North Park Central Units 1-5 building began in 1949 and ended in 1952; built by Bella Vista Properties, a California Corporation, known for a short time as La Mar Homes, Inc.
In an old photograph, the land that North Park Central was built on was cow pastures for a dairy farm. The main buildings for the farm was located where Bashas grocery now sits at 7 th Avenue and Osborn.
A.J. Burgbacher, VP and R.G. Burgbacher, Secretary of Bella Vista Properties built North Park Central. Description on Docket 711, Page 177. These builders were very significant to the development of Phoenix. Having the foresight to build, what was considered far out west of the city, they built Park Central Mall which was Phoenix’s first large scale mall. Park Central shopping center opened in 1951 on land belonging to R.G. Burgbacher. According to the Rotary Club of North Phoenix, “that changed the face of Phoenix forever.”
Henry Bradshaw paid the government 10 cents an acre for the property between Central and 7 th Ave., Catalina and Osborn and built the Central Avenue Dairy. Ten years later, Joseph Geare bought it for under $10 an acre. After lengthy negotiations with the Geare family, the Burgbacher brothers, along with Al Behrstock, purchased the Park Central site and an additional 100 acres lying west and north where North Park Central was built, for about 500 times what Geare paid. The brothers directed their first efforts to construct 360 homes on the land west of 7 th Avenue. North Park Central consisted of 252 of those homes.
Apartments, two medical buildings adjacent to St. Joseph’s Hospital; a hotel and restaurant and the exclusive Country Club Manor subdivision followed. Ralph Burgbacher became the 3rd president of the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. Some of these properties were later purchased by St. Joseph’s Hospital. St. Joseph’s Hospital opened in July of 1953.
Ralph Burgbacher was on St. Joseph’s Hospital Board and the family was a large contributor to the hospital.
The residential construction went on until the tenant leases and building contracts for the shopping center was signed. As Park Central Mall became a reality, the residential development was dropped.
When asked how Burgbacher came to decide on the dairy farm fields for his lunge into the shopping center business, “Well, I studied the local situation and saw the population density of the city was moving outward steadily,” he explained. “Skeptics did not see this trend or realize that it could not be stopped. The city merchandising center was leaving Washington and Central for areas farther out.” It’s a trend that has not halted since. “Today merchants go to their resident customers. It used to be the other way around.”
On December 27, 1950, Stanley Kuykendall and his wife Margaret deposited $200 as earnest money for the property at 1017 W. Mitchell Drive, the first house sold in North Park Central. The sale price was $9,650.00. For a current look at the home sale prices, look through the archives of the Newsletter link.
Today, our neighborhood includes 251 single family homes with approximately 750 residents. Our neighborhood association was formed in January of 1985 and we have been registered with the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Notification Office since November 29, 1990.
Our boundaries are North: 4000 N. Amelia Avenue, South: 3500 N. Mitchell Drive, East: 700 W. 7th Avenue and West: 1100 W. 11th Avenue.
On August 10, 2003, our neighborhood submitted historic property inventory forms, historical information, plat maps and photographs to City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. As of this date, no decision has been made by the Historic Preservation Office.