Scottsdale is poised to pay additional millions of dollars buying high-priced land to help the city keep such lucrative events as the FBR Open golf tournament and the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction. The properties have a combined appraised value of more than $36 million.
Less than three months after spending $47 million for state trust land near the city’s WestWorld events center, Scottsdale officials are expected to be at Thursday’s auction of four state properties in the same area. The properties have a combined appraised value of more than $36 million.
In September, the city outbid four major developers for 80 acres north of Bell Road at 94th Street to provide parking and other support services for the car auction, golf tournament, Arabian horse show and other events.
The city estimates the Barrett-Jackson event generates about $73 million in spending during its annual weeklong stay at WestWorld.
The annual FBR Open is played at the nearby Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale, drawing about 500,000 spectators and bringing in more than $50 million to the local economy, said Dave Roderique, manager of the city’s economic vitality department.
At least five real estate investment and development interests have registered to bid at Thursday’s auction of 84 acres close to WestWorld. More could yet sign up.
The Scottsdale City Council has authorized city representatives to bid.
The largest of the four parcels is 52 acres. Another is about 18 acres and the other two are each just over 7 acres.
The State Land Department will auction off each parcel separately, then offer to sell all the parcels as a single package. The bidding would start at the combined amount of high bids made for the individual parcels, said Richard Hubbard, deputy state land commissioner.
The total price is likely to exceed the appraised value of $36 million. The state has seen record prices paid for its trust land in north Scottsdale and north Phoenix in the past few years.
Bids at the September auction for land near WestWorld were raised more than 100 times, driving the final cost for Scottsdale to $20 million more than the property’s appraised value.
"Land is always a good investment," Mayor Mary Manross said, calling the purchase crucial to protecting the city’s tourism industry.
"We want to make sure we are in the driver’s seat as far as the future of those events is concerned," she said.
City officials have met regularly with representatives of the Barrett-Jackson auction and the FBR Open to discuss the anticipated needs of the popular events, Manross said.
She declined to say if the city plans to bid on individual parcels at Thursday’s auction or attempt to acquire all the acreage.
"We have a strategy and we always have a Plan B" if the city fails to bid successfully, she said.
The two largest of the four parcels up for auction have "theme park" zoning that allows commercial, entertainment and public-event uses, said city spokeswoman Robin Meinhart.
WestWorld has the same type of zoning.
The two smaller parcels are zoned for residential use, allowing for one housing unit each on lots of roughly three quarters of an acre.
Revenue from state land sales primarily helps fund public schools.