Dial Corp. Continues with Plans for New Headquarters in Arizona

Dec. 6--Leaders of Dial Corp. plan to begin construction Monday on a new headquarters at the $1.5 billion One Scottsdale project despite the threat of a referendum intended to block taller buildings in the center.

Dial is scheduled to be the first building to go in at the massive One Scottsdale. The giant soap-maker plans a 340,000-square-foot building on the northeast corner of Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road, enough space for its 650 employees.

Last month, Dial president and CEO Brad Casper said construction would begin even though he worried the project could be in jeopardy if the Scottsdale City Council fails to grant a request from One Scottsdale developers to exceed maximum building heights elsewhere in the complex.

One Scottsdale spokeswoman Denise Resnick said Dial's new offices will be the first step in development of the 120-acre commercial and residential project. Developers DMB Associates have proposed a total of 1.8 million square feet of commercial, retail and office space, 400 resort and hotel rooms and 1,100 residential units including penthouses and urban estate homes.

"They're proceeding with their plans," Resnick said of Dial, which anticipates a fall 2008 opening.

DMB has asked the council to raise maximum building heights in the southern half of One Scottsdale from 60 feet to 89 feet, saying that if their request isn't granted, the structure's projected fall 2009 opening could be pushed back by a year and potential tenants might balk at the delay.

In mid-November, Casper urged the council to approve the height exemptions so that Dial's relocation wouldn't be jeopardized. The council postponed a decision until Jan. 16.

However, Irene Carroll, One Scottsdale vice president and general manager, said Friday because the Dial offices will not exceed 60 feet in height, there's no reason construction can't go ahead.

"The height topic does not delay Dial as they're building within the existing height limit," she said.

Natalie Violi, director of corporate communications, said Dial is on track to move its headquarters. It has about 18 months left on the lease of its existing headquarters at 15501 N. Dial Blvd. Violi said DMB's request for additional heights for other buildings will not affect the move.

"I don't think that presents any obstacles to relocation. We're moving forward," she said.

Bob Vairo, president of the nonprofit Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, a north Scottsdale-based government watchdog group, said his group took out papers late last week in preparation for a referendum should the council approve the request for taller buildings.

"We wanted to get prepared in the event we want to file a referendum," Vairo said.

Resnick said DMB is looking into whether the threatened referendum would delay construction, or whether the developer could go ahead with buildings not needing height exemptions.

DMB recently withdrew a proposal for the city to put $50 million toward infrastructure to serve One Scottsdale.

"There's no new proposal. The first thing is to get the height amendment advanced," Resnick said.

Also on Friday, Chicagobased Urban Retail Properties Co. announced it has been awarded the retail development consulting contract for One Scottsdale. Urban Retail will be providing development and management consulting, tenant coordination and leasing administration services.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.