For nearly a decade, Gina Thomson and David Shafer have been working together.
The owner of Nuido Embroidery, Thomson does all the embroidery work for Shafer’s own business, Flagtown Prints. But now the two friends and business partners are working on another project: a new development on South San Francisco Street.
The $2.3 million project called Flagtown Lofts is filling the lot, which has been vacant for years across from the Sunshine Mission. It is slated for completion this summer.
Thomson has owned the property since 2007 and Shafer had long told her she should do something with it.
“She had mentioned that she owned this piece of property downtown and I said, ‘Gina, you should do something with it.’ And she said, ‘David, I am too old to do something with it,’” Shafer said.
Instead, Thomson always said she was just waiting until someone offered her a million dollars for the property.
But that changed when an offer was finally made and a developer from Los Angeles offered her half a million dollars cash for the property.
“He was doing this wherever there was a university. He was buying up chunks of land and building stuff and making bongo bucks off the kids and I said, ‘You know, I just don’t want that to be what happens,’” Thomson said.
Thomson said the experience made her start to think harder about what she wanted the future of the property to be. So three years ago, Thomson decided to sell Shafer half the property and begin the process of development.
But both Thomson and Shafer said they want Flagtown Lofts to be an improvement for the community.
Shafer said he and Thomson have lived in Flagstaff a long time. Shafer’s family in particular has been in the city since 1914 and his grandmother built a house on San Francisco Street, living in it most of her life.
“We have a long history in this community, and so when we decided to put the project together, it’s to benefit the community and everyone involved,” Shafer said. “And what’s cool is we’re local people. There’s not a whole lot of local owners in this town and we feel fortunate.”
The 6,400-square-foot Flagtown Lofts development will be three stories in height. About 2,100 square feet of that is commercial space on the ground floor.
The second and third floors will then contain six residential units, which they plan to rent as vacation rentals. Two of those units will be one bedroom, one bathroom while the four remaining units will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, Shafer said.
When it comes to the commercial space, Shafer said they don’t have an occupant yet, but he would love to have it become a bodega or small grocer that could serve the neighborhood. But Shafer added he doesn’t know if that will happen.
Nonetheless, he said they have received quite a bit of interest and are meeting with two potential occupants next week.
Shafer said he and Thomson are also doing much of the work to furnish the building themselves. Shafer is building the countertops and coffee tables and much of the furniture while Thomson is embroidering the bedding for the units.