Article originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal on June 16, 2016
Scottsdale has long been known as a shopping destination, and it’s long benefitted the city’s tourism and its overall economy.
Shopping is the most frequent activity for both overnight and day-trip domestic visitors, according to the the city of Scottsdale’s Longwoods Visitor Report; and 86 percent of respondents said they shopped during their visit to Scottsdale in the 2015 Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau Leisure Visitor Inquiry Study, which surveyed individuals who contacted the CVB from April 2014 to March 2015.
“Scottsdale tourism is a major traffic driver,” said Richard Hunt, general manager for Scottsdale Quarter. “The No. 1 activity for out-of-town is shopping, and it’s our responsibility to give them an experience they can’t get anywhere else.”
But places like Scottsdale Quarter are attracting more than just visitors. Thanks to their office space and apartments, residents pump money into Scottsdale’s retail just as much.
The work distribution of total employees in Scottsdale is 66 percent white collar, according to the Scottsdale Office of Economic Development, and retail employs the second-largest amount of people in Scottsdale at 32,411 in 2016, slightly behind health care and social services (33,295), according to Scottsdale’s economic development.
Retail employment grew by more than 5,000 jobs since last year in the city.
Becca Fox, a resident of Crescent Scottsdale Quarter, is contributing to that growth: she works as a project manager at JDA Software, which has offices on the fourth and fifth floors above the American Girl store; she gets her shopping done at Urban Outfitters, Kendra Scott and Sephora; and she goes out for drinks at Sorso, the wine bar.
“Being able to walk to work has been awesome and gives me such a downtown city-living vibe,” she said. “I can’t even remember what it’s like to have to deal with a rush hour commute and I don’t ever wanna go back.”
Aron Whitesell is doing the same as a Crescent resident: he works across from the Quarter at the Scottsdale Airpark; eats at ZinBurger, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, SOL Cocina and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt; and visits the Apple Store and the Pottery Barn, and gets a massage occasionally form Dolce Salon and Spa.
“I really enjoy living so close to work and it has really changed my life after commuting two hours every day before living at Crescent,” Whitesell said. “I have saved money on gas and it is really nice to be able to just walk over to the Quarter for dinner or a drink after work. Also living so close to work has enabled me to spend more time away from the office and enjoy being at home more often.”
Whitesell and Fox are the poster children for the new retail in Scottsdale, and more of it could be coming to the area, with Five Star Development’s $2 billion Ritz-Carlton project, which includes not only a major resort, but alsoluxury residences and high-end mixed-use center The Palmeraie.
But this is not the first time Scottsdale has tried to bring in high-end centers, and it hasn’t always been successful. Read more about Scottsdale’s evolving retail scene in tomorrow’s weekly edition.