ScottSpite Not Scottsdale: Why Museum Square Makes Sense Not Scott Jarson

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

Scott Jarson is a local realtor. He’s one half of Jarson & Jarson Real Estate. The first line of his bio says that he was named “Scott” after “Scottsdale.”  Well, based on his recent actions, that’s where his supposed affinity for the community ends.

You see, Jarson, who actually lives in Paradise Valley, is trying to gin up opposition to the acclaimed Museum Square project in the southern part of downtown Scottsdale.

First, let’s talk a little more about Museum Square.  Then let’s talk more about Jarson.  It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

City residents may recall a several acre parcel of land along Goldwater near Osborn Road.  It was once the site of the city’s transit station.  Now it’s home to tumbleweeds and little else.  The City of Scottsdale owns the land.

City leaders wisely recognized it was a valuable asset that could generate substantial sums of money for city projects and programs at a time when it has been challenging to get voter approval for bonds.   The sale of the land could also help fund the expansion of the nearby, award-winning Museum of the West, a Smithsonian-affiliate.  The city partnered with an adjoining private property owner as state law permits, got a fair market value appraisal and earlier this year entered into an agreement with Macdonald Development to buy the land.  How much say you? Nearly $30 million.  Museum Square would include a new hotel, condominiums and apartments designed by one of the state’s best. Some of the heights would be comparable but no higher than buildings nearby by Honor Health.  Others would be shorter.   Museum Square would also include a large new community square for public events, something Old Town needs, especially after losing key acreage at the Scottsdale Waterfront not too long ago.  Read The Phoenix Business Journal’s coverage on the project awhile back here.

Supported by the Scottsdale Gallery Association, Museum of the West, Larsen Art Gallery, Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association and many others including theater groups, the Scottsdale City Council UNANIMOUSLY approved the potential sale to Macdonald earlier this year.  As readers know, this City Council doesn’t vote unanimously on much of anything. Yet, they did on this proposal because of its salience and support.  And earlier this month Scottsdale’s Design Review Board, chaired by Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, also unanimously approved plans.  The next stop is Planning Commission and the Scottsdale City Council so the project can get underway and the city can realize revenue from the sale of its property.  As Arizona knows all too well, real estate cycles don’t last forever.

Then along comes Scott Jarson.  He offices nearby in a condo complex and purportedly sold units to residences there.  At the 11th hour he’s now organizing emails opposing Museum Square talking about heights, views, traffic and the usual stuff. The work of a conscientious citizen?  Nope.  Not this trope.

As mentioned before Jarson doesn’t live in Scottsdale.  He  serves as Chairman of the Town of Paradise Valley’s Hillside Committee. There he routinely votes for developments on Camelback, Mummy and other mountains that harm views, contrary to his newfound mantra next door.  This guy wants to lecture Scottsdale on density and views?  Please.

But the Jarson story doesn’t end there.  Nope. Not his trope.  Apparently, Jarson was the broker on a real estate project Macdonald Development became involved with a while back.  The sales velocity was not to their liking or expectations and Jarson was dismissed.  Rather than be a professional, and we grant no one likes to be fired from a job, Jarson has chosen revenge.  What a Scott . . . sdalian.

Additionally, we surmise Jarson may be embarrassed about not representing what could go on the city’s empty transit station land when he sold units to those in the small condo complex where he now offices.  But surely no one believes valuable land at that location was going to lie fallow forever? Whether naiveté or negligence it’s no excuse now to become a nattering nabob of negativity.

Finally, Jarson prides himself on being a pitch man for homes and buildings with interesting architecture.  That’s something the City of Scottsdale is insisting on when it comes to Museum Square.  That achievement certainly appears at hand based on the preliminary work by Swaback Partners, whose founder once apprenticed for Frank Lloyd Wright.  Is Jarson’s desire for revenge so pronounced that he’s willing to so contort his professional standards?  After all, this is a project he would normally seek to list.

It’s worth noting that Jarson has always had a decent reputation.  Not great.  Not bad.  But spite doesn’t become anyone.  And that’s what this is.  At the end of the day few if anyone will want to join a sycophant to hypocritical demagoguery.  Few should.  The only damage Jarson is likely to do is to himself, impugning his reputation as the great Scott he is not.