Scottsdale Fashion Square is launching a multimillion-dollar renovation. The expansion could extend the building’s height to 150 feet.

In August, City Council will vote on plans for parts of the mall to reach 150 feet high.

Scottsdale Fashion Square executives unveiled a first look at its forthcoming multimillion-dollar renovation on Thursday.

The mall makeover, which was announced in December, is expected to begin toward the end of the year. The first phase should be completed in fall 2018 and will focus on the luxury wing that includes Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s as anchors, as well as high-end shops such as Cartier and Jimmy Choo.

The mall will maintain its usual business hours during the renovation.

What will change in the luxury wing? “Everything visible to the eye,” said Scott Nelson, senior vice president of real estate services with Macerich, the Santa Monica, California-based company that owns Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Later phases propose to add residences, office space and a new hotel.

The expansion could extend the building’s height to 150 feet, more than twice the height allowed without Scottsdale City Council approval. That has some nearby residents concerned.

Currently, the administrative offices are the mall’s tallest area, at 103 feet.


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What’s in store

The renovation includes moving all vertical transportation — stairs, escalators and elevators — inside the mall.

The elevators and escalators near Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s will be repositioned so they don’t impede foot traffic.

Macerich officials said the flooring, ceiling, lighting and walls will all undergo renovations.

While the floor is being demolished, the demolition crew will put up tents so the dust won’t spread across the mall.

Andy Greenwood, Macerich assistant vice president of development, said he expects the dirt lots off Goldwater Boulevard to be “restaurant-heavy” and projected a possible 30,000 to 40,000 square-foot expansion for restaurant spaces.

Does a successful mall need a renovation?

Scottsdale Fashion Square is at nearly full occupancy, unlike many brick-and-mortar retail locations across the country, Nelson said.

The mall’s success is due, in part, to constantly adding and updating, he said.

“The sky is falling in the headlines,” he said. “We are seeing the need to constantly reinvest.”

Nelson also said there’s a trend of formerly online-only retailers opening physical storefronts. Fashion Square currently has an Amazon kiosk in its first story. The online giant also opened a bookstore in New York in the spring.

Petition against expansion

As for residents’ concern over height, Karen Maurer, a Macerich spokeswoman, said the proposed 150-foot high part of the expansion would come in later phases.

“We’re not talking about that today,” she said. “We’re still working with the city and the community on that.”

Those plans are slated to go to the City Council on Aug. 29.

Earlier this month, residents from the Scottsdale Waterfront and Optima Camelview Village condos submitted a petition with 294 signatures asking the city to stop the vertical expansion.

City spokesman Kelly Corsette said legal staff are reviewing the petition to see if it’s considered a legal protest, which would mean that the council could not approve the increased height without a 5-2 supermajority. A legal protest requires 20 percent of residents from all sides of a development to oppose it.

Bob Griffith, listed on the petition as the group’s adviser, said he isn’t opposed to tall buildings, but how close the tall buildings would be to the surrounding neighborhoods.

He said the proposed expansion would cause the fourth and fifth floors of the Optima towers to be completely shaded during some parts of the day.

“We’re in favor of a mall that serves the community, the region, as well as the neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t mind the height if it’s set back sufficiently.”


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