Phoenix, Arizona’s Chinese Cultural Center was a shopping mall. It was built in 1997 by BNU Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, a state-run corporation of the People’s Republic of China, and is located at 668 North 44th Street on the northeastern side of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. COFCO sold the Center to investor David Tedesco in 2017 and it was renovated into a huge retail/office complex.
Architecture and Garden
A faux Chinese roof with Imperial roof decorations was affixed to the main structure. Fake Chinese gardens and replicas of ancient Chinese pagodas and statues could be found on the complex’s east side. In September of 2017, the garden was closed to the public.
Businessman David Tedesco purchased the property in 2017 through his development company, 668 North. The center and garden were demolished in 2019. All cultural elements were preserved and donated to the local community by 668 North.
The roof of the Phoenix Chinese Cultural Center was built by the “XiangShang Bang” craft masters, who inherited the same technique and materials used in their ancestors’ design and construction of the Forbidden City. In November 2017, President Trump paid a visit to China and marveled at the Forbidden City’s 600-year-old roof. 668 North LLC referred to the Chinese Cultural Center’s 20-year-old roof as “aging,” and fought in court to have the entire roof replaced with residential adobe tile for this commercial building. Their behavior demonstrates either a lack of understanding or a hostile attitude toward Chinese heritage and culture.
The Phoenix Chinese Cultural Center, also known as the COFCO center, was erected by the initial owner with the help of community volunteers and donations from local Chinese immigrants, as well as city of Phoenix government backing. Special materials and resources were brought in from China, and professional Chinese craftsmen worked for years to make this one of North America’s most stunning Chinese Cultural Centers. The Wall of Honor, which has become a Phoenix landmark and part of Arizona’s history, is engraved with the names of donors.
In June 2017, 668 North LLC, a subsidiary of Scottsdale-based True North Companies, purchased 95% of the condo units. Since December 1998, Szechwan Palace Restaurant has acquired another 5% of the units. 668 North LLC plans to remove all features associated with Chinese culture and history from the exterior of the buildings in the common area, completely disregarding the property rights of other owners, in order to construct standard “modern” office buildings. While they recognize the Center’s historical significance and have offered to remove the garden artifacts, we want to save the Chinese Cultural Center as a whole. Complete disassembly and restoration of the center’s herita would be impossible. It would be impossible to fully disassemble and restore the center’s heritage at another location.
Phoenix, Arizona is blessed to be the home of so many amazing historical landmarks. Here’s a short list of our favorites:
- Camelback Mountain
- Arizona State Fair
- Heritage Square Phoenix
- Canaan in the Desert
- Gila River War Relocation Center
- Hunt’s Tomb
- Steele Indian School Park
- Tovrea Castle
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location located at 7319 North 16th Street in Phoenix, Arizona! Stop by for a visit anytime!
By Azwatchdog – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5816262