$1.5 billion Ritz-Carlton resort approved in PV - East Valley Tribune: News

$1.5 billion Ritz-Carlton resort approved in PV

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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2008 3:27 pm | Updated: 9:11 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Paradise Valley Town Council unanimously approved its portion of the $1.5 billion proposed Ritz-Carlton resort and residential community Thursday.

Scottsdale-based Five Star Development plans to build the ultra-upscale complex on 123 acres southwest of Indian Bend and Scottsdale roads. The project spills about 16 acres over the town’s border into Scottsdale.

A new boutique urban hotel brand, Edition, is planned for the Scottsdale portion. It will be one of the first sites for the new brand — a collaboration of Marriott International Chairman Bill Marriott and Studio 54 and Morgans Hotel Group co-founder Ian Schrager.

But Paradise Valley gets Arizona’s first Ritz-Carlton resort. Phoenix has a Ritz-Carlton urban hotel at 24th Street and Camelback Road. It’s elegant and pricey, but lacking resort amenities.

Plans for the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley resort and the upscale homes surrounding it have been tweaked a bit since plans were first announced nearly two years ago.

The 225-room resort hotel, with spa, restaurants and meeting rooms, is still the centerpiece of the project, but the type and number of homes have been reduced to address neighbors’ concerns.

The just-approved version includes 100 resort patio homes, 46 luxury detached homes and 15 one-acre custom home lots.

Five Star plans to start construction this summer with completion for the entire master-planned community and resort hotel by summer, 2010, said Brendan Mann of S&P Destination Properties, sales director for the project.

Canada-based S&P Destination Properties, a resort and luxury real estate company, is on board to handle home sales and marketing.

“The number of inquiries about the development’s ownership opportunities on a local, national and even international level has been overwhelming. Calls and e-mails come in every day with people interested in being part of the first Ritz-Carlton master-planned community,” Mann said. “It’s a limited opportunity within a prestigious city known around the globe as a top resort destination. Potential home buyers see this as a collectible piece of real estate.”

He said pricing for the Ritz residences will start at $2 million for the villas or patio homes. The single family homes will be priced initially from $3.5 million to $6 million. And for the homes built on custom sites, the sky’s the limit, he said.

Paradise Valley’s ritzy residents are apparently still divided over the Ritz’s plans, and could try to stop the project through a referendum.

But Mann doesn’t believe that will happen. Less than a handful spoke against the proposal at the Town Council meeting, while significantly more residents spoke in favor of the plans, he said. Mann believes that’s reflective of the town’s collective opinion.

Five Star listened to neighbors concerns and made the project what the “overwhelming majority” of Paradise Valley residents want, he said. That is evidenced by the unanimous support of the Town Council and the advocacy of the Citizen’s Forum, a non-profit liaison organization providing residents and town officials a format for meeting and communicating, Mann said.

Paradise Valley resident Linda Peterson Warren wrote in a recent commentary on the Citizens Forum’s Web site that she has evolved from adversary to advocate for the Ritz-Carlton project.

“No matter what is built on this property, it will be visually shocking at first,” Peterson Warren wrote. “Residents are accustomed to seeing it as wide open space with low vegetation. For some, it would be nice to think it could all remain that way forever. That is an ideal, however not very realistic considering its desirability. Since the land will ultimately be built as a resort, I feel our town is lucky to get this one.”

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