Scottsdale Plaza Resort begins new chapter in Paradise Valley
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
Thursday, Oct. 13 marks the beginning of a new chapter for the legacy resort property at the edge of the Town of Paradise Valley along Scottsdale Road as the destination is destined for a rebirth as development plans have formally been submitted at Town Hall.
The Scottsdale Plaza Resort, 7200 N. Scottsdale Road, has been a landmark tourist destination for as long as the Town of Paradise Valley has been incorporated — the resort itself predates the municipality.
But owners who took on the property in 2019, Highgate, a hospitality investment company, have put forth a plan measured by town officials as an intermediate special use permit amendment town leaders appear to agree is an exciting development in the history of the resort.
“The type of uses are not going to change — the resort experience will be the same,” said Paradise Valley Senior Planner Paul Michaud during his Oct. 13 presentation at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. “The north half of the property will be focused on family type uses with the resort and pool uses, and on the southern half they will be seeking to elevate that experience with the new spa.”
In broad strokes, the application on file at Town Hall includes a plan to add 64 hotel dwelling units, which will bring the entire total of rooms to 464 on site equating to 1 unit per 4,000 square feet.
Mr. Michaud explained through each quadrant of the proposed development — using cardinal directions — the floor-area ratio will swell from 21.3% to the fully allowable density at 25% of lot coverage.
“Not the largest density in town but not the smallest in town if you want to look at it that way,” Mr. Michaud pointed out to Town Council.
The clock has begun ticking on the municipal evaluation process as a Statement of Direction — a guiding document for the Paradise Valley Planning Commission to define parameters of evaluation — is due for a Town Council vote no later than Thursday, Nov. 10.
Jordan Rose, president and founder of Scottsdale-based Rose Law Group, represents Highgate in this matter and offered to Town Council a plan already vetted by neighbors of the project.
“Our client, Highgate, is trying to take into consideration everyone’s ideas even before they brought this plan to you,” she said during the work session discussion. “Primary access will be maintained on Scottsdale Road. We had a neighborhood meeting and four immediate neighbors attended — I think everyone is very excited about this project.”
Mr. Michaud explains the Paradise Valley Planning Commission is asked to complete review no later than March 24, 2023, which is a timeline set by SOD tenets once approved by Town Council, which is anticipated to be next month.
Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to take a formal pass at the 10-item SOD during its Thursday, Oct. 27, meeting at Town Hall.
“This is set for Nov. 10 action by the Town Council,” Mr. Michaud said.
Project highlights & Town Council perspectives
The northern portion of the Scottsdale Plaza Resort will not see much activity aside from painting and the renovation of the interior of hotel suites at this portion of the property site.
However, Mr. Michaud explains, the southeast portion of the property will see the lion’s share of redevelopment including a new lobby pavilion, three restaurant buildings, a rooftop pool part of the lobby pavilion along with a state-of-the-art spa and wellness facilities.
“They are proposing a second story pool area that will be an area of future concerns,” Mr. Michaud said of municipal musings likely to commence. “There is not really a detailed narrative, but it will be in the future. The meeting center of the main lobby, it is two stories and 30-feet tall and that won’t change. They are adding a pool deck there and we will need more information.”
Mr. Michaud explains overall parking will be reduced from 738 spaces to 547 spaces, meanwhile an underground parking garage is proposed, which would equate to 64 spaces of the total parking slots.
“The major change is seeing a reduction in overall parking as the property will be using a shared-parking model,” he said of hotel properties embracing the come-and-go nature of rideshare operations.
Paradise Valley Councilman Paul Dembow lauded the efforts of the applicant and legal representation.
“I am very happy that your client, Highgate, has chosen to make an investment in the community,” he said at the public discussion. “From what I have been told this is something that the neighbors are looking forward to being able to walk a refreshed property.”
Parking and circulation, however, is a concern for Paradise Valley Councilwoman Julie Pace.
“It is really nice to see an applicant really listen to the community,” she said. “I love the underground parking as we have all seen these plans initially, is there more parking on site? They are reducing parking, but the intensity is increasing so how will that compare with now?”
To that question, Mr. Michaud suggested the traffic circulation of the swath of property will not change as proposed.