Historic Old Town Scottsdale Building will Become 7-story Hotel and Apartment Complex

Article originally posted on AZ Central on April 12, 2021

A historic building in Old Town Scottsdale, and the property surrounding it, will be transformed into a new hotel and apartments which business owners say could breathe new life into the area.

But the proposal for a seven-story building is more than twice what city code allows in the area.

The project got support from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and a relative of Ralph Haver, one of the most influential Arizona architects of the 20th century. Haver designed the Kimsey building, also known as the Triangle, that stands on the property in the 7100 block of East Indian School Road.

PEG, a Utah-based development company, named the project The Kimsey and plans to maintain most of the original design while adding a taller, bigger and more modern structure to the original building, which currently houses office tenants.

The Kimsey building was finished in the early 1960s and served as City Hall for a year before the Civic Center opened.

The property in Old Town Scottsdale where a proposed project will be is named after the Kimsey building, also know as the "Triangle." The building was designed by famed architect Ralph Haver.

Other buildings on the property — a still-operating 65-room Howard Johnson hotel, a vacant event space called The Venue and other vacant commercial properties — will be replaced with PEG’s plans for a 160-room Marriott hotel, an apartment complex with 190 units and a restaurant.

More than 100 local business owners signed a petition asking the City Council to approve the $150 million project, saying the development would bring people and financial stability to the area.

To address community concerns, the developer scaled back the building height it sought, requesting 75 feet after originally seeking to go as high as 96 feet with 230 apartment units. The city code only allows for buildings up to 36 feet in the area.

The City Council approved the project this week in a 6-1 vote, with a provision that the height allowance would be removed if the project isn’t underway after five years.

A dissenting vote

All five City Council members who voted for the project, along with Mayor David Ortega, said they considered how that southern part of Old Town Scottsdale has been deteriorating over the years.

During an April 6 Scottsdale City Council meeting on the proposed Kimsey project, a map of downtown Scottsdale shows the area's vacant properties in red.

Councilmember Tammy Caputi said her colleagues are always talking about approving projects that take into account community outreach and preservation.

“Well, here’s that project,” she said while pointing to a map full of red dots.

The map illustrated downtown Scottsdale, where the Kimsey project will be developed, and the red dots represented vacant properties. Caputi added the map shows the downtown area isn’t thriving.