Schweiker: Paradise Valley Ritz-Carlton will reap municipal financial rewards

I thought bringing the Ritz-Carlton and associated residences was a great idea for Paradise Valley in 2008. So when a small group of citizens challenged the Town Council’s approval and put the project to a public vote I volunteered to serve as campaign chairman of the group to uphold the project.

Dan Schweiker

Dan Schweiker

Ultimately, town residents overwhelmingly agreed with the position we as a Town took.  The resort project passed by almost a 2-1 margin.

It was not surprising as resorts are the financial lifeblood of Paradise Valley.  Bed and Sales tax revenue from them is why there is no property tax.  Texas has oil.  Paradise Valley has resorts.  And between their lodging, restaurants, brunches, special events, beautiful grounds and other elements they add mightily to the unique quality of life that is Paradise Valley.

Last year ago we moved just across the border into Scottsdale.  The dearth of smaller residences was one of several reasons why.  But it does not mean I am not paying attention to a Ritz-Carlton project I remain very excited about.  We may be across the border but I still live about as close to the project now as whenliving in Paradise Valley.

And what I see in 2015 is a project also worth supporting.  The Paradise Valley Planning Commission did a good job balancing the principles of Paradise Valley with what’s needed for a successful project.

But largely lost in the discussion to date is something I am particularly excited about: a better, more interesting resort than was proposed in 2008.  Indeed, I understand the developer is seeking a rare distinction for what would be the first Ritz-Carlton built in North American in a decade:  inclusion as a Ritz Reserve, properties in fact reserved for the best of the brand’s best.

That’s one of the reasons the resort has expanded to cost not $80 million as was the case seven years ago but about $135 million.

Whether or not the project gains such distinction the financial rewards for Paradise Valley are extraordinary.  The developer has told the Town that the Ritz Carlton project will produce $5 million in revenue per year for the Town.  Having served on the Town Council in good times and bad I can’t tell you how important that revenue stream would be to staving off a property tax and, as importantly, properly funding public safety and other community services residents deserve and demand.

Editor’s note: Mr. Schweiker is a former member of Paradise Valley Town Council

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