Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old West village is proposed in Scottsdale

Developers of the proposed Stagecoach Gap want to build a historic Western village on city land at 94th Street and Bell Road.

The land-speculator question is whether it's likely to be a boomtown of tourism or a ghost town of public-private-partnership folly.

The $48 million project would try to re-create an 1880s town to entertain and educate up to 400,000 annual visitors about the American West.

It's not Rawhide, and there would be no noisy gunfights, said Rob Wagner, a principal of Prescott-based Yavapai Regional Capital Inc., which is promoting Stagecoach Gap.

"We don't want to irritate people who live nearby," he said. "Those shootouts are not the essence of the West anyway."

Stagecoach Gap's town would include a streetscape with board sidewalks and a row of shops, restaurants and a hotel with about 160 rooms. A theater, museum, riding arena, stables and even a working bank also would be included.

Stagecoach Gap would be built on roughly 80 acres of city-owned land north of Bell Road and split by 94th Street. It's a setting that has impressive views of the nearby McDowell Mountains.

About 10 acres of the site would be set aside for residential development on the north side of property to serve as a buffer to nearby DC Ranch.

The Scottsdale City Council in June on a 4-3 vote directed staffers to continue discussions with Stagecoach Gap on leasing the land for 30 years.

"The city has so far only made the commitment to negotiate with the project proponents," said Bob Tunis, Scottsdale economic and tourism-development manager.

Stagecoach Gap must submit detailed plans and marketing projections by the end of the year that will be further scrutinized by the council, he said.

Stagecoach Gap was one of five proposals submitted to the city for the 80-acre site. Home and apartment builders offered up to $11 million for half the site and a water-park bid suggested an annual lease of $200,000 to $400,000.

Scottsdale paid $47.2 million for the land in 2005, but the current value is estimated at $15 million to $20 million, according to City Treasurer David Smith.

Stagecoach Gap envisions revenue of $5.2 million in the first year from a $9 admission charge plus an average of $4 per person in food and gift sales. That's based on a target of 400,000 visitors.

The city would get 10 percent, or $520,000, plus the city would receive tax revenue from the shops, restaurants and hotel, Wagner said.

The city treasurer in his report to the council questioned the financial viability of Stagecoach Gap's concept and said it does not promise a "realistic return on the city's investment in the 80 acres."

by Peter Corbett The Arizona Republic Aug. 1, 2011 12:00 AM

Old West village is proposed in Scottsdale

Real Estate News

HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard