Real estate developers are often cast with the black hats. But aren’t they the people who build the homes we live in?
Their bulldozers, political maneuvering and redevelopment plans are often contrasted with concerned neighbors, small business owners and the preverbal local townsfolk.
It’s the stuff of old ‘Murder She Wrote’ and ‘Scooby-Doo’ episodes.
But developers are not actually the antagonists they are made out to be.
Developers are proof of concept. They are the marketplace. Their interest in cities such as Scottsdale and submarkets such as Old Town shows the competitiveness and attractiveness of those locations.
Developers are in the business of landing projects where there is demand from tenants for space whether it be for offices, hotels or restaurants.
So that says a lot for Scottsdale’s brand and economy when developers come here to build new hotels, offices and housing. They see the city’s strengths, it’s desirability. That is a good thing.
In the immortal words expressed in the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ you ‘get busy living or get busy dying’.
Developers aren’t scrambling to land in Youngstown, Ohio or Gary, Indiana. They want to be where there is demand for space, where tourists, employers and consumers want to visit, work and live.
Now, this does not mean the community — residents, elected officials, planners and existing businesses — does not have the right to say no (or even hell no) to some developers’ plans or should say so in several if not numerous cases.
This is the crossroads Scottsdale is at when it comes to new developments, redevelopments, density and height in Old Town and the southern part of the city. The community should decide how and where it wants to grow and evolve. Development proposals offer those choices and those options are good for a community to have. Just ask withering Rust Belt cities or small towns in rural Arizona or New Mexico what it is like not to have those choices.
There are plenty of examples in Scottsdale and other cities where developments large and small have not happened. That is and should be the prerogative of a city and its residents including those who favor or disfavor growth. Not every presentation and plan should gain favor, especially in a discerning market such as Scottsdale. Scottsdale has avoided some of the pitfalls other Arizona and Sunbelt cities have faced by having standards and at times being picky to what gets approved.
But let’s see the trees for the forest here. Developers are interested in Scottsdale because tourists, employers, shoppers, diners and luxury real estate buyers are interested in Scottsdale.
And that is a good sign for Scottsdale’s place in a very competitive marketplace and world. Options and a place attracting investments are very good things.