Nichols: Is Museum Square the beginning of Old Town Scottsdale’s destruction?

The concepts behind the Museum Square proposal seem sound at first blush.

John J Nichols

This seems like a great use of an area that is not up to its full potential. I agree with studying this.

However permitting a 150-foot high building can lead to the destruction of Old Town Scottsdale.

Part of our city’s charm and “romantic appeal” lies in the low rise height limits in our old town area. I’m sure most of our citizens agree with the long held view.

We don’t want to become another municipal anywhere.

What is “romantic appeal?” It is the reason that attracts tourists to come to a destination.

What’s the harm of approving one 150-foot high building? This opens the door to the radical change of our old town area.

Once this height is approved, no doubt other investors in existing Old Town properties will seek to have buildings with similar heights approved.

Why? Once one exception to our current low rise limit is approved, how can the City Council deny other similar requests for such a height variance? The value of their properties subject to the existing low rise limits will increase significantly.

This is an example of flipping properties to take advantage of such a profound zoning change. Trust me. This will happen and Old Town Scottsdale will be a quaint memory as this area skyline becomes like the Tempe skyline.

Is this going to happen? Mr. Rose admits inferentially this as he and other developers cast greedy eyes on, for example, Marshall Way. No doubt they see the “new” 150 height limit a way to make a fast buck.

Is this something our citizens want?

Perhaps some shop owners in Old Town may have the impression that this 150-foot high building sounds attractive.

Hmm, it will bring more shoppers. But let’s imagine that approving this height will lead property owners in Old Town to encourage them to flip their properties.

Once another property in Old Town is approved with a 150-foot elevation, the land rush will be on to flip all the properties and Old Town will fast become a quaint memory.

Fine. I’ve made that point already. Let’s now imagine what will happen when Old Town is demolished and it becomes a high rise business area.

What happens to the existing galleries, stores, and restaurants? Lease costs will go up significantly as the owners of the new high rises seek to recover their costs of construction of the new buildings.

The net effect is many of these businesses will be priced out of the market.

Stop and think about Santa Fe? Do you imagine for a moment that any shop owners would agree to changing its charm and “romantic allure” by flipping its existing properties to make a buck building high rises?

Editor’s Note: John J Nichols is a resident of Scottsdale.

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