Guest Editorial: After The Rush What White Castle & Fry’s Food Stores Show About Scottsdale’s Brand, Salt River & Downtown Phoenix

By Recker McDowell —

The initial rush and much covered openings of the new White Castle restaurant in Scottsdale and the new Fry’s Food Stores supermarket in downtown Phoenix are a little bit in the rearview mirror.

The new White Castle still says a lot about Scottsdale’s brand and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community where the restaurant located with a Scottsdale address.

The Fry’s grocery also says a lot about downtown Phoenix and its progress and what is still needed there.

The new White Castle, touted as the world’s largest, displays the strength of the Scottsdale market and brand. White Castle is after younger demographics and its new Arizona locations shows Scottsdale’s strength with younger consumers and brands. That bodes well for Scottsdale’s broader restaurant and culinary scene and its ability to attract other national brands as well as concepts that appeal to younger diners and tourists.

The White Castle location on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community at Via de Ventura and the Loop 101 shows the economic development and tourism bona fides the community has fostered.

The Salt River tribe adds White Castle that to an economic and tourism roster that already includes Topgolf, popular casinos and the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick spring training ballpark. Harkins Theatres is also moving its corporate headquarters to a new development on Salt River land.

The Salt River community has matured and evolved its economic development and tourism efforts leveraging the cache of a Scottsdale address with available land and prime locations along the Loop 101. That is something the city of Scottsdale and other municipalities will have to be increasingly aware of as economic development and tourism site selectors look at the Valley for new projects.

The Fry’s grocery in downtown Phoenix is a deal that was decades in the making. The grocery is located as part of larger development next to Cityscape and across from Talking Stick Resort Arena. It shows downtown Phoenix increasingly has a critical mass of residents and activity to support a grocery store. That critical mass is aided by Arizona State University’s growing downtown campus as well as new apartments.

Downtown Phoenix still has a ways to go as it looks to become a more 24/7 area and to compete with other cities and markets for jobs and site selections.

Downtown Phoenix hasn’t seen a lot of new office construction in the current cycle even as it has grown its residential and ASU footprint. There are some office plans in the work. The central business district has more restaurants and events including in the Roosevelt Row area. The Warehouse District south of downtown continues to progress with adaptive reuse development and TSR Arena is going through a modernization.

Downtown Phoenix has changed a lot over the years but continues to need more residents and office tenants to keep that momentum going.