By Bob Pejman | Free Press Point of View
In the last two Scottsdale City Council candidate forums, Barry Graham mentioned there were 10,000 apartment units in the “Pipeline” in Scottsdale, and two of the pro-growth candidates immediately dispelled the number as an exaggeration.
Why are the pro-growth candidates trying so hard to downplay the real pipeline number? They should be happy that the there is a large number of apartment units in the current pipeline to meet the current housing shortage they talk so much about.
We should have an honest conversation about the number and let the voters decide if they agree with the need to build thousands more apartments in Scottsdale after the ones in the pipeline are built.
Here is a definition of a construction pipeline I found: Projects at various stages prior to completion and occupation, not just the units under construction.
Scottsdale Development pipeline should include:
Projects approved and in various stages prior to completion: The city’s own list has about 9,100 units. But it appears they are omitting the projects with less than 50 Units. How many are there?
Zoning entitlements for projects such as One Scottsdale that have 1,250 units approved, and Fashion Square Rezoning, and others. Independent living apartments in the pipeline numbers show are just over 700 units. Categorized by “use,” they are multifamily apartments with a “minimal care” aspect.
About 2,400 units are currently pending zoning approval such as the new Optima (1,500 units) and others. This adds up to much more than the city’s pipeline number.
I believe this will have a negative effect of urbanizing Scottsdale which will ultimately impact our tourism industry. The best way of looking at this: The more we look like a city like Tempe, the less tourists will visit Scottsdale.
Just compare the tourism dollars generated by Scottsdale vs Tempe. It is a 3-to-1 ratio. In 2019 according to published reports, Scottsdale’s tourism generated $3.3 billion in economic activity while Tempe generated $1.2 billion.
Going forward, many factors should be considered in approving more apartments in Scottsdale: The number of units in the current pipeline that will be built, the additional stress on our infrastructure, traffic, water supply, heat island effects, and the ultimate effect on our tourism industry.
Editor’s note: Mr. Pejman is a Scottsdale resident, business owner and community advocate.