100 Year Old North Central Home Slated for Demolition

The William F. McElroy House

The William F. McElroy House

As many of you may be aware, the beautiful home at 7019 N. Central Avenue is at risk of demolition. The owners of the William F. McElroy home, have a pending offer for the purchase of their home from a developer, contingent upon approval for demolition. A demolition permit has been requested and the mandatory 30 day hold that began on 4-26-19.

The William F. McElroy house was built in 1926 and is a significant example of the development of North Central Phoenix in the early years of statehood. The home is characteristic of the estate parcels on Central Avenue with over an acre of land with substantial front yard set backs of 150’. The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation has this home listed as “historically significant” and is pursuing a historic overlay that will protect the home for future generations.

The NCPHA’s volunteer board of directors strongly support private property rights. However, as stewards of this great neighborhood for over forty years, we take the responsibility of protecting it from inappropriate development very seriously. This development, be it approved, will greatly change the unique character of North Central and have a negative impact on home values surrounding the parcel.

The NCPHA Board of Directors unanimously supports the initiation of a historic overlay and opposes demolition of this home. Here are a few facts that have led to this decision.

15 Plus Acres Lost to Development

In recent years, North Central Phoenix has lost roughly 15 acres of property to development. Examples, similar to this home, that held historical significance, but were not protected by a historic overlay. Developments include:

  • 130 E. Missouri Avenue - eight homes of no architectural significance built on a three acre property filled with trees and a red brick Tudor style home that included a pool, tennis courts and guest house.

  • 4 West Frier Drive - four new architecturally insignificant homes on 2 1/4 acres. The original home had nearly a 200’ set back from Central Avenue. That will be replaced by a wall.

  • 2 West Marlette - four homes now occupy a 1.2 acre lot that once had single significant adobe home with over 150’ set back.

  • 301 W. Frier Drive - The Kaler-Stephenson House was listed on the National and Arizona Register of Historic Homes.

These are just a few recent examples that are changing the character of North Central.

Environmental and Ecosystem Impact

North Central Phoenix has one of the highest percentage of shade canopy coverage -17%-in the city. In 2010, the City of Phoenix adopted the Tree and Shade Master Plan, that maps progress toward a 25% shade canopy coverage by 2030. .As you can see by the aerial photo below*, there are in excess of 50 mature trees on this property. If development is approved, these trees will be removed to make way for construction.

In addition to pollution and temperature control, what is the impact to the bird and wildlife population?

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Sense of Community and Preserving History

The proposed demolition and envisioned development violates the intent, purpose, policy and spirit of the North Central Phoenix Special Planning District Overlay. The SPD was created by residents in 2004, to encourage preservation of the large lot, single family residential character. If you are not familiar with the SPD, follow this link to view it.

Currently, the out-of-state owners, who were gifted the house in 1996, are "claiming" an economic hardship. The home has been on and off the market several times with double market value asking prices. Numerous people have wanted to purchase and restore this home. However, the absentee owners have been seeking a developer (and developer prices) over the last 20 years.  We believe this "economic hardship" and major state of disrepair are self-imposed by the property owners.

Please join us in supporting the Historic overlay and opposing the demolition of this neighborhood gem. Here’s how you can help:

How You Can Help

Email or write your comments to Historic Preservation, Mayor Kate Gallego, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Councilwoman Debra Stark and the addresses below. Reference The William F. McElroy home at 7019 N. Central Avenue. Clearly state you are in SUPPORT of a historic overlay and OPPOSE the demolition of this home. Tell your story, what is important to you about North Central, why did you move here or did you grow up in the neighborhood.

Historic Preservation                historic@phoenix.gov Mayor Kate Gallego                           mayor.gallego@phoenix.gov Councilman Sal DiCiccio                   council.district.6@phoenix.gov Councilwoman Debra Stark              council.district.3@phoenix.gov

Plan to attend the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Monday, May 20th at 4:30pm at City Council Chambers at 200 W. Jefferson. Upon arrival please fill out a yellow card in SUPPORT of the historic overlay.

On behalf of the NCPHA and the many residents of this verdant oasis, thank you for your support.