Once upon a time it was the site of a beloved mall. Then voters directed the City Council to create a next generation mixed-use development anchored by a sports arena. When that was fumbled a less imaginative Walmart Supercenter-centric retail plan was put forth.
But progress was not made at the southeast corner of Scottsdale and McDowell Roads until a three-party agreement with the property owner (Ellman Companies), the city and the ASU Foundation was struck. And “SkySong” was born.
The doubts were many at the outset. But ASU partnered with the well-known Sharon Harper and her company, The Plaza Companies, to bring it to life. And a powerful, living, impressive center of commerce SkySong now is.
It’s hard to keep track of all the construction that’s taken place there but in the latest news SkySong may be paying the City of Scottsdale over $3 million for a small property to make its final building, bigger. It would come at a time when Scottsdale’s finances have never been so stressed.
Has SkySong been transformative in a way an arena might have been? No. But it’s a helluva lot better than a big Walmart and similar retail.
Over the past decade plus all of those involved deserve a great deal of credit for delivering an interesting, innovative project that has unquestionably been good for southern Scottsdale. It’s a symbol that a proud part of the community has fought back, ably, effectively for one of the next great neighborhoods and areas in the Valley.
SkySong may not be as beloved as the old Los Arcos Mall but it should be loved as a revitalization project done right that’s done good. Very, very good.