook page you can follow and like.

What is your best idea for an abandoned historical building right in the center of a youthful vibrant college town?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

Alex Banuelos

Alex Banuelos is a recent graduate of Arizona State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Planning from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. He is currently pursuing his Real Estate License and plans on attending Arizona State University in the near future to earn a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development. Born in California and raised in Arizona and Mexico, Alex has always been interested in how the physical environment shapes our daily lives and customs. What began as a career in Architecture turned into the discovery of Urban Planning as a profession, and this in turn sparked a newfound passion for cities, how they work, and how city dwellers interact within their cities. He hopes to use his skills and education to help increase awareness of the potential the public has in shaping their own communities. In the future he hopes to practice advocacy planning using grassroots methods to bring people and communities together, and away from rapid suburbanization. Most importantly he wishes to teach people of the importance of preserving the natural environment.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 at 11:36 am and is filed under Architecture, Branding, Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Infrastructure, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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