Old Town Scottsdale Remains King

By Corina Vanek | Phoenix Business Journal

All eyes remain on Old Town as a prime employment and redevelopment area in Scottsdale, even as other parts of the city, including the Scottsdale Airpark and the McDowell Road Corridor, emerge as heavy-hitters for attracting new development.

Stockdale Capital Partners, led by Managing Principal Shawn Yari, has spent years buying up property in Old Town, aiming for a landmark redevelopment project. Last December, Scottsdale City Council approved plans for the Scottsdale Collection, Yari’s bold project at the southeast corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

In total, plans call for the project to include 580,451 square feet of commercial space and 512 units of residential. The site is adjacent to where Stockdale is already developing the Marquee office building at Scottsdale Road and Shoeman Lane.

“I really think in the western United States, there aren’t four better intersections than the corner of Scottsdale road and Camelback,” Yari said in a recent panel discussion on economic development in Scottsdale hosted by the Phoenix Business Journal.

“Those are two iconic streets, and they cross in the corner of Main and Main. For us to be blessed to have the opportunity to acquire properties and envision great development, and then execute is a generational opportunity.”

What’s next for Old Town?
Old Town was designated an “opportunity zone” by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. That means capital gains invested into real estate or businesses operating in that census tract are subject to preferential tax treatment, designed as a way to encourage investment into neglected areas, though few could describe Old Town as neglected.

Jon Rosenberg, managing partner and co-founder of LevRose Commercial Real Estate, another of the four panelists at the virtual event, said some of Old Town, like many of Yari’s properties, are primed for redevelopment, but said the neighbors are also sensitive to changes in the area.

Not all redevelopment plans in Old Town have been embraced. In early 2020, City Council repealed its approval for a planned 2 million-square-foot mixed-use development SouthBridge 2 project after community members launched a campaign against it due to its height and density. The developer eventually requested that the council remove its approval of the project and did not move forward with the plans.

“There are some areas that I know that people are trying to circle around and keep low density and some of the character of the area, but there’s also some buildings that are just not necessarily historic, but are more obsolete,” Rosenberg said. “So, there’s going to be some opportunities there as well.”

Rob Millar, economic development director for Scottsdale, said companies, especially technology companies, continue to move to Old Town and other hot areas of Scottsdale because they offer amenities that cannot be matched.

“We expect northern Tempe and downtown Scottsdale to continue to be where we’re seeing more venture capital, especially with startups with ASU SkySong, but the Airpark also will continue to see opportunities,” Millar said.

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