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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Proposed condo plan gains height, density

A Los Angeles-based firm wants to increase the height and density of a condominium complex it hopes to build in downtown Scottsdale's entertainment district.

Hewson Investment Group has submitted an application to amend development standards for floor area, height and density to build the complex on a 1.8-acre site at 4422 N. 75th St., near the southwestern corner of Indian Plaza Road and 75th Street.

The area is home to the largest concentration of bars in Maricopa County.

The application is being submitted under the downtown infill-incentive district and plan, which was approved by the City Council in July 2010.

It allows property owners to request amended development standards in the downtown area to include such things as greater height and density, in exchange for public benefits.

The complex would include 112 condominiums in an eight-story building totaling 90 feet in height. It would be built in the current location of The Lodge, an area bar.

In 2007, the council approved rezoning for Hewson to build Boutique 75 Lofts on the site.

The complex would have included about 45 condominiums in a four-story building.

Hewson is utilizing the city's downtown infill-incentive district to provide additional housing in the area, said John Berry, a zoning attorney representing the firm.

"The Lodge is not immediately closing, but eventually it will close," he said. "It would close whether the project approved in 2006 or this is (built)."

Hewson has owned the parcel since before the 2007 rezoning, Berry said.

The complex would be located adjacent to the Hotel Indigo, which has five floors, and in proximity to the W Hotel, which has six floors.

"There's a belief that there's a demand for the product in that area," Berry said. "These are intended to be for-sale condos and it's going to be people who want to live in proximity to the entertainment district or in downtown."

The condominiums will range in size from about 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet, and 27 percent of the site would be maintained as open space, according to the application. The complex would not include any commercial, restaurant, bar or retail uses to compete with existing or future land uses in the district.

"The request for additional height is appropriate given the height of the adjacent Hotel Indigo and the densities of the nearby projects such as the W Hotel and Waterfront (and planned developments such as Safari Drive and Blue Sky)," according to the application.

The zoning for the project is already in place, said Greg Bloemberg, city planning staff coordinator. City staff is reviewing the infill-incentive district proposal, he said.

Berry said condominium development is starting to make a comeback as the market continues improving. He also is working with Deco Communities on the Echo at Windgate condominium complex to be built on an 11-acre site that wraps around the Windgate Crossing shopping center northwest of Bell Road and Thompson Peak Parkway.

"I think (condominium development will be) slower than what we're seeing with apartments because in order to buy a condo, you need to afford the down payment and it takes time to apply for a mortgage," he said. "That's going to limit the universe of potential buyers."

Other residential is being planned in the entertainment district. Developer Shawn Yari has two projects in the pipeline that would bring 320 apartment units to the district.

Industry East (188 units plus retail) and Industry West (132 units plus retail) are in the early stages of the city's planning-approval process.

The complexes would be on the north side of Stetson Drive between Wells Fargo Avenue and 75th Street.

by Edward Gately - Sept. 7, 2012 The Republic | azcentral.com




Proposed condo plan gains height, density

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