Russell previously admitted that when he purchased the block, he initially considered razing the old Texaco and the building that will be home to Pizzeria Gusto. Even earlier, when the property was under different ownership, executives with Albertsons engaged in negotiations to buy the block and clear it for a new supermarket.
The Rise is set to open this summer, one year later than first hoped, but fully leased to a mix of restaurants, shops and bars.
“This project has been a series of discoveries,” Russell said. “Every time you find something like this, it slows us down a bit, and we need to figure out how to incorporate it into our designs. It has worked on our time lines some, but the outcome is just amazing.
Pickering, meanwhile, is happy that the old facades were simply covered up instead of being ripped off the buildings as occurred with several structures downtown.
“There was so much modernization in the mid-century,” Pickering said. “It was all about new materials and new looks. To discover these facades we lost so much to the Urban Renewal era in the 1960s and 1970s, to have it emerge like this, is fantastic. It gives us a glimpse of what we had. And hopefully it will encourage people to save what else we still have.”
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It gives us a glimpse of what we had. And hopefully it will encourage people to save what else we still have.”