March 17, 2009
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Crews of construction workers and retail employees are entering the final week before the March 26 opening of the first phase of an innovative shopping district in north Scottsdale.
The opening date for Scottsdale Quarter was confirmed late on March 16, says Richard Hunt, the development’s general manager. In these final few days before opening, Hunt and his project managers will be making daily punch lists of last-minute changes, details and other chores.
Scottsdale Quarter is unique in several ways. It includes retailers on the ground floors of two parking garages, each with 1,200 spaces. In the other buildings, the design includes office space above retailers. Plus, it will feature several tenants new to the metro Phoenix market. The project will offer 370,000 square feet for retail and restaurant uses; 36,000 square feet for entertainment, such as theaters; and 203,000 square feet for offices.
Hunt works for Glimcher Realty Trust, a national real estate investment trust that owns all or part of 23 shopping malls and four community centers. Scottsdale Quarter’s construction manager is Whiting-Turner. The architect is Nelsen Architects. Leasing will be handled by CB Richard Ellis‘ Phoenix office.
Hunt says today’s economic downturn is preventing the opening of the entire development at one time. The first phase, opening this month, consists of two home furnishing stores, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma Home. By late April, Brio Tuscan Grille should be open.
“It’s not necessarily the exact timing that we would like,” Hunt says, referring to the current economy. “We would to be able to open it all in one big splash. But we’re finding that it’s not only true here, but it’s true nationwide, with the economic times.”
The first two stores opening this month are on the development’s northwest corner. Chain-link fences will be erected east and south of those stores to fence off the construction zone on the rest of Scottsdale Quarter.
Other tenants include Hennes & Mauritz, known as H&M, an affordable fashion outlet based in Sweden; Nike; Gold Class Cinemas, a boutique movie theater featuring gourmet food and fine wine; Oakville Grocery, a gourmet grocer in Sonoma, Calif.; Bing Crosby’s Restaurant, a golf and Hollywood-themed restaurant and piano lounge; Martini Park, a martini bar; Momenti Café; Parc Central, boutique dining lounge; Santorini Mediterranean Cuisine; StingRay, an upscale sushi bar and restaurant; and Tutta La Casa, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
Scottsdale officials see the new shopping center as an economic hub surrounded by Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Airpark, northeast Phoenix and north Scottsdale.
Hunt is hopeful all of his tenants facing Scottsdale Road will be open by late fall. The theaters, as part of phase two in the center of the development, should open in 2010. A third phase – with retail, a boutique hotel and possibly residential condominiums – is proposed for the easternmost part of the property, stretching east to 73rd Street. The third phase will be developed independently from the retail and office components by The Wolff Co. and Vanguard City Home. The start of the third phase is dependent on market demand, Hunt says.
Two or three times a day, Hunt walks a circuitous route around and through the 28-acre shopping district at the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Butherus Drive, just east of Kierland Commons.
He leaves his office east of Scottsdale Quarter and cuts through the construction workers’ parking lot. On his list for his first trip today are a plastic garbage can where it shouldn’t be; adequate parking for retailers’ workers hired to unload trucks filled with merchandise; and new concrete-and-stone benches added for public use.
Along the way, he stops to watch the line of workers stretching from the back of a semi into Williams-Sonoma. They unloaded the truck, box by box, and stacked the merchandise inside the store
Hunt walks a short distance. A security worker stops him with a quick question. Hunt walks on. He sees one of his project managers and stops him to ask a question. Then, after he checks the parking garage, Hunt returns to the buildings facing Scottsdale Road and bounds up the stairs to the second floor.
He stops and gives a thumbs-up sign to a tech worker checking the phone and computer wiring. “Doing alright?” Hunt asks. He is told the wiring is functional. After he inspects work in the mall offices, he heads for the stairwell. He’s going up two more floors to the top level. He points to the view eastward to the McDowell Mountains, northward to Black Mountain in Carefree, and southward to Camelback Mountain.
“I told my bosses this is where we’re going to have our meetings,” Hunt says. “This is just phenomenal.”
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