Sunday, September 5, 2010

Waterfront developer wants to build nearly 150 feet high

The developer of Scottsdale Waterfront wants the city to modify its development standards for the vacant parcel immediately south of the Nordstrom parking garage to allow for a building or buildings that would rise nearly 150 feet.

The 4-acre site, called the Goldwater parcel, is on the east side of Goldwater Boulevard and the north side of the Arizona Canal. It is zoned downtown/regional commercial office type 2 planned block development downtown overlay.

The maximum height allowed on the parcel is 85 feet excluding rooftop mechanical, and the request is to increase that maximum to 149 feet including rooftop mechanical.

The applicant is Bret Sassenberg, CEO of Ground-Up Development Services. He manages the development and operations of Scottsdale Waterfront. Seven acres of the Waterfront, the Camelback parcel, have been developed, including 704,375 square feet.

Sassenberg did not return calls for comment.

Sassenberg's request will require the Planning Commission's recommendation and approval by the City Council.

Development of the Camelback parcel has been "a catalyst for the continuing revitalization of downtown Scottsdale, transforming it into a vibrant destination" and helping Scottsdale Fashion Square maintain its status as the Valley's "premier shopping destination," Sassenberg said in his application.

Sassenberg's request is for the city to make the development standards for the Goldwater parcel consistent with approved heights and densities within the city's Downtown Infill Incentive District. Last month, a divided council approved the district that Councilman Bob Littlefield warned could bring 150-foot-tall buildings into the downtown area.

Creation of the downtown district was quickly followed by Gray Development Group's proposal to build a $200 million luxury apartment complex just east of Scottsdale Fashion Square. Citizen input led the developer to scale back the maximum height from 148 feet to 125 feet, and reduce the apartment unit count from 1,196 to 957.

"The Waterfront itself is in its own infill incentive district," said Dan Symer, senior city planner. "They're looking to amend the standards, which would be similar to the standards of the downtown infill incentive district."

The downtown district establishes a height maximum of 150 feet in the downtown regional multiple-use area, north of the Arizona Canal, and the downtown medical type 2 area, surrounding Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

Sassenberg hasn't yet submitted a specific plan or use for the Goldwater parcel, but his request does specify that the development would be set back from Goldwater Boulevard, and would include tiered building heights to appease nearby residents, Symer said.

Building heights would not exceed 54 feet including rooftop mechanical closest to Goldwater, and would gradually increase to no more than 96 feet and then 149 feet farther from the street.

"There is a development plan for the site and that's what they're amending," Symer said. "Nobody knows what is going to be built there, but it gives them some flexibility."

The tallest building in Scottsdale is the AmTrust Bank building at 69th Street and Camelback Road. The Waterfront condominium towers are just below that height and the maximum height Sassenberg is requesting for the Goldwater parcel is roughly equal to the towers, Symer said.

The city has drawn a horizontal line across the city from the top of the AmTrust Bank building and said no buildings will exceed that height, he said.

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Aug. 23, 2010 10:39 AM

Waterfront developer wants to build nearly 150 feet high

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