Paradise Valley is a town well known for its stringent development codes, one which has traditionally made it extremely difficult to develop large swathes of land for much more than incredible luxury homes. The town likes its insular nature, but that in itself can be very limiting.
Perhaps that’s why the development being spearheaded by the Ritz-Carlton is so surprising. The project comes with a $2 billion price tag and has multiple facets: it includes a 215-room resort, over 100 single family homes, a number of townhomes and villas, and over 50,000 square feet of retail establishments and restaurants. For a town the size of Paradise Valley, clearly it is a gigantic undertaking.
The project came to fruition out of a shared understanding of the need for tourism, both external and “staycations”. The town’s General Plan that was approved by the voters in March 2012 “recognizes the importance of resort properties and encourages new resort development that reflects the Town’s needs for fiscal health, economic diversification, and quality of life”.
With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the new Ritz-Carlton project is being called “slow moving”. And perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Originally approved in 2016, it was set for completion in 2018 originally, but as anyone who has knowledge of developments of this scale and size knows, having it completed in time and in budget is a rarity, especially when the pandemic hit relatively soon afterward.
Is a five year delay excessive? Probably. A better job projecting out the timeline would have been ideal. But the scope is staggering. According to the town’s Building Official, “Inspections of various project components average 10 to 16 a day, sometimes more than 20.” There is not just building codes to worry about, the roads, utilities, and a nearly unthinkable amount of infrastructure.
While we prefer fast and efficient, so long as the job is done well, a little extra caution is not necessarily a bad thing. For such a unique and special town, and considering the size of the project, it’s imperative that it is done correctly. If that means that a little extra patience is necessary, that’s nowhere near the end of the world. Perhaps it’s the best possible outcome.