Guest Editorial: A Gateway to Innovation and Continued Revitalization

By Scottsdale Watchman

SkySong, officially known as the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, has become a Scottsdale landmark in just over 10 years of existence. SkySong’s tent-like canopy is an icon that can be seen for miles driving north along Scottsdale Road from Tempe and driving east towards Scottsdale along McDowell Road from Phoenix. It’s become the gateway to “the West’s Most Western Town.”

Last week, another component was added to this hub of scientific research and ingenuity as ASU and Amazon Web Services partnered to open the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center on the campus. It’s a partnership of the United States’ most innovative university and most innovative company. According to ASU, the center will be a property “where municipalities, faculty, staff, students can come forward with their challenges, and then there’s a group of ASU and Amazon employees that will be there to help them solve these solutions around smart cities.”

The 42-acre SkySong campus is expanding, the architectural accolades and awards are piling up and most importantly, SkySong’s economic impact is blossoming.  

South Scottsdale residents don’t have to wait 30 years to experience SkySong’s dramatic financial impact. In the last two years, new residential buildings, new commercial office space and new restaurants have been built on SkySong’s grounds. A new hotel will be completed soon. More people are not only working there, but there are more visitors there than ever.

Taking an expansive view of the McDowell Road-Scottsdale Road intersection, it’s easy to see how integral SkySong has been to the rejuvenation of nearby neighborhoods and surrounding areas. SkySong has set a higher standard of expectations for proposed redevelopment projects. Across the street from SkySong, Papago Plaza will no longer be an eyesore as a redevelopment proposal moves forward thanks to cooperation and dialogue led by community activists such as Andrea Alley and Jason Alexander with Pivot Development. Within a one-mile radius, new and luxurious apartments are replacing aging car dealerships that used to occupy the area. 

At last week’s ribbon cutting ceremony for the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said, “This particular project is absolutely the epitome of what we’ve wanted to see happen here — a collaborative effort with technology and innovation bringing about greater efficiency and quality of life for all of us within our community and beyond.” Mayor Lane’s sentiments don’t just apply to the new innovation center. We’re proud to say that words such as  “collaboration” and “innovation” can be applied to SkySong as a whole.