Guest Editorial: Scottsdale Needs To Be More Gung Ho For Adaptive Reuse

By Recker McDowell —

More than a decade ago, adaptive reuse was new and easier. Arizona was ground zero for the recession. There were plenty of buildings and properties available and for economic slowdown prices.

That allowed for a wave of new restaurants and creative office spaces to sprout and blossom on Seventh Street, Phoenix’s Warehouse District, Tempe and Scottsdale.

The downturn and rebound (like wildflowers growing in the ashes of a wildfire) has allowed for some new projects to get going on Mesa’s Main Street and Phoenix’s Grand Avenue, two areas that have long needed revitalization.

Fast forward to the present economic expansion and adaptive reuse and infill developments are not quite as easy. Property values are up. Institutional and traditional developers and financing are back in the real estate marketplace. And, so can be the penchant for cookie-cutter developments.

But that shouldn’t mean an end or slow down to adaptive reuse, especially in areas of Scottsdale.

There are still plenty of opportunities for creative and innovative new uses throughout a desirable place such as Scottsdale.

A drive up and down Scottsdale Road alone shows plenty of new and revamped properties. It also shows plenty of buildings that could be redeveloped and revitalized.

Innovative developers, designers and creative users would love to be able to use Scottsdale as their canvas.

They and the city of Scottsdale just need to have a clear set of goals and guidance to follow and stick with as they navigate costs and market conditions.

From the city that means clarity and consistency for adaptive reuse and infill developments. It can also mean seeing the forest for the trees.

Scottsdale is a creative, innovative and cool place. The city should be supportive of creative, innovative and cool projects that bring even more fresh life.

The same holds true for other localities.

For developers, architects and users, the clarity, consistency and support from the city should be coupled with their own commitment to making adaptive reuse project happen even with costs going up.