By Wayne Schutsky for Scottsdale Progress
A proposed 150-foot downtown office building surpassed a major hurdle on July 10 when it received thumbs up from the Scottsdale Planning Commission.
Still, The Marquee, a class-A office building that would sit just north of the Scottsdale Galleria Corporate Centre on Scottsdale Road, did not win over every commissioner, with both Christian Serena and Ali Fakih expressing reservations they thought merited further discussion.
The Planning Commission ultimately voted 4-2 to recommend the project for approval to the City Council.
Both Serena and Fakih expressed support for the use, saying high-end office space makes sense on the site.
However, Serena expressed concerns about parking and how the building’s proximity to the street affects the downtown area.
Fakih also said he would have liked to have more time to discuss the building’s massing and whether or not the existing pedestrian connections and infrastructure in the area would be able to support the influx of employees in the area at rush-hour times like lunch.
A spirited back-and-forth between Serena and zoning attorney Jason Morris dominated much of the meeting, with Serena pressing Morris to justify The Marquee’s new 150-foot height request and to commit that the project will provide adequate parking for its tenants.
City Council previously approved The Marquee in 2016 at a maximum height of 90 feet.
Morris said the developer, Galleria owner Stockdale Capital Partners, is going back through the zoning process to request a Type 3 designation, which allows for heights up to 150 feet. That designation did not exist when The Marquee was approved in 2016.
Serena voiced concerns that the Marquee could contribute to parking problems in the surrounding area, citing a 2015 city study that concluded the Galleria was under-parked by 1,981 spaces.
It also found that Galleria would remain significantly under-parked even after a recent expansion to the on-site garage.
Several residents and local business owners also voiced concerns that the new project would negatively affect parking.
Morris, saying The Marquee would exceed the city’s parking requirements, challenged the conclusions of the 2015 report.
At the time of the study, the largest parking demand at the property was by tenant McKesson, which operated a call center “that utilized employees per square foot at much higher ratio than we have today,” Morris said.
Commissioner Larry Kush said he recently walked the Galleria garage and found an abundance of open spaces.
Read more at Scottsdale Progress.