The Scottsdale Airpark’s destiny lies in redevelopment and assuring that commuters who can’t afford to live in Scottsdale can get to their Airpark jobs, city and business leaders said.
One of the panel members at the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce’s 15th annual Airpark Economic Forecast breakfast on Friday said city officials will have to take on “anti-growth” activists to help that redevelopment along.
John Berry, a zoning lawyer with the Scottsdale law firm of Berry & Damore, said the City Council will have to stand up against people who want Scottsdale to be “watering holes, hitching posts and one-story buildings.”
“You have to grow, you have to change, you have to continue to redevelop,” Berry said. “But that takes political courage.”
Zoning laws should be changed to allow building heights of greater than three stories in the Airpark, he said.
Chamber President Rick Kidder moderated the panel discussion, which also included City Manager Jan Dolan, Chris Camberlango of Vanguard City Homes, Daniel “Buzz” Gosnell of Woodbine Southwest Corp., and Mark Sokol of The Vanguard Group. Grayhawk Golf Club hosted the forum.
“The Airpark, like many places, is running out of land,” Kidder said. “Our future is actually in redevelopment.”
He said the Airpark is unusual in that many businesses relocate there because the owners want to live in Scottsdale.
“That’s something that doesn’t fit most development models,” Kidder said. “People actually move their businesses to the Airpark so they can live here.”
Dolan said the Airpark has trouble attracting nonprofessional workers like secretaries and office assistants because they can’t afford to live in Scottsdale on a $35,000 to $60,000 a year income. If the city can’t provide housing for those workers, then it must ensure that commuters can get to and from the Airpark easily from elsewhere in the Valley, she said.
Projects are in the works to expand the capacity of Loop 101 and to build a better road network around the Airpark, she said.
Dolan said the cost of redevelopment is significantly higher than new development, but the Airpark has several properties ready to be rebuilt because the buildings sitting on them are obsolete.
“We still have a number of properties that are underutilized,” she said. “You can still pencil out if you can redevelop those properties to a more intense, higher use. There’s still a lot of opportunity, I think, in Scottsdale.”