Developing Downtown

Niels Kreipke Talks About the Importance of Developing—and Preserving—Downtown Chandler

Since its beginning, Downtown Chandler has continuously evolved. In recent years, it’s been a delicate balance between respecting the past and making room for the present.

“Chandler was founded in 1912. Chandler now has almost 280,000 residents, according to Census data. Through all that time, the historic downtown area has seen tremendous growth and many different tenants. Despite all these changes, one thing has remained the same: the homage to its roots,” says Niels Kreipke, owner and founder of Desert Viking Development and Construction. “Historic buildings, like the Hotel San Marcos, have been honored and preserved. Therefore, as Chandler continues to grow, it is important to not only focus on development but also preserving the city.”

Dedicated to Local Development

Kreipke founded Desert Viking Development and Construction in 1997, and since then, he explains that he has been a part of the effort to redevelop Downtown Chandler into the vibrant entertainment and restaurant district it is today.

“As a developer in the city, I want to foster continued growth, while keeping the notes of history intact. I want to stay focused on local mom-and-pop-style businesses,” Kreipke explains. “It is a passion for me to help incubate small businesses and to see them succeed. The property owners in the Downtown area have stayed true to keeping the concepts local—which is helping make Downtown Chandler a true destination.”

“I have owned numerous properties in the area, as well as helped other owners restore their properties,” he adds. His ownership of historic properties over the years has included:

•               The Monroe Building: A.J. Chandler’s original office and Chandler’s first sound movie theater. It is now Recreo and 26 Gorillas’ office.

•               Suhwaro Hotel: Now Eastwind Sushi & Grill and Commit Agency.

•               The Old Post Office Building: Now Craft 64 pizzeria and Burns Law Office.

•               The Thomas Building: Now Pie Snob, Lifeline Barbershop, and other local businesses.

•               The Meat Locker Building: Now Motivated Mind Group.

•               The Sprouse-Reitz Building: Now Tipsy Egg and The Uncommon.

•               The Bank of Chandler Building: Now SanTan Brewery.

•               The Rowena Theater: Chandler’s first silent movie theater, it is now being renovated into a steakhouse.

•               Hotel Chandler: Now BlackSheep Wine Bar & Merchant.

Kreipke’s Desert Viking Development is a leading real estate development firm that often invests in historic properties.

“Across the United States, and here in Arizona, history has been torn down for generations for people to rebuild. However, landmarks play such a pivotal role in preserving the unique history and landscape of Arizona,” Kreipke says. “It is an honor that we get to work on restoring historic properties so generations to come can be transported back into stages of our beautiful state’s history. Saving historic properties is vital to a community’s culture and environmentally advantageous.”

In addition to historical properties, Desert Viking has developed ground-up commercial and residential sites across the Valley.

“These projects have ranged from small commercial additions and new builds to the construction of single-family homes and small subdivisions,” according to the company.

Recently, Desert Viking completed an urban infill 79-unit townhome development in Downtown Chandler known as San Marcos Commons.

“I’m [also] looking to expand efforts to the southern portion of Downtown Chandler along Arizona Avenue from Fry to Pecos,” Kreipke adds about other local projects that are in the works. “Recently, I purchased a former carniceria market and I am looking for more opportunities.”

These local projects are in addition to multiple other developments that Kreipke and his team have in the works across the Valley and the state.

When it comes to the Chandler community, Kreipke invests his time in addition to his talent.

“Giving back to the community is a priority,” he shares. “I have served as chairman of Chandler’s Architectural Review Committee, been president of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, and am a board member of the Arizona Preservation Foundation.”

He was also instrumental in getting the new Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as ICAN facilities in Chandler.

A Taste of Today and the Future

As many locals have noticed, Downtown Chandler has become a hotspot for delicious eateries. Kreipke and his team have been a part of this, bringing Tipsy Egg, The Uncommon, and Recreo to the area within the past few months.

“With the new restaurants popping up like Tipsy Egg, The Uncommon, and Recreo, Downtown Chandler is entering a new generation,” Kreipke says. “It [Downtown Chandler] is now a place where the sidewalks are alive at night, with a ton of entertainment options for visitors. I see Downtown Chandler continuing to move in this direction, making it the ever-growing Valley nightlife hot spot.”


The Latest (and Tastiest) Additions to Downtown Chandler

Desert Viking Development and Construction has been a part of bringing these three tasty must-try eateries to Downtown Chandler.

Recreo, which translates to ‘recess,’ is a playground-themed restaurant and bar. Located at 28 S. San Marcos Place, Recreo has can’t-miss vibes with a bus art installation, swinging seats at the outdoor bar, a shipping container stage suspended on the back patio, and twinkle lights. There are two large bars and various live music opportunities throughout the week.

“The concept will bring you back to the time when you daydreamed and played—providing you the opportunity to escape from your daily responsibilities,” says Kreipke. RecreoAZ.com

Tipsy Egg is a cocktail-forward-themed restaurant and bar. Located at 1 E. Boston St., this concept features specialty cocktails and brunch foods served amid a unique and dynamic mid-century modern design. Tipsy Egg provides a welcoming environment for any guest with its indoor/outdoor bar with patio misters. It features a menu that follows a “liquid brunch” theme, serving patrons elevated brunch drinks and food offerings.

“Tipsy Egg is bringing a wide range of all age groups and is a growing destination area for locals and out-of-town visitors,” Kreipke says. “We are excited to provide a unique and playful menu, a welcoming indoor/outdoor bar setting, and a menu that is anything but typical for our guests to enjoy.” TipsyEggChandler.com

The Uncommon, an eatery, bar, and arcade, is also located at 1 E. Boston St. The space has well-known throwbacks, including a Zoltar machine, shuffleboard, Skee-Ball, pinball, pong tables, a photo booth, bubble hockey, and many other video games. The delicious food is labeled with creative throwback names. The live music program brings you back to some of the popular songs from your past. 

“There isn’t a menu item that shouldn’t be tried here,” says Schuyler Estes, executive chef at The Uncommon. “A well-balanced and perfectly executed blend of offerings is key to the success of this menu.” UncommonChandler.com

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