New SkySong Office Tower

New SkySong Office Tower

Excerpted from The Arizona Republic – August 17, 2016

PARKER LEAVITT

THE REPUBLIC | AZCENTRAL.COM

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.

Timeline

  • 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.
  • The next SkySong?
    The next SkySong?
  • McDowell Road sees revitalization
    McDowell Road sees revitalization