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Museum Square to Reinvigorate Old Town

Credit: City of Scottsdale

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

ARC Holdings is requesting a zoning change and plan approval from the City of Scottsdale to create Museum Square, a high-end mixed-use master plan development south of Main Street and between the Museum of the West, Stagebrush Theatre and Scottsdale Artist’s School.

Anchoring the proposal will be a four-star Museum Square hotel, which will focus on the museum’s collections and “provide opportunities to reinforce special events, programs, exhibits and gallery tours.” Augmenting the hotel and museum will be a community-oriented cultural park for outdoor events and activities.

According to the proposal filed with the city, “The Hotel may include a ground floor restaurant, outdoor dining terrace, wine bar, interactive art gallery and other mixed-use components that will create a dynamic relationship between both indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition to the Hotel, the development includes four luxury residential buildings. Together, the envisioned project components will result in a major new activity node for the City and help rejuvenate and strengthen this area of Old Town as a vibrant, attractive and robust Arts District.”

To execute the proposed development ARC is requesting a zoning change from D/OC-2PBD DO (Downtown Commercial) to D/DMU-3 PBD DO (Downtown/Multiple Use) in accordance with the 2009 Old Town Plan. Along with the zoning request is a request to increase building heights from 84 feet to 150 feet, as well as a six-foot “architectural embellishment” on the hotel building. Current plans call for 190 hotel rooms and 300 residential units on 7.4 acres. The request also includes a Planned Block Development Overlay for greater flexibility in executing the plan. If approved, the overall project will be developed in up to five phases.

Part of the proposal includes contributions to the Cultural Improvements Program, including original works of art. The developer is currently reviewing a variety of public art options.

The development team has worked with city and community leaders and businesses to target greater impact and utilization of the Arts District. One stated goal for Museum Square is to “create a critical mass of ‘economic body heat’ (based on Hotel guests, visitors and new residents that will bring synergy to the area). From the Main Street galleries, to the man shops and restaurant options; Museum Square and the surrounding components of the Arts District will be major benefactors,” according to the proposal.

The building spaces are intended to create a dynamic interaction between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Residential spaces will have private amenities including a resort-style pool and onsite fitness center. Materials, massing and design will have Scottsdale-centric cultural elements, and the use of brick, metal and glass will be integrated to create a base/middle/top effect and avoid any monolithic tower effects.

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