Friday, February 24, 2012

Paradise Valley residents get first glimpse of resort plan

Paradise Valley residents are getting their first glimpse of plans for the renovation of the shuttered Mountain Shadows resort.

Specifics are still minimal, but officials with JDM Partners LLC expect more information to be available when their special-use permit is submitted in the next week.

Stephen Earl, zoning counsel for the developer, said the firm's permit application is nearly complete. The Town Council met Friday to go over plans for the resort, at 56th Street and Lincoln Drive, on the northeastern side of Camelback Mountain. The resort closed in September 2004, but residences on the property are still in use.

JDM agreed to buy the 68-acre property late last year.

"We've been working intensely on this for the last month and a half, but we're not quite ready to file the (special-use permit)," Earl said. "We have a draft and hope to file very soon, but we don't know yet."

JDM, co-owned by sports businessman Jerry Colangelo, has projects that include Chase Field, US Airways Center and Comerica Theatre.

The company's purchase of the Wigwam resort in Litchfield Park about two years ago marked its first foray into the hospitality industry. The parties involved with the resort in Paradise Valley are looking to JDM's experience in the renovation of the 82-year-old Wigwam as a touchstone for Mountain Shadows.

Architect Erik Peterson, principal with PHX Architecture, said the team that worked on the Wigwam is working on the Mountain Shadows project.

Litchfield Park officials have said that sustainable changes were made to the Wigwam's pool areas, restaurants and bars, and that events like golf tournaments are beginning to draw more visitors to the Southwest Valley city.

"The Wigwam was rundown, broken and in disrepair," Peterson said.

The Mountain Shadows resort plan for renovation includes residential and retail components.

Peterson said the site will be reminiscent of California resort destinations like those in Santa Barbara.

Paradise Valley Town Councilman Michael Collins said past plans formally submitted for the Mountain Shadows site never truly captured the opportunity for the historic resort to be a legacy project -- something that transcends rudimentary development calculations, with the owners making a long-lasting contribution to the fabric and quality of life of the community.

Collins served on the Planning Commission for three years before being elected to the council in 2010.

He said the current concept embraces the proposed 2012 General Plan update, with a low-density resort town center that provides amenities to Mountain Shadows residents and includes a limited amount of community-oriented commercial services.

The General Plan update goes before voters on March 13.

"None of the plans before spoke to the true heritage of the site as a community gathering place," he said.

by Philip Haldiman - Feb. 23, 2012 10:30 AM The Republic |

Paradise Valley residents get first glimpse of resort plan

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