By Corina Vanek | Phoenix Business Journal
The planned redevelopment of a retail center in south Scottsdale to add 238 apartment units and 25,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space is “a sign of the times,” the project’s zoning attorney said.
Artist rendering of pedestrian paseo through the planned Greenbelt 88 project in Scottsdale.
After owning the center for 17 years, Todd Silver has plans to raze much of the existing big-box retail, making up about 65,000 square feet on seven acres, located at Hayden and Osborn roads. The project has gone through several iterations since it was first submitted to the city of Scottsdale in 2019, and after decreasing the proposed density of the apartment units and adding retail uses, the project was approved by Scottsdale City Council in February.
Jason Morris, partner at Withey Morris and attorney for the project, called Greenbelt 88, said Silver was faced with a couple of choices of what to do with the center when it was clear it had outlived it usefulness as solely retail. The choices included “right-sizing” the retail on the site and dividing the larger stores into smaller spaces, finding tenants that would take the spaces as-is — which might include uses that do not necessarily bring value to a neighborhood, like self-storage or a charter school — or creating a long-term solution like transforming the site into a mix of uses.
Scottsdale has more retail space per capita than other cities in the Valley, he said, so transformations like Greenbelt 88 might become more commonplace. Morris was also the zoning attorney for a Phoenix case where a former movie theater is planned to be redeveloped into apartments. Scottsdale-based Nelsen Partners is the architect.
“The need for housing around the Valley is quantifiable,” Morris said. “There is a demonstrated need for additional housing, and there are a lot of barriers in place, not just zoning but building materials, labor and the time it takes to go through the building review process.”
The complex will be luxury and include high levels of amenities. Morris said much of the demand for housing in Scottsdale is driven by young professionals.
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