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Scottsdale - Arizona's Hot Spot
A comparison of how the city of Scottsdale has changed to become a high-end hot spot of Arizona.
Arizona's Hot Spot
By Kevin Whipps
Photography By Carl Schultz and the City of Scottsdale
It's funny, but as someone who has spent most of their adult life (and a good portion of their teenage years as well) in Scottsdale, you would think that I'd be able to write quite the lengthy tome about the city where I live. But as I sit here, sitting in a living room positioned in the northern part of the city, I realize that I'm a bit stumped. I either don't know exactly where to start, or I feel like there's so much that I could discuss that a logical flow and progression to the story doesn't quite come to mind.
I suppose I could begin by talking about the city itself, because the geographical boundaries of the area alone make for an interesting story. When you look at it on a map, Scottsdale is a long and skinny city that is flanked by the McDowell mountains on one side and the capital city of Phoenix on the other. As such, there are still many desirable properties available in the area, both around and up the sides of the McDowells, as well as to the North near Cave Creek where sprawling estates are the norm.
But it wasn't always this way. When I moved to Scottsdale in 1987, Pinnacle Peak road was considered to be "a bit out there," and the 101 freeway that ties together all of the cities in the valley of the sun together was still just a distant hope. The amount of growth that I've seen in the city over the past 20-some years has been amazing. At first, city laws wouldn't allow for building homes past a certain point on the mountains, as they considered to be a blight against the views that the mountains afforded its residents. But the city leaders eventually caved to the constant requests from developers and residents, and began allowing them to build up the mountains, although still with certain restrictions.
Financially, there's a very specific pattern to the type of people that you meet in town. There isn't really a "poor" part of Scottsdale, as many of the lower income housing areas have long since been torn down and the residents have moved to other parts of the Valley. But if you were to categorize the area by income, the further North you go, the higher up the payscale you tend to go. In Scottsdale, if you want to check out the million-dollar-
I've also watched as the various institutions of the area have grown and swelled in size due to increases in revenue. Take, for example, Scottsdale's premier shopping institution, the Scottsdale Fashion Square. When I moved here, the mall was positioned on Camelback Road where it sits today, but back then it had started one of its first expansions, adding a food court and joining with the mall on the other side of Goldwater Blvd. Since then it's expanded a few more times, now going over Camelback Road and expanding further to the East and adding even more high-end shopping in the process such as Barney's. The mall is now one of the finest places in Scottsdale to do some shopping, and will continue to be for years to come.
Back in '87, I remember driving through Old Town Scottsdale for the first time, located just South of Fashion Square, and thinking that, well, it was kind of a dump. Back then it was less of a tourist area and more seedy dive, complete with an x-rated theatre right in the center. Shortly after our move, that theater was closed for good, and the area started a rebirth of sorts. Today's occupants are a bit touristy admittedly, but there are also a wide variety of art galleries in cultural hotspots in the area as well.
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