Nothing says Scottsdale like a fancy art gallery, a popular cafe and a mystery bookstore called The Poisoned Pen.
Put the three Scottsdale businesses under one roof and you’ve got a hip, all-purpose destination in downtown Phoenix called Bentley Projects.
Located at 215 E. Grant St. just south of Chase Field — formerly known as Bank One Ballpark — Bentley Projects is a 27,000-square-foot brick warehouse in which entrepreneurs are trying to reach a new audience and cash in on the growth of downtown Phoenix.
The businesses are Bentley Gallery, The Poisoned Pen and the City Bakery, which is owned by Arcadia Farms Café. Bentley and Poisoned Pen opened in downtown Scottsdale 16 years ago, while Arcadia has been in Scottsdale for 15 years.
Two of the businesses opened in the downtown Phoenix warehouse in January; Arcadia set up shop in May.
"It’s a little piece of Scottsdale in downtown Phoenix," said Bentley coowner Glen Lineberry. "We’ve joked about running a Scottsdale flag up the pole."
However, Bentley Projects is not in a highly visible location and has experienced some success only recently.
The Poisoned Pen had been losing money until the last couple of months, when business really picked up, said owner Barbara Peters.
"It had a slow start," she said. "And signage is still not up, so it’s hard to find. A lot of people call us desperately from cell phones, looking for us."
The slow start was anticipated, she said.
"I figured we were urban pioneers and we would have to support it for a year or two before it started to pay off."
Lineberry said he knew Bentley Projects would be slow going at first.
"We’re here before it makes sense to be here," he said. "But two or three years from now, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it."
The business owners are expecting to take advantage of downtown Phoenix, which is seeing residents moving into urban lofts and new businesses springing up.
The owners also are making the most of their partnership by coordinating book signings, gallery openings and other events with each other.
When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., visits The Poisoned Pen on Dec. 20 to sign his latest book, Bentley will help hire security guards and will offer gallery space for what is expected to be a large audience. City Bakery will be selling its salads and sandwiches.
"It’s more than going to lunch to eat," said Phoenix resident Kelly Stephens, who was eating at the bakery Friday. "You can get a little culture, too."