Saturday, February 5, 2011

Scottsdale lowers height of Waterfront buildings

The Scottsdale City Council narrowly approved a request by the Scottsdale Waterfront developer to allow a taller building at its downtown site after a debate and negotiation among stakeholders that continued during the council's meeting.

The council nearly delayed action for a second time at its meeting Jan. 25, before comments from council members stirred further negotiations with developer Scottsdale Waterfront LLC and residents of the nearby Villa Adrian community and the Waterfront condominium towers, who have opposed the proposal.

The council voted 4-3 to lower Scottsdale Waterfront's maximum height request from 140 feet to 135 feet. It will allow the building on the eastern side of vacant property just east of Goldwater Boulevard and south of the Nordstrom parking garage on the southern side of Camelback Road.

The previous height limit was 85 feet, with some allowance for rooftop mechanical equipment.

Mayor Jim Lane said he was surprised at the meeting's lengthy debate because he was told an agreement had been reached.

"I'm a bit disappointed, frankly, that this has been handled the way that it has on both sides," he said. "I think what has been worked to this point in time is a good agreement."

Earlier, the planning commission unanimously recommended council approval of Scottsdale Waterfront's revised request. Scottsdale Waterfront is a partnership between Golub and Co. and Starwood Capital.

John Berry, an attorney representing Scottsdale Waterfront, said this request was only the first of many to come for the parcel in the near future, adding that flexible zoning restrictions, especially regarding height, were absolutely necessary to attract business and commerce to the Waterfront and the downtown area.

Nearby Villa Adrian residents, however, said they don't want the enjoyment of their homes jeopardized by a tall building nearby.

Michael Shields, board member of the Villa Adrian homeowners association, told the council residents felt the process moved too fast.

The past month's meetings were announced at the last minute, he said, and the developer put pressure on residents to make decisions before they had time to digest it all.

The original request, submitted last fall, asked the city to modify its development standards to allow for a tower no higher than 150 feet tall. The request came after the council last summer adopted a new downtown infill ordinance that allows developers to seek waivers to established zoning standards.

Issues arose when upset residents of Villa Adrian filed a legal protest also aimed at forcing a supermajority council vote. In response, Scottsdale Waterfront requested a delay to further negotiate with the neighbors.

Scottsdale Waterfront revised its height plan for the east end down to 140 feet after meeting with residents, before finally agreeing to the 135-foot limit.

by Kristena Hansen Arizona Business Gazette Feb. 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Scottsdale lowers height of Waterfront buildings

Real Estate News

HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard