Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows rebirth will redefine local resort scene

A 1960s-era promotion of the all-encompassing experience that is the Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows Golf Resort. (Submitted photo)

A 1960s-era promotion of the all-encompassing experience that is the Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows Golf Resort. (Submitted photo)

It is expected by the end of next calendar year, the Town of Paradise Valley will be abuzz as its newest, most modern resort community begins welcoming visitors and residents.

The Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows Golf Resort will be born anew in a matter of months, hoteliers and proponents of the project say.

Last March a deal was finalized between Westroc Hospitality, Woodbine Development Corp. and Crown Realty & Development for the creation of a $65 million luxury resort and 18-hole golf course at 5517 E. Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale-based Westroc owns and operates Hotel Valley Ho and Sanctuary on Camelback, while the Dallas-based Woodbine Corp. is responsible for multi-use development at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, among a host of other properties.

Crown Realty & Development Senior Vice President of Property Acquisition Rick Carpinelli says the sale of all but 11 acres of property at Mountain Shadows emerged from escrow last February. The $10.5 million does not include an 11-acre portion of property, which Crown Realty is retaining for future development.

Plans call for construction to begin this month on a full-service boutique resort featuring 180 guest rooms in a two-building complex, an adjacent building containing 31 hotel–condominium units, and a corner neighborhood market to be coined “Lincoln Market.”

The Mountain Shadows Golf Course, an 18-hole course well-suited for today’s golfers, will be rehabilitated as a Par-3 course as part of the project. Developers intend to retain the Mountain Shadows name when the new resort opens — tentatively scheduled for December 2016, officials say.

Paradise Valley Town Council May 14 unanimously approved the preliminary plat, a precursor to having building permits issued, for 3.16 acres of land on the west portion of the resort property where the Villas at Mountain Shadows will be built, records show.

“There is a lot of progress going on,” Mr. Carpinelli said in a May 19 phone interview. “The first week of June we will begin demolition of the last building at Mountain Shadows, which ironically was the first building built on the property. In July, the entire property will see a mass-grading project including the golf course, residential and the hotel.”

Crown Realty & Development has also made good on its promise of dedicating $1.6 million to allow the Town of Paradise Valley to completely rebuild a rundown stretch of road at 56th Street at Lincoln Drive with construction under way at the soon-to-be resort entryway.

“The hotel construction will start in August,” Mr. Carpinelli said of Westroc Hospitality moving forward with construction plans. “There have been a number of plans submitted to the town — all of the civil plans have been submitted for the entire site. The hotel has submitted drawings. This is moving very quickly and I think that is huge progress.”

Mr. Carpinelli says the grand opening of a new 56th Street entryway for residents and resort guests is set for Saturday, Sept. 26.

“The first residential units will be ready for sale late this year,” he said of the Cullum Homes project under way on the east side of the resort property. “That means that people would be moving in late 2016 at the same the hotel would be opening.”

Kim and Rod Cullum at Cullum Homes' Scottsdale headquarters last summer. (File photo)

Kim and Rod Cullum at Cullum Homes’ Scottsdale headquarters last summer. (File photo)

Cullum Homes has been the first to break ground — building a community to be known as The Village at Mountain Shadows — at the resort site at 56th Street and Lincoln Drive.

A subsidiary of Scottsdale-based Cullum Homes purchased the 40 residential lots — just over 9,500 square feet with a value of $575,000 per lot — with intentions to ceremonially break ground in September 2014.

“It is going great,” said Cullum Homes owner Rod Cullum in a May 19 phone interview. “We are not quite halfway, but we are getting close. We have construction started on the southern homes already. Our first homeowner will move in at the end of this year.”

Mr. Cullum says model homes will be available for public view this November.

“We have 40 total lots and we are in the teens in terms of units sold,” he said of home sales. “These homes are not as contemporary as the resort; we are more ‘transitional’ contemporary. Everyone involved in this project wanted to get this blended effect for the hotel.”

What’s old becomes new again

The executive golf course at Mountain Shadows has been reimagined.

Forrest Richardson of Forrest Richardson and Associates has been working with Crown Realty & Development since the realty firm picked up interest in the Paradise Valley resort site. Mr. Richardson is a golf course architect who worked under celebrated golf course architect Jack Synder, who designed the beloved Mountain Shadows Golf Course.

“The main thing directly is the course will now be an 18-hole, par 3 course with the two holes now being par 4 — holes six and 15 — will become par-3 holes,” he said in a May 19 phone interview. “That change came about several years ago during the special-use permit process when it became apparent the practice range was going to go away.”

Mr. Richardson says the revamp at the Mountain Shadows Golf Course is labor of love.

“This really is a great story for me,” he said. “It is really returning to not only a golf course I played as a kid growing up in Phoenix and Paradise Valley. It was designed by Jack, who brought me into the business of golf course design.”

Mr. Richardson says local golfers are going to be brought into a 21st Century golf experience when the Mountain Shadows Golf Course reopens.

“When we go to a par-3 layout we are really taking the driver and lower clubs out of the golfer’s hand — I think that is the biggest change,” he explained. “It will be a super, high-quality golf experience with new green and new turf. The idea is that the concept of the course to continue to be a fun course.”

Adding to the fun, will be the Praying Monk Bye Hole, which will be a 200-foot chip or put challenge for golfers heading for the final hole of the round, Mr. Richardson points out.

“Where hole No. 18 is we have what we are calling the Praying Monk Bye Hole,” he said. “It is a big long, neandering, cascading green, 200-feet long, where the golfers will start from one edge and choose to chip or put, and closest to the hole wins. The Praying Monk hole is just something different and fun.”

Mr. Richardson points out the golf course is the largest piece of property at the resort parcel. Designing the new course brings with it an awful lot of responsibility.

“What’s old is new again; it is just amazing what was created in 1961 and how much it is appropriate today,” he said of Mr. Snyder’s modern design for an executive level course at Mountain Shadows. “Those were pretty bold things to do back in the day,” Mr. Richardson says. “Most people were building big long golf courses. This is not going to be your parents’ golf course. It is still going to be golf at its core but it is going to be very different.”

A view of 56th Street where consturction is ongoing creating an iconic entrance to the reborn Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows Resort. (File photo)

A view of 56th Street where consturction is ongoing creating an iconic entrance to the reborn Paradise Valley Mountain Shadows Resort. (File photo)

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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