How To Put More Style In Scottsdale Fashion Square’s Height & Density Requests
We are fans of what Scottsdale Fashion Square is seeking to redevelop and stay relevant in a rapidly changing retail landscape. But it is a lot. While Mayor Lane and others have turned off the subsidy spigots for developers generous heights are another form of the same.
That’s why the Scottsdale City Council shouldn’t simply be acquiescent obligers. They should be part of an innovative approach to the sizable request.
Here’s an idea. Scottsdale’s Museum of the West has reinforced a general well-being for the largely western art galleries along downtown’s Main Street. The same can’t be said of the more contemporary ones along Marshall Way or elsewhere in downtown. Periodic arts events like Canal Convergence are good. Permanent, successful galleries are better. Unfortunately there are fewer of them in downtown today beyond Main Street.
This is where Scottsdale Fashion Square comes in. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) is an interesting building but its size and location make it more cute than impressive.
Fashion Square has a soon to be vacant Barney’s store and other spaces like Dillard’s that soon could be. It is there that an expanded and rejuvenated SMOCA could be located. More space, higher profile and good timing as Phoenix Art Museum is encountering some turbulence as a new regime has taken over for local arts legend Jim Ballinger. There may be other ways to fit SMOCA into Fashion Square. Whatever the form it be should be far beyond the tokenism of the Fiesta Bowl “museum” that was touted as part of the Scottsdale Waterfront’s entitlement, which included two huge residential towers, quite similar to what Fashion Square is seeking. If done right a relocated SMOCA to Fashion Square would help stabilize Scottsdale as a great arts community.
This concept is not only good policy it represents good politics too as political storm clouds are gathering in and around Fashion Square. There a high school reunion of activists is being organized, and they aren’t shopping around much for a new cause. They’ve found it.