City of Tempe Works To Preserve and Redevelop Hayden Flour Mill

Just off the Loop 202 on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, the Hayden Flour Mill is one of Tempe’s most iconic buildings. It is among the primary reasons the city of Tempe exists today.
For decades the property has sat vacant, a glimpse of what was once so. The City of Tempe wants to keep the Hayden Flour Mill a landmark for future generations. The current building dates to 1918 but other mills have been on the site since 1874.

The city has protected Hayden Butte, also known as “A Mountain,” by designating anything above the elevation of 1180 feet mean sea level as the cut-off for any sort of development.

In September, the City of Tempe issued a Request for Proposal regarding the 5-acre Hayden Flour Mill property in September. The City of Tempe received two submissions for the Hayden Flour Mill Request for Proposal. After evaluations, on Feb. 10, 2022, the City entered into negotiations with Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings for a development agreement for the property.

The proposed plan includes will include specialty retail food and beverage, arts, and hospitality.

“The intersection of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway is a key gateway to our downtown. A future flour mill development could bring high quality jobs, great new restaurants and businesses,” Economic Development Director Donna Kennedy said in a press release.

There will be opportunities for local residents, businesses, and historic organizations to give input into the development plans.

“Development that values the history of the Hayden Flour Mill, the cultural significance of Hayden Butte Preserve and the well-being of our residents can truly benefit our whole city,” Mayor Corey Woods said in a press release.

The project will be completed in phases over the next few years once the City Council approves the agreement.

Hayden Flour Mill History
(Information provided by the City of Tempe)

Hayden Flour Mill is a relic of our agricultural past, when Tempe was a small town surrounded by miles of farmland and anchored, economically, by the processing and marketing of grain, cotton, fruit, vegetable, and dairy products. Like the creamery complex on East 8th Street, Hayden Flour Mill ranked among the prominent agricultural industries in the Valley. It purchased most of the grain grown in Central Arizona and milled many of Arizona’s best known flours: Sifted SnowArizona Rose, and Family Kitchen among them.

As it stands today, the mill remains the oldest cast-in-place, reinforced concrete building in Tempe. Constructed in 1918, it replaced an earlier adobe mill lost to fire in 1917. This earlier mill, built in 1895, had itself replaced the original 1874 Hayden Flour Mill, also lost to fire. The current building was designed to be fire-proof; its architects and builders used techniques developed in the wake of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. The grain elevator and silos east of the mill were constructed in 1951 and remained the tallest structures in Tempe until 2007.

On April 1, 1998, Bay State Milling ceased milling operations at Hayden Flour Mill, ending the longest run of continuous use for an industrial building in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

Hayden Flour Mill Timeline

1874 – First mill built
1998 – Bay State closes the Hayden Flour Mill
2001 – MCW Holdings buys Hayden Flour Mill
2003 – City buys mill from MCW Holdings
2006 – Tempe Flour Mill LLC receives development rights to Hayden Flour Mill. They expired.
2011 – City of Tempe does light restoration of mill and grounds
2014 – Baum receives rights to Hayden Flour Mill. They expired.
2021 – City of Tempe issues RFP for new developer. Two responses were received from the team of Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings as well as DMB Associates.
Feb. 10, 2022 – City of Tempe enters negotiations with Venue Projects and Sunbelt Holdings to create a development agreement to redevelop the flour mill site.

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