By Joan Fudala
Wow, what a year! There’s always something going on in Scottsdale, but layer in the global COVID-19 pandemic, which began to impact the Scottsdale community in early March, and we’ve experienced too many changes to keep track of adequately. Here are just a few things new, different, gone or coming in our dynamic and ever-adapting city. Enjoy all Scottsdale has to offer, but remember: Mask up, Scottsdale, keep your social distance—and shop local!
“The New Normal…” due to the COVID-19 global pandemic: 6 feet or more of social distancing; wearing face masks everywhere; Zoom meetings; quarantining; working remotely; capacity-limited or timed entry to shops, restaurants/bars, performing venues and museums; online classes and social gatherings; hybrid K-12 classes (online at home and in classroom); initially hoarding toilet paper and store shelves empty of it; “eau de hand sanitizer” as everyone’s cologne; drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites; Shop Scottsdale and Mask Up Arizona public service campaigns; Payment Protection Program loans to businesses; virtual graduations, proms and weddings; special shopping hours for seniors and other vulnerable patrons and expanded curbside pickup; large events canceled/postponed indefinitely; drive-in concerts and events; temporarily legal takeout cocktails from drive-thru windows; no buffets at restaurants or food sampling at stores; no trying on clothes in fitting rooms.
Restaurants: Copper Mule, Senor Taco, Matt’s Big Breakfast, OEB Breakfast Company, Dessert in the Desert, Rift Wine Bar & Taphouse and The Americano on Scottsdale Road; Teriyaki Madness on Pima Road; The Craftsman at Hayden Peak Crossing; Moe’s Roadhouse at DC Ranch Crossing; Wine Girl, Pizzeria Virtu, Cold Beers & Pizza, Benjamin’s Upstairs, J Town, The Dash Inn and Frasher’s Steakhouse in Old Town; Nobu Scottsdale, Zinque, Capital One Cafe and Francine at Scottsdale Fashion Square; Pretty Please Lounge on Saddlebag Trail; Kitchen United Mix at Scottsdale/Shea; Lure Fish House at Shops at Gainey Ranch; Gabriella’s Contemporary American Cuisine in Scottsdale Ranch; Twist Bistro & Gallery at The Summit; MIXT and Culinary Dropout at Scottsdale Quarter; Texas Roadhouse on Via de Ventura; Stratta Kitchen at The Village at Hayden; Blue Zone and Bei Express on Hayden; Gatsby’s in the Pinnacle Peak area; The Mick in McCormick Ranch; Black Rock Coffee on Bell Road; Gabriella’s Contemporary American Cuisine on Via Linda; Snooze an AM Eatery at Pima Crossing; Broth & Bao at SkySong Center; Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea on 87th Street.
Tourism/recreation: Canopy by Hilton Hotel on Marshall Way and its restaurants Cobre Kitchen + Cocktails and Outrider Rooftop Lounge; ADERO Resort and its Cielo restaurant on East Shea/Fountain Hills (site of former Copperwynd Resort); drive-in concerts at WestWorld; Set Jet flights from Scottsdale Airport to Cabo San Lucas; Waste Management Phoenix Open unveiled a new logo; renovated/expanded Charro Lodge at Scottsdale Stadium.
Retail: Chase Bank on Pima Road; Amazon Books and Candle Chemistry at Scottsdale Quarter; Creative Leather on Indian School Road; iSmoke at Grayhawk Plaza; St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop on Greenway; W Mart Asian grocery on Thomas.
Business: thredUP’s corporate office expanded to Scottsdale Financial Center on Indian School Road; Connie Health insurance navigation service; New Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce podcast that highlights businesses and retail.
Education/youth: “Hybrid learning,” combining in-person and online instruction days for K-12 students; $1 million upgrades at SUSD schools to facilitate “streaming” classes for at-home learning.
Arts/culture: Scottsdale’s first Juneteenth celebration at El Dorado Park; new public art installations: “Sunburst” at ASU SkySong Innovation Center and a Christine Lee art installation at Fire Station 603; “Ziggy’s Sister” sculpture by Al Beadle installed at Scottsdale Artists’ School; USS Arizona Memorial Gardens opened in the Talking Stick Entertainment District.
City: $29 million in federal CARES Act funds, allocated to Scottsdale, has been used to help alleviate COVID-19 impacts to the city and small businesses; major improvements to Scottsdale Stadium, including an indoor event space; Fire Station 603 on Indian Bend Road and Station 616 on Loving Tree Lane; Make-A-Wish Way dedicated; Scottsdale Fire Department now using drones to extend its public safety reach; Scottsdale Good To Go Business Finder introduced; partnership with ASU to study urban heat island effect.
People in new places: New SUSD superintendent is Dr. Scott A. Menzel; November election results will put new people in office in January; David Ortega as mayor of Scottsdale and Betty Janik, Tammy Caputi and Tom Durham as members of Scottsdale City Council; Julie Cieniawski, Libby Hart-Wells and Zach Lindsay as members of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board; Mark Kelly as new U.S. senator from Arizona (replacing Martha McSally); Jim Richerson of Scottsdale-based Troon Golf was elected president of the PGA of America in October.
Neighborhoods/housing: Acoya Troon modern aging community; Legacy Village Senior Community on the SRPMIC; many new condos and apartments throughout Scottsdale.
Other: Civil unrest in Downtown Scottsdale May 30 followed by a 1,000-person peaceful march through Downtown Scottsdale June 7.
Business/retail: Lost and Found Resale Interiors moved to 15530 N. Greenway-Hayden Loop.
Tourism/recreation: Arizona Boardwalk is new name for OdySea in the Desert complex; Guaranteed Rate Bowl is new name of former Cactus Bowl football game; Jack’s Gastropub at the renovated Jack Nicklaus-designed Desert Highlands Golf Club; the Scottsdale Charros will lead the staging of 2021 Parada del Sol parade and Trail’s End Festival, in partnership with the legacy Parada volunteer planning group and the city.
City: Palomino is no longer a city public library but remains a school library within Desert Mountain High School; new hours/days at Scottsdale libraries (due to COVID-19).
Education: Navajo Elementary School reopened after a post-fire, two-year rehab project; Hohokam Traditional School rehab complete; security upgrades to 17 SUSD school offices and other over-the-summer-break school enhancements; Scottsdale Leadership now a six-month program; in June the School of Architecture at Taliesin (West) announced it would join forces with The Cosanti Foundation and its sites in Arizona.
Restaurants: Sweet Tomatoes (everywhere); Four Peaks Brewing at Hayden and Frank Lloyd Wright; BRIO Tuscan Grille at Scottsdale Quarter; Charleston’s at Frank Lloyd Wright/Scottsdale; Kale & Clover at Hayden Peak Crossing; Which Wich at Grayhawk Plaza; Scottsdale Beer Company on Shea; YC’s Mongolian Grill; The Mint Ultra Lounge on Camelback.
Retail: Pier One and Steinmart stores at Pima Crossing and The Promenade; Tuesday Morning at Scottsdale/Shea (other location open); Paris store at Scottsdale/Frank Lloyd Wright.
Entertainment: iPic movie theater at Scottsdale Quarter.
Razed for redevelopment: The 1959-vintage Papago Plaza (to make way for new Papago Plaza mixed-use development); former cinema on Scottsdale Road south of Thomas.
City: Fines for overdue materials at Scottsdale libraries were abolished.
Folks moving on: Jim Lane retires after three terms as mayor of Scottsdale; Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte and Guy Phillips end their terms on Scottsdale City Council; City Clerk Carolyn Jagger retired and City Treasurer Jeff Nichols resigned; Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell announced his retirement; SUSD Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard retired.
Sadly we’ve lost: Business/civic leader Cora Messinger; architect Kamal Amin; homebuilder Geoffrey Edmunds; former Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Leslie Nyquist; author Clive Cussler; journalist Don Dedera; restauranteur Jack Song; historian/author Bob Mason; former Gov. Jane D. Hull; auto dealer Tex Earnhardt; bank executive/Fiesta Bowl founding Director George Isbell; former Dial CEO Herb Baum; art patron Gil Waldman; golf course designer Dick Bailey; national broadcasting legend Hugh Downs; civic leader Lou Lagomarsino Jr.; former Councilman George Zraket; former airpark computer business owner/football legend Gayle Sayers; artist John Henry Waddell.
Restaurants: Cooper’s Hawk at The Promenade; The Herb Box on Shea; I Heart Mac & Cheese; popular Tucson area restaurant EeeGee’s.
Tourism/recreation: Caesars Republic Scottsdale hotel at Scottsdale Fashion Square; Curio Hotel by Hilton (on the site of the former Don & Charlie’s on Camelback); Edition Hotel on Camelback Road; Winfield Hotel & Residences on Scottsdale Road; a Hilton hotel at Cavasson; Comfort Suites at The Pavilions at Talking Stick; The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley; Advocates Pro Golf Association will stage a golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale in April; the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization will train in Scottsdale; the historic SmokeTree Resort will be renovated; Jet Aviation at Scottsdale Airport; ASU will host NCAA golf championships at Grayhawk Golf Course in 2021-23; the San Francisco Giants will begin using a field in Papago Park for nongame Spring Training workouts (Giants games will continue to be played at a renovated Scottsdale Stadium); the Super Bowl returns to the Valley in 2023; the NCAA will bring its March Madness Final Four men’s basketball championship back to the Valley in 2024.
Business: HonorHealth/Universal Health Behavioral Health Hospital on the SRPMIC and HonorHealth Neurosciences Institute on Osborn; Mayo Clinic Phoenix Campus seven-story patient tower under construction; Gainey Business Bank in Gainey Ranch; Scottsdale Community Bank.
City: Bell Road Multiuse Sports Fields Complex; a trail at Fraesfield trailhead of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve named in honor of former Mayor Sam Campana; an amphitheater at the Gateway to the Preserve named in honor of former Mayor Mary Manross; the Pima-Dynamite trailhead of the Preserve; Scottsdale General Plan 2035 citizen review process ongoing; Scottsdale Civic Center facelift underway; extension to Raintree Drive in Scottsdale Airpark and an artist Phillip K. Smith III public art installation; improvements to Scottsdale Airport runway during summer 2021.
Developments: Cavasson/Nationwide on Hayden at the 101; Revel Senior Living Community on Indian Bend Road; Museum Square; new Papago Plaza mixed-use development; Entrada on McDowell at 64th Street; The Palmeraie at Scottsdale and Indian Bend roads; Marquee on Scottsdale Road; senior living facility coming to the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus on Scottsdale Road; possible redevelopment of Seventh-day Adventist campus in the airpark; The Edge at Loop 101/90th Street; Axon campus at Crossroads East; Gentry on the Green multifamily residential development on Camelback; Story Rock residential.
Other: Continuing improvement project on Loop 101/Pima Freeway; 2020 U.S. Census results; maybe a baseball museum for Scottsdale.
Other November election results with future impact: Voters approved Proposition 207, the use of recreational marijuana (rules covering this are pending); and Proposition 208 will increase funding for education.
What didn’t happen in 2020: Numerous signature events were canceled/postponed due to COVID-19 precautions; Southbridge II redevelopment of the Fifth Avenue area was nixed after a citizen referendum; summer 2020 was called a “non-soon” season, with no big “monsoon” rainstorms and record heat.