Uptown Plaza in Phoenix goes retro

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Phoenix's Uptown Plaza is bringing back the past. The Uptown Plaza, anchored by AJ's Fine Foods at Central and Camelback, is about to get a makeover -- or -- make-under.

Underneath layers of stucco from the 70's, developers found 60-year-old brick from Phoenix's earlier days.

"I'm pretty fired up. We love this neighborhood, love Central and Camelback, love all the other projects that are happening too. There are so many people coming over here with the same passion the same quality," said founding partner Craig DeMarco of Upward Projects.

He can't wait to bring a new business into the new and retro Uptown Plaza. "We decided that all the people that lived around here cared a lot about this neighborhood. They were organized, they were working with their HOAs, they cared about historic homes, and we thought that would be a really great place to nestle some cool spots in here," said Lauren Bailey, founding partner of Upward Projects.

Upward Projects has Joyride Tacos, Windsor, Federal Pizza, Postino, and Churn on Central and Oregon, just a few blocks north of Uptown Plaza. DeMarco and Bailey hope with some construction of steel awnings, water features, and a community green space, the new and improved Uptown Plaza will not only be a throwback to Phoenix's past but a catalyst for the city's future.

"The city has changed but our idea is how do we take it back to 1955 because if you could do that and make it look like it did then as well as bring in fresh tenants and local food and create a destination that just extends what has already happened on Central, this could be amazing," said Walter Crutchfield of Vintage Partners commercial real estate development.