Mcdowell Office Condos

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.

Redevelopment Area on Mcdowell

Less than a mile east of the auto park, the newest of four office towers at SkySong is rising at the intersection of Scottsdale and McDowell roads — the former site of Los Arcos Mall. The mixed-use campus, known for its iconic tent-like shade structure over the main courtyard, represents a joint effort by Scottsdale, Arizona State University and Plaza Cos. to rejuvenate a once-blighted area.

Although Scottsdale Entrada is smaller and would likely feature less office space than SkySong, the two projects have similarities, said Todd Tupper, senior director of development for SunChase.

The company envisions a cluster of three- and four-story buildings around a central park, connected by public plazas and palm-lined streets. Parking would likely be underground or in multilevel garages. A handful of retail stores would provide shopping and dining for residents and employees at the complex.

It could take years for building designs to emerge, but conceptual plans show space for 300 to 800 condos or apartments at Scottsdale Entrada. That could translate to more than 1,000 residents. The architecture likely would have a Midcentury Modern style, Tupper said.

SunChase will not develop the roughly 5 acres of open space to the north of the project, where trees and shrubs provide a buffer zone between the auto park and the adjacent Hy-View neighborhood. The developer plans to add trees and possibly lighting to the area as part of Scottsdale Entrada’s first phase, Tupper said.

Boost for McDowell Road

Scottsdale officials have long hoped for a rebirth of the once-bustling McDowell Road area.

When the Scottsdale Auto Park opened in 1988, it brought a new concept to metro Phoenix — a hub of five auto dealerships offering one-stop shopping for prospective car buyers. The concept is now widespread, with auto malls dotting the Valley from Avondale to Gilbert.

Competition from other regional shopping malls sent Los Arcos into decline by the mid-1990s, and the subsequent departure of the auto dealers left the area vacant and blighted. A plan to replace Los Arcos with a hockey arena emerged in 1998 but fell apart amid community opposition and mixed views from the City Council.

By 2004, city leaders hatched a plan to use the property for an ASU innovation campus called SkySong, which opened in 2008. Now 95 percent occupied and with more than 1,500 employees, the complex has helped usher in what many see as a new era for the corridor.

“It is an important area due to its proximity to the urban cores of Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix,” Scottsdale Economic Development Director Danielle Casey said.”All (are) attractive locations for information and communications firms and startups.”

In his State of the City address last month, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane predicted the McDowell area will become “mighty again,” anchored by information and technology companies instead of dealerships.

“More apps, fewer hubcaps,” Lane said. “More hires, fewer tires. Laptops, not hard tops.”

Lane also expressed support for the Entrada project, calling it a “wonderful, modern gateway” on the corridor’s western end.

This Article originally appeared on The Republic | azcentral.com writen by