Scottsdale firm sees Paradise Valley property as diamond in the rough
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Scottsdale-based Walton Global has acquired the SmokeTree resort property found atop land in the Town of Paradise Valley — just west of Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive.
Walton Global is a real estate investment and land asset management company with $3.6 billion under management, according to a press release.
Representatives at Walton Global report the deal closed June 29, 2022, with ST Holdings taking on formal ownership of the beleaguered 5-acre resort property for a reportedly $14 million. Walton Global officials say they intend to build a new boutique resort hotel at the property.
Walton Global has local interest in seeing the developmentally-challenged property flourish as an executive of the real estate firm calls the Town of Paradise Valley home.
“As a Paradise Valley resident for 15 years, I have driven past the SmokeTree Resort often wondering why it sat dormant for so many years,” said Town of Paradise Valley resident Matt Keister, Walton Global executive vice president of business development.
— Matt Keister, Walton Global executive vice president of business development
“When Walton was introduced to the opportunity to acquire the resort and learned about its financial challenges, we acted quickly, conducted our diligence and secured the property. I’m excited about our goal to revive this historic landmark into a place that Paradise Valley residents and Phoenix as a whole can point to again as a prime destination to experience that also meets the high standards of the community’s ethic.”
Mr. Keister says Walton intends to incorporate a new design best suited for the Town of Paradise Valley. The distinctive and strategically positioned property was subject to bankruptcy and now has fresh opportunities and a renewed sense of optimism, officials at Walton Global contend.
“I believe Walton’s vision will be consistent with Paradise Valley’s wishes and sensitivities and our capital is patient,” Walton Global CEO Bill Doherty. “It is extremely important to us to listen to Paradise Valley Town Council and the residents of the community before we finalize our designs. We are looking forward to achieving a consensus that will result in an extraordinary gathering place for the residents of Paradise Valley that will also produce economic benefits for the Town and Arizona.”
The SmokeTree Resort was originally built in 1954. The resort’s Lincoln Drive-facing restaurant — The Other Place — was also a destination landmark but attempts to reopen under new management ultimately failed and the restaurant has remained shuttered.
Walton Global, representatives there say, is already surrounding itself with best-in-class professionals including Allen & Philp, an architectural firm based in Scottsdale with an exceptional hotel portfolio including The Sanctuary, The Boulders, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and several other award-winning hotel properties.
Mr. Keister says Walton Global intends to reach out to Paradise Valley residents to solicit input before hotel design plans are finalized.
“Feedback we receive from surrounding residents will be integrated into the future vision of the new hotel,” he said. “And to ensure that transparency and communication remains open throughout the project’s evolution, we will be creating platforms such as a website and social media sites to post routine updates. We want our Town to embrace the project and to be proud of what we feel is the gateway to Paradise Valley.”