Foodies wanted at Scottsdale SkySong complex

South Scottsdale’s iconic SkySong complex — an office and residential hub known for its pointed, tentlike canopy — wants to become a destination for local food enthusiasts with plans for three or four new restaurants to open by fall 2016.

Wetta Ventures, the local developer that brought Postino and Snooze to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus last year, wants to anchor a new SkySong restaurant building with a locally-owned “farm-to-table” concept.

The restaurant would be surrounded by a 3,000-square-foot garden producing fruit, vegetables and flowers and a 7,500-square-foot covered patio and open space for diners and the public to enjoy, developer David Wetta told The Republic.

The 12,000-square-foot building, planned near Scottsdale and McDowell roads, could also have space for a coffee or juice shop, a specialty restaurant and a fast-casual option, Wetta said.

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The garden will be professionally installed and maintained and will likely yield more than enough produce for the adjacent restaurants, Wetta said. The structure itself will feature a modern design built with steel, concrete and glass.

“Any of these projects that have a sense of place — that special feeling when you walk in — it’s all in the detail,” Wetta said. “People want to go to interesting places … they want something unique.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016, with the restaurants open by the following September or October, Wetta said.

While a big-name restaurant tenant would likely attract “foodies” from around the Valley, the complex will also benefit from a built-in customer base with around 1,600 employees working at the SkySong complex.

Developed by Plaza Cos. in partnership with Scottsdale and Arizona State University, SkySong opened its first two buildings in 2008 and is currently in the midst of a growth spurt.

Scottsdale owns the 42-acre property but has entered into a long-term ground lease with the ASU Foundation, which subleases property to master-developer Plaza Cos., Plaza CEO Sharon Harper said.

A third office building opened at SkySong earlier this year and is about 90 percent leased, Harper said. The first two buildings are about 99 percent leased, she said. An announcement on the fourth SkySong office building is likely to come within a month, she said.

The 325-unit SkySong Apartments complex was finished in early 2014 and is now home to nearly 500 residents.

SkySong currently offers about 450,000 square feet of office, but that figure could climb to about 1.2 million square feet once the project is completely built out.

Over a 30-year period, the complex could generate more than 5,000 jobs, nearly $300 million in taxes and fees within Maricopa County and more than $9 billion in total economic impact, according to a 2013 study from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

The development’s success has drawn national attention, with groups coming from cities like Las Vegas and Orlando to see what’s happening and scout ideas for projects back home, Harper said.

Part of what makes the complex unique is the ability for companies and employees to interact with each other while enjoying access to ASU resources, including meeting rooms and a 450-seat conference center, Harper said.

But while conducting focus groups among SkySong employees, Plaza found a desire for more on-site restaurants, where workers could meet over a meal or coffee.

For Wetta, the proximity to daytime employment is one of three elements that makes SkySong a strong location for restaurant development. The area also boasts high traffic counts, with Scottsdale/McDowell being the third busiest intersection along the Scottsdale Road corridor, he said. Lastly, the neighborhood has good residential density, he said.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2015/06/09/foodies-wanted-scottsdale-skysong-complex/28713063/