No Place Like Home: Optima McDowell Mountain Village

Optima McDowell Mountain Village, Optima’s newest residential and commercial proposal, is composed of six 11-story buildings with 1,500 apartments and condominiums, as well as 31,000 SF of commercial space. This community, located in a vacant lot on the south side of Loop 101 and near Mayo Avenue, Scottsdale Road, and Scottsdale Airpark, will enhance Scottsdale and stimulate healthy, sustainable growth.

“Optima McDowell Mountain Village provides a live, work, play environment that will appeal to a wide range of buyers and renters drawn to the architecture, open space, active lifestyle, sustainable design, health-based, amenity-rich community service offerings as well as its premier Scottsdale location,” Hovey says.


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Scottsdale luxury $1 billion mixed-use development receives city council approval

PHOENIX — A mixed-use project that could represent a capital investment of $1 billion in north Scottsdale received its thumbs up.

Scottsdale-based Optima Inc. received approval from Scottsdale City Council this week on a development agreement and rezoning for Optima McDowell Mountain Village. The deal was approved Monday on a 4-3 vote. Optima will build six, eight-story buildings that are each 118 feet tall. Four of those buildings will be apartments and the other two are condominiums. Those buildings will include 1,330 units plus 36,000 square feet of commercial space and other amenities throughout the development.

Optima will build studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units that range in square feet from 775 to 2,025 square feet. Each of the six buildings will have a rooftop pool.

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Optima McDowell Mountain Village to be developed in Arizona

Plans are underway for the development of a $1 billion residential project in Scottsdale, Arizona dubbed the Optima McDowell Mountain Village. Recently, the developer, Optima, received approval from the city to commence construction on the new residential community. The construction will take place at a 22-acre location on Scottsdale Road and Loop 101 Freeway.

Optima purchased the 22 acre property for its Optima McDowell Mountain Village from John Lund at $44.7 million. The property is at an convenient location, which is only a five minutes drive to Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons. Additionally, the nearby Loop 101 Freeway also offers rapid access to all of Scottsdale and other areas beyond. Therefore, the daily commute times will be reduced for future residents planning to visit Scottsdale’s most popular entertainment and dining destinations.


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Scottsdale approves $1B-plus mixed-use residential project

The Scottsdale, Arizona, city council has approved zoning changes and a development agreement for the $1 billion-plus Optima McDowell Mountain Village mixed-use project. Developer Optima said in city council documents that it would start construction as soon as possible.

The project will encompass a total of almost 22 acres and will feature six, eight-story buildings – a mix of apartments and condominiums – around the perimeter of the property. The buildings will have 14-foot-high, glass-enclosed ground-floor levels, rooftop decks and landscaped terraces.

Optima said it will build two of the six buildings as part of the project’s first phase, according to its city council presentation.

Optima said the introduction of more than 1,300 residential units into the Scottsdale area will help ease the housing shortage in the area and help stabilize rents.

The city council approved the project’s density – 61 homes per acre – and a maximum 118-foot height in return for almost $16 million that Optima will pay into the into the Greater Airpark Special Improvement Trust Fund. The mayor and city council decide how to use money from the fund.

The project is located within the confines of the airpark, the area surrounding Scottsdale Airport general aviation facility. Airpark and city plans have identified the section of the airpark where Optima is building as one that it is suited for mixed-use and high-density residential projects.

Optima has also agreed to a special water plan through which the developer will give the city long-term storage credits it has purchased, enough to make the project net neutral for Scottsdale water demand for 10 years.

The project will also include:

  • A swimming pool and running track on top of each building’s roof deck;
  • Approximately 12 acres of open space with a multi-use path that will connect to the city’s bicycle master plan, a putting green and seating areas;
  • 36,000 square feet of “destination” commercial and retail space within the 12 acres;
  • 100% underground parking and other services to maximize usable, above-ground space;
  • An approximately 210,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system for reuse onsite.

Optima executives and architects David C. Hovey and David Hovey Jr. designed the project.


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Optima McDowell Mountain Village to Break Ground in Scottsdale

A new development is in the works from award-winning real estate development firm, Optima, with plans to make its next community, Optima McDowell Mountain Village, a sustainable, mixed-use space in North Scottsdale. The community will break ground in late 2023. 

Optima has received the green light from the city to create the new sustainable community with a $1 billion budget. The community will be located on the southwest corner of Scottsdale Road and the Loop 101 Freeway, spanning 22 acres. Optima McDowell Mountain Village will be made up of eight concrete structures holding 1,330 luxury residences and 36,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

“We are especially excited about the location of Optima McDowell Mountain Village being in North Scottsdale so close to the spectacular McDowell Mountains and the proximity to the Loop 101 Freeway as well as current and future major employers,” says David Hovey Jr., AIA, Optima’s President and COO, in a press release.

Rather than have two separate communities, Optima McDowell Mountain Village will feature both apartments and condominiums. The new residential neighborhood will have an environmentally friendly impact by utilizing the largest private rainwater-harvesting site in the U.S. to save water and provide the city of Scottsdale with a new water system. The community will also house state-of-the-art, health-based amenities that are also eco-friendly.

“Architecturally this project will be unique with over 75 percent open space with six buildings surrounding a central sheltered courtyard comprised of a combination of xeriscape, drip irrigation and artificial turf. This will be our most sustainable project to-date and will include the largest private rainwater-harvesting system in the United States, as well as the next evolution of our vertical landscaping system and active roof decks.”

The community will be the first project in Arizona to be built under the new International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Some highlights include utilizing solar panels, a self-containing irrigation and drainage system and an abundance of plants to provide natural shading while filtering the air and lowering the ambient temperature.

Each of the six buildings will feature a resort-style pool on the rooftop deck, spanning the Olympic pool length of 50 meters. The deck will also house a sauna, spa, cold plunge, running track, cozy fireplaces, outdoor kitchens equipped with barbecues and more. Spectacular panoramic views of the McDowell, Pinnacle Peak and Camelback Mountains can also be enjoyed.

Inside the building, future residents can anticipate enjoying well-appointed lobbies, a fitness center, a yoga studio, steam rooms, game rooms, theaters, indoor basketball courts, golf simulators, outdoor putting, kid’s playgrounds, dog parks, pet spas and more to come.


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Optima: LEEDing the Way in Sustainability and Conservation

Optima, an award-winning real estate development firm, recently announced plans to move ahead with its next Arizona residential development, Optima McDowell Mountain Village, in North Scottsdale after receiving the city’s approval for the $1-billion sustainable mixed-use community. 

Breaking ground spring/summer 2023, the 22-acre site, located on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and the Loop 101 Freeway, is comprised of six concrete-framed, eight-story buildings that will include 1,330 luxury residences and 36,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The development will be a mix of condominiums and apartments.

And it premiers a couple of special features.

Rainwater Harvesting and Water Conservation

Optima McDowell Mountain Village will be the largest private rainwater harvesting site in the United States, with an approximately 210,000-gallon storm water tank in a concrete vault at the lower level of the site. The tank will recapture water to repurpose for irrigation. Based on data from two other Optima communities in Scottsdale, the residences within the community are expected to use half as much water as the average Scottsdale multifamily residence and a quarter as much water as the average Scottsdale single-family home. Optima is also providing the City of Scottsdale with 2,750 acre-feet of water that will be deposited into the Scottsdale water system.

New Green Standards

The community will be the first project in Arizona to be built under both the new International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which provides for an additional 9% energy savings over the previous code, and International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Both codes establish guidelines to create energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.

A few highlights of the sustainable features include 75% open space that will be a combination of artificial turf, xeriscape landscaping and native plants; high-performance mechanical systems, solar panels; 100% underground parking to mitigate the heat-island effect, and Optima’s signature vertical landscape system. The underground parking reduces the heat island effect by 9 to 12 degrees. The vertical landscaping system, with its self-containing irrigation and drainage, will enable a palette of vibrantly colored plants at the edge of each floor to grow both up and over the building. The integration of enhancements to the vertical landscape and architectural shading systems protects homes from the sun and creates additional privacy, while filtering the air and lowering ambient temperature.

Designed in partnership with David Hovey Sr., FAIA, the six buildings feature undulating landscaped facades that echo the shapes of the McDowell Mountains with elevations that will create depth, shadow and texture. The outdoor terraces provided for every residence will be edged with trailing native plants cascading down the building and the colors of the desert will be incorporated throughout the community with bronze glass, railings and planters. Glass-enclosed, 15-foot-high ground-floor levels will feel utterly transparent.

Amenity Rich

Each of the six buildings will contain a variety of state-of-the-art, health-based and resort-style amenities that include a rooftop deck with a 50-meter Olympic-length swimming pool; a sauna, spa and cold plunge; a running track that will follow the perimeter of the roof; and more, along with spectacular views of the surrounding desert landscape and mountains. The ground-floor will feature spacious, well-appointed lobbies; a fitness center and yoga studio; a residents’ club with game room and theater; an outdoor pickleball arena; indoor and outdoor kids’ play spaces; a dog park and pet spa; a business center and conference room; and more.

The convenient location is just a five-minute drive to the shopping, dining and entertainment destinations of Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons, while the proximity to major highways and freeways will provide residents with easy access to the surrounding Valley. In addition, the development will feature a bicycle and pedestrian path around the perimeter of the development that will connect to the bicycle and multi-use paths of the City of Scottsdale Bicycle Master Plan.

Optima McDowell Mountain Village will be Optima’s most sustainable project to-date and will utilize the kind of architectural detail that characterizes Optima’s Arizona projects, representing the next evolution of Optima’s design and construction.   

David Hovey Jr., AIA, is president and COO of Optima, Inc. and Optima-related entities. He oversees all company entities and business units, including development, architecture, construction, land acquisition, entitlements, corporate finance, sales and marketing, investor relations and asset management.

Did You Know: Optima McDowell Mountain Village will be the largest private rainwater harvesting site in the United States, with an approximately 210,000-gallon storm water tank in a concrete vault at the lower level of the site.


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BEX 2023 Forecast Gives Shape to a Tumultuous Year

From Founder and President Rebekah Morris down through the entire Research, Editorial and Support staff, the crew at BEX Companies proudly self-identifies as “Data Geeks”. The annual Construction Activity Forecast Event is our time to shine and show off the extreme (some might even say excessive) volume of data we’ve put together over the year and compare it to the previous year’s output and result.

For our 2023 event(s), 365 attendees registered to drink from the data firehose and soak up as much information as they could in a whirlwind two-hour presentation by Morris and DATABEX Manager Lya Parrish. For the first time, demand was so heavy the event had to be presented twice to accommodate everyone who wanted to come.

Following brief introductory remarks from Parrish explaining how data for the 11 covered markets is collected and analyzed, it was off to the races with Morris’ now-familiar overview of the state of the overall Arizona construction market, its impacts and what has changed over the last 12 months.

State of the Market

Morris started her annual summary noting the three major factors impacting construction in the state—Population GrowthEmployment, and Inflation and Interest Rates—the last of which she noted had not been a major factor until 2022.

Population growth has been a primary factor in Arizona since the end of the Great Recession, trending generally upward over the past 10 years and hovering around 1.5% annually.

That has, of course, fueled demand across the range of construction markets. Ironically, what it has not done is return construction employment to its pre-Recession levels. At its peak in 2006, Arizona construction employment was 240,300 jobs. That plummeted in the recession down to 110,900. Even with the exceptional boom in project counts and valuations, however, by 2022 construction employment had only rebounded to 186,700.

Even with a workforce that’s 22.3% below its former peak, however, 2022 construction activity totaled $22.4B, a 24% year-over-year increase and a $730M increase over the 2006 past peak.

On the inflation side, a combination of supply issues and cost increases held market growth back in 2021, Morris said. “Construction was constrained in Arizona. We couldn’t get materials, couldn’t get labor. There were, and there are still, some significant permitting delays. We did not grow the industry, but we certainly grew our Producer Price Index, that inflation number,” which hit 10%. The PPI for 2022 came down to approximately 6.7%.

Construction activity, however, grew by 24%. “I don’t have a precise answer on, ‘How much did inflation grow versus how much did the market grow?’ What we know is that we grew jobs. We’ve got specific counts by market sector. We have very specific project-level detail. We can tell the overall market grew much more than inflation.”

After going over the general numbers, Morris put the data into context across construction markets. She reported that in 2019, the cost/SF for a small office renovation was between $50 and $100. In 2022, that had risen to $150-$250. For new mid-sized apartment complexes, the cost/SF was $150-$175/SF. In 2022 the average was between $220-$275.

The researchers and the audience were fortunate enough to have an apples-to-apples comparison for high-end multifamily. In 2020, the Optima Kierland luxury apartment development was announced with a per-unit cost estimate of $632K. For the Optima McDowell Mountain Village project announced in 2022, the per-unit development cost had risen to $751K.

Nearing the end of her introductory segment, Morris talked about how, not very many years ago, the market share breakdown between Housing, Public and Private projects was generally one-third to one-third to one-third. Showing a seismic shift in demand volumes, Housing currently stands at 27.2%, Public at 20.4% and Private at a whopping 52.4%.

Capital Improvement Programs

Morris next launched into coverage of projects and trends in Capital Improvement Programs and the Public sector, which for research purposes consist of Education, Public Spaces, Utilities and Transportation.

Of the Top 10 Capital Improvement Programs analyzed this year, only two—Valley Metro and Mesa—showed decreases. Phoenix led with $9.778B, followed by the Arizona Department of Transportation at $6.752B.

Bringing up the rear at Number 10 was the Town of Queen Creek, which saw its CIP explode with a 232.1% increase to reach $972.3M.


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