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Walton Global takes first step toward Smoke Tree Resort revitalization

Photo of Town Hall where plans for a new smoke tree resort have been filed
Developer: Smoke Tree Resort destined for rebirth in the Town of Paradise Valley
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Walton Global, a Scottsdale-based real estate investment firm, has submitted an application at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive, to revitalize the dilapidated Smoke Tree Resort near Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley.

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 Smoke Tree site.

“I have lived in Paradise Valley for 15 years. The area deserves to see this once grand property transformed into an upscale and welcoming resort and culinary experience that reflects the high standards of Paradise Valley, its residents, and its visitors,” said Walton Global Executive Vice President Matt Keister, in a prepared statement.

“We heard the same thing from the hundreds of residents who attended our two major public events to seek input about what should be done at Smoke Tree.”

The result, representatives of Walton Global say, is a proposed 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.

The application was submitted Feb. 17 to the Town of Paradise Valley. The Arizona Digital Free Press obtained the application through a public record’s request. Take a look below:

Smoke Tree Resort destined for rebirth

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 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 application does not include controversial elements that have challenged Smoke Tree and other hotel redevelopments in the past such as roof top bars, condominiums, for-sale units, and excessive height and density, representatives of the effort say.

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. It has been shuttered for several years and its restaurant has been vacant for more than a decade.

“It’s long past time for this neglected property in Paradise Valley to be revitalized and reimagined. I love these plans for a tasteful, beautiful boutique hotel inclusive of a new restaurant by a group we all know and respect,” said Clay Coady, a Town of Paradise Valley resident and owner of the neighboring Applewood Pet Resort.

The redevelopment was designed by ‘best-in-class’ professionals including Allen-Philp, an architectural firm based in Scottsdale with an exceptional hotel portfolio that includes The Sanctuary, The Boulders, Scottsdale Fairmont Princess, and several other award-winning hotel properties.

“This is a win for all concerned,” said Walton Global CEO Bill Doherty.

“As the gateway to the town, we are excited to see this site revived with a modern boutique resort designed with input from neighbors and designed with residents as well as visitors in mind. Our goal is to establish this property as ‘Paradise Valley’s Living Room’ and bring new life to this special place.”

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