Article Originally Posted By PhoenixBusinessJournal On December 21, 2021
A Phoenix-based developer is buying land that was once earmarked for the Southbridge II project, a mixed-use development that sparked controversy over height and density in Old Town Scottsdale and was eventually halted by the former developer and owner.
Creation RE is buying the land in partnership with Crescent Commercial and real estate investment firm, FCP.
The land, which is in three noncontiguous sites totaling 4.5 acres, will be purchased for $38 million from the Unger family. Sources close to the deal said it is expected to close soon. The parcels had been assembled by Fred Unger, the developer of iconic projects including the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley and the Royal Palms in Phoenix over the course of decades, Bob Agahi, founding partner of Creation, said. Fred Unger passed away in 2018, and his son Carter, had planned to develop a mixed-use project on the sites.
Carter Unger had initially received approval from Scottsdale City Council for his proposed development, which totaled about 1.7 million gross square feet and would have included hotels, office, retail and residential space. However, the approval sparked heavy resistance from the neighborhood and residents that were concerned about height and density in the area, and Unger withdrew the plans after neighborhood backlash.
Agahi and David Sellers, the other founding partner of Creation, said they had been interested in the property for years, and had previously approached the Unger family about buying it.
“It is rare to have a walkable area in a city that isn’t really walkable in the first place,” Sellers said. “This is a unique site and Old Town Scottsdale deserves a project that is really thought out. It is such a unique opportunity, being so close to the water, so close to the mall and so close to Scottsdale Road.”Agahi said it would be nearly impossible to buy land of that size in Old Town Scottsdale now, because of how small the parcels that had been assembled were and how long it took for Unger to secure them. The two had been friends with Fred Unger and had good relationships with the family, so when the family decided to sell the property, it was “an easy conversation,” he said.