A controversial project that will see structural alterations and upgrading to the Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix may be moving forward.
That facility, located at 668 N. 44th Street, was built in 1997 and has long served as a gathering spot for Arizona’s Chinese-American community with its concentration of stores, restaurants, and other businesses.
Earlier this year, the True North Companies, a private equities firm based in Scottsdale, acquired majority ownership of the property and shortly thereafter announced plans to house its offices there, while also building a business center at the site.
Those proposed changes to the 165,000 square foot structure sparked the opposition of many in the community who said the site, with its outdoor gardens and ponds highlighted by statues and pagodas, is a place of cultural importance that shouldn’t be altered.
An online petition protesting any changes to the facility has been to date signed by more than 16,500 people, and notes that materials were imported from China in the construction of the center, calling the building an “important piece of Arizona history.”
In response to the plans to change at least a part of the facility, a tenant there, D.J. Design & Construction, filed suit in the Maricopa County Superior Court saying that any alterations to the site, according to a provision of the center’s leases, had to be first agreed to by a majority of the tenants.
In September, Superior Court Judge Randall Warner issued a temporary restraining order forbidding the new owner from making any physical changes to the Chinese Cultural Center, pending further information.
Now Warner has removed that ban, allowing the new owners to make changes to the facility that will include removing its famous green glazed tile roof.
Warner’s ruling, among other things, said changes to the building would result in no “irreparable injury not remediable by damages” to the plaintiff.
There are indications that that ruling will be appealed.
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