By Joan Fudala

A look back on 2019 and ahead to 2020

Another amazing year of changes in Scottsdale has flown by—with new places to go, new people to meet, a few places we’ll miss, some historic people to mourn, and so many things to look forward to in 2020.  Here’s just a sample of changes that have occurred in the past 12 months, and what’s on the horizon.

What’s new


Philadelphia Sandwich Company on Stetson; Jojo Coffeehouse, Drunk Munk, Merkin Vineyards, ShinBay and Hot Chick in Old Town; Prep and Pastry and Maple and Ash at Scottsdale Waterfront; SunLife Organics, Tocaya Organica and Toca Madera at Scottsdale Fashion Square; Ocean 44 on Goldwater Boulevard; The Phoenician Tavern at The Phoenician Resort; Matty G’s at Hilton Village; the world’s largest White Castle and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament on Via de Ventura; Pubblico Italian Eatery on Scottsdale Road; Famous 48 and Kaleidoscope in Gainey Ranch; OBON Sushi+Bar+Ramen at The Grove and Agave del Scottsdale in McCormick Ranch; PHX Beer Co. Brewpub at Mercado del Lago on Hayden; Detroit Coney Grill on Hayden; Little Cay on Shea; Brunch Café on Scottsdale Road near Greenway-Hayden; Biscuits Café on Hayden; Modern Oysterbar Chophouse on North Scottsdale Road; Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers on Shea; State 48 Barrel & Lager House on Hayden; Meat the Ball at The Promenade; Sapiens Paleo Kitchen in McDowell Mountain Ranch; Blast and Brew, Hot N Juicy Crawfish, Vanilla Fish and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers at Scottsdale 101; Vic + Ola’s in DC Ranch; New York Bagels n’ Bialys at La Mirada; Hush Public House on North Scottsdale Road.


Element SkySong Hotel at McDowell/Scottsdale roads; Residence Inn on Pima Road, Tru and Home 2 Suites by Hilton and Great Wolf Lodge on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community; Parada del Sol Museum on Brown Avenue; Taliesin West became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Mavrix entertainment space at The Pavilions; BATL: The Backyard Axe Throwing League at Thomas/Hayden.


The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was named best park in the United States; Scottsdale Heritage Connection/Messinger Family Research Room at Civic Center Library; Fraesfield and Granite Mountain Trailheads in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve; a Veterans Advisory Commission was appointed; Sands North was added to Scottsdale’s Historic Register; City Council approved a tax exemption for out-of-state art sales; new city ordinances covering independently operated bicycles, scooters and skateboards as well as short-term vacation rentals; Scottsdale Airport runway lighting updated.


The Mercantile at Brown/First Avenue (former Saba’s site); Wonderspaces pop-up art exhibit area and Omega Boutique at Scottsdale Fashion Square; Circle K gas stations at Hayden/Indian School and Shea/Scottsdale roads; Garjana, Paige and Vineyard Vines at Scottsdale Quarter; new shops at The Block on Via de Ventura; Skechers and Dip Nail Spa at The Promenade.


Esports at area high schools; Robert Breen’s book, “Scottsdale Glass Art Studio;” Scottsdale Public Art’s new gallery space at Civic Center Library; Scottsdale schools launched a Vaping Awareness Campaign.

Who’s new

City Attorney Sherry Scott; Community Services GM Bill Murphy promoted to assistant city manager; PV resident Barbara Barrett sworn in as secretary of the U.S. Air Force; Jill Keimach is the town manager of Paradise Valley; Michele Reagan is the new justice of the peace for the McDowell Mountain Precinct.

Business developments

Set Jet charters at Scottsdale Airport; Acronis dedicated its new headquarters and its SCSVets initiative; Navaera Worldwide will renovate the Bratzel building on Osborn for its operations; SkySong 5 has opened; Zillow opened its new headquarters in the Galleria Corporate Centre; hemp/cannabis businesses, including it as a law practice specialty; Commerce Bank of Arizona in the Airpark; Boiling Point Media in the Airpark; a seventh golf course and clubhouse at Desert Mountain.

What’s different


The Russo & Steele car auction is moving to Scottsdale Road near Loop 101 for its 2020 event; Cactus League Spring Training starts earlier this year – February 22; Bowlero took over the space formerly occupied by Brunswick Zone on Via Linda; renovations at W Scottsdale, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Royal Palms Resort and Spa, The Bespoke Inn, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.


68th Street and Drinkwater Boulevard bridges repaired and reopened after extensive closures; higher municipal fees and rates in various categories

Business developments

Fox Restaurant Concepts became a subsidiary of The Cheesecake Factory Inc.; Sapporo changed its name to Kasai Asian Grill.


Voters passed the SUSD override and the PVUSD bond and override in the November 2019 election.


Rotary Park in Gainey Ranch has been expanded; The McDowell apartment complex replaced a car dealership on McDowell Road; an A-frame structure on McDowell Road that once housed at Polynesian-themed Dairy Queen has been moved to Hayden Road; a sculpture that once stood in front of the Scottsdale Progress office on Earll has been “found” and reinstalled in front of Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop on Brown; new storage units where Macaroni Grill used to be on Scottsdale Road, south of Shea.

What’s gone


Don & Charlie’s on Camelback Road (a favorite since 1982); the Blue Moose on Civic Center Mall; Pig & Pickle at Hayden/Thomas; Village Inn on Scottsdale Road, north of Bell; Italian Grotto at Scottsdale/Main Street; Old Town Gringos; Melting Pot on Hayden; Grabbagreen; Sweet Home Chicago; Donut Bar at The Promenade; Cantina Laredo closed and its building razed; Gordon Biersch on Mayo Boulevard; Bodega 13 at La Mirada.


Saba’s Western stores closed in Scottsdale; Super L Ranch Market at Thomas/Hayden; Sears Appliance Showroom in Northsight.


Roadrunner Lake Resort mobile-home park closed; Dolphinaris Arizona closed; ASU’s Karsten Golf Course closed; historic Nuss building at Scottsdale Road/Shoeman Lane was razed for redevelopment.

Who’s moved on

The 39-year veteran of the Scottsdale Fire Dept/Rural Metro and Deputy Fire Chief Steve Randall retired; SFD’s Captain Tim Cooper also retired after a 45-year career; Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn retired.

Sadly, we’ve lost

Former Scottsdale Community College President and civic leader Dr. Art DeCabooter, real estate executive Dennis Lyon, former city of Scottsdale staff executive Carder Hunt, real estate executive Tom Fannin, Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell, Judge Dan Roth, hotelier John Dawson, Old Town merchant and pioneer family member John Song; long-time Scottsdale Boys & Girls Club executive Sal Cosenza; business owner Mike Robbins; real estate professional Ellie Shapiro; artist Gerry Metz; film historian Charlie LeSueur; and civic activist Bob Vairo.

What’s coming


Redo of Papago Plaza; Museum Square at Marshall Way/Second Street; Southbridge II; The Marquee on Scottsdale Road at Camelback; Miller Square; Gentry on the Green on Hayden; Nationwide development Cavasson south of Grayhawk; Revel Scottsdale senior independent living community to former site of Scottsdale Resort and Athletic Club; Sierra Bloom Wellness Campus on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community; The Palmeraie master-planned community adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley is underway; Axis Raintree office building in the Airpark; Lofts at The District; BALUNSD facility to open near Scottsdale/Thunderbird.


HonorHealth Sonoran Medical Center is under construction at I-17 and Deer Valley Road; HonorHealth broke ground for its Neuroscience Institute on its Osborn campus, set to open in Spring 2021; Scottsdale Jet Center is Scottsdale Airport’s third fixed-base operator; Harkins Theatres is building a new headquarters on McDonald near Loop 101; Scottsdale Promenade Self Storage under construction.


Canopy Hotel by Hilton on Marshall Way is under construction, to open in Fall 2020; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel to open in Paradise Valley in summer 2020; Caesars Republic Scottsdale (11-floor hotel by Caesars, with two Giada De Laurentiis restaurants, near Scottsdale Fashion Square); Choice Hotels’ tech headquarters to Cavasson; new We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation; Holiday Inn to Loop 101/90th Street; hotel to the former Don & Charlie’s site on Camelback Road.


Porter’s Western Saloon on Brown Avenue, Frasher’s Steakhouse to reopen on Drinkwater Boulevard; Blue Zone at Mercado del Lago/Hayden; Texas Roadhouse at The Block; Matt’s Big Breakfast announced it will open near Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.


With voter approval of all three bond initiatives on the November 5, ballot, many municipal infrastructure projects are now funded and in the works; major improvements to Scottsdale Stadium are underway; new fire station under construction on Hayden near Indian Bend; Palomino Library will transition from a public library to a school-only library within Desert Mountain High School by June 30; a new McDowell Sonoran Preserve trailhead at Pima and Dynamite roads with an amphitheater named in honor of preserve leader Dr. Arthur W. DeCabooter; a citizen-initiated memorial to Scottsdale’s fallen members of the armed forces to the grounds of City Hall; Mountain View Park is getting a new playground.


Redos/updates to Hohokam, Cherokee, Kiva and Navajo elementary schools; St. Catherine of Bologna Performing Arts Center under construction at Notre Dame Prep.


ASU will host the NCAA golf championships at Grayhawk Golf Course in 2020; in 2021 the San Francisco Giants will begin using a field at 64th and McDowell for nongame Spring Training workouts (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 Final Four men’s basketball championship back to the Valley in 2024; the City of Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Charros and the San Francisco Giants inked a deal that will keep the team in Scottsdale for its Spring Training seasons through 2044; a museum celebrating baseball’s Cactus League is under consideration for Scottsdale Stadium


Ongoing improvements to Loop 101 between Pima Road and 64th Street exits in Scottsdale; a book on the Old Adobe Mission is in the works.

2019 Memorable Moments 

The big February snow; Fry’s test of robotic grocery delivery in Scottsdale; no new city flag, despite a few proposed new designs and City Council debates.

2020 Scottsdale Milestones

Scottsdale mayoral and City Council election (and U.S. Presidential) election in November; 85th anniversary of Post 44, American Legion (established 1935); 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Days, ending World War II; 70th anniversary of Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue (debuted November 1950); 65th anniversary of Scottsdale Public Library (1955); 50th anniversary of Scottsdale Community College campus opening (1970); 45th anniversary of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (opened October 1975); 45th anniversary of McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (October 1975); 25th anniversary of the Scottsdale Cares utility bill donation program (1995); 25th anniversary of the city’s and Experience Scottsdale’s presence on the world wide web (1995); 25th anniversary of the Via Linda Senior Center (1995); 20th anniversary of the first listing of properties on Scottsdale’s Historic Register (2000); fifth anniversary for Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (January 2015).  Also, Medicare turns 55 (began in 1965) and the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 30 (enacted in 1990).

Hope you’ll shop and dine local and enjoy the best of Scottsdale! ν