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Letter to the Editor

Ranger: Ritz-Carlton delays due to more than industry issues


Editor’s Note: This letter to the editor was submitted under a pen name.

I’m writing in response to the article “Construction projects delayed with myriad issues hitting industry” posted on March 9.

First of all, thank you for your article, it has been a long time since anyone in the media has tackled the long-delayed Five Star/Ritz Carlton Paradise Valley construction project. However, your article attempted to place blame for the five year delay on outside forces beyond the control of Five Star and the Ritz Carlton. A few facts need to be identified.

First, there are numerous other mixed-use, high quality and high profile construction projects all proceeding on time within a few miles of the Ritz-Carlton: The Ascent at the Phoenician, Caesars Republic at Scottsdale Fashion Square and The Grove project at 44th Street and Camelback including luxury residences, The Global Ambassador Hotel, Suns training center and more.

Second, each of these projects was started years after the Ritz-Carlton.

Remember construction started on the Ritz in 2016 with a completion date of 2018. The Grove project was started in 2019, Caesars Republic broke ground in 2020 and the Ascent started in 2021. Each of these projects will be finished before the Ritz-Carlton and interesting enough two of them, Caesars and the Ascent are using contractors released by the Ritz.

The only project unable to meet deadlines or have serious pauses in construction is the Ritz-Carlton.

Finally, it can be easily argued and supported that the Grove is the most complex of the four projects. However, even though they started four years after the Ritz they already have leased out and occupied space. Caesars Republic, which started five years after the Ritz, will open and receive guests before the Ritz. The Ascent started six years after the Ritz already has occupied residences.

With these facts it is difficult to accept that the problems causing the delays at the Five Star/Ritz-Carlton are anything other than self-inflicted.

The Township of Paradise Valley and the Ritz-Carlton should be taking responsibility. Unfortunately, the Township seems oblivious to the delays and is not supporting the 250 plus future residents.

In addition, the Ritz-Carlton seems content holding to the premise they are the management company and until Five Star turns the completed project over to them, they hold no responsibility. What they fail to realize is that no one in the area looks upon this as a Five Star development project, all they see is Ritz-Carlton.

It is the Ritz-Carlton’s name that is being dragged through the mud, not Five Star’s. Five Star has been masterful in blaming everyone other then themselves for the delays, and unfortunately no one holds them accountable.

Earlier this month, Five Star publicly laid out a number of vague dates in an attempt to pacify the media, Township of Paradise Valley leaders, Paradise Valley residents and future Ritz-Carlton homeowners. They included that new financing would be in place by the middle of March and construction would re-start immediately following. Ritz-Carlton Villa homeowners would be able to occupy their residences by the Spring 2023 and that the resort would be finished by the end of this year.

Anyone who has dealt with Five Star takes all these dates with a grain of salt. Remember they have been providing press releases every year for the past six years identifying the entire project would be open in 2018, then 2019, then 2020, then 2021, then 2022, now 2023 and all it takes is a quick look at their construction site and no one would believe they will even be partially open by this year.

It is quite unbelievable that they don’t have a clue on when they will be finished. Any project of this size should have a construction schedule that lays out every move required to complete the project with specific dates for construction completion.

What needs to be done by either the Township of Paradise Valley or the Ritz Carlton is:

  1. Get hard dates from Five Star for the following:
    1. Completion of the resort
    2. Resort welcoming their first guests
    3. Completion of the Villas and move in dates for all residents
    4. Completion of the estate homes
    5. Completion of the Palmeraie restaurant, shopping and office complex with specifics on who will be leasing space for the restaurants and retail sections
    6. Completion of the 2nd phase of Villas/Townhomes
  2. For each date missed, fines should be levied by the Township of Paradise Valley.
  3. For each date missed for completion and move-in of the Villas, Five Star should provide compensation to the residents impacted
  4. For each missed deadline, Five Star should be reporting publicly to the Township of Paradise Valley with reasons justifying their failure and new dates given.

My hope is that someone in the media will continue to stay focused on Five Star/Ritz Carlton and call them out as they continue to miss deadlines. This project is impacting thousands of Paradise Valley existing and future residents, and Five Star/Ritz Carlton must be held accountable.