Minder Binders will live, but hangout won’t look the same
Times were different in 1972 Tempe. The population of 65,000 was only 40 percent what it is today.
McClintock Road was the “edge of the frontier.”
So in 1971, when a huge, rambling, barnlike building started to rise on the northwestern corner of University Drive and McClintock, people were naturally curious.
What they discovered when the building opened for business in October 1972 was Minder Binders, a college-crowd delight with five funky bars, restaurant, dance floor and an outdoor sand volleyball pit.
Adding atmosphere to the two-story structure was an eclectic mix of antiques, Hollywood memorabilia, kitsch and junk.
With cheap beer and food, and pounding rock and roll, it’s no wonder it became an instant hit. And it remained so for three decades before suddenly closing in June 2005.
Just as people wondered about Minder Binders when it was under construction, now there were questions about its future.
Well, after eight years of deterioration, we finally know. Since May the old barn has been undergoing a transformation and will see better days ahead.
There’s good news and bad news. On the positive side, new owner Kristen Bell promises that the Mission @ Minder Binder will “bring back part of Tempe history,” retaining much of the character of the original’s interior.
For lovers of the barnlike look, the news is not as good. It is undergoing a major face-lift.
The plan, Bell says, is to “restore the original building along with expanding on the design and upgrading the exterior elevations with a Santa Fe style façade to bring a part of Arizona history back to life.”
What that means is the once giant red barn will now be a giant, stucco-covered Mission-style building.
Paramount Design & Consulting in Mesa has been hired to execute the new look, which it describes in this manner: “The Santa Fe style gives the appearance as if the structure was erected from the earth.”
To reduce the original cavernous look, PD&C says, “The building has been broken down into smaller spaces. The addition of large roll-up doors have been used to help create an open feeling.”
Bell expects to open sometime in 2014.