Paradise Valley welcomes new chapter of Mountain Shadows development saga

The pieces of the years-long development puzzle that was the Mountain Shadows redevelopment saga continue to come together as local leaders begin to see new structures sprout and asphalt laid in the heart of Paradise Valley.

The now-demolished resort property, at 56th Street and Lincoln Drive, had been vacant since September 2004. The land, however, remains the centerpiece to an affluent subdivision known as Mountain Shadows east and west, which contains just under 120 homes.

A classic photograph of what the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort looked like at its peak in the 1970s. (Submitted photo)

A classic photograph of what the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort looked like at its peak in the 1970s. (Submitted photo)

Paradise Valley Town Council unanimously approved a special-use permit April 18, 2013 to give Crown Realty & Development, then-owner of the entire property, the green light to begin revamp efforts.

Earlier this year a $10.5 million deal was struck between Westroc Hospitality, Woodbine Development Corp. and Crown Realty & Development for the creation of a $65 million luxury resort and 18-hole golf course where Mountain Shadows Golf Resort once stood.

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.

Preceding that deal in late 2014, 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. The new homes will be known as The Village at Mountain Shadows.

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 real estate development firm is retaining that portion of the property.

The property now under development is at 5517 E. Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley.

Development continues to progress

Paradise Valley guidelines require a 100-key resort hotel product be built and operational while residential, to a certain density degree, be built around the new resort. The formal plan, among other things, calls for buildings as high as 36 feet associated with only hotel structures on the west side of the property divided by 56th Street at Lincoln Drive.

The maximum height of residential units will be 28 feet, SUP guidelines state.

The east side of the proposed development is planned for 40 single-family lots on about 11.5 acres of land. All homes built adjacent to existing homes will be one story in height and a minimum 10,000 square feet.

Current construction efforts are underway 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 part of the project. Developers intend to retain the Mountain Shadows name when the new resort opens in December 2016.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins says everything is going according to plan.

“Earth moving preparations for the principal resort structure are finally under way on the west side of 56th Street,” he said in a Sept. 9 written response to e-mailed questions. “Preliminary and final platting for the remaining higher density residential properties tucked in behind the resort building and along the west side of 56th street is under way.”

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to approve two administrative matters in regard to both resort and residential development contracts at its Sept. 10 meeting at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

“This is just a simple language clarification amendment to align the contract documents,” he said of the agenda items.  “There is no anticipated change in footprint or programming associated with the proposed amendment as far as I know.”

Celebrating a milestone

“Our vision for the Mountain Shadows property is coming to life. We are excited to celebrate the completion of 56th Street, the start of many new residences, the development of the west side of Mountain Shadows and in the near future, the development of the hotel and golf course,” said Crown Realty CEO Robert Flaxman in a Sept. 8 statement.

A graphic rendering of concepts for the coming Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley. (Submitted graphic)

A graphic rendering of a concept for the entryway for the Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley. (Submitted graphic)

“The professionals that we have brought together for each aspect of Mountain Shadows will each provide their own unique qualities to weave the vision of a luxurious lifestyle in the heart of Paradise Valley. We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone and look forward to many more milestones culminating with the opening of the new Mountain Shadows Resort.”

During development agreement discussions, Crown Realty agreed to dedicate $1.6 million to the Town of Paradise Valley to completely renovate the then-rundown stretch of road at 56th Street at Lincoln Drive.

To commemorate the project Cullum Homes, the Town of Paradise Valley, Sanctuary Resort and El Chorro are hosting a 56th Street Festival from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Promoters say for one day only, 56th Street will transform into a pedestrian pathway connecting The Sanctuary Resort to El Chorro Restaurant — between McDonald and Lincoln Drives — showcasing the new Village at Mountain Shadows community and planned Mountain Shadows resort.

The festival will start at El Chorro, where participants can enjoy complimentary sticky buns and refreshments. Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins, Vice Mayor Paul Dembow and other distinguished guests will lead the dedication ceremony at 7:30 a.m. The journey continues along 56th Street with entertainment including steel drum performances, Arabian show horses, McLaren Scottsdale car displays and fire trucks.

Arizona oceanfront property

“It is going great,” said Cullum Homes owner Rod Cullum in a Sept. 8 phone interview of his latest housing project. “We have 11 homes that are under construction. We have more than that sold, but only 11 under construction.”

Mr. Cullum says he is excited to be a part of the rebirth of what he considers to be the center of Town of Paradise Valley.

“The blighted hotel that was shut down by Crown back in 2008, it is just great to get it cleaned up,” he said. “The town’s mission for the golf course has been accomplished and it looks like that is going to be a vibrant center of the town.”

The planned September event is a way to showcase how the Town of Paradise Valley envisions “iconic streetscapes,” Mr. Cullum says.

“I think the town is very forward thinking in trying to get what they call the iconic streetscapes,” he said. “This will be a pedestrian destination. This is the kind of thing the public expects and how tax revenues should be spent — improving the pedestrian opportunities.”

Scott Griggs of the Griggs Group through Realty Executives is representing the sales of the Village at Mountain Shadows and he says the development is a win all the way around.

“We couldn’t be happier. It is kind of an epic situation and as far as the history of Mountain Shadows being between Camelback and Mummy mountains, that is what we call Arizona oceanfront property,” he said in a Sept. 9 phone interview.

Mr. Griggs says the amount of history found at the forthcoming resort residential community is peeking the interest of the marketplace.

“The history there definitely drives people; and the location is bar none,” he said noting a recent buyer served as a lifeguard during the resort’s peak. “Being in that location our residents are going to want to have the ability to walk everywhere — that is what is driving people to our town.”

Mayor Collins says good capital investment projects have more than one benefit.

“Good capital improvement projects almost always result in secondary and tertiary positive impacts to neighborhood property values,” he said. “I think 56th Street will become a focal point for that part of town and be a catalyst for continued resort and single family housing redevelopment in the area.”

There was a time when the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort was the premiere pool scene in the Phoenix metropolitan area. (Submitted photo)

There was a time when the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort was the premiere pool scene in the Phoenix metropolitan area. (Submitted photo)

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment