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PHOENIX-Once one of the world’s largest stockyards, the landmark building along Washington Street next year is set to become something else–a mixed-use office and industrial project.

Former ranchers turned developers, brothers Mike and Gary Smith, are set to break ground in November on an ambitious $12-million project to turn the 7.2-acre site into 99,000 sf of office and industrial space while preserving its historic character. “It’s not a huge project,” Gary Smith tells GlobeSt.com, “but it’s certainly a signature project and a unique project.”

The brothers’ development firm, the Jokake Cos., will oversee the project. The plan is to surround an existing 20,000-sf structure, now home to the Stockyards Restaurant and Cattlemen’s Club, with three new buildings on the 5001 E. Washington St. tract.

Maintaining the site’s historic character was an important consideration for the pair, who purchased the property in July for $2.4 million. The existing building has been around since the 1940s when it was one of the world’s largest stockyards, where 40,000 head of cattle roamed the surrounding 200 acres. The building burned around 1953, but was rebuilt a year later to include a restaurant that served the cattlemen working the Livestock Exchange.

“It just resonated with us to maintain a historical site like the Stockyards,” says Smith, who can still recall passing the feedlot on the way to his family’s cattle ranch about 50 miles south of the city before it closed in 1972.

The new development, appropriately named “The Stockyards,” will contain a 40,000-sf industrial building and two office structures with 8,000 sf and 33,000 sf. The existing Stockyard building will remain a restaurant, but 15,000 sf of it will become Jokake’s new headquarters.

As part of the brothers’ plans to maintain the historic integrity of the site, the pair also has asked the city to designate the property as a historic site. That designation could come early next year, well before the project’s scheduled September completion.

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