In Scottsdale and many other cities of late there is a rising citizen angst about proliferating apartment projects.
We share some of these concerns. Look around. While art like architecture is often in the eye of the beholder most can agree what’s interesting and good. And what is not.
Aesthetics aside this can miss a broader point in parts of the discussion. What did they replace? And are they needed?
Scottsdale’s McDowell Road can be instructive with the first question. Not too long along this critical avenue was populated by abandoned car dealerships. Left as was justified criticism would have been directed at city officials. Car dealership carcasses are not exactly political Red Bull. Instead the Scottsdale City Council largely understood the appropriateness of the multi-family redevelopment proposals that sought to replace them. And with the abandoned properties on McDowell Road being as narrow as they were, few uses besides multi-family would have worked. As a result of these decisions, and others, southern Scottsdale is on the move with more shoppers at area businesses, breweries opening and more restaurants too. Again, what would have been the alternative? The good ought not to be the enemy of the great in this case, though we think otherwise when it comes to the Entrada development at 64th Street and McDowell. There, at the gateway to Scottsdale’s southern city, municipal leaders should push for something exceptional with the property’s new owners.
Now let’s turn to the second question we posed. Are more apartments needed? That’s best a question for Adam Smith but yes seems to be the marketplace’s answer. That’s not just because of the massive numbers of people moving to the Valley, it also has to do with major changes among seniors and millennials. Both continue to favor the ease of apartment living to home ownership.
Already boasting a great reputation for retirement living, Scottsdale’s significant senior population, including that at some of the new apartment projects, belies the typical repute of apartments.
Last week we referenced the points in Betty Janik’s recent opinion piece about growth in Scottsdale. Here is a link. Some points we agreed with and some we did not. But even there the sagacious Janik begrudgingly acknowledged the need for some apartments. It may not be popular to say so but in some cases, not all, the Scottsdale City Council has acted wisely with most of the new apartment projects. But it will need to stay vigilant to keep its record in this regard. There is a dog or two on the horizon and redevelopment or not, they are not better than that which they seek to replace.