A 3-D rendering of a potential new steel and concrete facade of the U.S. Bank Center. (Rendering by Studio Misfits, courtesy Union Market)
Union Market is set to make its Phoenix debut this November with plans for a co-working space, an indoor food and retail marketplace and shared office suite. The 55,000-square-foot project is quite the undertaking. The concept will usher in small restaurant concepts, shops and services, and an entrepreneurial spirit to the vacant ground floor, top floor and, later, the basement of the U.S. Bank Center. “We really allow access to big markets that small stores can’t afford or won’t get the opportunity to locate in,” said Russell Young, who heads the project. “Some of the smaller, really viable concepts just need a place to land, exposure and a place to meet their customers.” He said they look for the best concepts — businesses they feel have passionate owners, great product and service, and that will fit the Union Market identity. “I’m trying to the build the market as a whole to be successful, and so the content and how it all comes together is really important,” Young said. A Phoenix native, Young spent the last 20 years in California but jumped at the chance to work on a project in his hometown. “I love Phoenix. I’ve been waiting for downtown to get to that point, and right now it’s just thriving,” he said. “I took one look at this building, and I looked at the perimeter of this building, and I knew I had to be downtown.” Transforming both the ground floor and top floor into shared storefront and office space — Young said the Union Market will truly rebrand the building. The concept will do away with the traditional office tower lobby and replace it with a business marketplace, cafe-style seating and retail space. The top floor will provide private and shared office suites to creatives and entrepreneurs.
A 3-D rendering of the interior bar on the ground floor of the Union market. (Rendering by Studio Misfits, courtesy Union Market)
Though the designs aren’t official, Young said major renovations are planned for the exterior of the building. The new design includes extending the storefront to the edge of the property line, adding patio space, and building a new steel and concrete facade — to mirror that of the adjacent 111 W. Monroe building — with immense, floor-to-ceiling windows, some of which will open up to the outside. “When people get to Monroe on First Avenue, they’ll feel like they’re coming into a district,” he said. “It’s going to have a symmetry to it between the two buildings.” Upon completion, the first floor alone would accommodate more than 20 different businesses — a few of which he has secured and many that are nearly secure including a Mexican restaurant called Mole, a Cajun restaurant, a coffee shop and bakery, and a few retail stores. “It’s urban, it’s real, it’s passion — all the people are just really vested in what they’re doing,” he said. And while Young’s excited for the ground floor, he couldn’t stop raving about the concept just 30 stories above.
A 3-D rendering of the top floor co-working space, called The Society. (Rendering by Studio Misfits, courtesy Union Market)
Taking up the entire top floor — all 14,000 square feet of it — Young has plans to turn the space into a hub for entrepreneurs, creators and innovators. Young said they plan to divide the space into a co-working space called The Society, private offices and storefronts, as well as a cafe, beer and wine bar (with incredible views looking down Central Avenue). He said it’s designed to be as flexible as possible with built-in garage doors instead of drywall, so Union Market can adjust the size of the office suites — and therefore the rent — to fit an entrepreneur’s financial and spatial needs. Essentially, the concept would give companies a chance to have a storefront space they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. “It’s very hard for someone to come in, spend the money on a lawyer to get through their lease with a big developer,” he said. “With us, it’s scalable. They can come in and take 200, 400, 1000 square feet.” Young is also working on a project in Mesa, called Mesa Riverview that will also cluster several small businesses, restaurant concepts and retail shops in one are central location. However, the Downtown Phoenix project is further along in the process. Build-out of the top floor is now underway, which Young expects to be fully complete within the next three months. Renovations of the ground floor will begin soon, and are expected to wrap up in November.