Saturday, June 2, 2012

South Scottsdale has potential for revitalization

South Scottsdale should play a prominent role as the city's residential real-estate market continues to slowly recover from the crash of 2008.

That's according to RL Brown, a housing analyst with RL Brown Housing Reports. He also warned of the "danger" of overdevelopment of apartment units in Scottsdale in the coming years.

Brown was among a group of analysts who gave their economic forecasts for the region last week before the City Council's subcommittee on economic development.

Brown said there's "huge potential" for residential revitalization in south Scottsdale, which should be a big draw for homebuyers. South Scottsdale includes a large area of housing stock that is "superbly located, not only to mainstream Scottsdale, but also to the job growth that's going to occur in the East Valley," he said.

"The opportunity that Scottsdale has could be similar to that that Phoenix had on north Central Avenue or in the neighborhoods just north of the downtown (Phoenix) area," he said. "As the housing stock aged, instead of letting it generally deteriorate, as often happens, the city had policies and an interest in ensuring that there was a revitalization of those areas."

It's important for the city to have an active plan to enhance the south Scottsdale area with services, redevelopment parks and other amenities to maximize the neighborhoods' attractiveness long after they were built, Brown said.

The city is focusing on redevelopment of the McDowell Road corridor, and numerous commercial and residential projects are planned, such as two additional office buildings at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, high-end apartment complexes and retail redevelopment.

"I hope the planning recognizes the value of those neighborhoods, that whole part of town, as a housing component for the region," Brown said.

Brown and Elliott Pollack, a Scottsdale-based economist, weighed in on the increasing number of projects that would bring more than 5,700 apartment units to the city. Pollack said development is finance-driven, so it's the city's job to determine whether there's real demand and what "you want the city to look like."

"The bottom line is ... if you want to have people living in Scottsdale who want to live in apartments, you need apartments," Pollack said.

Brown said multifamily development could leave the city with more units than tenants.

"The other factor that enters into that is, it takes a long time to complete a large multifamily project, and the market circumstances can change while that's going on," he said. "So it's very easy to find yourself in an overbuilt situation even though you didn't anticipate it when you were approving the zoning or issuing the permits. It needs to be carefully watched."

Brown said that because Scottsdale has a limited supply of land, and "assuming growth is what you want," there will have to be an increase in density to continue growing.

"The decision is largely in your hands," he said.

by Edward Gately - Jun. 1, 2012 08:39 AM The Republic | azcentral.com



South Scottsdale has potential for revitalization

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