Home host visitors from Laos, Philippines, and Indonesia for 30 days!

The U.S. State Department funded Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program is seeing host families for a small group of international participants. These host families will provide room and board (and will receive a $650 stipend for these expenses) from April 28th – May 30th, 2016.

An SGA collaboration with Global Ties Arizona, A Council for International Exchange

Host families must be within proximity of SkySong on McDowell and Scottsdale Roads with access to public transportation or other access to the work-site at the Global Chamber, located in SkySong.

This is the community’s way to get to know visitors in the US, and engage in truly transforming conversations, by helping to assist and advance the professional development of these visitors.

Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is funded by the Department of State and administered by American Councils for International Education.

The goal of the program is to give promising young leaders an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in various aspects of the U.S. system and culture. Fellows are 25-35 years old and come from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

They are competitively selected, fluent in English, and work at a fulltime professional fellowships for the duration of the program. Fellows receive a roundtrip ticket from their home country, medical insurance, a modest stipend, and an allowance for public transportation.

Host Family Responsibilities: Host family interested in this opportunity should be able to provide room and board and have accessibility to public transportation, proximity to work, or another situation for fellow’s transportation to the fellowship placement.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact SGA via email detailing your interest. Once vetted, interested residents will then have to complete a formal application process. 

From the Arizona Republic…

The development flurry that is remaking downtown Scottsdale into one of the Valley’s hottest places for new housing and office space is showing no signs of letting up.

Several real estate development projects worth more than $100 million combined are proposed in and around Old Town, with construction of apartments, townhomes, dining and an expanded medical center expected to begin early next year.

Two of the 12 projects featured are located in Southern Scottsdale, on McDowell Road.

Here’s a look at some of the latest development projects unveiled for downtown Scottsdale.

Click to read more


Little Thaiger is a quaint, modern restaurant near the corner of Thomas Road and Scottsdale Road. The brightly lit tree with purple lights in front of the restaurant guides the way in the evenings. Formerly a taco restaurant, current owner Olashawn Weaver invested $50,000 in renovations, and opened this location in Southern Scottsdale. She is here because she has lived in the area for eight years, raised her children in the area, and loves the character of Southern Scottsdale and her community.  

 Olashawn was born and raised in a small town north of Bangkok, Thailand. She comes from a family of chefs and was raised in the restaurant world. Her mother was a classic Thai chef who served royalty when they came to visit Thailand. Her establishment also attracted American GI’s during the Vietnam War, setting the stage for Olashawn to succeed in her own kitchen. Olashawn received her marketing degree from ASU and attended the Culinary Institute in CA, leading to opening the renowned “Thaiger” on Central Ave. in Phoenix 12 years ago.

Pop-up Gallery
Visions of Garden Life
Photo M7000
A Pop Up Gallery
An Exhibit of Select Cinematic Photographs
Friday, February 5th
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
7000 E. McDowell Road (Northeast Corner)


Southern Scottsdale and its Mid-Century Modern vibe will shine Friday, and you are invited to immerse yourself in the mood. 

Like vogue-ish pop-up eateries, artists are embracing the pop-up gallery. A quick solution to highlight their works without a long term investment in space, pop-up galleries are here one minute, gone the next, and attract thousands with their temporary, exclusive, and special atmosphere.

Scottsdale Gateway Alliance Chairman, Jeffery Berghoff is one such artist. Drawing inspiration from classical precendents in architecture, garden design and pop culture for over twenty years. Jeff Berghoff has designed and built stylized landscapes for his clients private use throught the Southwestern United States. Classically trained as a landscape architect, Berghoff is currently the CEO and founder of Berghoff Design Group in Scottsdale. Through a team of artisans, Berghoff designs, handcrafts and cares for these award-winning estates.

In his first photography exhibit “Visions of Garden Life,” Berghoff collaborates with Wesley Johnson, a photographer and cinematographer, and acts as art director and producer. Through this exhibit, he creates a hyperrealistic view of individuals going about their daily lives. In a unique way, Berghoff integrates his characters against the grand backdrops of the very gardens that he designed and built for his clients. The series of images utilizes the panoramic and cinematic setting of these gardens while allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in Berghoff’s altered reality.

This Friday, February 5, 2016, Berghoff opens the exhibit to the public at what must be Southern Scottsdale’s first pop-up gallery. From 4:30 pm until 7:30 pm, and for one night only, the public is invited to view the exhibit at Photo M7000, located on the Northeast corner of 7000 E. McDowell Road.


Please RSVP for this no-cost screening to 



use Eventbrite to reserve your ticket.

by Scottsdale Living

All signs point to Scottsdale becoming the next big ‘Millennial Mecca’ in 2016 thanks to the city’s rich entrepreneurial business environment, high paying jobs, affordable housing, and trendy neighborhoods.  And a recent bump in new home sales by millennial buyers proves it’s a market that’s here to stay.

“There is no better place to be a young professional,” said Danielle Casey, Economic Development Director for the City of Scottsdale. “Scottsdale is a city booming with great jobs, offering residents an incredible lifestyle while providing the opportunity for affordable, high quality home ownership,” she said.

According to a December 2015 report by Trulia, the number of millennial home buyers is steadily growing in 98 of the top 100 metro areas in the U.S. The study shows that the massive shift from renting to ownership is due to the fact that in most cities, including Scottsdale, it’s often cheaper to own a home than it is to rent. Millennials will enjoy a 23 percent savings by opting to buy rather than rent a home, on average.

Deco Communities is the developer of Inspire Downtown Scottsdale, a contemporary condominium property that has been popular with the millennial buyer and the Skysong crowd.

The complex of 97 stylish condos broke ground in September 2015 and is courting millennial buyers with state-of-the-art amenities, strong design, a community feel and an affordable $270,000 starting price.

The property continues to attract young professional buyers with its fashion-forward approach to design and approachable pricing that makes the transition from renting to buying easy.

“Our philosophy is that ‘rent’ is a four letter word,” said Rob Lyles, partner with Deco Communities, the builder of Inspire Downtown Scottsdale. “We strive to deliver housing that allows millennials to take ownership, not just in owning their own home, but also in the community around them. With Inspire Downtown Scottsdale, we are taking a phenomenal location that hasn’t seen new home construction in over 20 years and infusing life back into the neighborhood with new construction, new buyers, and a new reinvigorated energy.”

Trulia’s researchers factored in down payments, property taxes, security deposits, and other costs, as well as anticipated home price and rent appreciation, when comparing renters and buyers. For the study, Trulia used a formula where the millennial buyer used a 10% down payment and would stay in the home for 5 years.

While 2014 saw a low point in millennials buying homes, in June 2015, 65 percent of people ages 25 to 34 years old surveyed by Realtor.com said they plan to buy in the next three months.

For the past three months, the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance has been engaging with thousands of residents in Southern Scottsdale as part of the RE-Imagining Southern Scottsdale Project. One surprising and pleasing trend that is emerging is a large proportion of younger people choosing to live in Southern Scottsdale.


This is welcome news to younger residents like Megan Doyle, 25. Megan grew up in Scottsdale, and when the time came for her to buy her first home, she chose Southern Scottsdale.


“What I love about Southern Scottsdale is this underlying buzz,” said Megan. “You can tell something really incredible is about to happen in this area. There are exciting changes going on at Papago Plaza, new restaurants like Fate Brewing, and the new Wetta restaurants coming to SkySong. At the same time, you still have these small favorites and staples in the area. We’re not like North Scottsdale, but that’s ok. We’re not North Scottsdale, we’re Southern Scottsdale. We embrace the change and diversity.”


Megan was working at the Scottsdale Conventions and Visitors Bureau when she was tapped to join a city tourism advisory task force to support and implement a plan to bring younger travellers to Scottsdale.


During discussions on the task force, it became apparent to the members that the challenge to bring younger visitors to Scottsdale started with young residents.


“Visitors want to go where locals want to be and where locals go. Younger people won’t want to come here to visit if younger people don’t want to live here,” said Megan.


It was this notion that inspired Scottsdale.Life, an offshoot of the task force working to promote life in Scottsdale for younger residents.


“We want to make sure that the younger people who live here, love being here, want their friends to visit here, and then they become ambassadors for Scottsdale.”


Scottsdale.Life is a jumping off point with high ambition and optimism. Driven by volunteers, the fledgling organization will coordinate events, promote engagement and civic responsibility, and encourage younger residents to be ambassadors for their city. The group is in the process of building a website, which will showcase the great amenities of Scottsdale tailored for younger people, continuing the notion that visitors want to go where locals go.


The group also plans to share video stories about “cool” things that are happening in Scottsdale or of people who are making a difference in the community. They are already in the process of developing their first video about a local Scottsdale entrepreneur.


Want to be a part of Scottsdale.Life? Become an ambassador for Scottsdale.Life and Southern Scottsdale every day by perpetuating a positive image and showing your friends and out-of-town guests all the great amenities our community has to offer! If you’d like to be more directly involved, please email Megan Doyle at meg.k.doyle@gmail.com.

Scottsdale Independent

Cushman & Wakefield announced this week that Arizona-based Pivot Development, LLC has purchased Papago Plaza and an adjacent office building in South Scottsdale for $12.5 million.

Cushman & Wakefield Senior Vice Presidents Dan Salley and Jack Wilson negotiated the acquisition.

Papago Plaza is a pueblo-style retail center located at 7047 E. McDowell Road. The retail building contains 118,078 square feet of space and is situated on a 455,202-square-foot parcel.

Constructed in 1975, the center is currently 66 percent leased. In addition to the retail center, Pivot Development purchased an office building with a ground lease. The office building is situated adjacent and immediately to the west of the retail property.

Pivot Development, LLC purchased the properties from Bert B. Malouf, LLC and William B. Malouf, LLC.  Both buyer and seller are based in Scottsdale.

“Pivot Development excels at renovating older retail centers and reinvigorating their market position,” said Mr. Salley.

“Papago Plaza is located in the renaissance area of Scottsdale along the McDowell Corridor, which is a hub of infill revitalization. The SkySong project, neighborhood commercial renovation and new residential development in the area all contribute to the increasing value of this property. Once renovated, it will be a strong retail destination, attracting customers from both Old Town Scottsdale to the north and central Tempe to the south.”

On Tuesday, the Scottsdale City Council held a study session to talk about the McDowell Road Corridor Strategic Priority Plan.

The study session was a casual discussion that sought to answer two questions:

1. What is the vision for McDowell Road?

2. How do we measure success?

The McDowell Road Strategic Priority Plan is a working document last updated in July 2015. But with the expiration of the redevelopment district looming, Council and staff thought it would be a good time to have a discussion about what economic development tools could be employed to obtain success.

Overall, the conversation was extremely positive. The Council remains committed to revitalization, beautification and the return to McDowell Road’s former glory. They touched on a wide array of issues from public infrastructure improvements, investment tools, boutique shops, multi-family projects, and public art. City staff left with a stronger sense of direction and commitment from the City Council.

Mayor Lane expressed excitement about the progress Southern Scottsdale has made and pointed to SkySong as a catalyst for revitalization describing it as a “commercial endeavor that we invested in heavily with the ASU Foundation and it has produced, to the point it has been a motivator, it has been an instigator on the commercial side…Commercial applications begets residential and residential begets retail amenities. I see it working.”

City staff highlighted recent additions to the neighborhood including Fate Brewery, Pho Cao and 77 on the Park as proof of progress but the Council almost unanimously agreed McDowell Road needed more revitalization inducement and attention before full success could be achieved. “I think we all agree we want it to be beautiful,” said Councilwoman Milhaven.

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance was extremely encouraged by the renewed commitment and is eager to see what economic development tools staff proposes to continue the areas resurgence.


To watch the study session, click here.

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 ScottsdaleGatewayAlliance.com/re-imagining.

By Terrance Thornton | Scottsdale Independent

Department leaders are expected Tuesday, Oct. 13 to deliver a McDowell Corridor revitalization update to Scottsdale City Council seeking clear direction on next steps the municipality ought to take in spurring the rebirth of the area.

Over the past year the city of Scottsdale has held a series of public meetings to learn what resident and proprietors of the area say would help fuel revitalization efforts. Last March Scottsdale City Council approved Resolution 9990 — the McDowell Corridor Fee Schedule — that temporarily modifies certain residential and commercial development fees. The new fees would be in place for two years, the resolution states.

Now a major consideration may entail where and how to develop 1.5 acres of “floating” land at SkySong the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center in the heart of the McDowell Corridor, city leaders say.

City leaders refer to the McDowell 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.

As the city begins to develop next steps toward revitalization the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance continues its re-branding exercise.

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance has been given a $50,000 shot in the arm from the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority officials say is being used to pay for a new branding exercise for the southern Scottsdale area.

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.

While the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance is not a city-driven endeavor, two members of Scottsdale City Council — Councilwomen Virginia Korte and Suzanne Klapp — say they played a role in spurring resident interest in the effort.

Economic indicators look positive along the corridor, according to Scottsdale Economic Development Director Danielle Casey.

Danielle Casey

“SkySong is moving forward rapidly with the launch of building 4 and others at 95 percent occupancy and Papago plaza has been purchased by a group that will be remodeling it with a fresh look and some new commercial pads,” she said in an Oct. 6 written response to e-mailed questions.

Taxable sales in the corridor have increased 45 percent from 2010 to 2014 while sales tax revenues have increased from $3.7 million to $5.1 million over the same period, an Oct. 13 city staff report states.

“Incremental property improvement is occurring and revitalization of larger properties — former auto dealerships — is in the planning stages, including the Auto Mall, Earnhardt Lexus and Scott Toyota properties,” the report states. “Numerous small businesses such as Fate Brewing, Pho Cao restaurant, Plato’s Closet and Delicious Deliveries have chosen to locate in the corridor.”

Scottsdale City Council has identified the revitalization of the McDowell Corridor is its No. 1 priority.

The SkySong connection

In 2004 when the city of Scottsdale leased the land now known as SkySong the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, 1475 N. Scottsdale Road, the municipality retained an undefined 1.5-acre parcel of land now known as a “floating parcel,” city officials say.

SkySong is expected to reach 50 percent buildout in 2016 with the culmination of the restaurant product coming online, a staff report states.

“Options for a location for the 1.5-acre parcel are becoming limited, leading members of council to express an interest and a desire to gain clarification on the location of the parcel and determine plans for its use or disposal,” the report states.

Plans call for the buildout of the property at Scottsdale and McDowell roads to be additional office buildings and a hotel.

Linda Milhaven

“As I understand it when we leased the property we leased all but 1.5 acres of the land,” Scottsdale Vice Mayor Linda Milhaven pointed out. “As the site is planned we need to figure out where those 1.5 acres are. I have been thinking about it and does it make sense to be a park and ride to connect with the regional system?”

Vice Mayor Milhaven says elected leaders and residents alike need to have an open mind when assessing how the city ought to use its 1.5 acres at SkySong.

“I think folks are going to afraid we may miss an opportunity if we don’t do something now,” she said. “We certainly know there has been a lot more activity along McDowell Road.”

Revitalization taking hold?

Vice Mayor Milhaven says she could not be more thrilled with the progress in the McDowell Corridor.

“SkySong is 90 percent leased up and they are moving forward with Phase 4,” she said in an Oct. 6 phone interview. “Mark Taylor, they are getting rents that exceed what their expectations were.”

Two 2014 city council-approved south Scottsdale multifamily housing projects is spurring the rebirth of the McDowell Road Corridor, proponents say.

  • The first, a Mark Taylor Homes project, allowed by a rezoning amendment of 24.5 acres of land at the southeast corner of 74th Street and McDowell Road, facilitates a mixed-use development of a new, three-story, 536-unit multifamily residential community within the existing commercial district at 74th Street.
  • The second, a Scottsdale Mar, LLC project, has been approved to construct a 154-unit apartment complex at the northwest corner of 68th Street and McDowell Road where a Pitre Buick auto dealership once stood.

Vice Mayor Milhaven says an influx of people is brining a vibrancy to the south Scottsdale area.

“For a long time we couldn’t find people willing to invest along McDowell, Now it is finding uses compatible with the neighborhoods,” she said. “I look back over the last five years and it is now a revitalized McDowell Corridor. We wont recognize it until SkySong is built out. It will bring a sense of vibrancy.”

Representatives of the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance say the reimagining of south Scottsdale is coming full circle.

“This is a proud moment for all of us who belong to Southern Scottsdale,” said the SGA board chairman, Jeff Berghoff in a prepared statement. “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 effort is picking up steam as SGA volunteers will be visiting parks, retail locations and walking neighborhoods to gather opinions of Southern Scottsdale residents, officials say. Community data and opinions will be collected through various surveys, focus groups, community meetings, and online, SGA officials say.