As city officials and a raft of builders milled around at an open house last week, one thing was clear — major development in north Scottsdale is on the way.
The event was meant to help acquaint the community with four large-scale projects in the works: One Scottsdale, Silverstone, the Senior Living Community at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort and the final phases of DC Ranch.
For many, these projects, which altogether will cover thousands of acres and cost a couple billion dollars, are coming to a head now because residential growth in the area has reached critical mass.
It’s the opposite of the adage “If you build it, they will come.” The residents already have come and now builders and government officials believe it’s time to provide the businesses to support them.
“I think if there was any kind of a general observation you can make, it’s with the growth of residential, you need commercial services,” said Robin Meinhart, Scottsdale planning department spokeswoman. “It’s basically some of the last vacant parcels in Scottsdale and they were identified to support the residential in that area.”
North Scottsdale residents generally prefer to keep the rural feeling of the area, she said. These four developments not only add to the residential housing stock, but provide pockets of commercial use instead of strips through the community, which help preserve the area’s character, she said.
“All in all, I think people are pleased with the quality of what is going in there,” Meinhart said.
The most ambitious project is the $1.5 billion One Scottsdale complex, a proposed 120-acre commercial, residential and office complex at Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road.
One Scottsdale is expected to include 1.8 million square feet of commercial, retail and office space, 400 resort and hotel rooms, and 1,100 residential units.
The project is being developed by DMB Associates.
Karrin Taylor, DMB’s vice president of entitlements, said residential growth and the proximity to major transit corridors, particularly Loop 101, have helped drive large-scale development.
“The commercial marketplace is pretty sophisticated. The current interest is telling us that the market is ready for it,” she said. “We’re getting to that maturity point in terms of population growth.”
Another major project, just to the north of One Scottsdale, is the $225 million Silverstone development. Silverstone will rise on the 60-acre site formerly occupied by the Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse.
Rawhide was sold to the Gila River Indian Community and moved to Wild Horse Pass, near Chandler. But its former haunt, at 23023 N. Scottsdale Road, will have 976 homes, including the luxury senior living center, Classic Residences by Hyatt; restaurants and shops; a park in and adjacent to Rawhide Wash; a fire station; and a public library.
Silverstone is expected to be completed in late 2008 or early 2009.
Dave Roderique, Scottsdale’s economic vitality director, said the commercial real estate market remains hot.
Commercial development adds to the city’s tax base and provides jobs, he said.
“I think it’s a continued boost to the economy. Scottsdale is doing very well economically,” he said.
The number of residents in north Scottsdale has reached a tipping point, Roderique added.
“They’ve got the residential growth now and once that reaches a certain level, you see a demand for commercial development,” he said.
Another development containing both commercial and residential uses, the Senior Living Community at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, is in the works.
The site sits on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Princess Boulevard.
Plans call for 406 apartments with assisted living services for seniors. Construction could begin in the spring.
Finally, the massive DC Ranch, also developed by DMB Associates, is reaching the final phases of its 10-year development.
About one-third of its nearly 8,300 acres, situated east of Pima Road at Thompson Peak Parkway, lend to the development, which began in the late 1990s and is scheduled to continue into next year.
DC Ranch ultimately is expected to have about 2,700 homes and two private clubs and golf courses — The Country Club at DC Ranch and The Silverleaf Club — in addition to community centers, parks, schools, restaurants, retail and services.