I often times find myself on the opposite side of significant zoning changes, but I am supporting the Scottsdale Collection.
Below are my reasons why, but it is primarily because the Scottsdale Collection represents a very thoughtful redevelopment plan for a long underutilized area of downtown Scottsdale.
One of the recent cases I was involved with in opposing was Southbridge II. I know different people felt very differently about the merits of that project. But one thing I know is that the two projects share little in similarity.
Probably the biggest difference in the two projects is the location. Though the two projects are fairly close geographically, they are worlds away in terms of the impacts they would have on their respective areas.
Southbridge II was located in the heart of a vibrant district that features art galleries, some of the best restaurants in the city, and eclectic shops. It would have been a threat to an area that, while it could perhaps benefit from some upgrades, is nonetheless doing pretty well, COVID notwithstanding.
In contrast, the Scottsdale Collection is on the other side of Scottsdale Road, mostly north of the Galleria. Very few, if any of these same considerations are present. This area, going back to the inception of the Galleria, has long been a great location but still underutilized.
The Scottsdale Collection would change this and better utilize this space. It would be a great new addition to the city, one that residents and tourists would enjoy frequenting.
One of the other major issues with Southbridge was the disruption that the project would cause as it was being built. Even some people who liked the project overall thought insufficient attention had been paid to mitigating the disruption.
Simply put, the Scottsdale Collection does not pose the same type of obstacles to nearby businesses. In contrast to the situation with Southbridge II, this project will clearly enhance the area.
This is also a timely project given the challenges we face with our economy due to COVID, and the hit that local government coffers have taken.
Thankfully, Arizona and our local communities have not been hit as hard as some places economically, thanks in large part to the political leadership here. But government at all levels is stretched from a revenue perspective. This is a good project that will provide an economic injection just when we need it.
Some people believe height is bad anywhere. I disagree with this, and believe that most people do too. Instead, the most important question is “where?” And there are not many better “wheres” than this corner of Scottsdale and Camelback Roads. Quality is also important, and this developer’s credentials are second to few.
The Scottsdale Collection’s developer has done its homework, and it shows in the project it is proposing. I hope that you will join me in supporting this worthy zoning change.
Editor’s Note: Mr. LaSota served as the company attorney for the successful referendum effort against Southbridge II that resulted in its repeal. He previously served as Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s Chief of Staff and works today as one of Arizona’s top elections attorneys.