La Roca razed as overpass looms

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Five months after Maricopa City Council voted to demolish it, the former La Roca nightclub bit the dust.

The building, which was on the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road, was condemned and acquired by the city for $240,000 last year.

The building went through asbestos remediation the first week of March after the city received National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. All utilities with meters were removed from the site except Southwest Gas.

Public Works Director Bill Fay said there was unexpected bureaucracy involved in getting the gas meter removed, but it was deactivated.

The lot is to be covered in decomposed granite, the fencing pulled down, “and they’ll water the trees once in a while,” Fay said.

The palm trees were originally to be taken down as well, but Fay said leaving them for the time being creates the aesthetics of a park on the now-empty lot. When it is time to remove the trees, they will try to relocate them.

“The parks department is looking in on them and the streets department is watering them,” he said.

La Roca nightclub closed in 2012.

Maricopa acquired the building for the purpose of tearing it down. Though the American Legion requested a chance to see if the empty building would suit its meeting needs, the council voted in October to demolish it.

Considered to have too many problems to rehabilitate in a cost-effective manner, La Roca also sat in the potential path of a proposed overpass intended to carry traffic over the railroad tracks.

For now, Fay said, the intent is to do nothing with the lot until there is further progress on the grade separation.

“We thought the grade separation would happen, figuratively, a lot farther down the road, maybe 10 years,” Fay said.

So the city planned an interim traffic solution at Honeycutt Road and State Route 347 to relieve some traffic at that intersection. That involved acquiring La Roca and some strips of frontage property along Honeycutt. That solution was at 60 percent design when the grade separation for the overpass was approved.

“Mayor [Christian] Price working with the State Transportation Board was able to get that moving a lot sooner than was expected,” Fay said.

That canceled the temporary fix, but the acquired properties were still needed because they were in the area assumed to be impacted by the grade separation.

When the grade-separation design reaches 30 percent, the alignment of the overpass will be locked in.

That is when the city will start “talking turkey” with businesses that will definitely be impacted by the change, Fay said.