Paradise Valley Puzzler

The acrimonious and litigious relationship between the emerging Ritz-Carlton project and the Town of Paradise Valley is one of the more bizarre and unfortunate municipal dynamics in the Valley right now.   

By all accounts the Ritz and its associated elements have done an impressive job constructing its hotel and residences.  The prices per square foot once seemed fanciful.  They are now reality.

The developer has endured a Great Recession and now a pandemic. Still, the Ritz continues to make progress, now targeting a Fall, 2021 opening.  The Town, led by at least one councilmember who voted against the Ritz’s entitlement, seems to hold an odd grudge rather than express appreciation for tenacity and taste.  To be fair to both sides the development agreement that was approved for such a big project is complicated, and can cause confusion.  No side has been 100% right in the bickering.  But it’s time for it to end.

The Ritz, and it will be completed, will be an extraordinarily positive property for the Town of Paradise Valley financially, aesthetically and experientially.  So will the first in the nation Fendi Residences next door (being designed by the architect of the internationally renowned brand’s headquarters in Rome), allowing Scottsdale to also benefit from the sophistication of the approach.

However, beyond the merits of more harmony the seeming unawareness of political implications is befuddling.

Next year the hotel will open to rave reviews.  It will be the new “it” property in Arizona.  But perhaps more interestingly hundreds of new voters will start moving in, well in advance of the next town council elections in August, 2022.  A block of hundreds is a lot anywhere, but especially in Paradise Valley.  That’s about 15% of the total votes two re-elected councilmembers received in August.

Moving forward, ignore or mistreat them at political peril.  But perhaps more importantly make such a dynamic irrelevant.  With more collaboration and compromise rather than confrontation, from both sides.