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PHOENIX-Two Phoenix businessmen team on an adaptive reuse of a 1931-vintage Art Deco office building into a boutique hotel and condo project. Developer Fred Unger and partner Mark Doerflein have closed the buy, spending $3.24 million for the mostly vacant 15 E. Monroe in downtown Phoenix amid plans to pump upward of $30 million into the project.

Monroe Property Partners LLC is the buying entity for the 130,000-sf, 12-story building that will be named the Monroe. Art Cunningham of Phoenix-based Cunningham Real Estate and Kelly McKone of the Phoenix office of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona Inc. brokered the sale.

Cunningham tells GlobeSt.com that the developers are putting upward of $30 million into the renovation. The plan is to deliver a 56-room hotel, 26 condominiums, full-service restaurant as well as other dining and retail space. The hotel is being gamed out as four-star quality.

Cunningham emphasized plans are preliminary at this stage, but clearly the Art Deco characteristics will remain intact. Allan & Philp Architects of Scottsdale holds the design contract. Interior designers and construction contractors have yet to be selected. Cunningham says the ground-breaking is a long way down the road. although a grand opening is eyed for sometime in 2004.

The property was on the market at least a year by seller, 15 East Monroe, a locally based LLC. It was the former headquarters for Valley National Bank, now Bank One, and a downtown historic landmark within walking distance of Bank One Ballpark, America West Arena and the theater district.

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