Expansions at two major shopping malls, new corporate offices and high-end urban housing are among several major Scottsdale development projects scheduled to open this year, providing a boost to the city’s already-robust shopping, dining and employment sectors.
Post-recession construction has ramped up across the city, a fact made evident by the increasingly-familiar sight of cranes, scaffolding and wood-framing at work sites from Old Town to the Scottsdale Airpark.
Here’s a look at five new projects expected to have an impact on the city’s economy in 2015:
1. Scottsdale Fashion Square expansion. Arizona’s largest shopping center and one of the 20 biggest in the U.S., according to data from esri.com, is set to grow again this year with a new movie theater, sporting goods store and restaurant.
Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill is scheduled to open at Scottsdale Fashion Square in mid-February, mall spokeswoman Emily Ginzl said. The restaurant currently has three locations in Oregon, one in Denver and another in Tempe. The menu includes burgers, steak and pizza as well as beer, wine and cocktails.
A new 14-screen Harkins movie theater, dubbed Camelview at Fashion Square, opens in May along with the cinema chain’s first full bar in a lobby. Like the nearby Camelview Theater it will replace, the new Harkins will dedicate some screens to showing first-run movies and independent, foreign and art films. The theater also replaces the seven-screen movie theater next to the Fashion Square food court.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, the final piece of the new mall space, expects to open in the fall, Ginzl said. Fashion Square also has a Just Sports store, but Dick’s will be the first anchor-size sporting goods store in the mall.
The expansion connects to the east mall entrance and extends north across the western portion of what was a parking lot. The building adds more than 135,000 square feet of new development, including about 50,000 square feet on the ground floor and about 85,000 square feet for the theater.
2. Scottsdale Quarter expansion. The north Scottsdale outdoor mall, which opened in March 2009, this year is wrapping up major portions of its third phase, including luxury apartments, retail stores, offices and a new parking garage on the east side.
The first new stores are expected to open this summer, with trendy doll-maker American Girl set to occupy about 12,000 square feet at Butherus Road and 73rd Place. Apogee Physicians is leasing about 27,000 square feet of office space, according to Alison Goodman, marketing director for the mall.
A 275-unit apartment complex, developed by Crescent Communities and to be managed by Mark-Taylor, begins pre-leasing this spring, with the first residents expected to move in by the summer.
The final piece of phase three – to come later – will likely be a hotel with up to 150 rooms and more shops facing the central courtyard and fountain.
Scottsdale Quarter features retailers, restaurants and a luxury-seating theater, with Apple, H&M, Nike and Restoration Hardware among the high-profile brands in the outdoor shopping district.
3. SkySong. An important employment hub in south Scottsdale developed through a city partnership with Arizona State University, SkySong this month is opening its third office building and may open a fourth office tower by the end of the year or in early 2016, spokesman Tom Evans said.
SkySong 3 brings 145,000 square feet of new employment space to the mixed-use complex near Scottsdale and McDowell roads. The building is already 90 percent leased, with tenants including ASU, Theranos, Safari Books Online, Solugenix, Plaza Companies, Pyxl, Hivewyre and others.
Construction will likely start this year on the SkySong 4 office tower, along with a retail center that could house three to four new restaurants, Evans said. A 325-unit apartment complex was finished at SkySong last spring.
4. Zenefits office. Declared by the New York Times as perhaps one of the fastest-growing companies in recent Silicon Valley history, San Francisco-based Zenefits officially opened an office at the Scottsdale Galleria Corporate Centre in November. But the online human-resources company will begin moving into its permanent home — in the same complex but across Drinkwater Boulevard — in May.
Zenefits plans to hire at least 1,300 employees in the Phoenix area within its first three years and has hired about 180 people so far, spokeswoman Lindsey Arent Schank said.
The company is hiring for jobs in sales and marketing, account management and operations and recruiting. Zenefits provides its customers with an online system to manage payroll, benefits and other human resources activities.
Scottsdale is the company’s first office location beyond its California headquarters. Zenefits chose the metro Phoenix market over Salt Lake City in part because of a favorable regulatory climate.
Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad has also said he sees Arizona as an area poised to become one of the next tech centers in the U.S.
5. Eldorado on 1st. A posh condo complex in downtown Scottsdale that includes just seven units and some ground-floor office space, Eldorado on 1st is set to begin construction by March and wrap up around the end of the year, said Chris Chamberlain of North American Development Group.
The luxury units will rise on the southeastern corner of First Street and El Dorado Lane and include private rooftops with barbecues and private elevators for each unit. The building was designed by Phoenix-based Will Bruder Architects, the same firm behind the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
The condos may sell for around $500 per square foot and are about 3,200 square feet each, with three or four bedrooms, a den, media room and attached two-car garages, Chamberlain said. While the initial plans hinted at retail on the ground floor, Chamberlain said about 5,000 square feet of office space was determined to be a better fit.