Hundreds of people went to SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center recently for the unveiling of a new brand and marketing campaign meant to bring a new vitality to what locals call “south Scottsdale.”

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance has unveiled its long-awaited branding and marketing plan proponents contend can help turn the economic tide of the McDowell Road Corridor.

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, seeks to advance investment and revitalization opportunities in southern Scottsdale and along the McDowell Corridor, its mission statement reads.

There was a time when portions of McDowell Road served as a major commercial artery pumping a constant flow of revenue into the coffers of local proprietors and the municipality of Scottsdale. Once referred to as the Scottsdale “Motor Mile,” the area saw an exodus of business over the past decade as low- and high-end car dealerships sought greener pastures in different parts of the Valley of Sun.

City leaders refer to the McDowell Road Corridor as an eight-square-mile area spanning McDowell Road from Pima Road west to Phoenix and including surrounding neighborhoods north to Osborn Road and south to the city limits.

A 15-month, community-based research initiative bringing together over 2,500 local residents formed a consensus that south Scottsdale needed a modern and contemporary look to match the evolving attitudes and demographics of residents, according to a Jan. 17 press release.

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance collected feedback through one-on-one interviews, 17 focus groups, and a 14-week online platform resulting in a new logo, messaging guide and marketing campaign representing the look and feel of the community.

The four new branding pillars as identified by the community through this exercise are location, quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and mid-century architecture.

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Cool home: Brothers turn Scottsdale eyesore into modern showpiece

From The Arizona Republic – September 22, 2016

Andrea Galyean, Special for The Republic


Would you let your brother decorate your house? How about giving him free rein over a complete down-to-the-studs renovation?

If your brother is Justin Nee, it would be an excellent idea.

Justin is an interior designer and he and his brother Brandon, who runs a school tuition organization, were sharing an apartment in Tempe back in 2009 when, tempted by the historically-low housing prices, they decided to buy a place together.

They liked South Scottsdale, so they agreed to look for a small house in that area, preferably a fixer-upper they could make their own.

“There were so many houses on the market back then, but we didn’t want something that had already been fixed up with a generic remodel,” Brandon explained. “Because then we’d end up ripping everything out but we’d still have to pay for it.”

The Nees looked at nearly 50 houses, searching for something with the right amount of unrealized potential.

Their realtor suggested an especially shabby property in the historic Hy-View neighborhood, but the brothers passed it up twice. But after an offer on a less run-down house fell through, they gave the Hy-View place another look.

This time, looking past the boarded-up windows, the derelict trailer in the side yard, the water-logged drywall, and the plastic stapled over damaged sections of ceiling, the Nees could see that the structure of the house was intact. At 1,500 square feet, it was the right size. They considered the location on a quiet cul-de-sac with views of Papago Park. And they decided maybe they’d found their house after all.

By the time the sale was finalized, Justin had a rough plan sketched out and contractors ready to go. For three months, the cul-de-sac was filled with trucks, dumpsters, and the sounds of jackhammers and drills.

The brothers were afraid that the neighbors — many of whom had been there since the mid-60s — would be unhappy about the commotion.

Instead, the 80-year-old woman next door brought over home-cooked lunches for the carpenters and electricians. Other neighbors, relieved that the eyesore was being rehabilitated, came with words of praise — and gratitude.

“As soon as we started tearing things out, neighbors would stop by and say: ‘It looks great!'” Brandon remembered. “That was before we’d even done anything.”

But reconstruction started quickly. The former carport became a sleek two-car garage — with a third bay tucked into the side yard to accommodate Brandon’s car hobby.

After the structural renovations were done, Justin really got to work. As a professional designer, he usually had to defer to his clients’ wishes, so he relished the opportunity to follow his own muse.

And Brandon?

“I saw it as a launch pad for Justin’s design work, so I just wanted to support his vision,” he said.

The brothers’ tastes are similar, but not identical.

“Brandon likes clean, modern lines, a very mid-century kind of look,” Justin said. “And I’m a little more eclectic, so I prefer to mix it up.”

Still, Brandon made a few decorating suggestions, albeit tentatively.

“When you know he has better taste than you, you just float an idea and see if he says it’s cool or it’s trash,” Brandon said. “And if he says it’s cool, then you say: ‘Yeah, I knew that.'”

The biggest design challenges were maximizing the light and space in what was still a compact home. Justin devised creative solutions for the small bedrooms and bathrooms like installing a pocket door on the linen closet, building the master bedroom’s headboard into the wall, and covering the bathrooms with glass tiles to reflect light and make the rooms feel larger.

However, unlike some of Justin’s clients, the brothers had a limited budget, which they maximized by relying on good design and local craftspeople.

They used Ikea for the bedroom closets because, Justin admitted, “You really can’t beat their organizational systems.”

But the shelving and doors are fitted into specially-built nooks, which save space while looking custom. Throughout the house, Justin upgraded standard items with little touches like the modernist horizontal lines he had routed into ordinary interior doors.

The kitchen cabinets and counters, however, were made to order, as were the exposed shelving units in the foyer.

These areas, Justin said, are places it’s worth splurging because they set the style for the home, so quality craftsmanship shows.

The furnishings, too, have a personal touch.

“Almost everything was either commissioned or given to us or means something,” Brandon said.

Their mother’s baby-grand piano and their grandfather’s old military chest mix with bold and playful paintings purchased from local artists and friends.

The resulting home combines a mid-century layout with contemporary touches like polished concrete floors and oversized windows — as well as less obvious improvements like new plumbing and electrical systems.

And the neighbors are still pleased. The house was even a featured stop on Scottsdale’s Innovations MOD Home Tour in January 2016.

In retrospect, Brandon likens the process to restoring a vintage car.

“When you remodel, it’s tempting to just cover up the old stuff, but you have to do it right, even the not-sexy parts,” he said. “The trick is how do you be fair to the original but update it with modern conveniences?”

To answer that question, just ask your brother.

New SkySong Office Tower

New SkySong Office Tower

Excerpted from The Arizona Republic – August 17, 2016



A new $42 million office tower planned for Scottsdale’s rapidly growing SkySong complex would be its tallest building yet, rising six stories and 90 feet next to the project’s iconic tentlike canopy near Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

Development plans filed late last month show a 150,000-square-foot office building at the northwestern corner of SkySong’s shaded central plaza, the hub of the 42-acre redevelopment site in south Scottsdale.

The new tower, called SkySong 6, has enough space to hold 500 to 600 employees, according to SkySong officials. Construction could begin in the first quarter of 2017 and wrap up by the end of the year.

Building designs, subject to approval from the city’s Development Review Board, include a reinforced-concrete structure with more glass and metal panels on its facade than the surrounding buildings, according to SkySong. The building will feature a second-story community space with glass walls that open to a balcony with views of the buttes to the west, officials said.

SkySong is a public-private effort by the city, Arizona State University and developer Plaza Cos. to revitalize the former site of Los Arcos Mall, which went dark in the 1990s. SkySong’s first two office buildings opened in 2008, followed by a 325-unit apartment complex in 2014 and a third office tower last year.

The first three office buildings are nearly 99 percent leased, and about 1,500 employees currently work at SkySong, officials said. The number of employees is set to rise when a fourth office building opens in September. That building is currently 35 percent leased, according to SkySong.

The new six-story tower would be the first to take advantage of a zoning change that allows buildings up to 90 feet tall — instead of the previous 60 feet — specifically on the northern half of the property, between McDowell Road and SkySong Boulevard. The ordinance was narrowly approved by the Scottsdale City Council in April 2015.

SkySong officials say taller buildings and greater density allows them to reach the goal of 1.2 million square feet of building space while using more open space for amenities like walkways, patios, water features, fireplace areas, public art and landscaping…

South Scottsdale’s McDowell Road Corridor — once known as the ‘Motor Mile’ for its array of car dealerships — fell on hard times during the 1990s. Competition from other regional shopping malls put Los Arcos out of business. Auto dealers left for newer locations, and vacancies added up. A plan to replace Los Arcos with a Phoenix Coyotes hockey arena emerged in 1998 but fell apart amid community opposition and mixed views from the City Council. The partnership for an ‘ASU Innovation campus’ formed in 2004, and the complex has since helped usher in what many see as a new era for the corridor.

South Scottsdale’s 85257 ZIP code saw home prices climb nearly 6 percent in 2015, and more businesses are moving into the area, including new restaurants and a hotel planned at SkySong.

Wetta Ventures, the developer that brought Postino and Snooze to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus in 2014, is building a 12,000-square-foot retail building with space for three or four restaurants on the west side of SkySong. The anchor restaurant, described as a ‘farm-to-table’ concept, features a 3,000square-foot outdoor garden.

SkySong officials in early July told city leaders they’ve landed a Starwood hotel that will feature 120 rooms and a ground-floor restaurant. Starwood brands include Westin, Sheraton, Aloft and Elements, among others.

The hotel is planned for the southwestern corner of the SkySong complex, near Scottsdale Road and Enterprise Drive.


  • 2005: Scottsdale officials reach an agreement with the ASU Foundation to redevelop the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads, the former site of Los Arcos Mall. Plaza Cos. is later selected as the master developer.
  • 2008: The complex’s first two office buildings open, including the ASU Sky-Song business incubator space.
  • 2011: SkySong’s first two buildings reach 95 percent occupancy.
  • 2014: The SkySong Apartments complex opens with 325 units on the southeastern portion of the overall 42acre site.
  • 2015: SkySong 3 opens as the project’s newest office tower, and plans are announced for a single-story retail building to house three or four restaurants.
  • 2016: Plans for a six-story office building, called SkySong 6, are revealed weeks before the anticipated opening of SkySong 4. The developer also announces the expected addition of a Starwood- brand hotel.


Restaurant Pad Breaks Ground At SkySong

From: Phoenix Business Journal – June 15, 2016 By: Mike Sunnucks

Infill and restaurant developer Wetta Ventures has broke ground on a new $5 million restaurant project at Arizona State University’s SkySong development in south Scottsdale.

The project will include three or four different restaurants. It totals 12,000 square feet and will also have a 3,000-square-foot garden.

Completion is set for the end of the year.

SkySong is located at the former Los Arcos mall site at Scottsdale and McDowell Road. The development is home to office buildings, technology companies and an apartment complex.

“This will be the only food and beverage amenity for the 42-acre Innovation Center, so there’s a lot of responsibility to make this a one-of-a-kind destination that will reflect the uniqueness of the overall development,” said David Wetta, founder of Wetta Ventures.

Wetta has done some other infill, adaptive reuse and restaurant projects in the Phoenix market.

A 45-foot cantilevered overhang will give shade to outdoor portions of the SkySong restaurants.

SkySong has been developed by the ASU Foundation, Plaza Cos. and Holualoa Cos.

“We are excited to be working with Wetta Ventures on this important addition to SkySong,” said Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Companies, the master developer of the project.

Read the original article here:

Town and Country

Town & Country – Haver and Woodworth Create a Study in Mid-Century Modern That Remains Part of Southern Scottsdale’s Unique Identity

Developed in 1959 by Fred Woodworth in conjunction with prominent Phoenix architect Ralph Haver, the Town & Country Neighborhood* earned the designation of City of Scottsdale Historic District in the early part of this millennium when the city Historic Preservation Commission developed a set of guidelines to preserve the essence of the neighborhood. Since then, Town & Country has earned prestige as a mid-century modern neighborhood, with renovations and preservation in the forefront of property owner’s minds.

Town and Country illustrates a departure from the standard Ranch style homes offered post-war, instead highlighting contemporary (modern) styling for the era. There are several different models of Haver Homes in the area, and all share similar characteristics. Clean rectangular forms with horizontal emphasis, exposed masonry walls (known as “clinker”), single-story design, and large expanses of glass in the living rooms are among a few of the distinctive style elements employed by Haver.

Today, these homes are highly desired by investors and home-owners wanting to bring the original charm of the area back, while embracing new technology, building materials, and techniques. These renovations fall within the City’s Historic Preservation Guidelines, designed to assure that this unique and important area in Scottsdale maintains its character.

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We all know how amazing Southern Scottsdale is, and everyone is taking notice. Southern Scottsdale is increasingly being noticed as the up-and-coming place to live, build a business, and more.

Arizona’s Builders Exchange said recently, “The shadow of high-rise cranes and clusters of brightly colored party balloons at now-leasing complexes marks success for the McDowell Corridor’s long-planned rebirth. Even as the dust settles on one project, we won’t have long to wait before new plans emerge for the next big development, infill project or urban adaptation. The completion of another phase at Skysong is just one more shining moment in South Scottsdale’s continued renewal.”

Click Here To Read Full Article

Similarly, the Arizona Republic recently highlighted a proposed project on the Northeast corner of McDowell and 64th Streets in this article.

Scottsdale Gateway Alliance is dedicated to hearing and considering the opinions and input of residents of Southern Scottsdale. SGA continues to work toward building a sense of place in Southern Scottsdale through the identity-building exercise, collecting residents opinions via our online survey. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please do so by clicking the link below:

Click Here To Take The Survey

By completing the survey, you then have the opportunity to be selected for the Focus Groups, which are going on now, as well as get a $5 Starbucks card, just for your participation in the survey.

Vacant Scottsdale auto park on McDowell eyed for offices, condos

A mix of offices, condos, shops and a hotel could replace a shuttered auto park along Scottsdale’s McDowell Road corridor, according to early plans unveiled by Scottsdale developer SunChase Holdings.

Scottsdale Entrada, proposed for 23 acres at the northeastern corner of 64th Street and McDowell Road, is the latest redevelopment effort for an area once dominated by car dealerships that is seeking rebirth as a hub for office buildings and higher-density housing.

The former Scottsdale Auto Park site sits at the western gateway into Scottsdale, just north of the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo. Once a key piece of south Scottsdale’s prosperous “Motor Mile,” the auto park drifted into vacancy over the past decade as dealers sought new locations closer to major freeways.

Today, there are few signs of life at the rusting complex. A high-tech startup company occupies one building, while several others are used only for storage.

That could change if the Scottsdale City Council approves a zoning request to make way for the SunChase project, which could come up for a final vote early this fall. The property already is zoned to allow commercial development, but SunChase is asking for the ability to add residential buildings.

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The “Re-Imagining Southern Scottsdale” project officially launched Friday, October 1st.

Dozens of local residents have volunteered to participate in the project and gathered at Fate Brewing Co. last week for an introductory meeting and to share their personal stories about Southern Scottsdale.

“When I heard about the ‘RE-Imagine Southern Scottsdale’ identity project, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to volunteer,” said Sydney Fagner.

“I’ve lived here for almost five years and there are things I love about Southern Scottsdale and things I want to see improved. There is so much potential here. This is an important project and it’s such an amazing feeling to be involved in something that will inevitably improve the place I call home.” 

The project is a yearlong, comprehensive identity building exercise to create positive momentum for the revitalization of Southern Scottsdale, and specifically the McDowell Road Corridor. 

“This is a proud moment for all of us who belong to Southern Scottsdale,” said the SGA board chairman, Jeff Berghoff. “For years there has been so much talk about the need to redefine this area and we’ve just taken the first big step toward achieving that goal.” 

The SGA is committed to engaging as many participants as possible with the goal of collecting input from thousands of residents and business owners. Over the next few months, dozens of volunteers in SGA t-shirts will be engaging in community outreach at parks, retail locations and walking neighborhoods to gather opinions of Southern Scottsdale residents. 

This intensive process is made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and dozens of local corporate sponsors who share an interest in the revitalization of Southern Scottsdale. 

The SGA invites anyone who operates a business or lives within the boundaries of Southern Scottsdale to participate in the exercise by going to

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance is proud to announce the launch of a yearlong, comprehensive identity building exercise to create positive momentum for the continued revitalization of Southern Scottsdale and the McDowell Road Corridor specifically. 

SGA has partnered with the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority to connect with thousands of local residents and business owners to gather community input and create a dialogue that will lead to the development of a new brand, create a sense of “place” and generate renewed pride in our community.

SGA hopes to talk to thousands of residents to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the project and have their voice heard. In order to accomplish this, we need your help.

SGA is currently seeking volunteers to help with the grassroots outreach efforts. Volunteers will be asked to talk to and engage with people in their neighborhood, at local parks, coffee shops, retail stores, businesses, and civic and social clubs in the area. The goal is for our volunteers to recruit friends, neighbors, (and sometimes complete strangers) to participate in the branding exercise.

If you are interested in volunteering for this community project, please reply to this message or email