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Historic Paper Heart building in central Phoenix catches fire

The Paper Heart building has been on West Grand Avenue for over six decades.

PHOENIX — Firefighters are working to extinguish a fire at the historic Paper Heart building on West Grand Avenue near Van Buren Street in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Fire Department first reported the fire around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Officials have not said how the fire started or the extent of any damages to the building. 

Phoenix fire officials described the building as an "abandoned religious center."

The structure was designed by Victor Gruen, an Austrian architect known as the father of American shopping malls. 

The building was originally used as a Quebedeaux Chevrolet dealership throughout the 1950s and 60s. The establishment was vacant for some time after many businesses left the downtown Phoenix area in the 70s and 80s. 

From the early to mid-2000s, the building became known as the Paper Heart Gallery where intimate performances were held. A Paper Heart mural stayed in place on the northwest side of the building long after it was no longer a venue.

The property is currently owned by Phoenix-based bed-in-a-box seller Tuft & Needle that merged with mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding in 2018.

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