Mixed-Use Old Town

The mixed-use Old Town project would have 13,717 square feet of retail and 65 apartments. (City of Scottsdale)

Residents and business owners last week got their first look at a new mixed-use development project proposed for Old Town Scottsdale.

The project proposes 13,717 square feet of commercial space accompanied by 65 one- and two-bed room apartments on .877 acres of land on the southeast corner of the intersection of E. Third Avenue and N. Marshal Way.

The open house was held at the Granite Reef Senior Center instead of outside at the site of the propose project because of the heat.

The project would be four stories high with the top level stepped back about 10 feet. The first floor would be devoted to commercial use and parking. There will also be a parking garage one level below ground that will also include bicycle parking and a shower area for bike riders.

In all, the project will have 128 parking spaces. That comes to about 1.3 parking spaces per apartment, which is 84.5 parking spaces for the apartments and the rest dedicated to the commercial side of the project, said project architect David P. Hamblen with Synectic Design.

The idea is to turn the commercial space into art galleries because of the plethora of galleries in the area, Hamblen said. There has been some discussion about opening the space up for a restaurant as well, he said.

“Making this a little more artsy, modern, hopefully a better space for a gallery,” Hamblen said.

The project has yet to go before the city’s design review board or planning commission.

“We had a pre-application (meeting) with the city where we just kind of gave them a ballpark on what the developer/owner (Richard Nye) wants to do,” Hamblen said, adding:

“They came back and gave us recommendations and we’ve been preparing this based off the checklist that they gave us. The public outreach is to get, you know, concerns, suggestion. There’s room for improvements, always, and suggestions.”

Nancy Silver, owner of the Paper Place gift shop, has mixed feelings about the project. She has been at her location, directly across the street from the new project’s site, for 44 years.

“We have mixed emotions because we are a business and it’s really going to affect the business parking wise and mess wise,” Silver said.

On the other hand, she owns her building and the new project should increase the value of her property.

There are other aspects the project she isn’t crazy about, such as its design.

“Our side of the street is white and stucco and that side is new,” she said. “I mean it doesn’t even look like they go together. I don’t know if that’s the city. I don’t know what it is or what they’re thinking.”

Robert Carlson of Carlson Creek Vineyard Scottsdale Wine Tasting Room has mixed feelings about the project as well.

He wants to keep the current feeling of Old Town intact and he’s worried about a potential parking crunch the new project could create.

“We, especially on weekends, tend to attract a lot of traffic, as do some of the businesses around us, so we tend to have people who have to park elsewhere in Old Town and walk and sometimes that can discourage (potential customers). Especially during construction, that could exasperate the issue.”

On the other hand, 65 apartments could generate a lot of foot traffic to the tasting room, Carlson conceded.

Hamblen projects construction on the project won’t start until late summer of 2024 with at least a nine month build time.

“The excavation and pouring the (foundation) is going to be relatively simple,” Hamblen said. In the upper floors we’re considering using pre-fab metal used on another unit in downtown Phoenix…and it goes up very fast.”

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