The Phoenix Suns have had many great players over the years but Paul Westphal was right up there with the best of them. Twisting, turning, shooting and scoring like few others is why he’s in the team’s Ring of Honor. His jersey number was 44. It was fitting and looked good to all who saw him play.
Compare that with another 44 in a different part of the Valley, Paradise Valley. It’s purportedly the top height being requested for a new hotel and condominium redevelopment of the Smoketree Resort along Lincoln, near Scottsdale Road. Unlike Westphal, it doesn’t look so good.
We can all agree that a refurbishment of the Smoketree site is desirable. The old restaurant that fronts the property, The Other Place, has been vacant for years. While not quite an eyesore it is a community blemish. Removing it with a nice new project would be desirable.
The Phoenix Business Journal reported on the possibility earlier today. LINK HERE
But with a purported top height of 44 feet, the ends don’t justify the means. When it comes to resort revitalization 36 feet has become an important line, or height, not to cross. Should new Smoketree efforts gain additional latitude than that given Mountain Shadows, Montelucia, Sanctuary or The Hermosa Inn?
No. Because to say yes is to lace up the skates and start down a very slippery slope from which it’s difficult to regain one’s footing. Forty four becomes 54 then 64 then that which makes Paradise Valley so distinct isn’t so.
Paradise Valley will be just fine with or without Smoketree’s reinvention. Of course it would be better with it, so long as it does not encourage a for sale sign on the community’s soul. For if it happens here imagine what the soon to be re-developers of the Scottsdale Plaza Resort will ask for, adjoining some of the town’s finest neighborhoods.
There’s a catchy phrase: “Getting to yes.” That’s often important in business, public service and life. But in Paradise Valley it’s often better to know, no. Town leaders did just that when it came to untoward plans for the old Cottonwoods Resort and the result was the new Andaz, a low-density, critically acclaimed hotel.
If Smoketree developers insist on taking Paradise Valley to uncomfortable heights it’s ok to come down with a case acrophobia, and allow such plans to go up in smoke.