Urban Scottsdale: City Council approves 1,600 apartments

Scottsdale’s two emerging urban corridors — in the south near Old Town and in the north near Scottsdale Airport — will get another influx of residents after the City Council on Tuesday approved three multi-story development projects with space for a combined 1,600 apartments.

The council unanimously approved zoning changes for two complexes in south Scottsdale, where rising property values and millions of dollars in private investment have led to the gentrification of an area long known for its vacancies and blight. The new projects will replace shuttered auto dealerships.

Meanwhile, a proposal to build a high-end apartment complex near Scottsdale Quarter, where rent is among the highest in metro Phoenix, drew a mixed reaction from council members and narrowly passed on a 4-3 vote. Vice Mayor Kathy Littlefield and councilmen Guy Phillips and David Smith opposed the project.

The City Council has approved development plans and zoning requests to make way for nearly 7,000 new apartments since the start of 2013, but rarely are multiple large-scale complexes considered at one meeting. A half-dozen other multifamily residential projects proposed this year still await council action.

District at the Quarter
Kaplan Management Co. plans to build a four-story complex with 622 apartments and a small amount of commercial space at the northeastern corner of Greenway-Hayden Loop and 73rd Street, about a half-mile from Scottsdale Airport.

(Photo: City of Scottsdale)

Kaplan Management Co. plans to build a four-story complex with 622 apartments and a small amount of commercial space at the northeastern corner of Greenway-Hayden Loop and 73rd Street, about a half-mile from Scottsdale Airport.

District at the Quarter will feature a full-service restaurant with room service for tenants, a fitness center that is open to the public, an indoor golf simulator, free daily breakfast, a pet spa, a gaming lounge, valet parking and trash service, according to Paul Gilbert, an attorney representing Kaplan.

The complex also will have underground parking and five interior courtyards with fountains, televisions, barbecues, two pools, a fire pit and a putting green, according to development plans.

“It’s not going to add to the cachet, it’s going to detract from it. If you do it time and time again, Scottsdale’s not going to be as special as it was.”

Councilman David Smith

While there was no visible public opposition to the project, three council members took issue with its density and the potential over-saturation of apartments in an area where several new complexes have opened or are under construction.

"I can’t imagine anybody even wanting to put more apartments there," said Phillips, who voted against the zoning change. "Ten years from now when somebody says, ‘What person allowed all these apartments to be built here?’ I can say it wasn’t me."

Smith called the project a "densely-developed housing compound" that will not add to Scottsdale’s "cachet." Apartments could bring more residents into Scottsdale who make less than the city’s typical household income, he said.

"It’s not going to add to the cachet, it’s going to detract from it," Smith said. "If you do it time and time again, Scottsdale’s not going to be as special as it was."

Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp, who voted with the council majority in favor of the project, said small-business owners in and around the airport are ecstatic about the new apartment complexes, which bring the potential for a larger customer base.

"I think we have these old-school perceptions of what apartments are," Klapp said. "I think some people believe that apartment-dwellers are maybe second-class citizens because they don’t own property. I beg to differ."

Scottsdale Entrada
Scottsdale Entrada, a mixed-use project propsed at 64th Street and McDowell Road in Scottsdale, could bring offices, condos, shops and a hotel to the former site of five auto dealerships.

A plan to redevelop the former Scottsdale Auto Park at the northeastern corner of 64th Street and McDowell Road, meanwhile, could include up to 750 apartments or condos, although it remains too early to know how many will get built.

The 23-acre Scottsdale Entrada site at the western gateway into Scottsdale near the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo was once a key piece of south Scottsdale’s prosperous "Motor Mile." The complex drifted into vacancy over the past decade as dealers sought new locations closer to major freeways.

The developer, SunChase Holdings, envisions a cluster of three- and four-story buildings around a central park, connected by public plazas and palm-lined streets. Parking likely would be underground or in multilevel garages. A handful of retail stores would provide shopping and dining for residents and employees.

Construction may not begin for more than a year, and specific building designs will still require city approval. Conceptual plans show space for 300 to 750 condos or apartments at Scottsdale Entrada. That could translate to more than 1,000 residents.

SunChase will not develop roughly 5 acres of open space on the north side of the project, where trees and shrubs provide a buffer between the auto park and the adjacent Hy-View neighborhood. The developer plans to add improved landscaping to the area as part of Scottsdale Entrada’s first phase.

New zoning approved unanimously by the council will allow up to 250 hotel rooms and requires a minimum of 250,000 square feet of office space.

Alta Osborn
The Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 approved zoning for a 277-unit apartment complex on Scottsdale Road north of Earll Drive called Alta Osborn.

Atlanta-based Wood Partners, which has developed several multifamily residential projects in metro Phoenix, plans to build a four-story, 277-unit complex on Scottsdale Road north of Earll Drive, about a half-mile from the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.

Alta Osborn will replace the shuttered Luxor Auto Group dealership and an adjacent auto-repair shop, according to development plans. The complex will include a pool area, 7,000-square-foot clubhouse and 3,000-square-foot fitness center.

Residential units, which could be apartments or condos, range from about 650 square feet to about 1,300 square feet. The council on Tuesday approved a change from commercial zoning to downtown zoning, which allows for the construction of residential units.

It’s unclear how much rent be at the new complexes. Some of the new luxury apartments recently built in Scottsdale range from $1,500 a month for a studio to $4,000 for a two-bedroom unit.

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