Scottsdale seeks next tenant of Noriega Livery Stable

The Noriega Livery Stable is in Old Town Scottsdale at 3806 N. Brown Ave. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

City officials are requesting proposals for a space on one of downtown Scottsdale’s historic properties — the Noriega Livery Stable.

Issued Monday, July 24, the city’s tourism, events and real estate departments are seeking proposals for a three-year revocable license agreement for a 3,125-square-foot space at 3806 N. Brown Ave.

Donning a horse-stable mural on its interior south wall and embedded with a rich western back-story, the space is now occupied by Scottsdale Arts. The in-resident artist lease expires in November, prompting the solicitation for a new tenant.

The small tan building, sitting on the southeast corner of a parking lot and space utilized for a weekly Downtown Scottsdale Farmers Market, was purchased by the city from Gerbacio “Harvey” Noriega — also identified as the man riding a wild bronc pictured on the city of Scottsdale seal.

Gerbacio “Harvey” Noriega (photo by Scottsdale Historical Society)

Mr. Noriega purchased the property in the 1930s and lived on there until his death at the age of 104 in 1998.

Mr. Noriega and his wife, Guadalupe Valdez, built two homes on Brown Avenue where they raised four children, earning them the title of one of Scottsdale’s original families.

In the mid-1990s the municipality approached the cowboy with an offer to buy his home.

“Harvey was very willing, but he was 100 years old and in poor health and did not want to have to move,” Scottsdale Historical Society member Eleanor Brierley said in a July 26 prepared statement.

When then-Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater found out Mr. Noriega’s reasoning for not wanting to sell, he arranged for the city to buy the property while Mr. Noriega continued living there.

“He was in poor health and I’m sure Herb thought it was just a matter of a few months, but Harvey had the last laugh. He lived four more years,” Ms. Brierley explained.

Shortly after, the home was demolished and the stable and livery were built keeping Mr. Noriega’s spirit alive in the “West’s Most Western Town.”

The area now lends itself to the horse carriages operating in downtown during the tourism season and is looking for its next tenant.

“What we’re looking for is a creative, attractive, cultural or entertainment experience that is compatible with the area and attracts visitors to the space and downtown,” Tourism Development Manager Steve Geiogamah said in a July 25 phone interview, noting the open-space characteristics.

Mr. Geiogamah says the city is simply looking for a creative use of the space, and wants people to understand the space and the goals attached.

The area is a large rectangular room with a separated office/storage space, the RFP application states, and has no water or interior plumbing.

A 9 a.m. Aug. 16 pre-proposal and walk-through meeting will be held for potential applicants.

“We wanted people to have an understanding, what the area looks like, and whether it fits,” Mr. Geiogamah said. “We’ll begin our review soon after that and hopefully take it to council in November.”

Mr. Noriega was the lead wrangler and foreman at DC Ranch — a 42,000-acre collection of corrals and cattle stations.

Independent records show that when local artist Gene Pennington sat down to design the city seal, one striking image came to mind.

“Penning was the daughter of E.E. Brown, who owned DC Ranch and employed Noriega. The men were a team and Pennington spent her youth watching them herd and brand cattle, train horses and scratch a living out of the north Scottsdale desert,” Scottsdale public affairs manager Mike Phillips wrote in a September 2016 story. “Pennington once told a reporter that Noriega was her ‘mental image of what a real cowboy looked like.’”

RFP’s for the property are due 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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