Vitality Coalition: Scottsdale Fashion Square is more than a relic of retail

Scottsdale Fashion Square sits on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads. (File Photo)

When Scottsdale City Council members return next week from their summer vacation, they will be greeted with one of the most important issues our city has faced in recent memory: the future of Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Fashion Square is more than a mall.

It’s an economic engine for our entire city and an anchor for the downtown area. The business, visitors and sales tax revenue the mall generates are significant — those of which helps keep our taxes among the lowest in the Valley.

Fashion Square Facts:

  • It attracts 10 million shoppers and sightseers per year.
  • It produces $13 million sales tax dollars annually.
  • It contributes 7 percent of the citywide sales tax collected every year.
  • It produces 65 percent of the annually collected sales tax from downtown.

Our organization, the Downtown Scottsdale Economic Vitality Coalition, supports the expansion of Fashion Square because it is the most current phase of the mall’s ongoing evolution to maintain its longterm sustainability.

Wayne Ecton

For nearly 60 years the mall has sustained the ups and downs of the economy and changing shopping trends. While other malls around Arizona and America have had to reinvent themselves to survive, Fashion Square has earned national notoriety as one of the most successful shopping centers in the country.

Like Fashion Square, the downtown area is also evolving. New restaurants and coffee shops are springing up. In addition, unique businesses, many of which cater to those seeking an urban lifestyle, are being established.

The mix of the new businesses with the established ones is once again turning our

Bill Crawford

downtown into a true destination where there is more for both visitors and residents to do than ever before.

Two of the most critical elements that are contributing to the downtown area’s sustainability are new housing options and more available jobs.

People are relocating downtown for easy access to shopping, culinary experiences and a variety of cultural and entertainment opportunities. Convenience plays a significant part in their decision, especially for those who like to walk or bicycle to museums, movies and galleries.

Betty Drake

Downtown is also becoming one of the city’s most rapidly expanding centers of employment. The area’s revitalization is attracting companies with thousands of employees who have well-paying jobs. Many of these employees tend to live, shop and dine downtown, so they contribute to its vibrancy as well.

The members of our organization realize that Fashion Square is much more than a mall. Because of the astronomical sales tax revenue it generates, it helps keep our taxes more manageable.

The mall is also a critical economic component of downtown Scottsdale’s past and present success.

The city council is scheduled to consider the Fashion Square zoning case on Tuesday, August 29. We urge you to join us in supporting the future of Fashion Square.

Editor’s note: Mr. Crawford, Mr. Ecton and Ms. Drake are the founders of the Downtown Scottsdale Economic Vitality Coalition and are residents of Scottsdale.

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