Scottsdale Airpark eyed for $1 billion project

As seen in the Scottsdale Progress, written by J. Graber.

An estimated $1 billion multi-use development is slated for Scottsdale Airpark, bringing a five-star 223-room hotel, 1,236 condos and apartments and 100,000 square feet of retail space to 32.3 acres.

The Parque, unveiled at an open house Aug. 11, calls for 13 buildings that also will include 40,000 square feet of “flex space” and a 2-acre park.

“That’s really kind of focusing on community needs as well as the needs of the development to be a collaborative effort to see what this area needs,” said Avalon Knoebel, a spokeswoman for the development’s architectural firm, Nelsen Partners.

Two buildings will reach 119 feet tall, “but the majority of the project would be below 90 feet,” Knoebel said.

“One of the best things about this project I think is that it really allows for the next chapter of Scottsdale’s growth and development,” Knoebel said.

“There’s a lot of really great things going on with this project from a landscaping and architectural standpoint. We’re retaining a lot of detail and attention to the project about how people interact with the places and things in the environment.”

She also said the Nelsen Partners is “really looking at that 2 acre park and how it would be programmed to be a really big benefit for the community.”

“Another great thing about this project… is sustainability and really looking at how this project can be a flagship of what sustainability looks like,” she added.

The project is in its infancy and there are no details on how that sustainability will be achieved other than to say native landscaping will be used.

It has yet to go before Scottsdale’s Development Review Board, Planning Commission or City Council.

“If we’re fortunate enough to be approved, he wants to go as fast as possible,” said John Berry, an attorney for the owner, George Kurtz, a cyber security developer in Austin, Texas.

This is Kurtz’s first foray into real estate development.

Berry called it a “legacy project.”

“He has a real vision and a dream to create something that’s never been done in the Valley and do it in Scottsdale,” Berry said. “The desire here is not to build it and flip it to somebody and go somewhere else.”

Kurtz is the CEO and co-founder of CrowdStrike, which calls itself the “leading provider of next-generation endpoint protection, threat intelligence, and services.” He often is quoted on major TV news networks and newspapers on cyber security issues.

An internationally recognized security expert, author, entrepreneur and speaker, Kurtz is described on his company’s website as having 29 years of experience in the security industry.

That experience includes several major executive positions at McAfee, the $2.5 billion cyber security company, which he joined after it purchased a cyber company he had founded called Foundstone.

The inspiration for The Parque is the Scottsdale Quarter, “only we want to do it better with fewer buildings and four times the public open space,” Berry said.

Knoebel said, “Part of why we are doing this open house and want to have these community meetings is really to feel like this is a collaborative effort between this development and the community at large.

“We really want to understand what the community of Scottsdale is looking for in a new development and taking comments from the open house … so we can work on designing and programming these areas to really tailor that experience.”

Scottsdale City Councilwoman Tammy Caputi said she is excited about the project.

“It’s worthy of Scottsdale,” Caputi said. “It’s forward thinking. It’s not going to affect neighbors. It’s a development in a place that makes sense for development. It’s thinking outside of the box.

“We’ve been saying forever that we want to diversify our economy. This is how we do it, high tech jobs, cool open space. It checks all the boxes.”

Sonnie Kirtley, the executive director of the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, said her board will have to vote on an official stance to the project, but she likes it.

She likes the open space, adding, “One of the impressive parts is that the owner has no intention of flipping the property, but holding ownership. That is also appreciated by Scottsdale residents.”

Pamela Carter, who will face Barry Graham in the Nov. 8 election for the last open seat on council, said she is reserving judgment on the project after hearing the presentation. Her opponent, Barry Graham, was not there.

She said it’s a quality project but she has concerns about the height and the number of condominiums and apartments.

“I don’t know yet,” she said.