North Scottsdale drawing more than 2000 new apartments

More than 2,000 new multifamily units will open in the next couple of years in the area along Scottsdale Road from Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons north just a few miles to Thompson Peak Parkway.

Most of the development is approved on the Scottsdale side of Scottsdale Road. The largest project, Optima at Kierland, is in the approval process with Phoenix.

Only one of the five projects is open. That is Jefferson at One Scottsdale, which recently completed construction but has been accepting residents for a year. Construction on the project, which features traditional craftsman-style detailing, started in late 2012.

Nicole Wray of Greystar, which manages the project on Thompson Peak Parkway just south of the hospital there, said demand for apartments and condominiums grew during the recession, especially in areas such as north Scottsdale, a desirable address.

“We’ve been successful with people looking for a north Scottsdale address,” said Leah Patin, manager of the project.

Tom Simplot, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Multihousing Association, said multifamily developers “do not speculate” on projects. Because of financing needed for such projects, he said, “If you build it, you better be darn sure they come.”

He said such projects are catching up to pent-up demand fueled because few new units were built during the recession and because so many families lost homes and need places to live.

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“People want to stay where they used to live,” he said.

In addition, Scottsdale until recently did not have a lot of multifamily developments, especially new ones. North Scottsdale, he said, has the lowest vacancy rates and the highest occupancy rates in the Valley.

Pete TeKampe, vice president for investments at Marcus Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, said there is always a danger that developers are trying to sell Cadillacs to a market that can afford only Honda Accords. He said the market in general, throughout the Valley, is in danger of becoming too “top heavy” — unbalanced toward the more expensive end while affordable housing is overlooked.

If luxury apartments have a chance to succeed anywhere, north Scottsdale would be the place, he said, because residents have easy access to freeways, shopping, restaurants, a large job market at the Scottsdale Airpark, and recreational opportunities.

The availability of single-family homes is limited there, he said, and vacancy rates are very low.

Jefferson at One Scottsdale, like all the others in development, emphasizes luxury living, based heavily on amenities and interior finishes. The clubhouse is well-equipped, the countertops and appliances are upgraded, and there are meeting spaces and pools throughout the site. The staff includes individuals in charge of social activities for tenants, from pancake breakfasts to movie nights.

Apartment sizes range from 746 to 1,345 square feet, with five floor plans. Rents start at $1,119 and rise to $2,254 for the three-bedroom unit.

Three other projects are hot on the heels of Jefferson at One Scottsdale.

Its sister project, Jefferson on Legacy, began construction in January. It will not be part of the other Jefferson project, but rather its own place with separate management. It is scheduled to open during the upcoming winter season.

The two projects are part of the 80-acre One Scottsdale site, east of Scottsdale Road and north of Loop 101. They will bring 700 rental units to the area.

South of there, near Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons, two other projects are under construction and a third is in the works.

Liv North Scottsdale, on the north side of Greenway Hayden Loop at Dial Boulevard, is taking reservations as it wraps up construction.

Its units start at 539 square feet and go up to 1,349 square feet. Rents range from $1,100 to $2,600. It should be open by the end of the year.

On the other side of Greenway Hayden Loop, the Residences at Scottsdale Quarter is being built, with a completion date sometime next year. Early leasing will begin in the spring. No unit size or rent information was available. It is a part of the final phases of development at Scottsdale Quarter, which includes a retail and office building to the south.

Like the apartment structure, the retail/office building will be six stories tall. Groundbreaking was in August, and leasing is underway. The first Arizona outlet of American Girl, a shop for young girls based on the popular line of dolls, will be the main retail tenant.

Optima latest entry

The third multifamily development in the area could be Optima’s new project on the Robb Stucky site north of Kierland Commons. It was moving through the approval process this week.

Optima wants to put up a project that is much larger than its Scottsdale neighbors, with the company’s usual focus on landscaping and exterior appearance.

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The project has run into some opposition because of its size, with three 12-story buildings and one at 10 stories on a 9-acre site. Units are expected to be sold for $600,000 or so, Optima’s zoning attorney, Nick Wood, said.

The proposal was approved on a unanimous vote by the Phoenix City Council Sept. 17.

All told, the additional units near Greenway Hayden Loop and Scottsdale Road could total as many as 1,300.

Several other projects are in the works.

Sunrise Commons, a 281-unit project associated with Impact Church, is seeking approvals for construction near Hayden Road and 83rd Avenue, east of Scottsdale Airport. It will be at the rear of a vacant car-dealership site.

Impact will occupy the portion of the land closer to the airport, where noise is greater, while Sunrise will be in a quieter area.

Units will range from 586 to 1,286 square feet, but rental prices were not available.

Farther south, a 90-unit condo project is proposed to replace the demolished Borgata shopping center on the west side of Scottsdale Road south of Lincoln Drive. Antera Development, a company associated with TerraWest Communities, is the developer. Units are expected to range from 1,800 to 4,000 square feet. Prices were not available.

Nearby, Broadstone on Lincoln just finished construction but has been open 11 months. It has 264 units, ranging in size from 628 to 1,129 square feet, with rents from $1,299 to $2,800.

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