After the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Council voted against the resort plans for Smoke Tree last year primarily because it was too dense, the property fell into bankruptcy. As part of that process, Walton Global purchased the 5-acre property on Lincoln Drive and Quail Run for $14 million with plans to build a new boutique hotel that will serve locals and visitors.
According to Walton Group, they intend to incorporate an elegance in the new design that Paradise Valley is known for and avoid controversial elements that have challenged Smoke Tree and other hotel redevelopments in the past such as roof top bars, condominiums, for-sale units, height, density and other concerns that have hampered revitalization efforts in the past.
“As a Paradise Valley resident for 15 years, I have driven past the Smoke Tree Resort often wondering why it sat dormant for so many years. When Walton was introduced to the opportunity to acquire the resort and learned about its financial challenges, we acted quickly, conducted our diligence and secured the property. I’m excited about our goal to revive this historic landmark into a place that Paradise Valley residents and Phoenix as a whole can point to again as a prime destination to experience that also meets the high standards of the community’s ethic,” said Walton Global executive vice president of Business Development, Matt Keister.
The Smoke Tree Resort was originally built in 1954. The resort’s Lincoln Drive facing restaurant – The Other Place – was also a Paradise Valley landmark but attempts to reopen under new management ultimately failed and the restaurant has been shuttered for over a decade.
Walton's team includes Allen & Philp, an architectural firm based in Scottsdale with a hotel portfolio that includes The Sanctuary, The Boulders, Fairmont Princess, and several other hotel properties.
“I believe Walton’s vision will be consistent with Paradise Valley’s wishes and sensitivities and our capital is patient. It is extremely important to us to listen to the Town of Paradise Valley Council and the community before we finalize our designs. We are looking forward to achieving a consensus that will result in an extraordinary gathering place for the residents of Paradise Valley that will also produce economic benefits for the Town and Arizona,” said Walton Global CEO Bill Doherty.
Walton intends to reach out to Paradise Valley residents to solicit input before hotel design plans are finalized. “Feedback we receive from surrounding residents will be integrated into the future vision of the new hotel. And to ensure that transparency and communication remains open throughout the project’s evolution, we will be creating platforms such as a website and social media sites to post routine updates. We want our Town to embrace the project and to be proud of what we feel is the gateway to Paradise Valley,” Keister said.