February 10, 2019
The Arizona Republic
“Public transit is one way to make places of interest accessible, but an area can be walkable without large-scale public transit,” said Chris Chamberlain, vice president of development at North American Development Group, which created the luxury condo community Eldorado on 1 st in Old Town Scottsdale. “Bike- and scootershare programs are just two examples of alternatives to traditional public transit that allow someone to expand the geography of walkability in their neighborhood.”
At Optima Kierland in North Scottsdale there are several surrounding walkable attractions including Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter, said Crel Vogel, regional sales manager for the community’s developer, Optima.
Walkability means “being comfortable walking,” said Gonzalo Barroilhet, development manager for Santiago, Chilebased Sencorp, developer of en Hance Park, a four-story condo community in Downtown Phoenix. “For instance, in Phoenix, walking in the shade is imperative. An urban area that is wellthought- out will allow you to enjoy and interact with what you come across — [for example] parks, local businesses and coffee shops.” Public transportation encourages walkability, he added. If your condo or townhome is ideally situated close to destinations important to you, even “walking to work can be fun, safe, efficient, enjoyable and healthy.”
Yet easy accessibility can happen without proximity to public transportation. “The majority of our buyers either walk, drive or use Uber or Lyft for their transportation needs,” Vogel said about Optima Kierland residents.
Often, “condo buyers are downsizers and may have only one vehicle so it’s important to have places close by,” said Sue Goodrich, vice president of sales and marketing for Cachet Homes, the builder of Monterey Ridge, a condo community in North Scottsdale, and Cachet at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, which offers condos, townhomes and singlefamily homes. “Other times, buyers just want to be able to get exercise and walk to stores and restaurants. In some cases, they’re seasonal buyers and may not keep a car at the condo so they want to be able to walk to dining and shopping.”
Condo buyers “like to know that they’re making an investment in an area that is well-located and amenity-rich,” Chamberlain said, “both to protect the value of their purchase and to ensure the highest quality of daily life,” noting that living in a walkable area provides a great way to stay active in the course of a daily routine. This opportunity doesn’t necessarily exist for people who live in gated subdivisions and drive to all their daily destinations, he said.
Condo living is “the lifestyle of the future,” Barroilhet said. “Condo residents value their time. They want to be able to walk to the restaurant or the park without having to worry about the consequences of driving.”
Walkability is “important to our buyers because they can experience a touch of a big city by walking to many [nearby] restaurants and shopping opportunities,” Vogel said.
Having spent the past 20 years living in Downtown Scottsdale, Chamberlain said he’s learned that “every age group enjoys the activities of a walkable downtown. I see young parents pushing strollers, college students riding scooters and bikes, and empty-nesters walking along Main Street checking out art galleries.”
“We find that everyone enjoys the benefit of being able to walk to amenities,” Goodrich said. Even in suburban Litchfield Park, buyers at Cachet at The Wigwam can walk to downtown Wigwam restaurants, to the Wigwam Golf Club and to the Wigwam Resort, “where our buyers receive a ninemonth membership.”
“Most of the year our weather is great to walk to the closest establishment,” Goodrich said. “Even in the summer, morning and evening walks are wonderful.”