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Resort Development in Paradise Valley

How the Ritz Carlton & Mountain Shadows Resort Demonstrate New Resort Development Trends

Credit: Five Star Development

By Rebekah Morris for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Transcending championship golf courses – resort development of previous cycles relied on massive room counts located on the outskirts of town. Current resort development centers around the dining experience and spa, urban and infill locations, along with a reliance on residential units being integral to the overall plan.

Phoenix has seen five years of increasing demand with no increase in supply. In a very tough market sector that demands significant capital investment in a small area, two major resort developments are taking shape in Paradise Valley. Both aim to raise the bar on high-end hospitality developments in the Valley.

Mountain Shadows Goes Boutique

The Mountain Shadows resort development is targeting a boutique experience. Developers Westroc Hospitality and Woodbine Development Corp. have teamed up to deliver the newly renovated resort experience and upgraded golf experience.

In addition, they have partnered with Cullum Homes to deliver a single-family residential experience where residents have access to all the amenities of the resort. This provides the advantage of the homebuilder infusing cash into the resort development equation on the front end. Without this equity infusion, most resort developments cannot provide the returns expected by investors for such risk.

The main building of the resort itself has topped out at three stories, and is projecting an opening date of February 2017. They will offer 183 rooms in a fully integrated resort. The existing Mountain Shadows golf course is being completely renovated, and the development is also bringing in 150 new residents as part of the Cullum Homes project, The Villages at Mountain Shadows.

Last, the development includes a freestanding restaurant located at 56th St & Lincoln. The chef-driven restaurant fits nicely into the trend mentioned above – the food experience is growing in importance for resort development. The resort is unique in that there is no spa on site; rather, guests and residents have full privileges at the nearby Sanctuary Resort.

Allen & Philp Architects + Interiors is the Architect on the resort, A.R. Mays Construction is the GC. Cullum Homes constructs their own residences; they’ve enlisted Candelaria Design Associates as the Architect for the residential portion of the project. Coe & Van Loo is serving as Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect for all phases of the project.

Ritz Carlton Is Ultra-Luxe

Originally entitled in 2007, horizontal improvements were underway on the 105-acre parcel when the recession halted all work in 2008. Chris Klecka, CFO of Five Star Development, noted that the shelving of the project, while painful, was the right decision. The team is excited to deliver the first Ritz Carlton development since Dove Mountain (completed in 2006).

Located on the NWC corner of Lincoln and Mockingbird Lane, the entire project takes advantage of spectacular views of Camelback Mountain. Every building is thoughtfully laid out with elevation differentials to ensure guests and residents always have a view, even though the actual site works against this concept sloping away from the mountain.

While only two stories, the main building offers 16KSF of ballroom space, the longest resort pool in North America, and trendy restaurant space (AZBEX, Jan. 19, 2016). The room mix is 200 keys total, 80 of which are suites. The look and feel is defined as “Desert Modern”, with simple elegant forms, larger than normal rooms with supersized windows and deep overhangs. Also included in the development is The Palmeraie, a 600KSF retail portion along Scottsdale Road (AZBEX March 15, 2016).

Similar to the Mountain Shadows development, residential parcels are being sold to offset the initial capital costs of the resort development. There are two residential components: they include 94 single-family residences being built under the Ritz Carlton brand, and “Area D”, to be developed in a future phase. It is described as “whole ownership, resort-related units”.

Klecka explained that a branded luxury residence commands a premium of up to 40% in the purchase price. Buyers of the residences have the option of letting their units go into a “rental pool” administered by the hotel. The hotel benefits from having additional units to rent out while the buyers realize income from their properties.

The residences cannot open until the resort is operating. Five Star anticipates starting grading this Summer on the resort with a 2018 opening. Mason Architects is the Architect on the main resort and residential Villa phase. Coe & Van Loo is the Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect for all phases of development.

Layton Construction is the GC for the resort and Villas, currently under contract for pre-construction services. The Palmeraie retail phase is being designed by Nelsen Partners, and the GC selection is in final negotiations.

That phase should break ground either late 2016 or Q1 2017. They expect to proceed through the City of Scottsdale’s approval process by Fall 2016.

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