Condo-Tower Developer Proposes New Scottsdale Project

The developer of Optima Camelview Village, with its greenery and contemporary design, unveiled plans this week for a similar seven-story condominium complex at 68th Street and Camelback Road.

Architect David Hovey will seek city approval for 500 condos on 9.8 acres that would replace the vacant Orchidtree Apartments.

Optima Camelview has been generally well received in Scottsdale and has won architectural design awards despite strong local opposition to the project in 2004.

Critics said it was too big and would aggravate traffic bottlenecks on the northern edge of downtown.

Similar opposition is anticipated because of the 65-foot height of some of the condo buildings, which would be built just north of the Whitwood neighborhood of one-story ranch homes.

Sonoran Village’s basic structure will be similar to Camelview, but Optima will try to improve on the design as it does with each project it has done over the past 33 years, Hovey said. The company built the Optima Biltmore Towers in Phoenix and has been building condo projects in Chicago for decades.

The proposed project, with underground parking, would leave about four acres of open space on the perimeter of the property and within the building courtyards. The tallest buildings would be in the middle of the site, stepping down toward the edges.

Located at a downtown gateway, the condos would be configured to draw the interest of passersby into the open space, Hovey said.

Sonoran Village would feature the landscaped rooftops and hanging gardens that have distinguished Camelview along with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and cantilevered balconies.

Condo prices would allow a mix of tenants from young professionals to wealthy retirees, Hovey said.

"It’s not like we’re doing penthouses in Manhattan that only a few people can afford," he said.

Optima is completing the final phase of Camelview with units priced from $375,000 to $2 million.

Optima intends to submit its plans to Scottsdale within a month and hopes the City Council will consider the project by mid-summer.

If approved, construction could start in mid-2011 and phased development would take up to two years, Hovey said.

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