The Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton continues journey into reality

(Source: ParadiseValleyIndependent): Terrance Thornton

The final pieces of the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton resort community development puzzle are beginning to interlock as Five Star Development has announced its proposed construction timeline for the resort and commercial development behemoth.

Meanwhile anchor partner Shea Homes Arizona is seeking zoning amendments for its proposed housing stock while a traffic calming measure along Indian Bend Road — an effort to appease Scottsdale zoning requirements — begins to move through the fine-tuning of the Town of Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale-based Five Star Development, which was founded by prominent developer Jerry Ayoub, is the entity that is bringing the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton development proposal to life and is represented by Jason Morris of Whitey Morris PLC.

The Paradise Valley special-use permit — which was approved by a 4 to 3 vote in early 2016 — entitles Five Star, through an investment of $130 million, to build a Ritz-Carlton branded resort community.

Shea Homes will debut a new high-end brand of housing stock that will appear on a portion of the Ritz-Carlton project where 66 single-family luxury homes will be built.

The proposed Ritz-Carlton community includes the following zoning stipulations:

  • Area A: 200-room resort on 18.1 acres
  • Area A1: 94 resort-brand-ed villas
  • Area B: 66 single-family homes on 31.3 acres
  • Area C: 45 resort-brand-ed, single-family homes on 22.5 acres
  • Area D: 53 townhomes on 8.8 acres
  • Area E1: A 54,000 square-foot luxury retail center on 7.2 acres
  • Area E2: Influx design as the use of 5.7 acres is yet to be determined

The Paradise Valley Planning Commission at its July 11 work session began to deliberate what may be deemed a minor amendment by the Commission pursued by Shea Homes, which is seeking to change the special use permit issued by the town allowing for the abolishment of the neighborhood walk, the creation of basements and an extension of the window well area of the proposed homes.

The proposed amendment is in what is called “area B” by town officials and allows for 66 single family homes on 31.3 acres on a portion of land adjacent to Lincoln and Scottsdale roads.

The Commission is also tackling the traffic calming along Indian Bend Road, which is an arrow’s shot from the proposed housing stock, where concerns have been raised how the proposed measure could permanently obstruct a motorists flow to and from the affluent enclave.

The Planning Commission is expected to host a public hearing Tuesday, July 25 on the proposed amendments as the members are seeking clarifications on how the proposed amendments will or will not effect the development footprint, among other questions.

Daran Wastchak

Paradise Valley Planning Commission Chairman Daran Wastchak — a longtime resident and town volunteer — disclosed to the Commission his company, D.R. Wastchak, LLC, holds a contract with Shea Homes for the energy consumption analysis for Energy Star certification.

“I just want to clarify, Shea Homes, one of the folks doing the application for this minor amendment, is a client of mine,” he said at the onset of the July 11 work session discussion.

“My company will be doing some energy analysis work which we do in the matter of the course of business of them. I’m not going to be doing any work beyond the contract that I have already in place and I do customarily work for them.”

Mr. Wastchak says he has had that work contract for about 15 years and will be conducting the energy analysis at the proposed Shea Homes housing stock when constructed.

Prior to his public disclosure, Mr. Wastchak pursued a legal opinion from Town Attorney Andrew Miller, which states the town is of the legal opinion only a “minor conflict” exists.

In neighboring Scottsdale — or area E1 — is where The Palmeraie shopping center will eventually sprout, which is the commercial side to the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton resort community.

Earlier this year Scottsdale City Council approved the rezoning of a 20-acre site at 6990 N. Scottsdale Road from resort/townhouse residential to planned regional center.

In all, Scottsdale approved three different measures for the zoning change — with one being a $408,000 contribution to the municipality from Five Star Development for the city to use to assist in constructing and maintaining the city’s drainage system.

The approved measures will allow for a mixed-use development that can consist of 141 residential units in 170,000 square feet, a maximum of 150 hotel units on 134,000 square feet, 226,000 square feet of commercial space and 80,000 square feet of office space.

A time to build

Five Star officials are reporting about 500,000 cubic yards of dirt has already been moved at the construction site while grading of the entire site is nearly complete.

The proposed construction timeline appears to be in tune with formal announcements confirming a resort opening by the end of 2018. The schedule includes:

  • Creation of the infrastructure for water throughout the site with connections at Mockingbird Lane and Scottsdale Road with completion anticipated this month;
  • Grading of the north portion of the channel/wash as it runs through the eastern portion of the Paradise Valley and Scottsdale property and connects with the culvert at Scottsdale Road with completion anticipated in September;
  • Installation of the storm and drainage system throughout the site, including installation of culverts under the future roads and catch basins/tanks throughout the property with completion anticipated this month;
  • Installation of the sewer infrastructure throughout the site with a connection under Scottsdale Road with completion anticipated this month;
  • Creation of infrastructure for electric and gas throughout the site with completion expected by the end of the year;
  • Creation of infrastructure for power throughout the site with completion expected by the end of the year;
  • Underground parking garage grading expected to be completed by the end of the year; and
  • Installation of the interior roads and perimeter wall around the site, which will begin in July or August with completion by end of year.

Mr. Ayoub, Five Star’s founder, says all development prospects remain positive.

“The Ritz-Carlton resort is still scheduled to open by the end of 2018,” he said in a July 12 statement. “Property specific reservations were taken on the first release of Ritz-Carlton Residences, known as the villas, in 2016. The second release of Residences, known as Estate Homes, will be available toward the end of 2017.”

Earlier this year, Five Star announced all 91 villas, priced from $1 million to more than $5 million, were released as the first phase of sales. Record success was reportedly achieved with all units selling in one day, totaling over $250 million in real estate.

Jerry Ayoub

Mr. Ayoub went on the record with the Independent confirming announced sales are accurate.

“In regard to the Ritz-Carlton residences, only the villas have been made available for reservations and all are currently spoken for,” he said. “There is no doubt the Ritz-Carlton, Paradise Valley will be a massive success and one of the most premier destinations in the world.”

Mr. Ayoub says he and his team are eagerly awaiting town feedback to better move forward with Indian Bend Road calming measures.

Ken Peterson, vice president of sales at Shea Homes Arizona, says construction timelines and sales rates are as expected.

“Construction of homes at Azure, specifically, is slated to begin in late September,” he said in a July 12 statement.

“Our deposit structure requires a $25,000 initial deposit, which increases to $100,000 thereafter. With that being said, 10 homes have been selected so far.”

A view from the top

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins says Five Star appears to be on track to deliver on development promises.

Michael Collins

“Five-Star Development seems to be making good progress on the Ritz-Carlton project albeit a little slower than most had expected,” he said in a July 11 statement. “They had some challenges with early design teams but are moving ahead now. As far as I know everything is on track for a winter 2018 or spring 2019 opening.”

Mayor Collins says in his estimation nothing proposed or being discussed is any cause for alarm.

“Large-scale development projects like this one always have revision and refinement throughout the design bid build process. Nothing I have seen in the way of requested plan modifications causes me any concern,” he said. “I haven’t seen any amendment from Shea Homes that substantially changes their product offerings from what was originally approved. But the Town Council is on recess until September, so if there is something is in the works, I will take a look at it when it crosses our plate later this fall.”

Mayor Collins says it is time to brand the Town of Paradise Valley — the Ritz-Carlton project may become a significant step in that direction.

“Aside from the world-class amenities it will offer residents and the significant town revenues it will produce, the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley Resort will carry the town’s name in its name,” he said. “Whereas most of our resorts tout a Scottsdale address. That’s a pretty cool thing.”

Paradise Valley Councilman Mark Stanton echoes many of those similar sentiments.

Mark Stanton

“Five Star Development is working to finalize design and construction plans for the Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton property,” he said. “They have been meeting with town staff, and once the plans are completed they will be submitted to the town for review and approval. Once that is completed, they can begin construction on the resort.”

Councilman Stanton says he is looking for a workable compromise to be developed to quell fears surrounding the calming of Indian Bend Road.

“Traffic calming on Indian Bend is very important for the town,” he pointed out.

“Council has seen some initial ideas in study session and directed staff to develop addition alternatives for consideration. Town Staff will bring those ideas to Council for review. I am looking forward to seeing ideas that protect the neighborhood from unnecessary traffic inconvenience and keep a smooth traffic flow throughout the area.”

Councilman Stanton says the Ritz-Carlton brand will bring more than one benefit to the Town of Paradise Valley and its residents.

“The Ritz-Carlton will create both short-term construction sales tax and long-term bed and sales tax revenues which will help support critical services for our town residents,” he said.

“The resort will further enhance the Paradise Valley brand and reputation for unparalleled hospitality and luxury resorts. Moreover, the Ritz-Carlton will be another example of the quality of life in our Town and a point of pride for our residents.”