The Recession in Pictures: Scottsdale, AZ Part II

by | Jan 8, 2010 | Headline News, Rick Blaine | 13 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    Let me start by reiterating something – all of this has to be kept in context.  I know Scottsdale is not in dire straights (yet) like some other areas of the country (e.g., Detroit…with a real unemployment supposedly approaching 50%).  However, as I said last time, my family has lived here since the early 80s…and this is some stuff that I’ve never seen.

    Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was running some errands and decided to take a drive around a couple of areas to see if I could get a better idea of the state of commercial real estate around here.

    I knew it was going to be pretty bad…but I think I found it to be considerably worse than I was expecting.  Note that all of these photographs were taken within five miles of my house and/or the shopping center that was the subject of my previous post on this subject.

    This first complex is mostly office space.  However, I think the first floor can be used for retailers. It’s just up the street from my house and definitely in a Snottsdale area. (Well, I guess that means I am a Snottsdalean).  It was completed probably around this time last year.

    First, take a look at both photos so you can get an idea of the size of this place.

    Here is the front of the complex.

    Here is the front of the complex.

    This is the back.

    This is the back.

    Well, in the first photograph, on the corner, you will see a spot with the red canopies.  That is a little Italian restaurant/bar.

    That little Italian restaurant/bar IS the ONLY tenant in the entire place…and I mean that literally. From what I could see, every other section of the complex is empty.  I even checked the website of the complex, and that restaurant is the only business mentioned. Well, I guess there is probably a spot designated for the complex manager – must be an easy job.

    Next, there is this retail/office center about a mile north of my house. It’s been open for less than a year, I think.  So, yep – it’s basically brand new. I believe the idea behind the retail section (the first photo) is that it’s supposed to a “housing design” kind of thing (talk about bad timing) with maybe a cabinet dealer, a flooring dealer, an appliance dealer, etc. – all in the same complex. The other two buildings appear to be pretty standard office space.  Yes, there are two seperate office buildings – they look identical.

    In the first photo, if you look carefully, you will see a black SUV on the other end of the complex.

    That spot in holds the one tenant.  (By the way, it is related to housing design – ironic.)

    The retail section.

    The retail section.

    The first office building.  You can see the reflection of the retail section in the windows.

    The first office building. You can see the reflection of the retail section in the windows.

    The second office building.  Finding a parking spot was not a problem.

    The second office building. Finding a parking spot was not a problem.

    I have been able to confirm that at least one the office buildings is completely empty.  I am not sure about the other…though neither looked active to me at all.

    The rest of the photographs were taken in the area referred to as “Scottsdale Airpark.” It’s a relatively large (for this area) commercial real estate area that surrounds Scottsdale Aiport, which is a basically a fairly large municipal airport. In my opinion, this is really the center of Scottsdale these days.

    These first two photos are of a large (c. football field size), warehouse-like building (but I think individual units can be built out). It was completed some time ago – maybe two years.

    It’s a big building. I had to park kitty corner from it to get a good shot of the whole thing.

    It’s a big building. I had to park kitty corner from it to get a good shot of the whole thing.

        Entry denied.

    Entry denied.

    I drive by this place quite a bit.  It has been COMPLETELY EMPTY since it was completed. Period. Heck, it’s so empty that they have the parking lot chained off (see the second photo).

    As you can see, it looks like a nice, new building…as do all the other ones I’ve shown you.

    Now, this next area just gave me the creeps.

    Maybe this was used for medical offices at one point…

    Maybe this was used for medical offices at one point…

    From the other side of the complex.

    From the other side of the complex.

    (tumbleweed blows by)

    (tumbleweed blows by)

    (cricket chirps)

    (cricket chirps)

    This is on the other, older side of the Airpark.  The complex in the first two photos looks like maybe it was used for medical offices or something at some point, and I have no idea what the second building was used for.  Either way, this area felt like a ghost town.

    Granted, these are older office buildings, and I don’t know how long they’ve been empty (and they appear to be as empty as possible) or what their “legal” status is.  That being said, driving around here made me feel like The Omega Man.

    These things just look flat out dilapidated, at least relative to the rest of Scottsdale. I’m sure if someone bought them (or squatted them for adverse possession), they could be cleaned up and be perfectly fine.

    However, the state of this section, along with that of the other places I have shown you, is something I have NEVER, EVER seen in North Scottsdale before.

    For the time being, if I chose to film an independent, low-budget SHTF movie of some sort (probably a zombie attack), I’m going to film at least one scene at each of those last two places.

    Once again, this is all relative and needs to be kept in context, but as far as my memory serves me, we are in uncharted territory.  It should also be noted that I took these photos while driving around for less than an hour…and had I stopped at every single place that obviously had a substantial portion that was vacant, this post would probably have hundreds of photos…literally.  This is just a small taste of the state of commercial real estate in this area.

    …but wait!  I do have some good news.

    I was able to pin point one business that appears to be doing well in this area:

    Business is booming!

    Business is booming!

    There are signs like this ALL OVER the Airpark. And for those who haven’t figured it out yet, they are used to indicate where space is available for rent and/or sale. Someone has to be making a killing on these things right now. Although I did not actually count them, I would that at least 50% of the buildings in the Airpark have signs like this out front…and that is probably being conservative.

    But hey, someone is selling the signs! Chalk that up as a green shoot!


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      1. I’ve been visiting this website for some time & I was driving around where I live & have noticed several commercial buildings empty also.  Some people would call some of you prophets of doom, but I think you may be on to something.  Some people I know call it negative, my response is reality sometimes is negative & positive.  I have’t done a lot to prepare for the worse, but I do live in a place I believe I could survive for awhile off the land.  My house has a wood stove & I have a spring fed creek on my property that is paid for. 

      2. I travel all over the country and I see the same thing everywhere!  I am on the east coast for business every two weeks; there is open commercial space in every little strip mall in NJ, NY and New England.  I was in California in September for vacation and it was even worse for commercial, but what surprised me was the number of high-end homes that were for sale in Carmel and in the Monterrey area….it was unbelievable.  I am old enough to remember the late 70’s and early eighties….., you know, before we started putting everything on the charge card. 

        This is worse and we’ve only just begun! 

      3. Where I live and work in Northern Virginia the retail closings have subsided after a big round of closings last Spring/Summer. There are two office buildings and one residential tower going up close to were I work. I know who is going into one office tower so I know for sure it will be finished. I wonder if the other two projects will ever be finished, or if finished, occupied. A few years ago developers where putting up condo and apartment towers on any available land and now they can’t fill all the units. It’s definitely a renters market around here. My landlord was willing to negotiate a sweet deal for me to renew my lease.

      4. I’ve got news for you…I live south of Snottsdale.  It gets worse as you go out 5 miles from there.  8 bankrupt dentists per month is the rate for AZ.  Get a clue…it’s is going to get worse before it gets worse.  It is overrrrrr!  The world is to experience the wrath of God…the good Father that He is.

      5. You guys have not seen anything. I have to take some pictures of  Detroit. Good part of Detroit is abandoned and burnt out or just plain empty. Think the Detroit you saw in the Robocop movie… it’s not that far off.

      6. I live and work in central NC, and my job is closely related to commercial construction. Right now there is  none because of all the empty retail and office space…shopping centers built over a year ago  still empty. Only stuff being built right now is school / university bldgs. For Lease and Available signs everywhere, and NC was booming 2 years ago.

      7. Comments…..I am here in Metro Detroit also, I am thinking about offering armed tours of downtown areas for thrill seeking adventure tourists.

        If it weren’t for the government handouts keeping some food, liquor and smokes on the table for so many residents, this place would be a literal war zone, Mad Max style.  This is the epitome of what the progressives want, people hanging on  the edge, their lives dependent on their dear government.  Once the feds stop printing the money, this will be hell on earth, I hope I can get out fast enough.

      8. Wow! I moved from El Paso Tx. to Scottsdale 3 years ago and business was booming. Was kind of mad how over priced apartments were. $1,100 for a 1 bedroom. Now they’re going for $500. That alone really says allot. I guess snobsdale doesn’t have much to be snobbish about. I moved to Dallas Tx once my boss tried to pull the ” Economy Downfall, Pay Cut” on me. Now I’m getting payed double what I was making out there and no state income tax garnished from paycheck. If anyone out there is looking around and thinking that  something doesn’t look right here, drop everything and come to Texas. The economy is incredibly strong out here and it wont take you long to find a good paying job. You’ve got Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Houston and El Paso among smaller cities  to choose from.  You really can’t go wrong.

      9. Oh, please.  I am a progressive and I certainly do not want the country to go up in flames…unless we’re having a second American revolution.  Name-calling will not solve any problems.  The Republicans have been calling liberals names for year as a smokescreen while they were deregulating big business and spending like crazy.  Even the progressives are fed up with both parties.

      10. Good afternoon Jason,  I thought about “dropping everything”and checking out Texas. I think Austin would be a cool place. I looked at The Dallas Morning News  classified adds but saw this first- 1-11-10 “62,000  Construction Jobs Lost ” this year that’s the third worst in the nation. I think I’ll stay in N.C. “the fifth worst in the nation” for construction job losses. But thanks for the invite.

      11. I work at a sign company and we make signs like the for lease, for rent etc.   I have noticed a considerable increase in the amount we make.  Although normally the winter months are quiet at the shop, we’ve had a lot of activity this winter.

      12. Texas is going to be a disaster area by August and the economy will collapse/drop dead  like a falling stone.   We’ll have millions of refugees coming in from Florida, Alabama and Louisiana  once the hurricanes  come in  and  bring with it all the oil and toxic chemicals.  How’re you gonna handle the shock of influx!

      13. Comments…..I am hoping to Move to Scottsdale in about one month; get a cheap apt. and find a job that can pay for my cheap apt. and some food and utilities. Think I can do it?

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