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Developer offers Phoenix Suns compromise over site

PHOENIX — A Valley developer said he may have a solution that could preserve some of the city’s history.

The St. James and Madison hotels in downtown Phoenix sit just west of US Airways Center. Phoenix historians said the buildings date to at least the 1920s and want them preserved.

But the buildings are owned by the Phoenix Suns, who want to put valet parking at the site.

Developer Michael Levine has an idea that he thinks is a win-win.

“A cool approach would be to leave the back 20 feet of the building, and the front 45 feet of the building, and actually drive through the buildings,” Levine said. “I think they would become architectural icons, and would become a destination for people coming to downtown.”

The buildings can stay, while the Suns would have their parking.

While not commenting on these particular buildings, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said the Suns are involved in talks about the area near the arena.

“We want that area, over time, to come to life. To mix the old and the new,” Stanton said. “Other cities have created real economic development, and, eventually, I want the same thing to happen to Phoenix.”

There’s no word on whether Suns owner Robert Sarver will accept Levine’s proposal.