This is the third in a series of interviews with the homeowners participating in SGA’s First Annual “Inspiration Home Tour” of Mid-Century homes in Southern Scottsdale on Sunday, November 9th.


Meet Phil and Cristen

IMG_9040Leaning up against a gorgeous 11 x 5-foot island that stretches through a spacious kitchen with a high-pitched ceiling, Phil Dudiak said in an understated tone: “We wanted to make our house a home.”

Phil and his soon-to-be wife, Cristen, have done exactly that … and much more. They have created a spectacular home for their family in the Southwest Village neighborhood.

Phil and Cristen have transformed their 1,450 square-foot house that was built in the early 1960’s into a home of 2,150 square feet with a dazzling interior. The couple has added a lot of bells and whistles that must be the envy of their millennial generation. There’s the wine cabinet with a built-in light show, the two-car garage with the 3-D epoxy floor and the huge walk-in shower with multi-directional shower heads that Cristen described as “like taking a shower in a drive-thru carwash.”

The three-bedroom house features two master bedrooms. Tucked in between the two big bedrooms is a small closet in which the home’s “central nervous system” is stored, including audio, video, lighting and security systems. Sweeping his hand over all the electronics, Phil held up his iPhone and proudly said, “I can control everything here with my phone.”

Notwithstanding all the contemporary features of Phil and Cristen’s home, they enjoy explaining their down-to-earth reasons for having moved to this neighborhood just west of the Valley Ho.

“We wanted the urban lifestyle,” Cristen said. “We wanted to be able to walk places and socialize with people.” Phil quickly added that they also wanted their 3-year-old son, Jaxson, to grow up in “a real neighborhood.” He continued, “This house is really for Jaxson.”

Phil and Cristen started work on their home in February while living in a rental house. They moved into their freshly remodeled home in August. What they have accomplished in just a little more than six months is amazing. But they’re not done yet. They’re still working to complete the fireplace in their front room as well as a front patio area that will include a fiery water feature.

Like so many houses that will be on the “Inspiration Home Tour,” Phil and Cristen’s home has an “open floor plan,” which allows their 130-pound female Great Dane, “Memphis,” to move about freely.

Phil describes himself as an “entrepreneur.” However, by trade he is a designer who owns his own construction company. He has just bought another house in Southwest Village and has his eye on one in a nearby neighborhood. Cristen is a hair stylist working on her real estate license that she expects to have soon.

Phil and Cristen represent the new younger demographic that’s moving into their Southwest Village neighborhood — the trend that’s taking place throughout Southern Scottsdale.

Meet Kevin and Joan Callahan

IMG_8974wKevin and Joan Callahan’s home is nestled neatly into a cul-de-sac in the Town and Country Scottsdale neighborhood.  It’s one of the 62 original Ralph Haver designed homes in the area built in 1958.

The Callahan’s home is a classic that captures the minimalism of the era that focused on “functionality.”

Most Haver Homes in Southern Scottsdale were originally built to be about 1,200 to 1,600 square feet.  Before Kevin and Joan moved into their home, it was owned by a French architect who tastefully expanded the floor plan.  Because it sits on about one-third of an acre, the Callahans were also able to increase the home’s footprint.

“Before we did anything to the house,” Kevin explained, “We asked ourselves: What Would Ralph Haver Do Today?”  Kevin is an acoustic architect who creates buildings to accommodate large audiences and Joan has a strong sense of aesthetics — so the integrity of the Haver design remains intact for what is now the Callahan’s 2,300-square-foot home.

Kevin and Joan moved from the gated community of Ventana Foothills in North Scottsdale to Town and Country Scottsdale in 2013 because, as Joan recalled, “We wanted more of a feeling of ‘neighborhood.’  Every Thursday we have a neighborhood Happy Hour,” she added. “There’s always something going on around here.”

The Callahans couldn’t be happier with their decision to relocate to Southern Scottsdale and their choice of neighborhoods.  “Initially, Joan liked the house more than I did when we saw it on MLS. But when we saw it in person, I was sold,” Kevin said.

IMG_9005wAs a practicing architect specializing in designing public spaces with quality acoustics, terms like “historical adaptability” flow from Kevin with ease.  His appreciation of Ralph Haver’s vision is only matched by his enthusiasm for the environment that he and Joan have created for themselves.

Like so many owners of mid-century homes, Kevin and Joan have extended what was originally a relatively small front room by today’s standards into their dining and kitchen areas, so there’s a flow to their floor plan.  The home has three bedrooms, and the master bedroom is surprisingly large for a Haver House. They also have an original one-car carport, standard with most Havers, and a hidden one-car garage adjacent to the carport that blends in discretely. For his architectural work, Kevin has added a spacious studio with a butterfly roof.  The studio also has a set of large windows that provide a view through their large backyard of Camelback Mountain.

Kevin and Joan Callahan are the proud owners of a one-of-a-kind painstakingly remodeled Haver Home.  Now Kevin and Joan don’t just live in a “neighborhood” — they live in the Town and Country Scottsdale neighborhood, one of Southern Scottsdale’s finest.

In 2005 Town and Country Scottsdale was designated as a historic neighborhood by the City of Scottsdale and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

Meet Angie and Robert Young

Angie and Robert Young are able to live just about anywhere they want in Scottsdale. They lived in North Scottsdale in a 3,600-square-foot home. Next they moved south to a 2,000-square-foot house in the Scottsdale Country Club area near Shea Boulevard and Hayden Road.

Today, Angie and Robert, both 60-something, live in the Southwest Village neighborhood just south of Indian School Road – and they say their circa 1955 home is everything they ever wanted.

“We both wanted to live the urban lifestyle,” Angie said. “We wanted to be able to walk places. But Robert didn’t want to live in a condo. He wanted a house where he could have an organic garden. And I wanted grass,” she added with a big smile.

All their wishes came true. Angie, a top real estate agent with Home Smart, and Robert, a retired America West pilot, moved into their 1,250-square-foot home a little more than seven years ago.

Angie said it hardly took any time to adjust to living in a smaller house than she and her husband of 37 years were accustomed. “It’s small, but we think of it as ‘compact,’” she explained. “It’s all the space we really need.”

Conceptually, the design of the Young’s home is the epitome of bringing the “outside inside” to give a sense of more space than what actually exists under the home’s roof. From the front room, which is a contiguous space that includes both the kitchen and dining area, a visitor can see the plush backyard and also the beautifully designed walled front patio with glass block and brushed metal accents. The patio encases the entire front of the house and has a soothing custom water feature – creating a perfect place for entertaining friends during nice weather.

What makes the three-bedroom home even more intriguing and special is that Angie and Robert created the redesign plans themselves right down to the tongue and groove clear pine on the vaulted ceiling to the four sliding glass doors, one of which is their front door.

All it takes is one visit to Angie and Robert’s house to appreciate the love and caring that has gone into making their home an inspiration to others and a source of pride and personal happiness for them having chosen their urban lifestyle.

The Young’s home is just one of many unique homes in the Southwest Village neighborhood between Indian School and Osborn Roads along 68th Street. The homes were built from 1954 through 1963, with an average original square footage of 1,400 feet.

We reveal the top employers in Scottsdale’s McDowell Road corridor

, Research Director-Phoenix Business Journal

The McDowell Road Corridor in South Scottsdale may once have been known as the “motor mile” for the number of automobile dealerships between 68th Street and the Loop 101 freeway, but now it’s all about General Dynamics, not General Motors, dominating the employment scene. That’s according to the Largest Employers – McDowell Road Corridor list published today in the Phoenix Business Journal.
The list was ranked by employees in the 85257 ZIP Code. General Dynamics, which has employees from its C4 Systems and Advanced Information Systems divisions at its facility at 8201 E. McDowell Road, topped the list. The company reported 2,368 workers there.

Click the image below to see a slide show of the McDowell Road Corridor’s five largest employers.

Edward Gately, The Republic |

Families and young professionals from all over the country are among the first wave of new apartment dwellers along south Scottsdale’s McDowell Road corridor.

A major part of the corridor’s redevelopment includes adding hundreds of apartment units. SkySong Apartments, with 325 units near Scottsdale and McDowell roads, was the first to hit the market.

The complex is part of SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, which already has brought more than 1,000 jobs to the corridor.

In late October, Mark-Taylor will begin delivering 40 units per month over 11 months at its sprawling San Travesia apartment complex just east of SkySong. When completed, the gated community will have 572 units.

Chason Development plans to build its 154-unit Las Aguas apartment complex on the parcel that formerly housed Pitre Buick, on the north side of McDowell west of 68th Street.

“These new residents will affect the overall demographics in the area, which will in time also affect the attraction of new retail and restaurant options in the area that employers in locations like SkySong are already clamoring for with 1,000 daytime employees on site,” said Danielle Casey, Scottsdale’s economic development director.

Chris Brozina, vice president of Mark-Taylor Development, said he expects San Travesia to bring a “nice mix” of young professionals, “atypical students,” empty-nesters and Baby Boomers to the corridor.

“They’re the largest units you’ll see in the Valley, so you’re going to attract a higher-end demographic that’s probably moving up the corporate ladder, upwardly mobile in their lives,” he said.

Closer to activities

Couple Tuan Dao, 35, and Vy Nguyen, 34, moved from Chino, Calif., to Scottsdale in early July with their three children, ages 4, 3 and eight months. They rented a unit at SkySong Apartments while Dao completes his fellowship at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“We wanted an apartment because my husband’s fellowship is just going to be a year, so we don’t know where we’re going to be after that year,” Nguyen said. “An apartment is the ideal thing for us right now, we don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn or selling the house, or things like that.”

The family hasn’t had time yet to do much exploring in the area, but Nguyen said Scottsdale is known for being a good community to live in and raise a family.

“Community-wise, I don’t know my way around here a lot, but I know that they have things for the kids like libraries and parks, and places to go eat … and businesses are just blooming,” she said. “It feels like home, very similar to California despite the hot weather, and I like that a lot.”

Another couple, Brooks and Jeannie Beck, ages 43 and 41, moved to the corridor from north Scottsdale in late March. She’s an operations analyst at Mayo Clinic and he works part time in State Farm’s customer-service department.

“We were in a condominium in north Scottsdale and we wanted to be a little closer to where Brooks works, a little less of a commute,” Jeannie said. “We saw SkySong and it fit all of our criteria, and we moved here.”

The couple are originally from Illinois and moved to Arizona eight years ago. Jeannie said the McDowell area is growing on her with its “convenience to the greenbelt, the bike paths and running paths, and there’s a lot to do around here.”

“It’s actually kind of what we were looking for years ago when we first came to the Valley,” Brooks said. “We wanted to be kind of more in the city.”

Residents guide retail

Prospective retailers want to know everything they can about a particular area’s residential population as they “often make business decisions on very well-defined demographic and trade-area data so they can ensure adequate sales,” Casey said.

Kevin Turner, a performance trainer who was born in Jamaica and raised in New York City, said he enjoys the current atmosphere of the corridor, but looks forward to its continued growth and increasing population, as well as the addition of new retailers. He’s a tenant at SkySong Apartments.

“In the coming years, it will probably be more of a place to be than it is currently,” he said. “I’m from New York, so I like seeing a ton of people. My thing is I don’t necessarily want to engage with you unless I choose to, but I want that opportunity, and with most places around, there’s not really that opportunity to sit and engage with anyone.”

One thing that would make the corridor more inviting would be a fresh-foods market such as a Whole Foods or a Sprouts, Turner said.

“With a Whole Foods or other health-food store, this whole area will change based on that,” he said.

Jeannie Beck also said it would be nice if a fresh-foods market would open within walking distance along McDowell.

Hawke Rayes, a SkySong Apartments resident who works in the leasing office, said he looks forward to seeing more restaurants and retail come to the corridor.

“I remember a few years back, this was not necessarily a place that was a popular area, but now I’m finding it is and I think it will be good to bring that vitality and life back to the area,” he said.

New apartments in south Scottsdale

  • San Travesia — Just east of SkySong, construction is progressing on Mark-Taylor’s 572-unit, gated apartment community. The first buildings will be open later this year.
  • Alta Scottsdale — Wood Partners’ four-story, 218-unit apartment complex is being built on the site of Rural/Metro Corp.’s former billing and operations center, northeast of Indian School and Granite Reef roads.
  • Stetson West — Alliance Residential Co. took over Triyar Cos.’ two planned apartment projects, Industry East and Industry West, which have since been renamed Stetson East and Stetson West. Stetson West is under construction on the north side of Stetson Drive between Wells Fargo Avenue and 75th Street.
  • Broadstone Waterfront — Alliance Residential Co. has nearly completed the first phase of the 259-unit high-end apartment complex with 8,000 square feet of restaurant space along Marshall Way.
  • Portales — Construction is progressing on the 369-unit complex near Scottsdale and Chaparral roads. JLB Partners is the developer and the project is being built in one phase with completion slated for early 2015.

Owners of Company at SkySong Join SGA Board of Directors

The Scottsdale Gateway Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Yani and Jodi Deros to our Board of Directors.  Partners in business and in life, Yani and Jodi own and operate ATOMdesign headquartered at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.

ATOMdesign is a unique and diverse business operation.  The company is an internationally recognized, full-service product development and innovation firm that commercializes new products and break-through technologies for start-ups to global companies. Their successes range from reinventing the timeless hammer, creating advanced medical devices to designing the next generation off-road UTV vehicles.

Since Yani and Jodi relocated their business from Phoenix to Scottsdale’s SkySong more than two years ago, they have found the move rewarding. “Innovation, technology and creativity are all in the heart of our firm. The talent and energy of the companies within the SkySong community create a truly exhilarating environment for our headquarters,” Yani says.

“We are also giving back by providing much needed mentoring support to the fresh start-ups originating from ASU’s Edson Program.  Being completely immersed in all aspects of the SkySong ecosystem is a tremendous experience.”

Since ATOMdesign moved to SkySong on first floor of Building 1, their business has thrived, so much so that they have doubled their office space and quadrupled their staff.

“The renewed vitality in Southern Scottsdale is very gratifying, so we’re honored to be asked by SGA to play a principal part in the revitalization of the McDowell Road Corridor,” Jodi says.  “Yani and I are looking forward to working with the community to ensure that this area of our city prospers.”

Yani and Jodi will be assets to SGA and our Board of Directors.  We expect them to bring a fresh approach and new voices to the discussions about the future of the McDowell Road Corridor.  In fact, they have already volunteered to be SGA’s ambassadors in raising awareness of McDowell Road opportunities for businesses located at SkySong.

Yani and Jodi join the SGA Board of Directors whose members are Jeff Berghoff of Berghoff Design, Dana Close of Close Communications Services, Maragaret Dunn of Dunn Transportation and Brian Krob, co-founder of Aline Design, a Southern Scottsdale architectural firm.

Edward Gately, The Republic |

Scottsdale has made redevelopment along the McDowell Road corridor a top priority.

The nearly 3-mile stretch from Loop 101 to 64th Street at the Phoenix border was particularly hard-hit by the recession, with abandoned auto dealerships and retail outlets marking what was once one of Scottsdale’s showcase commercial corridors.

While many of those vacant spaces remain, various projects are in the works to bring new residential, commercial and retail to the corridor, a trend that city officials hope will spur momentum and attract more new investment along McDowell.

Here is a look at projects that are breathing new life into the corridor and challenges that still remain.

The SkySong effect

SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, was the first to add a new residential building to the corridor, on its campus at the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads. SkySong is an incubator to help foster startup companies.

The apartments have been completed, while a third office building, SkySong III, is nearing completion. Construction is slated to begin this fall on a fourth office building, SkySong IV, as well as a new retail and restaurant building.

Mark Taylor apartments

Just east of SkySong, on the south side of McDowell Road, construction is progressing on Mark Taylor’s 572-unit gated apartment community, San Travesia. The first buildings will be open later this year. Most of the acreage had been occupied by the abandoned Los Arcos Crossing shopping center. Cox Communications recently announced the Mark Taylor project will be among the first in the Valley to be fitted with its new gigabit Internet service, which promises speeds 100 times faster than basic broadband.

Las Aguas apartments

Chason Development plans to build its Las Aguas apartment complex on the parcel that formerly housed Pitre Buick, on the north side of McDowell west of 68th Street. The complex will include 154 units. The project was given the OK after months of negotiations between the developer and a nearby neighborhood on elements of the project.

Chapman Automotive Group

Chapman continues to thrive and has expanded its presence along the corridor while many other dealerships either closed or moved north. The corridor was once known as the Motor Mile for its concentration of auto dealerships. Chapman Autoplex Scottsdale is at 66th Street and McDowell Road.

Redevelopment opportunities

A string of abandoned auto dealerships on the north side of McDowell Road east of 68th Street invites investors to consider the possibilities for future redevelopment. The properties were vacated after several dealers left to set up shop at newer autoplexes near freeway interchanges.

City Manger Predicts McDowell Road Bright Future

“In five years, if the City of Scottsdale and the private sector do the right thing, you won’t recognize the McDowell Road Corridor,” City Manager Fritz Behring told a group of Southern Scottsdale residents and business owners Tuesday morning.

Behring’s remarks came as part of his “McDowell Road Revitalization Progress Report” sponsored by the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance held at SkySong.

The City Manager predicted that “the future looks bright for McDowell Road” now that the economy is recovering. He added that the role of the city is to remove any existing red tape and roadblocks in order to make it easier for new businesses to invest in the area.

“The city should start the ball rolling,” Behring explained, “and then get out of the way and let the private sector take over.”

Behring, who has been City Manager for a little less than one year, said that while the economy is recovering, the city is still “short on money” and is continuing to work on balancing expenditures with revenues.  Reminding attendees that the City Council has made the revitalization of the McDowell Road Corridor the city’s number one strategic priority, Behring said the city is dedicating as much money as it can currently afford to address infrastructure needs in Southern Scottsdale — including road, sidewalk and landscaping improvements.

Behring shared with the standing-room-only audience some of the current indicators of the revitalization, including a new lunch time trolley route connecting people at SkySong to services along Scottsdale Road.

The city is engaged in conversations with representatives of the trust that owns the two dirt berms on the east and west sides of the McDowell Road Bridge.  Behring said he hopes the city is successful in purchasing both plots that for years have been an eyesore at the south end of El Dorado Park.

SGA would like to thank Mr. Behring for his report on the progress being made on McDowell Road.

We also want to express our appreciation for the neighborhood residents, business owners, representatives from Skysong, the ASU Foundation and all the others who attended for taking an active interest in helping us revitalize Southern Scottsdale.

Edward Gately, The Republic |

SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, will be bringing more retail and restaurant space to the McDowell Road corridor.

Leasing has started on a planned 10,500-square-foot restaurant and retail building to be built at Scottsdale Road and SkySong Boulevard, just south of McDowell and east of Scottsdale Road.

“We plan on breaking ground in the fall,” said SkySong spokesman Tom Evans. “We have to go through the (city’s) Design Review board but do not have to go to City Council. The total cost of the building is approximately $5 million.”

It’s part of the overall mixed-use vision for SkySong, which will include 1.2 million square feet of development upon completion. A third office building, SkySong III, and parking garage are nearing completion, with a fourth office building expected to be under construction before the end of the year.

Also, the 325-unit SkySong Apartments complex was completed in April.

Plaza Cos. is the master developer of SkySong, in partnership with the ASU Foundation and Scottsdale. Tucson-based Holualoa Cos. also has partnered with Plaza Cos. for the project.

SRS Real Estate Partners is handling the leasing for the retail building, which will include adjacent surface parking for visitors to the restaurants and stores.

“We kept hearing from people that they wanted more restaurant and retail options to be a part of the future of SkySong, and this will help us accomplish that goal,” said Sharon Harper, Plaza Cos.’ president and CEO. “We have a wonderful café on site and have had smaller retail presences in the past, but this will truly bring back strong, established retail to this property and provide some great services for the area.”

More than 1,000 employees and 50 companies are housed at SkySong. The mission of the mixed-use, 42-acre development is to be a job creator and entrepreneurial hub.

Edward Gately, The Republic |

The Scottsdale City Council, at its April 29 meeting will consider an engineering contract to design a pedestrian-improvements project along a stretch of the McDowell Road corridor.

Staff is recommending the council approve a $94,575 contract with Gavan & Barker Inc. for the SkySong Transit-McDowell Road Pedestrian Improvements project. The improvements would take place along McDowell between Scottsdale and Miller roads.

The city has made redevelopment along the McDowell corridor a top priority. This project includes pedestrian and streetscape improvements along this section of McDowell.

“The existing sidewalk in this segment is less than 6-feet wide, which does not meet current accessibility standards,” said Eric Waldo, project manager. “In addition, persons with disabilities have … challenges due to the proximity of driveways along McDowell Road. The new sidewalk will be separated from the curb, where feasible, and will be constructed to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.”

The proposed improvements include expanding the sidewalk to 8 feet in width with adjustments to meet ADA standards, landscaping and new transit stops. The project will be critical in providing improved pedestrian facilities along the north side of McDowell Road, Waldo said.

Funding for the project design and construction is provided by Federal Transit Administration grants and will cover 80 percent of eligible expenses. Funding for the city’s share is available in the capital improvement projects fund.

The project design is expected to be complete this fall with construction likely to begin early next year.