SmokeTree plans continue municipal march through Paradise Valley deliberations
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
The pieces of the redevelopment puzzle at the dilapidated SmokeTree Resort found along Lincoln Drive a stone’s throw from Scottsdale Road appear to be interlocking.
Paradise Valley Town Council earlier this month hosted a study session discussion at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, on the pending Statement of Direction document, which among other things, is a list of marching orders for the Planning Commission that is before the local governing board later this week.
The formal adoption of SOD language for the pending revitalization of the SmokeTree Resort is before Paradise Valley Town Council Thursday, April 27 with first a study session discussion then a public vote.
“This is your continued discussion on the SmokeTree application,” Paradise Valley Senior Planner Paul Michaud told Town Council at the April 13 public hearing. “Last time you directed staff to make some edits to the draft SOD document.”
Walton Global purchased the 5-acre property in June 2022 with the intent of creating a modern boutique resort that respects and reflects Paradise Valley’s history.
In broad strokes, Walton Global is proposing an 82-room boutique resort with two culinary concepts — an all-day market bistro and a dinner-only fine dining restaurant, spearheaded by acclaimed local Chef Matt Carter, restaurateur and partner of The Mission, Zinc Bistro & Fat Ox.
In addition to boutique guest rooms and two new dining experiences, the proposal also calls for:
- A centralized pool and amenity area surrounded by guestrooms;
- Five guest casitas with private plunge pools;
- Landscaping to create shaded pedestrian-focused spaces; and
- Underground parking.
The Smoke Tree Resort was originally built in 1954. It enjoyed a storied heyday but as the decades passed and trends changed, the resort fell into disrepair and eventually into bankruptcy. With a staggering $3.4 billion under management, Walton Global officials say the Scottsdale real estate firm feels confident about its effort to redevelop the SmokeTree site.
Amid the language of the SOD up for final Paradise Valley Town Council deliberations, a finer point of critique will be focused on these five points of redevelopment:
- Added under Noise Mitigation/Impact that the review shall address site design, location, and orientation.
- Deleted under density the reference that the existing site is a quarter of the existing SUP Guideline of 20 acres.
- Added under Setbacks attention to the visitors to the medical plaza east of the site.
- Added under Landscaping/Buffers focus on the harmony of the proposed landscaping with the adjacent landscaping (e.g., Lincoln Drive medians), appropriate type of plant material for the location (e.g., drought tolerance, scale, seasonal color), review of plant impact (e.g., fire/fall hazard, pollen irritants), and included early phasing of street frontage/perimeter landscaping as an example under appropriate stipulations.
- Added Walls as a new topic that the Planning Commission review shall evaluate the setback, height, and design of the proposed perimeter walls to ensure these walls are consistent with the quality and design of a Town resort. No walls shall be within the post-dedication rights-of-way.
SmokeTree plans continues municipal march through Paradise Valley deliberations
Mr. Michaud offers the final edits en route to Town Council later this week come from directions at the request of elected leaders.
“Noise and impact the changes here were really focused on some of the things the you all thought was missing,” he said pointing out specific neighborhood concerns around noise and wall placement and construction.
“We have called out the neighbors be we have not called out our visitors to the Lincoln Medical Center,” said Paradise Valley Councilwoman Anna Thomasson. “We are also calling out consideration for residents along Quail Run and for visitors to the Andaz resort.”
Of Note: Quail Run Road will not go through, town officials say, and the Planning Commission will evaluate the setback, height, and design of the proposed perimeter walls.
“The goal for today, is as I understand it, we are on a timeline, and we are trying to hammer out the language so it comes back to us for final adoption,” said Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner at the April 13 study session. “If you are a member of Town Council that has something to suggest now is that time. We all value public input of course but if there are specific items that are not being addressed please speak up here and we will address it.”