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Savor the Flavor of Arizona: 2024 Spring Restaurant Week

Savor the Flavor of Arizona: 2024 Spring Restaurant Week

At Optima®, we’re not only about creating extraordinary living spaces; we’re about embracing and enriching the community experience. That’s why we are excited to announce the return of the Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) this spring, offering our residents and neighbors a fabulous opportunity to delve into the rich culinary landscape of Arizona. Scheduled from May 17 through May 26, 2024, this bi-annual event invites food lovers to explore an array of dining options that highlight the creativity and diversity of local chefs.

A Culinary Journey Across Arizona Arizona Restaurant Week is organized by the Arizona Restaurant Association, a body committed to supporting and advocating for the state’s vibrant hospitality industry. This spring, the event promises an enriching exploration of flavors, with more than 150 restaurants participating statewide. From high-end dining establishments to quaint chef-driven eateries, the variety ensures that every palate and preference is catered to, making this a perfect culinary adventure for everyone.

Each participating restaurant will offer a special ARW menu, distinct from their regular offerings. These menus are crafted to showcase the chefs’ culinary prowess and feature innovative dishes that incorporate hyper-seasonal and trending ingredients. Diners will have the unique opportunity to sample new dishes at a fraction of the usual cost, with three-course prix-fixe menus priced at $33, $44, or $55 per person. Some venues will also pair these exquisite meals with specially crafted cocktails or fine wines, enhancing the dining experience further.

Dine on a Deal What makes the Arizona Restaurant Week truly special is the chance to indulge in a dining experience that might typically be beyond one’s everyday dining budget. Restaurants like Buck & Rider and the new Faro & Brag in The Westin Kierland are just a few names in the impressive lineup. These establishments, known for their exceptional culinary offerings, will open their doors to seasoned foodies and casual diners alike, providing memorable meals without the hefty price tag.

This year, the event is sponsored by Tito’s, which means participants can look forward to an exclusive Tito’s Spring ARW cocktail at many venues. Each restaurant is encouraged to infuse their unique twist into these cocktails, promising a refreshingly diverse drinking experience to complement the meals.

Engage with Your Culinary Community For residents of Optima® communities, particularly those near vibrant culinary hubs like Scottsdale, Arizona Restaurant Week is more than just about food; it’s an invitation to engage with the broader community. It’s a celebration of Arizona’s culinary innovation and a testament to the lively food scene that residents can enjoy all year round. Optima®’s ideal locations provide easy access to many of these dining venues, making it convenient for residents to participate in the festivities.

As Optima® continues to support and participate in local events like the Arizona Restaurant Week, we reaffirm our commitment to building communities and enhancing lifestyles. We encourage our residents to dive into this culinary adventure, exploring new tastes and experiences that deepen their appreciation for Arizona’s dynamic food culture. Whether it’s a night out at a new restaurant or a return visit to an old favorite, Arizona Restaurant Week 2024 is the perfect time to celebrate the flavors that make our community a wonderful place to live and dine.

For more information on Arizona 2024 Spring Restaurant Week, visit

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Discover Optima®’s Commercial Tenants: Brooke Graves, CEO & Owner, Kaleidoscope Juice

Discover Optima®’s Commercial Tenants: Brooke Graves, CEO & Owner, Kaleidoscope Juice

At Optima®, we are passionate about fostering a vibrant community where enterprises thrive alongside our residents, creating a dynamic living experience. In this installment of “Discover Optima’s Commercial Tenants,” we sat down with Brooke Graves, CEO & Owner at Kaleidoscope Juice, to share her thoughts about how her business brings a healthy fast-casual experience to residents at Optima Sonoran Village®.

Tell us about Kaleidoscope Juice and your history at Optima Sonoran Village®.
Kaleidoscope Juice was founded by Alexandra Maw in 2012 where she had received a business grant from Arizona State University for the concept of creating healthy food and organic juice in Scottsdale, Arizona. We were partners for many years, before she decided to retire from the business and I became the sole owner. I started at Kaleidoscope as one of Alexandra’s original hires, just after finishing my undergrad studies in nutrition dietetics and entering grad school to study human nutrition and functional medicine. From the beginning, my interests were completely aligned with the business and Alexandra’s vision for growth.

Optima Sonoran Village® was our second or third store and we’ve been there for nearly nine years. From the beginning it has been such a great location. Our customers are so friendly and all know each other — I love going there because I feel like I’m at a popular neighborhood bar, with a loyal, regular clientele, that serves juice and healthy food instead of alcohol!

Credit: Brooke Graves, Kaleidoscope Juice

What is most distinctive about your business operations?
Kaleidoscope Juice is entirely female-run, which is something we take great pride in. We have found enormous success with uplifting women and promoting them from within. All of my management team now is women that I’ve worked with for nearly 10 years. Together we’ve created a welcoming, safe, fun, and female-empowered environment.

What’s happening with the business that has you most excited?
The brand expansion. Since I stepped into the CEO role four years ago, we’ve been growing our footprint and now we’re gearing up to open our eighth location in Arcadia in July (2024). I just completed my PhD in nutrition this spring, which feeds directly into our vision for Kaleidoscope as an enterprise on the leading edge of nutrition science where our menu keeps pace with the latest research in therapeutic culinary medicine. My recent studies have also allowed me to bring into the business a focus on exemplary product quality and sustainable sourcing, which I think are crucial to our future success.

We’ll probably max out at nine to 10 stores in the valley. Then, I’m hoping to take Kaleidoscope Juice out of state within the next two to three years, into markets in Texas or Florida. And that’s either in Texas or in Florida.

At the heart of the brand expansion is the work we’ve done to streamline our operations across multiple locations. In the early years, each store was different. Some had kitchens, others didn’t. The menus varied from store to store. We’ve now standardized our locations in terms of layout and menu, which allows for cross-training and seamless expansion; at the same time we are very intentional about delivering a unique customer experience based on location. I hire different designers for each new store and work with them to reflect unique characteristics of the neighborhood we’re in through the interior design.

Who are some of your wholesale customers?
Special events are an important part of our business, both in terms of revenue and brand awareness. Last year, we were in New York Fashion Week and did juice for Marie Claire’s New York Fashion Week dinner that they had sponsored with J. Crew. Earlier this year, we provided product for a women’s business summit sponsored by Marie Claire. We juice weekly for the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, and a number of other sports teams, too.

What new products are you working on?
We just had a product launch for a juice called Anne. We tend to name our juices after the customers who inspired them. In the case of Anne, she was a friend of the business who passed away a year and a half ago from cancer. Last year, through my oncology nutrition classes, I learned so much about how to help people who are going through chemotherapy deal with symptoms like dehydration, mouth sores, constipation, and anxiety. And while I was too late to help Anne, we were able to create a juice for other customers undergoing chemotherapy, which is so satisfying for our entire team.

Brooke and her company’s innovative approach to nutrition, coupled with a strong sense of community and customer-centric design, have made Kaleidoscope Juice a beloved fixture at Optima Sonoran Village® and beyond. We celebrate their success and prospects for a bright future as they continue to  bring their healthy concept to more communities.

Discovering the Wonders of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum

At Optima®, we believe in fostering a sense of community and encouraging our residents to explore the rich natural beauty that surrounds them. One of the hidden gems in the Scottsdale area that perfectly aligns with our values of wellness, sustainability, and lifelong learning is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona — an hour’s drive from Scottsdale. This expansive botanical garden, an unrivaled  sanctuary of biodiversity,  offers a serene retreat and a wealth of opportunities for discovery within an hour’s drive from Optima®’s communities.

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BYA) is Arizona’s largest and oldest botanical garden. Established in 1924 by mining magnate William Boyce Thompson, the arboretum spans over 300 acres of breathtaking landscapes. Visitors can explore a myriad of plant species from deserts around the world, organized in thematic gardens that highlight the diversity and adaptability of desert flora.

Purple Hedgehog bloom. Credit: ksblack99 on Flickr Creative Commons, public domain.

For Optima® residents, a visit to the arboretum is a chance to revel  in nature’s splendor. The Desert Legume Garden, Cactus Garden, and South American and African collections offer unique insights into the plant life that thrives in some of the world’s harshest environments. The arboretum’s commitment to conservation and education makes it a perfect destination for those who appreciate the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Credit: <a href="">David Pinter</a> on Wikimedia Commons licensed under the <a href=""> Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported</a> license.
Engaging Programs and Scenic Beauty

Engaging Programs and Scenic Beauty
BYA’s educational programs are a cornerstone of its mission to inspire and inform. It offers a variety of guided tours, workshops, and classes that cater to all age groups and interests. For families, the Children’s Adventure Garden is a delightful space where kids can learn about nature through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.

For the more curious minds, the arboretum’s guided tours provide in-depth knowledge about the plant collections and the history of the garden. Optima® residents who enjoy continuous learning will find these programs enriching and stimulating, offering new perspectives on botany and ecology.

One of the most captivating features of BYA  is its network of hiking trails. These trails meander through varied landscapes, offering stunning views and intimate encounters with nature. The Main Trail, High Trail, and the more challenging Chihuahuan Trail each provide unique experiences, from shaded riparian areas to panoramic desert vistas.

For those seeking tranquility, the trails are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The beauty of the arboretum’s diverse plant life combined with the peacefulness of the surroundings creates an ideal setting for reflection and relaxation. It’s an invitation to slow down, breathe deeply, and reconnect with nature.

A Haven Birdwatchers and Artists

BYA is also a haven for bird enthusiasts or those who simply enjoy observing wildlife. Its diverse habitats attract a wide variety of bird species, making it one of the top birding spots in Arizona, offering endless delight in spotting different species, from colorful hummingbirds to majestic raptors.

Nature’s beauty at the arboretum also makes it a favorite destination for artists and photographers. The ever-changing landscapes and seasonal blooms provide a constant source of inspiration. Whether you’re an amateur photographer capturing the vibrant colors of wildflowers or a seasoned artist drawing the intricate patterns of cacti, the arboretum offers countless opportunities to express your creativity.As a community hub, the arboretum hosts a variety of events that bring people together to celebrate nature and culture. From plant sales and seasonal festivals to art exhibits and musical performances, there’s always something happening that fosters a sense of community and shared experience. It is truly a treasure trove of natural wonders and educational opportunities — a place where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the desert, learn about the intricate web of life that sustains our planet, and find inspiration in the diversity and resilience of nature. It’s a visit that promises to enrich your mind, soothe your soul, and deepen your connection to the natural world.

For details about visiting BYA and its programming, see their website here.

Exploring the Health Benefits of Indoor Cycling

At Optima®, we are committed to promoting a lifestyle that not only embraces luxury and design but also prioritizes wellness and active living. One of the cornerstones of achieving this vibrant, healthy lifestyle is indoor cycling, an activity available at many of our communities through state-of-the-art fitness centers. Indoor cycling isn’t just a fleeting fitness trend; it’s a comprehensive workout with extensive health benefits that align perfectly with the dynamic and health-conscious lives of Optima® residents.

Cardiovascular Improvement
Indoor cycling is a high-intensity, low-impact exercise making it suitable for people of all fitness levels. Regular sessions on a stationary bike can significantly boost cardiovascular health. It raises the heart rate, pumps oxygenated blood more efficiently, and decreases the risk of coronary artery diseases. Optim®a residents can enjoy these sessions in a community setting, making heart health a collective goal.

Enhanced Muscle Endurance and Strength
While cycling primarily targets the lower body, it is also beneficial for strengthening core and lower back muscles. The resistance feature of indoor bikes helps in building muscle endurance. Over time, participants notice enhanced strength in their calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Additionally, maintaining proper posture on the bike also engages the abdominal muscles, promoting core stability and strength which is essential for overall body balance and functionality.

Indoor cycling at 7160 Optima Kierland®

Weight Management
Indoor cycling can burn anywhere from 400 to 800 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the workout and the rider’s body weight. This makes it an excellent option for Optima® residents looking to manage or lose weight. Consistent participation in cycling classes can help maintain a healthy metabolism and aid in body fat reduction, contributing to better weight management over time.

Low Impact on Joints
For those concerned about joint health, especially in the knees and ankles, indoor cycling provides a robust workout with minimal risk. The low-impact nature of cycling makes it a safer exercise, reducing the strain and wear on joints compared to high-impact exercises like running. This is particularly beneficial for aging residents or those with joint concerns, allowing them to stay active without exacerbating injuries.

Stress Reduction and Mental Health Benefits
Exercise is a known stress reliever, and indoor cycling is no exception. The rhythmic pedal movements can help clear the mind, much like a meditative practice. Endorphins released during vigorous exercise are natural mood lifters. Optima®’s serene and beautifully designed fitness spaces further enhance this experience, making each cycling session a mental escape as much as a physical workout.

Convenience and Community
One of the best parts about indoor cycling at Optima® is the convenience it offers. Residents don’t need to worry about weather conditions or traffic; they can simply head to the community fitness center. Furthermore, cycling classes can foster a sense of community among residents, as they encourage each other and share in the journey of health and wellness together. This social aspect of indoor cycling can lead to increased motivation and a more enjoyable fitness experience.

As we continue to innovate and enhance the living experiences at Optima®, indoor cycling remains a key component of our wellness initiatives. Whether you’re a beginner just testing the waters or an avid cyclist looking to maintain your regimen, the cycling studios at Optima® are designed to meet your needs. We invite all our residents to explore the benefits of this invigorating exercise, embrace a healthier lifestyle, and enjoy the journey towards personal wellness within our thriving community.

Indoor cycling is more than just pedaling; it’s a path to better health, a chance to unwind, and a way to connect with your neighbors. At Optima®, we’re proud to support each resident’s health journey, providing the tools and opportunities to thrive physically and mentally.

The Health Benefits of Strength Training

At Optima®, we’re continually exploring ways to enhance the well-being of our residents, encouraging practices that foster a healthy lifestyle. Among the myriad activities available within our communities, strength training stands out for its significant benefits, both physical and mental, contributing to a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle, aligning perfectly with our commitment to holistic living. So whether you’re a seasoned weightlifter or just starting out, there’s never been a better time to embrace the power of strength training for a healthier, happier you.

Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves exercises designed to improve muscle strength and endurance. By using weights, resistance bands, or your body weight, strength training activities work to gradually increase the resistance muscles face, promoting muscle growth and strength over time. It’s a versatile form of exercise, accessible to individuals at any fitness level, making it a staple in our state-of-the-art fitness centers across Optima® communities.

To experience the greatest physical benefits from strength training, it’s best to establish a consistent
routine, working out at least two times per week. With this regular, consistent approach, you can expect:

Increased muscle mass and strength: Regular strength training naturally leads to increased muscle mass and strength, which can significantly enhance daily life functionality. From carrying groceries to climbing stairs, stronger muscles make everyday activities easier and less taxing.

Fitness Center at Optima Lakeview®

Enhanced bone health: Strength training is pivotal in maintaining bone density and combating osteoporosis. The pressure exerted on bones during these exercises triggers bone-forming cells, leading to stronger, denser bones.

Boosted metabolic rate: Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. Thus, increasing muscle mass through strength training can boost your metabolic rate, aiding in weight management and reducing the risk of obesity.

Improved posture and balance: As muscles strengthen, particularly those in the core, posture and balance see noticeable improvements. This can lead to a reduction in back pain and a lower risk of falls, particularly important as we age.

Enhanced flexibility and mobility: Contrary to the myth that strength training makes one bulky and stiff, it actually improves flexibility and joint range of motion when performed correctly.

At the same time, strength training brings significant mental health benefits, including:

Stress relief: Strength training is a powerful stress-buster. The focus required during a session can serve as a form of mindfulness, diverting attention away from daily worries and reducing stress levels.

Boosted confidence and self-esteem: Achieving goals in strength training, whether lifting a heavier weight or completing more repetitions, can significantly boost confidence and self-esteem. This sense of accomplishment often transcends the gym, impacting other areas of life positively.

Improved cognitive function: Regular physical activity, including strength training, has been shown to enhance cognitive function, potentially lowering the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

At Optima®, we understand the value of community in maintaining a consistent fitness routine. Our fitness centers are spaces where residents come together, sharing goals, and supporting each other’s wellness journeys. Strength training sessions, whether individually, with a personal trainer, or in a group class, foster a sense of camaraderie and collective achievement. We’re proud to offer the facilities and the environment that encourage and support our residents in integrating strength training into their lifestyles, ensuring they reap all the benefits it has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned weightlifter or just starting out, there’s never been a better time to embrace the power of strength training for a healthier, happier you.

Our Guide to the Celebration of Fine Art Scottsdale

Scottsdale’s appreciation for the arts is celebrated in every corner, from the myriad public art displays to the museums with ever-changing exhibitions. Yet, the heart of the city’s art scene beats strongest at the Celebration of Fine Art. This annual event, taking place from January 13 to March 24, 2024, is not just an exhibition but a community gathering, bringing together art aficionados and creators in a unique celebration of creativity.

Throughout the event’s 30-year history, the Celebration of Fine Art has become a staple event for art lovers to connect with each other and the talented artists who populate the 40,000-square-foot showcase. These creatives include 100 celebrated and emerging artists from across the country, whose art ranges from ceramics and jewelry to paintings and furniture.

Not only will the artists be showcasing their collections, but they will also create new pieces within their studios. This activity will take place throughout the 10-week event. Visitors are encouraged to engage with each artist and observe how various mediums are brought to life. Throughout the space, they also have access to a café and exclusive hour-long discussions each Friday at 4 p.m. that dive into the inspiration, techniques, and stories held by various artists.

An artist’s palette at Celebration of Fine Art Scottsdale, Credit to Experience Scottsdale flickr

Whether you’re new to the art world or a seasoned collector, the Celebration of Fine Art welcomes all. The show runs daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is just a ten-minute drive for Optima Kierland Apartments residents and a twenty-minute drive for Optima Sonoran Village residents. Tickets for the annual event can be found on their website.

Billiards 101: A Timeless Blend of Strategy and Social Connection

At Optima®, we believe in creating spaces that not only captivate with their design but also bring people together. Amidst our vibrant communities, the classic game of billiards stands as a perfect blend of strategy, skill, and social interaction. Let’s delve into this fascinating world, exploring its storied history, cultural significance, and how it enhances the communal experience.

Tracing its roots back to 15th-century Europe, billiards began as an outdoor lawn game. It soon moved indoors, evolving into the table sport we know today. The introduction of the cue stick transformed the game, adding a new dimension of skill and precision. Over the centuries, billiards has been a pastime of nobility and laypeople alike, making its mark in taverns, royal courts, and now, modern community spaces.

Billiards’ journey through history is as diverse as it is long. From the aristocratic halls of Europe to the pool halls of America, the game has been a constant in social gatherings. Its ability to bridge societal gaps and bring people together for a bout of friendly competition is unparalleled.


Billiards is more than just potting balls; it’s a strategic game that requires foresight, finesse, and a subtle touch. Whether it’s eight-ball or nine-ball, each variant offers a unique challenge and a different experience. Eight-ball tests players’ ability to think several shots ahead, while nine-ball is a faster-paced game that requires both precision and strategy.

Billiard table in Optima Lakeview® Party Room

Players must not only aim to pocket the balls but also position the cue ball strategically for the next shot. This interplay of offense and defense, planning and execution, makes every turn at the table a compelling exercise in tactical thinking. The game’s accessibility to players of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros, adds to its universal appeal.

Fostering Community and Relationships

At Optima, billiards is not just a game; it’s a cornerstone of our community-building philosophy. We create environments that encourage interaction, relaxation, and a sense of belonging. By including billiards in our community spaces, we offer a place where residents can unwind, connect, and enjoy a timeless game that has been bringing people together for centuries.

7190 Optima Kierland® billiard table and Party Room

So, chalk up your cue, line up your shot, and experience the joy of billiards at Optima. It’s where every game is an opportunity to build lasting connections and create unforgettable memories.

Exhibitions You Can't Miss in 2024

Scottsdale and Chicago are both cities teeming with culture, arts and experiences, and with the new year comes an abundance of new exhibitions to explore. If you’re looking for a few ways to expand your world close to home, here are some of the best upcoming exhibitions in and around Scottsdale and Chicago:

Of the Earth, Morton Arboretum, Chicago

Replacing Morton Arboretum’s 2023 sculptural exhibition, Human + Nature, Of the Earth welcomes back five large-scale sculptures to the beloved outdoor museum. Created by Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska, each sculpture, created exclusively for the arboretum, is made of reclaimed wood and tree branches. Each of the five sculptures are thoughtful placed across the arboretum’s 1,700 acres, encouraging visitors to explore new areas they might not have been to before. Access to the exhibition is included with tickets to the arboretum and it runs through spring 2025.

Native America: In Translation, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Photography’s latest exhibition, Native America: In Translation, welcomes stories of culture, heritage and what the legacy of colonialism looks like in our country. The nine Native American artists whose work appears in the exhibitions raise questions about identity, land rights and explore the abundant history of photography characterizing Native populations. The exhibition runs through May 12, 2024 and, like all exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Photography, is free to attend.

Oleaje [Groundswell], Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale

Step into the mind of Carolina Aranibar-Fernández at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art with her latest exhibition, Oleaje [Groundswell]. The vibrant and eye-opening showcase reveals the hidden stories behind global mining and trade. Carolina, a San Francisco-based artist with Bolivian roots, brings her personal touch to large-scale installations that are both visually appealing and thought-provoking. Using everything from sequins to beads, her work weaves a powerful narrative about our planet and its resources. The exhibition runs from February 10, 2024 – August 4, 2024 and tickets can be found here.

American Icons, Taliesin West, Scottsdale

Running through June 3, 2024 at Taliesin West, American Icons celebrates the renowned work of Georgia O’Keefe and Frank Lloyd Wright, icons in American art and architecture. The photography exhibition features 20 exclusive images of the two luminaries, exploring their lives, careers and how each affected American Modernism through art, design and culture. Tony Vaccaro, the photographer whose images are used in the exhibition, captured each icon separately during his career, but looking at the photographs, visitors will be able to find symmetry both visually and through their histories. Tickets for the exhibition can be found here.


Health Benefits of Cold Plunges

At Optima®, we embrace wellness traditions that combine timeless practices with modern living. Cold plunges, with their rich historical roots and restorative benefits, perfectly embody this mission. From the ancient Roman frigidarium to the Nordic ice baths, this practice has been a staple in wellness routines for centuries. As part of our commitment to holistic health, we’ve incorporated cold plunges into our communities, offering a refreshing escape that renews both mind and body.

Ancient civilizations, from the Greeks and Romans to spiritual rituals in Hinduism and Jewish cultures, have long embraced the practice of cold water immersion. While Roman baths were renowned for their elaborate hot and cold plunge pools, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, first documented the therapeutic use of cold water. In Scandinavia, the tradition of pairing saunas with cold plunges became a cultural staple, embodying a lifestyle of balance and rejuvenation.

Today, cold plunges have evolved into a cornerstone of athletic recovery, known for reducing muscle inflammation and accelerating healing. But it’s not just athletes who benefit; anyone can experience the effects. These icy dips enhance blood circulation, bolster the immune system, and offer a mental clarity that can feel akin to hitting a reset button on your brain. The mental health benefits are particularly noteworthy – a quick plunge can significantly reduce stress and elevate mood, making it a powerful tool in our fast-paced lives.

In the modern wellness landscape, cold plunges have found their way into sports therapy, luxury spas, and personal wellness routines. They represent a commitment to holistic health, blending the wisdom of the ancients with contemporary science.

Cold plunge pool and spa at Optima Kierland 7190

At Optima, we recognize the timeless value of these practices. Integrating cold plunges into our community spaces is more than just offering an amenity; it’s about fostering a holistic approach to health and well-being. These pools are not just spots to restore but also places where community members gather, sharing experiences and fostering connections.

Whether you’re an athlete looking for recovery, a wellness enthusiast, or someone curious about this ancient yet modern practice, the cold plunge pool at Optima awaits. It’s a small part of our commitment to creating spaces that not only inspire but also actively contribute to the well-being of our community.

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

In the world of wellness and self-care, massage therapy stands out as a practice steeped in rich history and cultural significance. At Optima®, we recognize the profound health benefits of massage therapy, which aligns completely with our commitment to holistic well-being. From the focus on energy flow and balance in ancient China to luxurious Roman baths, massage has always been part of human wellness rituals.

Like yoga and saunas, one of the most celebrated benefits of massage is its remarkable ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The therapy soothes the nervous system, leading to a decrease in cortisol levels and an increase in feelings of calmness. But its advantages extend far beyond just relaxation. Massage therapy is also known for its effectiveness in pain relief, particularly in managing chronic conditions like lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches. By improving blood flow and easing muscle tension, massage offers a natural and therapeutic approach to pain management.

Massage therapy is known to boost circulation, ensuring that more oxygen and nutrients reach the muscles. This enhanced circulation aids in recovery and contributes to overall health. Regular massage sessions can even fortify the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system, responsible for expelling waste from body tissues.

Mental health also significantly benefits from massage therapy. It can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, promoting a sense of well-being and relaxation. By reducing stress and promoting physical relaxation, massage therapy can improve sleep quality, a crucial factor for overall health and well-being.

At Optima, our philosophy is that true wellness encompasses both the mind and body. Integrating massage therapy into our wellness offerings provides our residents with an opportunity to enjoy the timeless benefits of this ancient practice, ensuring they can relax, rejuvenate, and live their best lives.

A Guide to Scottsdale Western Week

Scottsdale is a city rooted in its Western origins. From the iconic public art displays like Windows to the West and Implosion to various architectural treasures inspired by the desertscape surrounding them, you can find a celebration of Western spirit around nearly every corner. Every year, Scottsdale honors this heritage during the city’s beloved Western Week, an event dedicated to ensuring the Western legacy remains strong. Here is our guide to Scottsdale Western Week 2024.

Returning to Old Town Scottsdale from January 27 – February 4, 2024, the free-to-attend event is back with more events and activities than ever before. The celebratory week starts with the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market on January 27, followed by a kick-off party planned to transport visitors back to the Wild West with events like the Rodeo Museum’s roping demonstrations, blacksmith demonstrations, live music and various pop-up shops.

Throughout the week, visitors have access to exclusive events like the Gold Palette Artwalk on February 1, an exhibition that spans the Scottsdale Art District featuring artwork from various galleries. The Hashknife Pony Express on February 2 is another favorite of the festival. Visitors are invited to gather at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West to witness the world’s oldest officially sanctioned Pony Express. On February 3, the Scottsdale Civic Center hosts the Arizona Indian Festival, which showcases the rich Indigenous American culture tied to the area with traditional arts and crafts, foods and engaging experiences.

Closing the electrifying week, more than 125 acts will walk the streets of Old Town in the Parada Del Sol Historic Parade on February 3. In its 70th year, the thrilling parade features vibrant floats, marching bands and stagecoaches representing cultures from Mexico, Native American, Arabian and, of course, Western. Following the parade, visitors of all ages are encouraged to stay in the Old Town District for the Trail’s End Festival, a western-themed block party.

For residents at Optima Kierland® Apartments, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview Village, Scottsdale Western Week makes the perfect opportunity to get out and explore the community while learning more about the city’s roots. To learn more about Western Week and its many events and activities, head to Old Town Scottsdale’s website here.

Exploring the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Nestled in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve stands as a breathtaking testament to the beauty and history of the American Southwest. At Optima®, we’re always on the lookout for extraordinary places that resonate with history and natural splendor, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a perfect example. Spanning over 30,500 acres, it’s not just an expanse of pristine desert; it’s a journey through time, culture, and nature.

The story of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is as rich as the landscapes it encompasses. The area’s earliest known inhabitants, the Hohokam, thrived here from around 1 AD to 1450 AD. Renowned for their intricate irrigation canals, the Hohokam left behind a legacy etched in the form of petroglyphs and pottery, still revered today. Following them, the Yavapai and Apache tribes called these lands home, leaving their mark on this ancient terrain.

Fast forward to 1865, and you encounter Fort McDowell, a military outpost pivotal in the Apache Wars. It played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the United States. Then there’s the tale of DC Ranch, a sprawling cattle ranch that reflects the area’s ranching heritage and now stands as a modern residential community, melding past and present.

The Preserve’s diverse terrain, ranging from the lower Sonoran Desert to the rugged McDowell Mountains, offers a visual feast. It’s a natural haven for an array of wildlife and native plants, including majestic saguaros and vibrant wildflowers. The Preserve’s extensive trail network caters to outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Whether you’re a hiker, mountain biker, or horseback rider, there’s a path that’s just right for you.

One of the joys of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is its accessibility. With multiple trailheads, each outing can be a new adventure. The Gateway Loop Trail is a favorite among locals, offering a moderate hike with stunning views. For mountain bikers, the Tom’s Thumb Trail provides a challenging ride through remarkable terrain. And for a family-friendly excursion, the Bajada Nature Trail is a delightful, educational experience with its interactive exhibits on desert ecology.

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a non-profit organization, diligently manages the Preserve. They not only maintain the trails and facilities but also offer educational programs and guided tours, enriching visitors’ experiences. Their work ensures that the delicate balance between nature and human enjoyment is maintained, preserving this treasure for future generations.

The creation and maintenance of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve are a testament to Scottsdale’s commitment to conservation and sustainable development. It’s a place where history, culture, and natural beauty coalesce, offering a serene yet invigorating escape from the bustle of modern life.

For residents of Optima Kierland ApartmentsOptima Sonoran Village and future residents of Optima Mcdowell Mountain Village, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is more than just a scenic backdrop; it’s a living, breathing piece of Arizona’s history and a perfect example of nature’s unparalleled artistry. It’s a place to explore, to learn, and to connect with the timeless beauty of the desert. We invite you to experience this remarkable preserve, where every trail leads to a discovery and every visit leaves you with a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

The Benefits of Living Under Green Roofs at Optima Sonoran Village

Enhancing well-being and a commitment to sustainability at Optima Sonoran Village. Promoting a holistic approach to community development. Schedule a Tour. In properties like Optima Verdana®, Optima Kierland Apartments® and Optima Sonoran Village®, we’ve taken this commitment to new heights — quite literally, with green roofs elements that redefine modern living.

Amidst the greenery, residents find not only a physical haven but a sanctuary for the mind year-round. The lush landscapes stimulate cognitive skills, and echoes the enriching effects of art, where the subjective nature of greenery allows residents to explore their creativity and free thinking.

In the spirit of art therapy, our green roof communities become a refuge for stress reduction. The calming influence from a communal herb garden or native flowers and trees, provides a mental retreat, minimizing worries amid life’s challenges. It’s an oasis that mirrors the positive impact of art in promoting relaxation and inspiration.

Living with greenery encourages residents to delve into their own emotional landscapes. The transformative experience of nature’s presence becomes a sensorial, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual journey. Here, Optima’s commitment to well-being extends beyond physical spaces to nourish the soul.

Green roof elements at Optima Kierland Apartments®

Optima’s green roofs don’t just enhance the lives of residents; they also embody our commitment to environmental stewardship. By providing insulation and mitigating the urban heat effect, these green roofs contribute to energy efficiency, aligning seamlessly with our dedication to sustainable design and living. They also play a crucial role in stormwater management by absorbing and retaining rainwater, reducing runoff and minimizing flood risks.

Green roofs actively improve air quality by capturing pollutants, offering a breath of fresh air in urban environments. Beyond architectural features, they become habitats for wildlife, enhancing local biodiversity and promoting a holistic approach to community development.

In the heart of Optima’s green roof communities, residents experience a dual benefit: enhanced well-being and a commitment to sustainability. The greenery surrounding our residents tells a tale of cognitive enrichment, stress reduction, emotional healing, and environmental stewardship. As we invite nature into our designs, we reaffirm our dedication to access to greenery and sustainable living.

Optima’s Guide to Thanksgiving 2023

As the holiday season approaches, we’re gearing up for a delightful array of activities around the Optima communities. Thanksgiving is a time to embrace the company of family and friends, and both Scottsdale and Chicago offer a fantastic range of activities to make this season truly special. Here are just a few exciting things you can do to celebrate Thanksgiving and welcome the holiday season:


The Winnetka Turkey Trot and Turkey Trot Chicago have become cherished Thanksgiving Day traditions. Participants in both races, dressed in festive attire, embark on a thrilling journey through cherished communities, combining fitness and festivity. The lively atmosphere and communal spirit make these events a perfect start to Thanksgiving day.

Following each trot, join the jubilant crowd at the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, a beloved spectacle that has graced the city for decades. With vibrant floats, marching bands, and larger-than-life character balloons, this parade captures the essence of the holiday season. Families and friends gather along the parade route, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Cap off the Thanksgiving weekend by welcoming in the rest of the holiday season with a visit to Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The enchanting display, combining light and sound, transforms the garden into a magical realm, providing a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. Reservations usually fill up fast, so make your plans now!


In Scottsdale, Thanksgiving morning begins with the Phoenix Turkey Trot—a lively event that brings the community together for a morning filled with fun. Participants of all ages join in the spirited run, fostering a sense of cheer that extends beyond the finish line.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Desert Botanical Garden offer breathtaking landscapes to explore. Whether you prefer a scenic hike or a leisurely stroll, these natural gems provide the perfect backdrop for a Thanksgiving spent in the heart of Arizona’s beauty.

Complete your holiday experience at the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. Whether you’re gliding across the ice at the skating rink or diving into holiday shopping, the district offers a festive atmosphere that captures the spirit of the season.

As we approach Thanksgiving, embrace the season of gratitude, warmth, and togetherness. From the lively Turkey Trots to the grand Thanksgiving Parades, the festive events bring joy to individuals and foster a sense of community — a sentiment we hold dear at Optima. Dive into the enchanting celebrations our communities have to offer and create lasting memories with loved ones that will last forever. 

Culinary Modernism: Cloth and Flame


From mountain sides and deserts to urban rooftops and beyond, Cloth & Flame has been curating extraordinary dining experiences as experiential journeys — transcending the bounds of traditional restaurants and leading diners into a world where nature, architecture, and gourmet cuisine intertwine.

Cloth & Flame is the brainchild of the Phoenix-based husband-and-wife team, Matt Cooley & Olivia Laux, visionaries who believe that dining could be so much more than just food on a plate. To them, it’s about fostering connections and creating memories. With events in breathtaking locations across all 50 states, from Alaskan mountainsides and Arizona deserts to Oregon forests, their reach is as vast as their vision. Their events offer a respite from the digital age’s hustle, transporting guests to serene locales.

Cloth and Flame Event in Arizona. Photo: Cloth and Flame

In a recent event promoted as “Flagstaff Fadeway,” Cloth & Flame brought an exclusive long-table dinner to the stunning lawn of the High Country Motor Lodge in Flagstaff, part of a weekend music festival inspired by the beauty of Northern Arizona. The festival offered its few hundred guests the opportunity to experience deeply intimate musical performances, kicking off with a five-course menu.

In an era when dinner events can be predictable, routine affairs, Cloth & Flame breaks the mold, ensuring that every event is a surprise and that no two experiences are the same. And with all of the outdoor venues, Cloth & Flame demonstrates profound respect for the environment. They look for spectacular settings and provide the landowners an alternative income source, potentially preserving these areas from development. Moreover, a portion of their dinner proceeds is directed to conservancies dedicated to protecting our planet’s wild and wonderful spaces.

Aspen Forest, Arizona. Photo: Hailey Golich

At Cloth & Flame dinners, strangers become friends under starlit skies, conversations flow unhindered, and in this temporary commune, bonds are forged that last a lifetime. Cloth & Flame’s invitation is open to everyone. Whether you have a culinary dream to chase or are simply open to exploring theirs, gastronomic adventure is on the horizon.

Cloth & Flame serves up a return to authenticity, to the raw beauty of nature, and to the simple pleasure of a meal shared in good company. So, the next time you yearn for a break from the ordinary, remember that somewhere, atop a mountain or in the heart of a desert, a table awaits you. And at this table, you’ll not just find food, but an experience, a story, and perhaps, a piece of yourself that you never knew existed.

Interested in embarking on a culinary journey with Cloth & Flame? Follow the link here.

The Soleri Bridge and Plaza

Modern structures that serve as both functional and breathtaking forms of art speak to us at Optima®, including the Soleri Bridge and Plaza at the Scottsdale Waterfront, in close proximity to Optima Sonoran Village®. The bridge and its adjoining plaza, envisioned by the renowned artist, architect, and philosopher Paolo Soleri, have become emblems of Scottsdale’s artistic soul, resonating deeply with locals and tourists alike.

The bridge is an architectural spectacle that functions as a dynamic, organic solar calendar. Anchored by two towering 64-foot pylons, its south side spans 27 feet, tapering to 18 feet on the north. Its precise alignment with true north allows it to play a mesmerizing game with the sun. The 6-inch gap between the pylons lets the sun cast an ever-changing shaft of light, marking solar events as the seasons shift. On the summer solstice, the sun at its zenith leaves no shadow, while on the winter solstice, the shadow stretches its longest, almost reaching the bridge itself.

Adjacent to the bridge, the plaza is an expansive 22,000-square-foot expanse, adorned with monolithic panels reminiscent of the aesthetics of Cosanti and Arcosanti. Each of these earth-cast panels, crafted meticulously over eight months using desert earth, water, and cement, weighs 3,500 pounds, and bears the intricate handwork of Soleri and his personal assistant, Roger Tomalty. The panels frame the plaza and lead towards the Goldwater Bell assembly, a fusion of Soleri’s commitment to architecture and ecology.

The story behind the project is as captivating as the structures themselves. A luminary in his field, Soleri has brought to life a concept he terms “arcology.” The bridge and plaza exemplify this philosophy, sharing an appreciation for our inherent connection to the sun and nature. Despite designing bridges for six decades, the Soleri Bridge was a first-of-its-kind commission for the then 91-year-old maestro.

Initiated by Scottsdale Public Art in 1990, the journey of the bridge and plaza from conception to completion was one of evolution and collaboration. As the canal’s surroundings transformed over two decades, so did the bridge’s design. The addition of the Waterfront Residences and commercial areas in 2007 provided the bridge with a context. Following funding and city approvals in 2008, the project took flight.

The unveiling of the bridge on December 11, 2010, was nothing short of a spectacle. A thousand-strong crowd converged on Old Town Scottsdale to witness the dedication. The event, a week shy of the winter solstice, showcased the bridge’s solar prowess, as attendees observed the sun’s shadow move between the pylons.

The Soleri Bridge and Plaza encapsulate Scottsdale’s rich heritage, blending history with contemporary artistry. They stand as a testament to a city that cherishes the past, celebrates the present, and looks forward to the future, all while emphasizing the harmony between humanity and nature.


The 2023 Canal Convergence

As residents of Optima Sonoran Village® know, Scottsdale is a treasure trove of vibrant cultural events, artistic showcases, and community gatherings. Among these, the Canal Convergence stands out, brilliantly illuminating the Scottsdale Waterfront every year, beckoning both locals and visitors for an immersive experience of art, light, and much more.

The Canal Convergence, a free, annual 10-night extravaganza, beautifully melds light, art, and water along the waterfront. Each year, artists from around the globe captivate audiences with their large-scale public artworks. For 2023, attendees will be treated to mesmerizing pieces like Sym by AlexP, the playful Flario by Walter Productions, the geometric Dice by Montreal-based studio Iregular, the fluid Aquatics by Philipp Artus, and several other awe-inspiring installations like Light Forest, OctaviusRipple, and Spectrum Swing. Beyond these installations, the event is also a hub for live performances, music, dance, creative workshops, and so much more, including food trucks and a beer and wine garden.

What makes each Canal Convergence special is its central theme. This year, it dives deep into “The Power of Play,” highlighting its profound significance in our lives. Play isn’t reserved just for children; it’s a vital aspect of human existence, molding our learning, creativity, and social interactions. As the sun sets and the artworks come to life, attendees can immerse themselves in the wonders of play, feeling its influence firsthand.

For those ready to dive into this magical experience, the event runs from Nov. 3–12, 2023, at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Starting from 6 p.m. each evening, the event extends until 10 p.m. on the 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th of November, and until 9 p.m. on the other nights. For those wondering about parking, there’s ample free space in the parking garages around Old Town Scottsdale.

To residents and beyond, the Canal Convergence is a heartfelt celebration of creativity, unity, and reflection. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this enchanting blend of play, light, and art!

Then and Now: Phoenix’s Fabulous Fox West Coast Theater

At the intersection of Washington and First Street in downtown Phoenix, the Fabulous Fox West Coast Theater once stood as an emblem of the city’s cinematic and architectural heritage. For locals and visitors, it was a chapter of shared memories, community, and an ode to a bygone era. 

The Fabulous Fox was part of a chain of marquee-lit venues that began to pop up in cities across the U.S. in the 1920s, just as the motion picture industry — and the novel entertainment of “going to the movies” — took America by storm. Officially opening its doors in July 1931, it was strategically located down the street from the legendary Adams Hotel. This locale once housed the first Phoenix City Hall and fire station, adding layers of history to the theater’s presence.

Designed by the acclaimed architect S. Charles Lee, this 1,800-seat marvel swiftly became the center of entertainment in the city — perhaps due, to some degree, to being the first air-conditioned hall in Phoenix, offering respite from Arizona’s heat.

Beyond its steel and terra-cotta faced concrete walls, the Fox Theater captured the shared experience of collective gasps, laughter, and moments of poignant silence. And as Phoenix came alive as a 20th century American city, the Moderne-Deco façade, the grand billboard announcing the week’s films, and the flashing marquee lights were integral to its vibrant downtown nightscape.

Inside the building, guests were greeted by a floating staircase, futuristic lamp posts, crystal chandeliers, and elaborate frescos. These intricate designs, combined with the desert-themed candy counter, reflected an eclectic blend of global luxury and local charm.

Despite its significance, the theater lost its luster with a shift of commercial activity to the suburbs. By 1975, with the property under Phoenix ownership, the decision was made to demolish it, followed by an auction, where remnants of its architectural elegance, from chandeliers to ceiling panels, were sold.

What's Left of the Fabulous Fox West Coast Theater on Downtown Phoenix

Today, the ground where the Fox Theater once stood is part of the city’s evolving landscape. Once lying vacant and later serving as a parking lot for the America West Arena, is now poised as the site for RED Development’s mixed-use project, including a Fry’s Food Store.

For longtime residents and history buffs, it remains a cherished memory, and as Phoenix continues to grow and change, it’s vital to remember and celebrate the landmarks, like the Fox Theater, that laid the city’s cultural foundation.

Then and Now: The Remarkable Rebirth of the Hotel Adams

At Optima®, we revel in opportunities to explore the layers of architectural history and cultural significance found in the places we reside. In the heart of Phoenix, one structure stands as a testament to the city’s vibrant evolution over time: the Hotel Adams.

The journey for this architectural gem began in 1894, during Arizona’s territorial days when Phoenix was a city of merely 5,000 residents. Attorney J.C. Adams, a recent arrival from Chicago, sought to enrich the city’s modest accommodations. Leveraging his financial connections, Adams constructed the city’s first luxury hotel, a grand Queen Anne-style building that immediately elevated Phoenix’s stature.

With balconies, private bathrooms in many rooms, fireplaces for heat, and an innovative cooling system featuring electric fans blowing air over giant ice blocks, the Adams Hotel wasn’t just elegant, but innovative for its time.

In 1910, the Adams Hotel succumbed to a devastating fire and rose from its ashes as a five-story, Mission Revival-style structure, rebuilt on the same site with fireproof, reinforced concrete. Reopened in time for the statehood celebration in 1912, the Hotel Adams once again became a hub of social, political, and cultural activity.

From its storied lobby, which housed Arizona’s first commercial radio station, to its altruistic pledge during World War II to always have a room available for servicemen, the Hotel Adams remained a symbol of the city’s community spirit.

As Phoenix evolved, so did Hotel Adams. In 1973, the decision was made to replace the aging building with a modern hotel to support the new Civic Center. The result was the 17-story, 538-room hotel that today is known as the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Yet, within its modern shell, the Renaissance Phoenix retains the spirit of the Hotel Adams.

The basement area is a testament to the hotel’s tenacious spirit. Encased by concrete walls poured back in 1910, it’s now home to Melinda’s Alley, a clandestine hangout known for its rotating cocktail menu.

As we celebrate the extraordinary journey of the Hotel Adams, we are continually inspired by such symbols of resilience and reinvention. These architectural narratives speak to the enduring power of creating spaces that carry forward the spirit of evolution, community, and cultural significance. We’re proud to be a part of Arizona’s rich architectural history, and we look forward to the stories yet to be told.

Then and Now: The Sahara Motor Inn

At Optima®, we deeply appreciate the storied structures that enrich our understanding of local culture. In our “Then and Now” series, we’ve explored the fascinating evolution of significant buildings in Arizona. With our latest post, we delve into the rich tapestry of Phoenix’s past, with a spotlight on the Sahara Motor Inn, a former city icon that once personified the vibrant spirit of the Southwest.

The Sahara Motor Inn opened its doors in 1955, built by an investment consortium led by notable figures, Marion Isbell and Del Webb. This mid-century marvel was much more than a hotel. It was a symbol of a thriving, evolving Phoenix, a testament to the rise of automobile culture, and an emblem of the burgeoning region.

The Sahara Motor Inn. Photo: William L. Bird

Designed by Matthew E. Trudell, the Sahara Motor Inn sprawled across a city block, boasting 175 guest rooms, two penthouse apartments, and a host of modern amenities. It wasn’t just the size or facilities that made the hotel stand out. The architecture, a harmonious blend of mid-century styles, utilized popular materials such as red brick, colored art glass, and cast-in-place concrete.

Renowned in its heyday, the hotel attracted a celebrity clientele including Marilyn Monroe, who resided there while filming Bus Stop in 1956. As time went on, the Sahara Motor Inn partnered with the Ramada Inn motel chain, becoming the “Sahara Ramada Inn” in the 1960s. The desert gem gradually faded, overshadowed by the expansion of large hotel chains that promised a consistent guest experience nationwide.

Bus Stop, starring Marilyn Monroe

By 2000, the Sahara Ramada Inn was no longer the crown jewel of downtown Phoenix. The forces of redevelopment were sweeping through Phoenix, with civic leaders and universities envisioning a new era of urban transformation. The hotel was sold to Arizona State University (ASU) in 2010 and was later razed to make way for the university’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The story behind Motor Inn is a classic narrative of transformation, encapsulating the spirit of change so familiar in Phoenix. From its birth as a luxury hotel in the heart of the American Southwest to its rebirth as an educational institution, its journey mirrors that of the city itself.

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Photo: Wiki Commons

The story of the Sahara Motor Inn still stands, even as the building itself is no longer a part of the city’s architectural landscape. It remains a tale of a bygone era, a time of profound change and growth, underlining the relentless momentum of progress.

The Scottsdale Civic Center

The Scottsdale Civic Center, situated in Old Town, serves as a cultural hub for the entire city, including our residents at Optima Sonoran Village®. It seamlessly balances Scottsdale’s historical identity as “The West’s Most Western Town” with modern influences, making it a popular focal point where the city’s heritage intertwines with its more recent cultural and artistic expressions. 

This urban oasis is surrounded by some of Scottsdale’s most vital facilities, including City Hall, Civic Center Library, Center for the Performing Arts, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s both a retail center and a retreat, marked by its lush greenery, tranquil fountains, and eclectic sculptures. You can also enjoy views of Camelback Mountain, which becomes particularly captivating at dusk, offering a serene environment for relaxation and cultural immersion.

Civic Center City Hall. Photo: SAH Archipedia

The Civic Center dates back to 1966 when a master plan by local architectural firm Bennie M. Gonzales Associates was adopted, emphasizing the seat of town governance as “an open invitation for citizens to participate in their government.” Bennie M. Gonzales, with his distinct Southwestern modernist style, led the planning and design process during the center’s foundational years. His designs are characterized by their harmony with the environment and their use of natural materials, which can be seen in the kiva-like City Hall, the Civic Center Library (built in 1968) and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (constructed in 1975).

Scottsdale Civic Center Library. Photo: Kevin Bondelli

Decades later, award-winning architect Will Bruder further shaped the Civic Center, designing the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (constructed in 1999). His design paid homage to the curved facades of the neighboring Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Sculptures including Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture and George-Ann Tognoni’s The Yearlings further amplify the center’s art scene. Adjacent to them, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, with its stages and galleries, has hosted notable events like the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, enriching the center’s aesthetic and cultural offerings.

George-Ann Tognoni’s The Yearlings at the west entrance to the Civic Center.
Photo: Scottsdale Public A

The Scottsdale Civic Center has recently seen major renovations, with its western two-thirds reopening back in January 2023. With plans to showcase 80 annual outdoor events over the next several years, ranging from national touring acts and orchestras to dance ensembles and community events, the Civic Center remains committed to cultural vibrancy and communal engagement.

Keen on exploring upcoming Civic Center events? Follow the link here for more information.

Unearthing the Desert’s Splendor at the Desert Botanical Garden

At Optima®, we’re always excited to spotlight spaces that celebrate the captivating beauty of nature while enriching our communities. Today, we venture to the sun-drenched landscapes of Phoenix, home to the remarkable Desert Botanical Garden. This natural wonder encapsulates the magic of the desert, bursting with over 50,000 desert plants across its sprawling 140-acre expanse.

Founded in 1939, the Desert Botanical Garden has curated an outdoor gallery that beautifully showcases desert plants’ resilience and diversity. From towering saguaro cacti to delicate desert wildflowers, each exhibit is a testament to the rich biodiversity that thrives in the seemingly harsh conditions of the desert.

The garden is more than just a collection of desert flora; it’s a living, breathing embodiment of the Sonoran Desert’s essence. It presents a series of trails such as the Desert Discovery Loop Trail and the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, each unfolding a unique story of desert life. As you walk these trails, you’ll find yourself immersed in an incredible mosaic of desert beauty.

But the marvel doesn’t end with its spectacular plant life. The Desert Botanical Garden is also an active hub for research and conservation. It is deeply committed to protecting the desert’s natural splendor, ensuring that future generations will be able to marvel at these landscapes just as we do today.

Beyond the exploration of desert life, the garden hosts an array of vibrant events and exhibitions. From awe-inspiring art installations to engaging educational programs for adults and children, the Desert Botanical Garden pulses with an energy that extends beyond its plant life. There’s always something to delight in, learn from, and explore.

Visitors are also greeted by the striking Ottosen Entry Garden. This architectural delight, inspired by desert patterns and interspersed with bold plant colors, sets the tone for an immersive desert exploration. It’s a testament to how architecture can meld seamlessly with nature, creating a grand entry into the desert’s heart.

As we at Optima® celebrate the places that elevate our appreciation for the natural world, the Desert Botanical Garden stands as a magnificent testament to the desert’s allure. It challenges the perception of deserts as lifeless terrains, instead revealing an ecosystem brimming with life, beauty, and countless stories waiting to be discovered. The garden invites us all to step into the desert landscape, uncovering the rich, abundant life that flourishes under the Arizona sun.

Interior Design Tips to Make Your Apartment a Home

Interior Design Tips to Make Your Apartment a Home

Moving into a new apartment is an exciting experience, especially because you have a completely blank canvas to decorate. But for many apartment dwellers, figuring out how to make their space feel like home can be a challenge.

Whether you’re getting ready to relocate to a new place or want to enhance your current apartment, adding the right decorative touches is the best way to truly make it feel like your own. From maximizing the functionality and style of a small apartment to making every room feel unique, we’ve assembled a list of the best apartment decorating tips to help you get started.

Interior Design Tips to Make Your Apartment a Home

You don’t need a professional interior design consultation to style your next apartment – especially with these tips and tricks up your sleeve. For a comfortable, personalized apartment that would impress even the most skilled interior designers, here’s a go-to guide to our favorite apartment decorating ideas.


Never underestimate the impact of lighting.

From table lamps to floor lamps, the right lighting can completely transform your apartment. Even if your apartment already comes with plenty of built-in lighting features, you may still want to make sure to add your own to enhance the space.

Almost every room should have at least one table or floor lamp, except for the kitchen and bathrooms (although some interior designers add petite lamps there as well). Make use of plug-in wall sconces so that you don’t have to deal with hardwiring – there are so many stylish, designer-crafted options out there. Floor lamps are ideal for a cozy corner, especially if you choose lamps with a slim profile and minimal footprint.

Not only does lighting literally brighten your apartment, but it switches up the mood for certain times of day or occasions. Tech-savvy smart bulbs offer options for adjusting the color, brightness, and more, giving you full control. Think elegantly dimmed dining room lighting for a dinner party, a gently glowing bedside lamp for pre-bedtime reading, and a warm, welcoming entryway lamp to greet you after a long day at work.

Of course, the best way to enjoy a flawlessly lit home is to choose an apartment with ample natural lighting. For example, the floor-to-ceiling windows at Optima Sonoran Village not only offer beautiful views but also let in plenty of sunlight during the daytime hours. What better way to wake up for your morning cardio session than with the Arizona sun gently streaming into your home?

Maximize storage with smart, stylish solutions.

Even if you’ve lived in a large, single-family home, you know that storage is a common frustration – no matter the size of your space. You’ve probably found yourself searching for new ways to add storage space without weighing down the design with unappealing clutter.

At Optima Sonoran Village, rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms are ready to contain all your necessities with sleek, modern cabinetry. Moving into a thoughtfully designed apartment is the first step you can take towards mastering stylish storage.

There’s also no shortage of attractive, storage-friendly furniture and design ideas to consider. Prefer to keep your area clean and uncluttered? Built-ins with cabinets or furniture with hidden storage drawers are a great option. For the maximalist who like all of their belongings taking center stage, vertical shelving for the walls adds both storage and personality.

Create “zones” with your furniture, area rugs, and decor.

When you decorate your apartment, the goal should be to aim for both form and function. Not only do you want the space to look great, but you always need it to serve all your needs, whatsoever those may be. Using furniture pieces, rugs, and other elements to divide your home into “zones,” you can make sure it’s being used to its fullest potential.

Creating zones is particularly useful in open concept designs, like in the residences at Optima Sonoran Village. The kitchen, dining room, and living room all flow into each other, which is an ideal way to create the sense of a space that’s larger than it actually is. At the same time, some people aren’t sure how to begin “using” such an open-ended space.

But with furniture, you can set up zones that make sense for your lifestyle. Maybe you love to entertain, so you place a large table and comfortable chairs in the dining area. An oversized, easy-to-clean rug will anchor the area and create a soft cushion underfoot. Keeping this approach in mind, you can keep each space connected but also defined.


Incorporate art into your apartment decor.

One of the simplest ways to make your apartment feel like home is with art that speaks to your style. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer contemporary, abstract pieces, traditional and vintage paintings, or even a mix of artistic photography and candid shots of friends and family – if you like it, it should earn a spot in your home.

Create a focal point with a single large piece of wall art, hang a gallery wall that centers on a specific theme, or scatter framed pieces of all sizes throughout all the rooms. Ultimately, how you use art – and the kind you enjoy – is completely up to you.

Modern Apartment Decor

Decorating an apartment with a modern touch not only keeps your space current and fresh, it also allows for the expression of personal style and taste. This modernist approach provides an aura of sophistication and enhances the overall feel of the apartment, making it so much more than just another place to live.

Apartment Decorating Styles

When it comes to modern apartment design ideas, you have a plethora of style options.

You might consider a minimalist style, focusing on clean lines, simplicity, and functionality. This approach can make your apartment feel spacious, clean, and relaxing. Or, you could opt for an industrial style characterized by exposed brick and metal, giving your space an edgy, urban feel. For those who love a mix of old and new, mid-century modern style might be the best fit, with its timeless aesthetic and elegant simplicity.

Whatever your taste, understanding different decorating styles can help you curate a personalized and cohesive look that truly feels like home.

Decorating Apartment Living Room Ideas

The living room is a pivotal space in any apartment, often serving as a multipurpose area for relaxing, entertaining, and even working. In a modern apartment, you can make use of natural light, neutral colors, and sleek furniture to establish a sophisticated atmosphere.

There are so many modern apartment decorating ideas that you can use as inspiration for your space. Consider adding elements like a plush rug or decorative cushions to provide contrast and comfort. Statement artwork or a striking mirror can serve as a focal point, while unique lighting solutions can be used to create mood and delineate spaces.

Remember, the key is to balance modern aesthetics with comfort and functionality.

Modern Apartment Bedroom Ideas

For your bedroom, you’ll want to create a sanctuary that reflects your personal style yet still adheres to modern design principles. Opt for a minimalist bed frame, perhaps in a warm wood or sleek metal, paired with crisp, clean bedding in neutral tones. A small, chic bedside table can provide practical storage, while a modern floor lamp can offer the perfect lighting for late-night reading. Bold graphic artwork or a large indoor plant can inject life and personality into the room. And remember, a clutter-free space is fundamental to modern design, so consider clever storage solutions that keep your room tidy and serene.

Modern Furniture and Decor

In modern apartment decor, furniture plays a critical role in defining the style of the space. Choose pieces that are streamlined yet comfortable, with clean lines and minimalist aesthetics. Materials like glass, metal, and wood are often found in modern furniture, each contributing to a distinct mood and feel.

As for decor, less is often more. Choose a few key pieces that you love, whether it’s a geometric rug, a sleek coffee table, or a collection of black and white photographs. These items should create visual interest without overwhelming the space. Think about adding pops of color with decorative pillows or vases or bringing a touch of nature indoors with houseplants. And, importantly, consider the lighting in your apartment – it can dramatically transform the space, emphasizing your modern decor and establishing the right atmosphere.

Creating a modern apartment that truly feels like home is a blend of aesthetic choices and personal touches. By understanding different decorating styles, tailoring your living and bedroom decor, and selecting the right modern furniture and accents, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a space that’s uniquely yours. Remember, a well-decorated apartment isn’t just visually appealing – it’s a sanctuary where you’ll create memories and feel completely at ease.

The Scottsdale Apartments You’ll Love Coming Home To

Ultimately, even the best apartment interior design tips won’t be helpful if you’re starting with a space that doesn’t suit your needs. Instead of settling for an apartment that isn’t perfect for you, why not set yourself up for decorating style success by choosing the best apartments for rent in Scottsdale, AZ?

Optima Sonoran Village is the Valley’s premier luxury rental community, raising the bar for upscale apartment design. With floor plans that range from a streamlined studio to an expansive, three-bedroom apartment with ample room for entertaining, we have something to suit every lifestyle.

Our smallest studios are more spacious than many other apartments for rent in Phoenix, so you can be confident that you’ll have plenty of room to express yourself with the apartment decor of your choice. Plus, because Optima Sonoran Village boasts designer interiors with thoughtful details and premier finishes, you have a stunning space even before you add decor.

See our residences for yourself with an in-person tour of our studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in Scottsdale – it’s the best way to get a feel for what your future home at Optima Sonoran Village will be like. Contact our leasing office to schedule your tour today!

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Al Beadle: The Mid-Century Modern Master in Phoenix

When it comes to mid-century modern architecture in Arizona, the name Frank Lloyd Wright tends to come to mind first. It’s exciting to note, however, that there have been other luminary architects who made enormous contributions to modernist architectural traditions here in the desert. Today, we are happy to introduce one of these under-the-radar designers — a true pioneer in his time whose work continues to inspire practitioners and homeowners alike.


Born in 1927, Al Beadle grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served with the United States Navy Construction Battalion, the Seabees, in the South Pacific during World War II. His experiences included building piers, designing command bases, and constructing hospitals. After his time in the military, where he acquired much of his architectural prowess, Beadle eventually moved to Phoenix where he would make his mark on the city’s architectural scene. Starting his own architecture and build firm in 1967, Beadle believed in the principles of minimalism, efficiency, and the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.


Beadle’s unique design approach is evident in his many residential and commercial projects throughout the Phoenix area. His signature style often features clean lines, flat roofs, expansive glass walls, and a keen attention to detail. His buildings effortlessly blend with their desert surroundings, creating a harmonious balance between the built environment and the natural landscape.

Paradise Gardens

One of Beadle’s most iconic projects is the Paradise Gardens community. Developed between 1958 and 1964, this neighborhood showcases a collection of mid-century modern homes that embodies Beadle’s design philosophy. These homes are characterized by their post-and-beam construction, open floor plans, and large windows that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Beadle House 11

Another noteworthy example of Beadle’s work is Beadle House 11, which he designed for himself and his family. Completed in 1963, this stunning residence exemplifies the architect’s minimalist approach, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed steel beams, and sense of effortless elegance.

Today, Al Beadle’s architectural legacy lives on in the many buildings he designed throughout Phoenix and the surrounding areas. His work continues to be celebrated by architects, designers, and mid-century modern enthusiasts who appreciate the timeless quality of his designs. Preservation efforts are underway to ensure that Beadle’s architectural gems remain intact for future generations to enjoy.


In a city like Phoenix, where the natural beauty of the desert meets the sleek sophistication of modern design. Those who call this place home or are simply visiting, should consider checking out Al Beadle’s architectural masterpieces. From the effortlessly cool Paradise Gardens community located on 32nd Street to 36th Street and Mountain View, to the striking Beadle House 11 on 4323 E McDonald Dr, there’s no shortage of Beadle-designed gems to explore and appreciate.


Arizona Mid-Century Modern Architecture


For those who are always on the hunt for vestiges of mid-century modernism, you’ll have some happy surprises right in Optima®’s own backyard — in Scottsdale. Here you’ll discover a history that is rich in architectural heft, including wholly-intact examples from the city’s 1950s community, where some of the finest mid-century modern structures remain.  

Striking examples of mid-century modernity can be seen in Scottsdale’s commercial buildings scattered across the city, alongside several repurposed pubs and restaurants. Architectural gems can also be found in older neighborhoods. Especially those that were built by Ralph Haver. A local architect who utilized walls of glass, low-pitched roofs, and angled porch posts all packaged within a modestly-sized home.

And don’t miss another example of impeccably-renovated mid-century vernacular in the sleek Hotel Valley Ho. The hotel boasts façades of glass and concrete panels that express arrowhead motifs. Opened in 1956, it was largely a getaway for a number of Hollywood stars. Zsa Zsa Gabor rode horses there. Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner had their wedding reception in the hotel ballroom. And Jimmy Durante used to play piano late at night in the lobby.

The Arizona Biltmore, a 39-acre resort not far down the road, is another example of the city’s architectural history. The Biltmore is often identified as a Frank Lloyd Wright building, but it was actually designed in collaboration with Albert Chase McArthur, a protege of the great master.

The Biltmore has the dramatic presence of a large-scale Wright building, and is one of only 13 structures that Wright designed and in the area. His students, on the other hand, were involved with many others. For Wright acolytes, any visit to the Phoenix area begins with his winter residence and headquarters, Taliesin West. Now home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and located on the edge of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale. Which also happens to be where our most recent architectural development will be situated — Optima McDowell Mountain Village — Wright passed on his genius to an entire generation of eager architects such as Blaine Drake, Vern Swaback, and Heloise Crista.

No survey of mid-century modernist architecture is complete without the David and Gladys Wright House. David was one of Wright’s eight children, and the house the elder Wright designed for him was based on a rising spiral (also the design for New York’s Guggenheim Museum) while remaining imaginative and human in scale. The spiral lifts the living quarters above the treetops so that anyone in the house has access to carefully framed panoramic views of the mountains in the distance, and spaces that flow organically and wonderfully into one another.

It’s always a pleasure to connect our “Forever Modern” mantra at Optima® with the broad, deep mid-century modern legacy that lives on in the communities where we work and build!

Best Restaurants in Scottsdale

Living at  Optima Sonoran Village in Scottsdale, Arizona, comes with a lifestyle filled with a vibrant range of eateries that offer exceptional food, impeccable service, and an unforgettable atmosphere.

From modern Mexican dishes at Toca Madera to the classic steakhouse experience at Mastro’s City Hall, the city has something for everyone. And what better way to fully immerse yourself in the culinary culture than by residing at Optima Sonoran Village? Located in desirable Old Town Scottsdale, Optima Sonoran Village is located minutes away from some of the best restaurants in the city.

We’ve put together a list of some of the must-try restaurants in Scottsdale. So get ready to treat your taste buds to an unforgettable culinary adventure while enjoying Optima Sonoran Village’s luxurious amenities.

Toca Madera

Indulge in a modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine at Toca Madera, a must-visit restaurant in Scottsdale. Fresh and organic ingredients elevate every dish, from the tableside guacamole to the flavorful ceviche and tacos. The impressive cocktail menu adds a touch of sophistication to your dining experience, with signature drinks that are sure to impress.


Discover one of the best Japanese cuisines in Scottsdale at Nobu. This upscale restaurant is renowned for its creative sushi rolls, sashimi, and other Japanese-inspired dishes. The sleek and modern decor, as well as the lively ambiance, make Nobu a top choice for a night out with friends or a special occasion. Sip on sake or Japanese whiskey, or choose from the extensive wine list to complement your meal.

Café Monarch

For an intimate and cozy dining experience, Café Monarch is a top choice in Scottsdale. The seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients create a menu that is both creative and detailed. The dishes range from foie gras to lamb chops and scallops, all of which are beautifully presented. The impressive wine list offers a range of bottles worldwide, making Café Monarch a perfect destination for a romantic dinner or special occasion.

Ocean 44

Experience fresh seafood at its finest at Ocean 44, one of the top seafood restaurants in Scottsdale. Enjoy a range of dishes from oysters on the half-shell to whole Maine lobster, all expertly prepared with a sophisticated and modern twist. For diners who prefer meat, there is also a selection of prime steaks and other meat dishes to choose from. Savor a range of craft cocktails and wines as you take in the lively atmosphere.

Mastro’s City Hall

For a classic steakhouse experience in Scottsdale, Mastro’s City Hall is the perfect choice. The warm and inviting decor and a menu featuring prime steaks, seafood dishes, and classic sides create a traditional dining experience that is sure to impress. Choose from a range of mouth-watering dishes such as bone-in ribeye, Chilean sea bass, or lobster mashed potatoes. The extensive wine list includes bottles from around the world, adding a touch of sophistication to your dining experience.

Olive & Ivy

Take your taste buds on a journey to the Mediterranean with Olive & Ivy. This open-concept restaurant serves a range of dishes inspired by the region’s flavors, from wood-fired pizzas to fresh seafood. The warm and inviting decor and lively ambiance make Olive & Ivy a great choice for a family dinner or a night out with friends. The extensive wine list and range of craft cocktails add to the dining experience, making it a top destination in Scottsdale.

Bourbon & Bones

Savor the best steak in Scottsdale at Bourbon & Bones, a premier and modern steakhouse located in the center of Old Town. With a menu featuring prime steaks, seafood dishes, and classic sides, Bourbon & Bones offers a high-end dining experience with a modern twist. The sleek and sophisticated decor creates the perfect ambiance for a night out with friends or a special occasion.

Secure Your Next Home in Scottsdale with Optima Sonoran Village

Scottsdale’s culinary scene is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in the country, with a diverse range of cuisines to suit every taste bud. Optima Sonoran Village’s central location places residents in the heart of this vibrant foodie haven, offering the opportunity to indulge in various dishes. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two, a night out with friends, or a family gathering, Scottsdale has something for everyone.

With luxurious amenities, a prime location, and access to some of the best restaurants in the country, Optima Sonoran Village is the ideal home for those who appreciate the finer things in life. Join the thriving culinary scene in Scottsdale and make Optima Sonoran Village your new home today.

How Space Affects Mood

Today, virtually every aspect of daily life seems to bring a measure of stress. And when thinking about how to cope, it’s reassuring to turn to science, where research studies continue to point to the fact that human health and the spaces in which we live, work, and play directly correlate with stress levels and mood. Since our earliest years and projects, Optima® has championed the primacy of interior space, and we continue to celebrate its importance for each and every one of our residents — including giving a few tips on how to make the most out of one’s own space!

The Importance of Natural Light

Previously, we’ve spoken about the positive effects of an abundance of natural light and expansive windows and the critical role they play in adhering to our principles of Modernist design. Sunlight alone holds many benefits that go beyond the physical. It helps increase serotonin and endorphin levels, two hormones that significantly boost our mood.

What simple steps can you take to maximize natural light in your space? Start by arranging mirrors to reflect light, making sure you’re not blocking light with furniture, and rethink the use of dark drapes or shades.

Natural light at Optima Lakeview®, Chicago, IL


The impression a space makes affects your mood, as well, and happens on an immediate and intuitive level as your mind and body engage with the physical environment. Picture an expansive living/dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows where you are drawn to gather with family and friends (or curl up with your pooch). Juxtapose that impression with what you would feel when entering a cluttered, dim room with little space to move around.

Take advantage of the layout of your space to maintain a sense of effortless flow in and around furniture and built-in elements, and keep piles and stacks to a minimum!

Introducing Color 

Color isn’t merely visual eye candy, it provides a psychological experience, as well. Beyond the sense of tranquility that the Modernist palette of monochromatic tones of gray, white, and black offer, expanding your space’s palette can make a world of difference in boosting your mood. 

Extending a hand to vibrant colors like red, yellow, or orange can give you feelings of passion and comfort. Cooler colors on the other side of the spectrum, like blue, green, and purple, can be peaceful, calming, or comforting. Sprinkling bits of color throughout your space is a surefire way to add a new emotional dimension to the environment and enhance your mood. 

Vertical landscaping at Optima Sonoran Village®

Budding Companions Can Increase Mood

We’ve written in the past about the mental health value of introducing budding companions such as house plants or flowers into your space, based on the results of comprehensive studies that show how the presence of plants improves concentration and memory retention while also reducing stress.

Make a regular habit of keeping plants and flowers around your home, and enjoy their affect of reducing the likelihood of depression and increasing positive feelings — in addition to the aesthetic beauty they provide.

From the feedback we continue to receive from Optima® residents, living in one of our communities sets the stage for high spirits and upbeat moods. With “great bones” in the design of our residences, optimized for openness, materiality and light, the opportunity to transform living space into home becomes a joy.

One Bedroom Luxury Apartments in Scottsdale

Living in luxury apartments means balancing comfortable home space and access to luxurious amenities, such as beautiful spaces and concierge services.

One-bedroom luxury apartments have a perfect balance of exclusive personal space and access to a diversely luxurious lifestyle. Why cram your entire life inside your house if you don’t have to? From solo stars to professional couples, finding the perfect one-bedroom luxury apartment in Scottsdale, AZ, is a delightful experience at Optima Sonoran Village.

14 1-Bedroom Floor Plans to Find Your Apartment-Living Dream

How many ways can you arrange a one-bedroom apartment floorplan? You’d be surprised. You will discover 14 luxury one-bedroom floor plans at Optima Sonoran Village because each lifestyle is perfected differently. Are you looking for an incredible master suite? The Cactus or the Fairview has great flow and space. Do you love to entertain guests with beautiful indoor-outdoor living designs? The Chaparral or Palomino are perfect. Need a private study? We’re ready for your work from home or pro-hobby dreams with the Drinkwater or Stetson and many more!

Discover the luxury apartment floor plan of your dreams with 14 unique arrangements to choose from at Optima Sonoran Village.

The Luxury of Living Well

What makes a one-bedroom luxury apartment floor plan perfect is not just the apartment but how you surround yourself with luxe opportunities just a few steps outside your apartment door.

Optima Sonoran Village offers an incredible array of luxury lifestyle amenities, from the breathtaking 24-hour fitness center to onsite massage therapy. Some amazing amenities include:

  • Optimized Service®
  • Onsite Massage Therapy
  • Fitness Programming: Attend curated social events and clubs, or discover the perfect way to spend an evening with the 24/7 personal assistant.
  • Optima Connect®
  • Complimentary Towel Service
  • Curated Social Events & Clubs
  • 24/7 Virtual Personal Assistant
  • Maintenance Services
  • Moving Services

You can live in the lap of luxury while also optimizing your personal space with the elegance of simplicity.

A Lushly Landscaped Oasis

Optima Sonoran Village’s courtyard is a refreshing green garden oasis in our desert city. Every apartment has an outdoor living balcony, and every balcony is dripping with lovingly cultivated greenery.

From the fitness center to the clubhouse, every location features floor-to-ceiling windows to drink in the green courtyard and create a place of beauty you will be delighted to call home. Each luxury apartment floor plan includes an outdoor living space and floor-to-ceiling windows and shares a lavish courtyard with green views that are hard to find.

Business Suites: Office Spaces that Put You in the Center of It All

Even businesses can find a luxurious home at Optima Sonoran Village, with several available business suites for small retail, offices, and more. Each business suite is fully furnished with access to building amenities, desk spaces, and your choice of interior or street-facing suites. These luxurious suites are surprisingly affordable for a downtown Scottsdale address and will become part of the internal ambiance of the resident community.

Find Luxury Apartment Living in the Middle of Scottsdale Excitement

Whether you are looking for an inner sanctum or the perfect place to host your closest friends, luxury apartment living is only a few steps away. Explore our incredible floor plans for luxury apartments, including cozy studios, personal one-bedroom designs, and beyond.

Contact us or apply today with Optima Sonoran Village to see your dream of a Scottsdale downtown luxury apartment surrounded by breathtaking amenities come true.

Optima + Sustainability Series: EV Parking

The evidence that electric and hybrid vehicles are gaining traction is on the roads everywhere. From personal vehicles to rideshares and public transport, we are, as a nation, beginning to embrace the importance of reducing carbon emissions by replacing the fossil fuels that traditional gasoline-powered engines use with forms of clean energy. 

Encouraged by the funding made available to help states fund public charging infrastructure, and Illinois’ ambitious goal to get one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2023, EVs are becoming increasingly desirable. And those who own and manage residential buildings are faced with the challenge to provide ample access to EV battery charging stations that residents need.

At Optima, we have always been sustainability-focused across our entire integrated business model — from design to building materials to landscaping – and EV parking. We began providing EV parking spaces in 2016 and 2017 at 7160 Optima Kierland and Optima Signature with 8 EV parking spaces, which represented only a small portion of the overall spaces in the garage.

Now in April 2023, Optima Verdana in Wilmette will open with 24% of the total spaces dedicated to EVs. In all of our communities — in both Illinois and Arizona — we have continued to increase EV capacity every year based upon resident demand, with the capacity to reach a full 100% at many projects. In recognition for our commitment to EV parking, Optima Sonoran Village won the Salt River Project Champions of Sustainability Award in the Building Communities for Electric Vehicles category.

In a recent Bisnow article that explores how future-facing multifamily developers are preparing for the future of electric vehicles, David Hovey Jr., AIA, Optima president and chief operating officer, observes, “Just from a sustainability perspective, obviously, demand is getting higher from both people wanting to be more sustainable … and cities wanting to be more sustainable, as well as just overall demand.”

Sustainability remains one of our most precious values at Optima. And we’re proud to be part of a growing community of property owners and managers that seeks to support sustainable practices on behalf of our residents.


Scottsdale Architecture Spotlight: Hotel Valley Ho

Scottsdale Architecture Spotlight: Hotel Valley Ho

Arizona, and particularly Scottsdale, has long been a hotspot for architectural innovation, blending the region’s natural beauty with groundbreaking design. From Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West to Paolo Soleri’s Acosanti, the state is home to a variety of remarkable structures that push the boundaries of architectural thought. One standout example is the iconic Hotel Valley Ho, a mid-century modern masterpiece nestled in the heart of Scottsdale. Today, we’re exploring the hotel’s fascinating history, stunning architectural features and commitment to preservation and sustainability. 

Nestled in the heart of Scottsdale, the Hotel Valley Ho opened its doors in 1956. The hotel was designed by Edward L. Varney, a prominent mid-century modern architect and a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the hotel sought to combine the glamor of Hollywood with the natural beauty of Arizona. Over the years, the Hotel Valley Ho has hosted numerous celebrities and undergone multiple renovations to maintain its charm and relevance. 

The Hotel Valley Ho stands as a shining example of mid-century modern architecture. Its sleek, minimalist design is characterized by clean lines, flat planes, and expansive glass walls that seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. The hotel’s iconic cantilevered roof lines and butterfly roofs give it a futuristic appeal while providing shape and protection from the elements. 

The rooms and pool at Hotel Valley Ho, Photo by C.C. Chapman, 2011

One of the most striking features of the Hotel Valley Ho is its use of materials, including concrete, steel, and native Arizona stone, which all pay homage to the state’s desert landscape. Additionally, the interior boasts vibrant colors, geometric patterns, and custom-designed furnishings that embody the essence of mid-century modern design. 

Beyond its architectural prowess, The Hotel Valley Ho offers luxurious amenities to cater to every guest’s needs. The property is home to two separate pools: The OH Pool, which features a lively atmosphere complete with a bar and cabana, and the more serene OHasis Pool, perfect for relaxation. Guests can also enjoy the award-winning VH Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and exceptional dining options, including the ZuZu restaurant, which serves inventive American cuisine. The hotel’s central location provides easy access to Scottsdale’s vibrant art galleries, shopping and outdoor activities. 

Hotel Valley Ho’s lobby, Photo by C.C. Chapman, 2011

In addition to its luxurious accommodations, the Hotel Valley Ho has demonstrated a commitment to preservation and sustainability over the years. A comprehensive restoration project in 2005 revitalized the hotel’s historic features and expanded its footprint. Modern amenities and sustainable practices, such as energy-efficient LED lighting, solar panels for heating pool water and a robust recycling program have been incorporated throughout the property. This commitment ensures that future generations can experience the magic of this mid-century modern masterpiece. 

The Hotel Valley Ho truly offers an unforgettable experience, seamlessly blending luxury, history and sustainability. Its timeless design and dedication to preserving its heritage make it a must-visit destination for architecture enthusiasts and travelers alike.


Things to Do for Fun in Scottsdale

Scottsdale may be considered the best golf destination in the world, but its variety of tourist attractions suggests that it has much more to offer than simply golf. Scottsdale is Arizona’s crown gem due to its specialized museums, high-end restaurants, and family-friendly attractions.

Scottsdale, situated adjacent to Phoenix in the center of the southwestern United States, appeals to all types of explorers. Whether interested in history, automobiles, nature, animals, or good old-fashioned adventure, everyone can find something they like in this city.

If you are searching for iconic and unique activities in Scottsdale, you’ve come to the right place. The following are our recommendations for the greatest and most entertaining things to do in Scottsdale,  Arizona.

Explore Nature, Indoors

One of the best indoor nature tours in Scottsdale is the OdySea Aquarium. The largest aquarium in the Southwest takes you on a unique oceanic trip that is fascinating and instructive. The cutting-edge facility houses various creatures, including sharks, otters, sea lions, penguins, and sloths.

With unique experiences like SeaTREK underwater ocean walking, a large submerged escalator that descends into the deep sea, and the world’s only rotating aquarium exhibit, OdySea Voyager, OdySea Aquarium is one of your “must-see” activities in Scottsdale.

Take-In The Arts of Arizona and The Southwest

The desert settlement in eastern Maricopa County has been a powerhouse for the arts for a decade because of its close-knit artistic community. With its painter, potter, and printmaking collective, Cattle Track Arts Compound has long been a hub for creative souls. At the same time, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Wonderspaces attract a younger clientele.

However, Scottsdale’s creative scene extends far beyond its outstanding public art program and historic Arts District. It extends to one of its finest hotels, the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows, which collaborated with Cattle Track on art direction and offers guest experiences such as artist meet-and-greets, tours, and seminars.

Get Outside!

Scottsdale is home to some of the best outdoor settings in the Valley of the Sun. One of the most popular activities in Scottsdale is riding in hot air balloons over the magnificent Sonoran Desert scenery. Also, consider reserving a horse ride from MacDonald’s Ranch if you want to experience desert vegetation and wildlife from a unique viewpoint.

Several desert paths meandering through the mountains with rocky terrain and numerous switchbacks provide the ideal atmosphere for mountain bikers in Scottsdale. Hiking is another wonderful option to take in all of the beauty the Southwest has to offer. Pinnacle Peak Park is a prominent local feature and popular hiking destination.

Hit the Trails

An ATV ride is one of the best ways to explore the Arizona backcountry, allowing you to access more distant areas of the desert than on foot. Jeep trips in the Sonoran Desert are also a ton of fun; whether you embark on a full-day tour or a short morning excursion, you follow scenic routes and ascend remote, mountainous slopes.

Catch a Homerun

Spring Training in Salt River Fields is a favorite destination for baseball fans. Plan ahead to watch a game while in town since tickets sell out rapidly. Salt River Fields is a Major League Baseball Park constructed near Scottsdale on Indian territory.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies worked with the Native American community to construct a complex highlighting the region’s cultural richness. You can view the McDowell Mountains, Camelback Mountain, and Four Peaks with unsurpassed splendor from this location.

Enjoy a Day On The Links

If you are a golf enthusiast, you’ll be delighted with the variety of Scottsdale courses ideal for golfers of all skill levels and budgets. TPC Scottsdale and Troon North are regarded as some of the best courses in the country.

Troon North has two golf courses and was designed by Tom Weiskopf. Featuring undulating terrain, ravines, and beautiful views, these courses are a delight to play for golf enthusiasts. The Four Seasons Resort provides a complimentary shuttle service to Troon North; therefore, it is advisable to book a room there.

In addition, if you book a hotel at the resort, you’ll receive discounts on the golf course. Conversely, TPC Scottsdale is a golfer’s fantasy, where numerous professionals have competed. Like Troon North, it features two golf courses, The Champions and The Stadium.

Try Your Luck

Scottsdale has breathtaking scenery and spectacular sunsets, but did you know it is also one of the most progressive cities in terms of gambling? Scottsdale is a haven for those seeking to escape the crowds and has various gaming options, including slot machines, table games, and poker rooms with the state’s highest limits.

Utilize a portion of your winnings to experience the casinos’ inventive culinary selections and star-studded live performances. Whether you’re a beginner at blackjack or a seasoned master at poker, Casino Arizona is a great choice.

Exploring Scottsdale: Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction

If you are a car enthusiast or a lover of all things automobile, you might want to buckle up for this one! 

Throughout its rich 45-year history, the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has become world-renowned for offering the finest, most prestigious selection of collector cars at auction, outstanding professional service, and capturing sales success second to none. Barrett-Jackson began as a modest company, started by Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett, two car aficionados in Scottsdale, AZ who met through a car advertisement in the mid-1960’s. 

Tom Barrett wanted to sell his 1933 Cadillac V16 Town Car and the most interested buyer happened to be Russ Jackson. That deal was never struck between the two but instead, a lifelong friendship and partnership was formed.

In 1967, Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett hosted their first car auction, which was called “Fiesta de los Elegantes.” Fiesta de los Elegantes was held as a fundraiser to donate to local charities, which included the community arts and the Scottsdale Public Libraries.

Mercedes 770 Phaeton

In 1971, Russ and Tom presented the company’s first car collector auction, which featured classic autos from the two men’s private collections. The star of the auction was a Mercedes 770 Phaeton that sold for $153,000 — and this grabbed the attention of auto collectors from around the world. From there, the sale of this rare vehicle set the Barrett-Jackson name into motion around the world.

Speeding towards today, Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world. Its iconic events, branded as The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions, take place in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Houston, and Las Vegas, where hundreds of the most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles parade in front of a global audience. Take a look at a few of the most awesome cars shown and auctioned off at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Car Auction:

1958 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Topless Roadster

1960 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible

Be a part of the world’s greatest classic car auction in 2023, just a stone’s throw from Optima KierlandOptima Sonoran Village and Optima Paradise Valley. And even if you might not be holding a paddle to bid on one of these sweet gems, take the chance to explore the city of Scottsdale, the auction venue – the Westworld of Scottsdale, and immerse yourself in car memorabilia all week long.

Tickets for Barrett-Jackson The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction, taking place from Saturday, January 21, through Sunday, January 29, at WestWorld.

Scottsdale Public Art: Impulsion

As part of our ongoing public art series, we’ve been exploring exceptional creations to be found across Scottsdale such as Water to Water, Pinball Wizard and today’s breathtaking focus, Impulsion.

Project Background The project was commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art, and installed in December, 2014. It was announced that Impulsion, a work created by Jeff Zischke, had been chosen from 200 applicants as the new sculpture for the entrance of one of the most recognized equestrian centers in the country, WestWorld. The city of Scottsdale undertook an expansion that added 40,000 square feet of space to host special events and renovated their equidome, and wanted to celebrate the newly-opened space with a public art commission.

Today, you’ll find that the equestrian experience at WestWorld is complemented by any number of non-equestrian events ranging from dog shows to auto auctions, including the Barrett-Jackson Car Show. These various events provide great financial benefits to the community while contributing to Scottsdale’s treasure trove of things to do.

Power, Nobility, and Beauty Made of stainless steel tubing, the reflective quality of Impulsion exhibits the brilliance of an equestrian structure floating in formation. The artist’s desire was to create an iconic sculpture to welcome visitors with a grand entry experience as they step inside North Hall at WestWorld.

Construction of Impulsion Impulsion is an amalgamation of several horse breeds, projecting the excitement of explosive movement in equine form. In a recent interview, Zischke explains, “At the fundamental level, my intention is to create a site-specific work that is unique, educational, and interactive. To create a catalyst for an experience that tells visitors that Scottsdale is a place on the move. A place containing all the power of the large, elegant horse they are gazing at.”

Jeff Zischke is an Arizona artist who works in both the public and private art sectors, creating sculptures, mixed media and urban transformation pieces. His viewpoint on the environment he lives in is addressed through varying installations centered on organic shapes and modern technology.

Next time you’re out and about in your hometown or visiting Scottsdale from outside the community, don’t miss an excursion to WestWorld and check out Impulsion!

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Tee Off

Before we tee off, it’s important to know that the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open is known as the “Greenest Show on Grass.” Playing host to the greatest players in the game. It is the PGA’s most attended event, drawing nearly 700,000 spectators each year to TPC Scottsdale! 

WM stands for so much more than just “Managing Waste.” Not all heroes wear capes, or in this case — hard hats. Through Waste Management’s sponsorship of the Phoenix Open, the company has set out to seek better environmental solutions for everyone. Regardless of whether you’re tossing pizzas, running a construction site, or managing a household. 

In 2021, the WM Phoenix Open raised more than $3.8 million dollars for charity, and has raised more than $165M for charities in its 85-year history. At the same time, the event has an economic impact of more than $400 million. Bringing revenue to every part of the hospitality industry in the Scottsdale area.

The action isn’t just limited to the golf course. Behind the scenes, thousands work tirelessly to ensure the WM Phoenix Open generates zero waste for tomorrow and inspires spectators to reimagine what a sporting event can truly be. 

TPC Scottsdale Stadium

A Course Par Excellence

The City of Scottsdale underwent an extensive renovation of TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium golf course and clubhouse in 2014, led by architect Tom Weiskopf. It included the relocation of four greens, resurfacing of all greens, and reshaping and regrassing of all tee complexes. It also included the relocation and reshaping of all bunker complexes, replacement of cart paths, and re-landscaping of desert areas. The redesign added a dramatic new look to the course, in part due to planting more than 250 trees.  Today, the course is both aesthetically pleasing and more challenging. 

Behind The Phoenix Open

Water from kitchens and bars are used in portable restrooms during the Phoenix Open, millions of gallons of water are restored for Arizona Tribal Nations through Water Restoration Certificates, and water education is incorporated throughout the entire tournament to raise awareness. 

On the subject of emissions, WM Phoenix Open is the first golf organization to sign on to the UN Sports for Climate Action Initiative, aiming for a whopping 50% reduction target of emissions by 2030 and net zero operations by 2040. As if they didn’t prove themselves enough already. Did we mention that all of the electricity purchased for course operation is 100% renewable?

For the fan or golfer who desires to start the year off with a bang! The Waste Management Phoenix Open takes place in Scottsdale from February 6-12.

Purchase Tickets Here for the Greenest Show on Grass!

The Benefits of Living With a View

It’s hard not to picture floor-to-ceiling windows with abundant light, a grand sky deck or a private terrace with unmatched views when thinking of a dream home. And whether you live in a gorgeous desertscape or a bustling metropolitan, nothing beats panoramic views of the surrounding environment. Since one of our favorite aspects of creating elevated living environments is celebrating and embracing the surrounding atmosphere, today we’re exploring the benefits of living with a view.


Location has always been an integral part of our development process at Optima. From the breathtaking mountains that surround Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland Apartments & Optima McDowell Mountain Village to the endless city and lake views at Optima Signature, Optima Verdana and Optima Lakeview, each of our communities offers its own unique views, but all come with the same enriching benefits.


Apart from the picturesque scenes, living with a view, especially one of nature like mountains or water, has a powerful effect on reducing stress. Rejuvenation and refreshment are all but guaranteed with access to a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle around you, like at any of Optima’s sky decks. From the fresh air to the panoramic views from sunset to sunrise, stress decreases, and your health is automatically enhanced.


For creatives, little is more inspiring than a sprawling view. Similar to how living with a view boosts certain areas of our health, it also promotes happiness and creative thinking. While mountains catalyze creative expression, water views, in particular, will leave you with a “blue mind effect”. According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols living on or near water shifts typical “red mind” feelings, like tension and anxiety, into “blue mind” feelings of relaxation and cheerfulness.


Whether you’re looking for creative inspiration, need destress or just want to live with breathtaking perspectives of your surroundings, living with a view comes with a number of unknown perks, all of which can be experienced in any of Optima’s communities.

4 Benefits of Scottsdale Luxury Apartment Living

Your apartment is more than just the place you call home; it’s a vital element in your lifestyle and can change the way you experience the everyday. A growing number of people in Scottsdale are seeking to live in a luxury community that can fulfill their every desire, making it easy to create an incredible life they truly love.

At Optima Sonoran Village, our community is expertly designed to serve the wants and needs of every resident, allowing you to shape the luxury lifestyle you deserve. Our luxury apartments in Scottsdale offer an extensive list of amenities that raises the bar for high-end apartment living.

Here are just a few of the top benefits of living in a luxury apartment:

Beautifully Designed Living Spaces that Feel Like Home

Rather than settle for the cheaply-constructed, poorly-outfitted apartments you’ll find in other communities, the luxury apartments at Optima Sonoran Village are designed with a distinct sense of high-end style. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the stunning desert and city views into your home, while upscale touches like granite countertops, solid surface flooring, and stainless-steel appliances comprise the beautiful interior. Thoughtful elements like walk-in closets, wine refrigerators, and spacious outdoor living areas elevate your apartment unit into your dream home.

Community Amenities that Make Every Day a Vacation

Here, you’ll enjoy a balanced live/work/play vibe that makes it easy to live every day as your best self. Stay in prime shape with our 24-hour fitness center, complete with on-site personal training, an indoor lap pool and spa, sports courts, and more. When it’s time to relax, take advantage of resort-style living at our gorgeous outdoor community spaces, featuring pools, fire pits, outdoor saunas, a pet park, and a 19,000 square-foot private residents’ club. Many so-called luxury communities may offer only a single outdoor pool and cramped gym, while Optima Sonoran Village goes above and beyond to deliver a community that truly has it all.

On-Site Services for the Ultimate in Convenience

Save yourself time and energy with signature services from Optima Sonoran Village, which makes it easy to focus on doing the things you love. Our complimentary coffee service will deliver your favorite latte every morning, while the 24/7 virtual concierge can handle everything from ordering concert tickets to scheduling your appointments. On-site staff like our custom tailor, Pilates instructor, barbers, and hairstylists will make sure you look and feel your best every day, and electric vehicle charging stations and car wash stations let you keep your vehicle in prime condition.

Privacy, Safety, and Security

At the Optima Sonoran Village luxury community, our residents’ safety and security are of the highest priority. Our management staff works tirelessly to maintain the peaceful serenity and upscale ambiance our residents know and love, while useful services like 24/7 package receiving (and pick-up) mean you’ll never have to worry about your most valuable possessions.

Experience the Only True Luxury Lifestyle Apartments Scottsdale Has to Offer

For anyone searching for luxury apartments in Old Town Scottsdale and its surrounding neighborhoods, there are plenty of communities that promise the upscale residence and lifestyle you’ve always wanted. However, when it comes to high-end apartment amenities, Scottsdale is home to the one and only luxury community that can truly exceed your every expectation: Optima Sonoran Village. At our luxury apartment community in Scottsdale, we’re redefining the concept of high-end living, providing residents with unparalleled access to exclusive amenities, stunning living spaces, and an excellent location in the heart of Old Town.

Learn more about the luxury lifestyle waiting for you at Optima Sonoran Village by contacting us to schedule your private tour today.

4 Reasons to Live in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ

Whether you’re already an Arizona local or someone who’s new to the Grand Canyon State, odds are you already know that the Valley is one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S. And while each of the cities in the Valley have their own unique qualities to offer new residents, Scottsdale has quickly become known as one of the best places to live in Arizona. 

If you’re considering moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, the pros and cons of living here are probably one of the topics you’re most interested in – so we’re breaking down all the best things about relocating to this desert city.

You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do in Scottsdale

One of the reasons that Scottsdale is such a desirable place to live is that it’s home to a massive variety of restaurants, shops, bars, galleries, and so much more. Whether you’re a sports lover, a foodie, a designer fashionista, or anything in between, you can find plenty of things to do here. Plus, the city’s close proximity to other parts of the Valley makes it easy to access everything Arizona has to offer.

You Can Become a Resident at Optima Sonoran Village

For new residents searching for a luxury residence where they can enjoy a VIP lifestyle, there’s only one community worth considering in downtown Scottsdale: Optima Sonoran Village. Moving to Scottsdale means you’ll be able to settle into your new life at Optima Sonoran Village, where you’ll enjoy the very best in first-class amenitiesstunning living spaces, and so much more.

Our contemporary residences are specifically designed to serve as the perfect canvas to your everyday life, and our community offers top-notch amenities such as unparalleled privacy and security, a full-service concierge, world-class fitness center, and lush outdoor landscaping. Located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, we put you within easy reach of everything in Scottsdale.

Skiing and Winter Weather Fun is Just A Drive Away

Where else can you wake up in the winter with 70+ degree sunny weather, hop in your car and be skiing in under three hours? While you may miss the changing seasons in the valley, luckily, you can always go to Flagstaff or Sedona to get your winter fix or Mt Lemmon to go skiing.

Summer Fun

Scottsdale is part of the Arizona desert, so it’s probably no surprise that the temperature can climb pretty high here. It’s not unusual to have 100-plus degree days, and the summer sun keeps the city warm from May through September. However, the hot summers mean you’ll be able to make the most of pool party season, especially at the resort-style pools at Optima Sonoran Village.

Join the Most Exclusive Luxury Community in Scottsdale

Like nearly any city in the world, Scottsdale can be an incredible place to start a new life – but only if you choose your home wisely. Whether you’re brand-new to the area or are simply looking for new apartments in Scottsdale, Optima Sonoran Village is the city’s best place to call home. Our luxury residences are unlike anything else in the Valley, complete with the extensive amenities you want and deserve.


Learn more about Optima Sonoran Village and the life you can have here by contacting us to schedule a private tour of our community today.

Apply Now

Discover Old Town Scottsdale

Discover Old Town Scottsdale

When you’re a resident at Optima Sonoran Village, you’re a part of one of the most desirable communities in Scottsdale – and a recipient of all of the perks that come along with that. From your comfortable, designer-inspired private home to the stunning community and all its amenities, you won’t find anything quite like the Optima lifestyle anywhere else.

One of the many benefits of choosing our luxury rentals in Scottsdale as your home is Optima Connect™. This program offers a wide range of discounts and exclusive benefits available only to our residents. Discounted fitness classes, tickets to local cultural events, luxury spa treatments, and discounts at the best restaurants in Scottsdale are just some of the exclusive benefits included in the Optima Connect program. You won’t just be living in one of the best apartment communities in the Valley; you’ll also be dining, shopping, and exploring like a true VIP.

When you’re residing in the heart of downtown Scottsdale , why not take advantage of everything the city has to offer? From arts and culture to nightlife and fine dining, you have a diverse range of exciting experiences waiting right outside the community gates.

Here are just a few things to look forward to enjoying in Scottsdale when you become a resident at Optima Sonoran Village:


First-Class Dining at Scottsdale’s Best Restaurants

One of Scottsdale’s highlights is its incredible selection of top-rated restaurants, ranging from luxury steakhouses to casual cafes. No matter what you’re craving, you can find it within minutes from your home at Optima Sonoran Village.


Experience the Unmatched Scottsdale Shopping Experience

Our community is right around the corner from Fashion Square Mall, where you can browse dozens of designer boutiques, luxury department stores, and trendy shops in one place. Or explore Old Town Scottsdale to find unique gifts, art, and more.


Find Plenty of Things to Do in Scottsdale

You’ll never be bored in the city of Scottsdale because there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Outdoor adventures, a thriving nightlife, workout classes, museums, and other highlights are waiting for you to explore. And the best part? With the Optima Connect program, you truly can do it all – at an exclusively discounted price. Our partners in the Optima Connect program include the following local businesses, Scottsdale restaurants, service providers, and fitness centers:

Interior Design Tips to Make Your Apartment a Home

Moving into a new apartment is an exciting experience, especially because you have a completely blank canvas to decorate. But for many apartment dwellers, figuring out how to make their space feel like home can be a challenge. 

Whether you’re getting ready to relocate to a new place or want to enhance your current apartment, adding the right decorative touches is the best way to truly make it feel like your own. From maximizing the functionality and style of a small apartment to making every room feel unique, we’ve assembled a list of the best apartment decorating tips to help you get started.

Interior Design Tips to Make Your Apartment a Home

You don’t need a professional interior design consultation to style your next apartment – especially with these tips and tricks up your sleeve. For a comfortable, personalized apartment that would impress even the most skilled interior designers, here’s a go-to guide to our favorite apartment decorating ideas.

Never underestimate the impact of lighting.

From table lamps to wall sconces, the right lighting can completely transform your apartment. Even if your apartment already comes with plenty of built-in lighting features in the form of ceiling fans, can lights, and more, you still want to make sure to add your own to enhance the space. 

Almost every room should have at least one table or floor lamp, except for the kitchen and bathrooms (although some interior designers add petite lamps there as well). Make use of plug-in wall sconces so that you don’t have to deal with hardwiring – there are so many stylish, designer-crafted options out there. Floor lamps are ideal for a cozy corner, especially if you choose lamps with a slim profile and minimal footprint. 

Not only does lighting literally brighten your apartment, but it switches up the mood for certain times of day or occasions. Tech-savvy smart bulbs offer options for adjusting the color, brightness, and more, giving you full control. Think elegantly dimmed dining room lighting for a dinner party, a gently glowing bedside lamp for pre-bedtime reading, and a warm, welcoming entryway lamp to greet you after a long day at work.

Of course, the best way to enjoy a flawlessly lit home is to choose an apartment with ample natural lighting. For example, the floor-to-ceiling windows at Optima Sonoran Village not only offer beautiful views but also let in plenty of sunlight during the daytime hours. What better way to wake up for your morning cardio session than with the Arizona sun gently streaming into your home?

Maximize storage with smart, stylish solutions.

Even if you’ve lived in a large, single-family home, you know that storage is a common frustration – no matter the size of your space. You've probably found yourself searching for new ways to add storage space without weighing down the design with unappealing clutter. 

At Optima Sonoran Village, rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms are ready to contain all your necessities with sleek, modern cabinetry. Moving into a thoughtfully designed apartment is the first step you can take towards mastering stylish storage.

There’s also no shortage of attractive, storage-friendly furniture and design ideas to consider. Prefer to keep your area clean and uncluttered? Built-ins with cabinets or furniture with hidden storage drawers are a great option. For the maximalist who like all of their belongings taking center stage, vertical shelving for the walls adds both storage and personality. 

Create “zones” with your furniture, area rugs, and decor.

When you decorate your apartment, the goal should be to aim for both form and function. Not only do you want the space to look great, but you always need it to serve all your needs, whatsoever those may be. Using furniture pieces, rugs, and other elements to divide your home into “zones,” you can make sure it's being used to its fullest potential.

Creating zones is particularly useful in open concept designs, like in the residences at Optima Sonoran Village. The kitchen, dining room, and living room all flow into each other, which is an ideal way to create the sense of a space that’s larger than it actually is. At the same time, some people aren’t sure how to begin “using” such an open-ended space. 

But with furniture, you can set up zones that make sense for your lifestyle. Maybe you love to entertain, so you place a large table and comfortable chairs in the dining area. An oversized, easy-to-clean rug will anchor the area and create a soft cushion underfoot. Keeping this approach in mind, you can keep each space connected but also defined.

Don’t forget window treatments.

When it comes to apartment design ideas, many lists fail to mention the impact that window treatments can have. Even though you might be tempted to skip the time and investment involved, especially when you’re renting, don’t – curtains and shades can completely change your home for the better. Luxurious drapes in the bedroom, a casual cafe curtain in the kitchen, and smart shades in the main living area are both stylish and useful.

Keep in mind that you should always double-check your rental agreement to see if there are any limitations on what you can do.

Incorporate art into your apartment decor. 

One of the simplest ways to make your apartment feel like home is with art that speaks to your style. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer contemporary, abstract pieces, traditional and vintage paintings, or even a mix of artistic photography and candid shots of friends and family – if you like it, it should earn a spot in your home. 

Create a focal point with a single large piece of wall art, hang a gallery wall that centers on a specific theme, or scatter framed pieces of all sizes throughout all the rooms. Ultimately, how you use art – and the kind you enjoy – is completely up to you.

The Scottsdale Apartments You’ll Love Coming Home To

Ultimately, even the best apartment interior design tips won’t be helpful if you’re starting with a space that doesn’t suit your needs. Instead of settling for an apartment that isn’t perfect for you, why not set yourself up for decorating style success by choosing the best apartments for rent in Scottsdale, AZ?

Optima Sonoran Village is the Valley’s premier luxury rental community, raising the bar for upscale apartment design. With floor plans that range from a streamlined studio to an expansive, three-bedroom apartment with ample room for entertaining, we have something to suit every lifestyle. 

Our smallest studios are more spacious than many other apartments for rent in Phoenix, so you can be confident that you’ll have plenty of room to express yourself with the apartment decor of your choice. Plus, because Optima Sonoran Village boasts designer interiors with thoughtful details and premier finishes, you have a stunning space even before you add decor.

See our residences for yourself with an in-person tour of our studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in Scottsdale – it’s the best way to get a feel for what your future home at Optima Sonoran Village will be like. Contact our leasing office to schedule your tour today!

Living in Scottsdale, AZ: 5 Pros and Cons

For anyone planning on moving to Arizona, the pros and cons of living in the Grand Canyon State are probably a major consideration. Anytime you’re thinking about relocating, it’s important to break down both the benefits and drawbacks of your potential new home state – luckily, living in Arizona comes with plenty of perks.

If you’re wondering if you should make the move, here are five of the top pros and cons of living in Arizona, the American Southwest’s favorite desert state:


Pro: For most months of the year, you’ll enjoy the most perfect weather imaginable.

Con: Arizona summers can be serious scorchers.

One of the biggest draws for anyone thinking about moving to Arizona is our famously gorgeous weather, especially during the winter months. While most of the country is digging its way out of snow and ice, we’re soaking up the sun and enjoying mild temperatures. On the flip side, summers are notoriously hot here. But that also means we get to spend more time at the pool than any other state’s residents – and it’s tough to complain about that.


Pro: The Arizona job market is full of opportunities.

Con: Competition can be tough for candidates.

The Phoenix metro area has become a hub for business, including technology, finance, and more. You’re likely to find a wealth of professional opportunities here, and it’s possible to exceed all of your career goals as a Valley resident. However, the flourishing economy attracts many exceptional job candidates, so be prepared to go above and beyond to win the job of your dreams.


Pro: There are many housing options available for new residents.

Con: Finding the right place to live can be tough if you aren’t familiar with the area.

The Phoenix metro area encompasses several thriving cities, including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, and others. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, you can definitely find options – but knowing exactly where to go can feel confusing. Instead of ending up in a part of town that doesn’t suit your needs, stick with a luxury rental community in the heart of the city, like Optima Sonoran Village.


Pro: Arizona is a stunning landscape with an impressive variety of wildlife.

Con: Scorpions, snakes, and spiders are the norm.

Even though Arizona’s cities are very metropolitan, the surrounding desert landscape is still flourishing with beautiful plants and animals. On the upside, you have a variety of choices for scenic hikes; but the downside is that while you’re on the mountain, you may encounter some of the desert's famous wildlife.


Pro: There are so many things to do in Arizona.

Con: Some of the more popular destinations can get busy with tourists.

Arizona has so much to offer locals and visitors alike, which is why it’s become such a popular tourist destination. You might find that the state’s most well-known hot spots can get pretty busy, depending on the time of year. However, once you’re a local, you’ll have all the insider knowledge for where to go – and when – to beat the crowds.

Consider Our Luxury Rental Community: Optima Sonoran Village

Optima Sonoran Village is Scottsdale’s premier luxury community, located in the heart of the city’s trendy Old Town district. Here, you’ll be living in one of the most exclusive apartment communities in Phoenix, living a VIP-worthy lifestyle in our stunning, open-concept apartments, and taking advantage of an impressive variety of amenities.

Discover the incredible lifestyle waiting for you at Optima Sonoran Village by contacting us to schedule a private community tour today.

Apply Today

Moving to Scottsdale? What You Should Know About Living Here

Scottsdale, Arizona has established itself as one of America’s most desirable places to call home, joining the ranks of other enviable cities such as Beverly Hills, Miami, and New York City. Living in Scottsdale means being surrounded by the epitome of luxury, desert beauty, and fun, so it comes as no surprise that so many people are dreaming of moving to this Arizona city. If you're thinking about relocating to Scottsdale, here’s what you need to know about this shining gem of the American Southwest.

There’s Something for Everyone in this Desert City

One of the reasons that Scottsdale is such a popular destination for new residents and tourists alike is the wealth of experiences this one-of-a-kind city has to offer:

  • At Fashion Square Mall, fashion lovers can browse the latest creations for the world’s most revered designers, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry.
  • Critically-acclaimed chefs and restaurants are around every corner in Scottsdale, serving up everything from prime steaks and seafood to tasty sweet treats.
  • Hiking Camelback Mountain is just one of the ways you can experience the natural side of Scottsdale; the nearby Desert Botanical Garden, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and others offer plenty of must-see spots.
  • You can treat yourself to a day of self-care at one of Scottsdale’s luxury spas, with services such as facials, massages, saunas, and more.
  • Catch a spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium, where the San Francisco Giants draw massive crowds of enthusiastic fans. Once the game is over, you can explore the surrounding Old Town historic district to find some of the city’s best galleries, bars, boutiques, and restaurants.

Scottsdale is Considered One of America’s Hippest Locales

Named the “desert version of Miami’s South Beach” by none other than the New York Times, Scottsdale has a well-earned reputation as one of the most stylish cities in the country. Trendy nightclubs, upscale designer fashion, celebrity residents, contemporary art, and five-star dining are among the city’s shining qualities, making it a hub for cutting-edge action.

With Weather Like This, You’ll Never Miss Winter

While other metropolitan centers are covered in freezing snow and ice all winter long, Scottsdale enjoys plenty of sun and mild temperatures in the 60s and 70s. With more than 330 days of sunshine every year, the city is the perfect place to escape cold winters and rainy climates.

For Residents in the Know, Scottsdale is an Oasis of Luxury Living

While there are plenty of options for apartments in Scottsdale, in order to truly experience the best of this thriving city, you’ll want to choose your home carefully. A handful of luxury apartment communities in Scottsdale, including Optima Sonoran Village, represent the ultimate in VIP living. Counted among the best upscale residences in the world, these communities feature amenities such as complimentary coffee service, 24/7 concierge, on-site personal training and massage services, rooftop decks, and so much more. For anyone moving to Scottsdale, a luxury residence provides a lifestyle unlike any other.

Make Optima Sonoran Village Your Home in the Heart of Scottsdale, AZ

Interested in living in Scottsdale, AZ? With so much to do and see in this cosmopolitan desert city, you’ll be glad you made the move. At Optima Sonoran Village, you’ll be able to truly experience the Scottsdale lifestyle, where every single day can be your best one yet. Our community is designed for the resident who wants more from life, with spacious, designer-inspired interiors, lush landscaping, and unparalleled amenities.

Learn more about planning a move to Scottsdale and choosing the right Optima Sonoran Village residence for you by scheduling your private tour today.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock/ Tim Roberts Photography

Is Renting Better Than Buying? Pros & Cons

When you’re trying to make any big life decision, breaking down the pros and cons of each of your options can be a smart way to make the right choice. Of course, deciding whether renting or buying is better is completely up to you – and means that you’ll need to consider your lifestyle, budget, and preferences. It can be overwhelming to figure out which is the best fit for you, especially when both offer their own unique pros and cons.

But now, we’re making it easier to weigh your options by arming you with a handy list of the most important factors to take into account when you’re wondering: should I rent or buy?

Renting vs. Owning/Buying: A Closer Look

Owning your own home is often considered an important milestone that every individual should strive for – but is it really all it’s cracked up to be? While there are certainly positive aspects to homeownership, there are plenty of downsides as well. In fact, when you assess the pros and cons of renting versus buying, a rental property often comes out as the winner.

Here are just some of the benefits of renting when compared to buying, making it easy to see why more and more people are deciding to rent their dream residences:

You Don’t Have to Deal with Maintenance or Repairs

One of the biggest advantages to renting is that you can live without worry of an unexpected repair bill or major maintenance cost. If you know even a few homeowners, you’ve likely heard about the long list of things that can go wrong with a property – and it adds up quickly! But when you’re a renter, it’s not your responsibility to deal with maintenance, improvements, or repairs. From appliances to light bulbs, it’s all handled by your property manager.

It’s common to hear that owning a home is less expensive than renting in the long run, but that argument doesn’t usually take repair and maintenance into account. Even a new home can have expensive issues, driving your overall costs higher and higher. If you’d prefer to avoid the expense (and stress!) of repair and maintenance, then renting might be right for you.

You’ll Have Easy Access to VIP-Level Amenities

When you buy a home, you might be lucky to have a few parks in your neighborhood… luxury neighborhoods might even offer a community pool. However, nothing can compare to the amenities available to you as a resident of a luxury apartment community. Even the most basic of rental communities usually offer attractive amenities such as a fitness center and swimming pool, with upscale rentals promising a lifestyle that anybody would envy.

For example, at Optima Sonoran Village, we’ve crafted a Scottsdale rental community that has more amenities than you’ll find anywhere else in the Valley. Resort-style pools, a 24-hour fitness center, on-site personal training, massage rooms, complimentary coffee services, and a virtual concierge are just a few of our residents’ favorite amenities. Here, you don’t even need to leave the property to experience a full day of luxury.

You Can Live in a Highly Desirable, Central Location

It’s not unusual for single-family home neighborhoods to be located some distance away from a city’s most popular highlights. Because of the nature of city planning, as a homeowner, you’re likely to end up at least a few minutes’ drive away from great shopping, dining, and entertainment.

However, rental communities are often nestled next to the most exclusive destinations in a city. Optima Sonoran Village is adjacent to many of the best shops, galleries, and restaurants in Scottsdale, including the dining and nightlife in Old Town Scottsdale. Just outside our community, you’ll find a myriad of places within walking distance. Scottsdale Fashion Square has all of the designer boutiques and high-end department stores you can think of, while the Scottsdale Waterfront features five-star dining. Just a few miles away, the natural splendor of Camelback Mountain and the Desert Botanical Garden awaits.

And even though we’re so close to the best in Scottsdale, Optima Sonoran Village remains a quiet, peaceful retreat from the excitement of city living.

You Have a High Level of Flexibility When Renting

Purchasing a home is a huge decision, mainly because it is a big commitment in terms of time and money. Even if you decide that you don’t like your home, you can’t just move out. Instead, you have to resell it, which involves plenty of expense and wait time. Life events such as a relocated job, new relationship, or even just a change in lifestyle can be a massive burden for homeowners.

But when you’re renting an apartment, you can enjoy far more flexibility. A typical lease averages about one year, though some communities offer shorter or longer options. If you do need to unexpectedly break your lease, you will be required to pay a fee. However, the cost and stress will be much less than what’s required to sell a home. In the event that you realize you want more space or a different layout, you might just decide to relocate to another apartment in the same community – a quick, easy move that can offer a major lifestyle upgrade.

Discover a New Standard of Luxury Living at Optima Sonoran Village

Are you still undecided when it comes to choosing between renting or buying? Once you’ve toured a luxury apartment at Optima Sonoran Village, one of the most exclusive apartment communities in Scottsdale, your decision might just be an easy one. With designer-inspired residences, resort-style amenities, stunning grounds, and a premier location in the heart of Old Town, Optima Sonoran Village redefines apartment living.

Here, you can enjoy all of the benefits of living in a rental apartment, all while reveling in the quality of life normally reserved for private luxury residences. Prospective residents can choose from a diverse range of floorplans, many of which offer more square footage, high-end finishes, and amenities than an average home. Add to that the incredible lifestyle that’s within easy reach at Optima Sonoran Village, and the choice is clear: here, you can seize the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Find your dream Scottsdale rental and take your first steps towards luxury living by contacting us or scheduling a tour today.

Moving from California to Arizona in 2024

Updated March 2022

Moving out of California? There's one state, in particular, that's at the top of their relocation list: Arizona. Optima Sonoran has insights. Learn More. In the last decade, hundreds of thousands of Californians have relocated to Arizona, ready to take advantage of all the benefits of living in our sunny desert state. From a thriving economy to affordable living, Arizona – and especially the Phoenix metro area – has plenty of perks to offer those coming from the Golden State.

Even though Arizona and California are next-door neighbors, they have their fair share of differences. However, there are also many similarities between the two, which is why Arizona has become such a popular relocation option for Californians. 

If you’re considering relocating to Arizona from California and are wondering what exactly is waiting for you, we have all the answers right here. At Optima Sonoran Village, Scottsdale’s premier luxury rental community, we’re no strangers to California transplants. Once you see what to expect when moving from California to Scottsdale, we’re confident that we’ll be seeing you soon. 

Why Choose Arizona Living?

There’s no doubt that California is famous for its West Coast way of life. And for many that are moving away from the state, it’s tough to know whether Arizona will live up to their expectations. Even though the two are neighboring states, there’s no doubt that there are some differences in climate, culture, and lifestyle. But if you ask us – and the hundreds of thousands of people from California to here – Arizona has definitely earned its status as one of the best places to live in the U.S.

Here’s a useful breakdown of how Arizona living stacks up against life in California:

  • Cost of living: Across the board, from groceries and transportation to housing and childcare, California is a far more expensive place to live. In AZ, groceries cost an average of 30% less, transportation is 16% less, and childcare is a shocking 75% less expensive than California. And of course, housing in Arizona beats California by a landslide, with a one-bedroom apartment averaging 37% less than a comparable one in CA.

  • Taxes: Individual income tax in Arizona is about half of what it is in California, and sales tax is also considerably lower.

  • Job market: The Arizona unemployment rate is consistently lower than that of California, and as our economy has grown, job opportunities do too. We have a rapidly expanding tech industry, as well as a diverse range of career options in just about every industry.

  • Traffic: California rush hour is infamous, so we don’t think we need to tell you that driving in Arizona is going to be easier. Sure, we have some traffic here, but it’s nothing compared to California.

Why Scottsdale is the best choice for relocating from California?

Imagine a stylish, laidback city with the best in dining, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, and outdoor adventure – that’s Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s become an international destination for the rich and famous, especially those with a taste for the finer things in life. But at the same time, Scottsdale has all the relaxed, fun-loving vibes of a Southern California community. 

If you’re planning to move to Arizona from California, you’ll be pleased to hear that Scottsdale is a city that can more than measure up to your former hometown. As one of the most in-demand cities in the Phoenix metro area and adjacent to virtually everything you could want in the entire Valley, Scottsdale is ideal for the California transplant that wants to have it all.

Here are just a few of the unique benefits of relocating to Scottsdale, especially when you’re a former Californian:

  • In Scottsdale, you can truly shop until you drop. You might think that California has great shopping, but you just might change your mind once you see what Scottsdale has to offer. From designer boutiques at Scottsdale Fashion Square to funky finds at locally-owned shops, going shopping in Scottsdale never has a dull moment.

    There is a long list of Scottsdale furniture stores for decorating your new home, antique shops in Old Town for vintage treasures, and a wide variety of retailers small and large for everything you could ever want or need.

  • If you’re looking for places to eat in Scottsdale, you won’t be disappointed. Some of Scottsdale’s best restaurants are within minutes of our community, putting residents within a short distance of five-star cuisine. You can also grab a quick and casual bite at dozens of neighborhood cafes and restaurants or enjoy a morning coffee while exploring Old Town. No matter what you’re craving, Scottsdale restaurants have you covered.

  • Outdoor adventures and exercise are a way of life in Scottsdale. When you live somewhere that enjoys the sun nearly every day of the year, making the most of the outdoors is a must. In Scottsdale, hiking, biking, and walking can be enjoyed virtually year-round, and on hot days, you can always find an upscale gym or a yoga studio nearby.

    Spots like Camelback Mountain offer stunning views while you work up a sweat, or you can opt for a more leisurely stroll in one of Scottsdale’s many parks. Prefer to get your exercise on the green? Home to dozens of first-class golf courses, Scottsdale is a welcome home for golf lovers.

  • Scottsdale is a major sports hub where the games never end. California is home to a long list of sports teams, both professional and local, making it an ideal home base for the sports enthusiast. However, you might be surprised to learn that Scottsdale hosts more than enough teams and games to keep your schedule full. Multiple MLB spring training stadiums in Scottsdale have games several days out of the week during the spring season and are a major gathering spot for locals and out-of-towners alike.

    If basketball or football is more your style, you’re just a short drive away from the PHX Arena (home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns) and State Farm Stadium (home field of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals). Other professional teams in the area include the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), and Phoenix Rising (USL Championship). 

Experience the Ultimate Arizona Lifestyle at Optima Sonoran Village

What if you could take everything you love about living in California – the sun, the active lifestyle, the wide variety of things to do – and transport it somewhere less crowded and more affordable? When you make the move from California to Arizona, that dream can become a reality.

Scottsdale is home to so many of the state’s top highlights, including Optima Sonoran Village, the most exclusive luxury apartment community in the Valley. Within our gates, you’ll discover a lifestyle that feels like an everyday vacation. From our multiple resort pools and first-class fitness center to the coffee service, concierge, and juice bar, at Optima Sonoran Village, you can have it all.

Our residences range in size from minimalistic studios to spacious, three-bedroom apartments, providing as much space as you need. Plus, with designer touches and upscale finishes, our Scottsdale apartments are the ultimate in luxury living.

For more information about how Optima Sonoran Village can be the perfect place to start your life in Arizona, contact our office today.

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Why Does Everyone Compare L.A. to Scottsdale?

What You’ll Learn:

In this post about the debate between L.A. and Scottsdale, we’re going to cover:

  • Why the Scottsdale vs. L.A. comparison is such a hot topic
  • The similarities and differences between Los Angeles and Scottsdale
  • Our tips for choosing the best city to live in, no matter your lifestyle

Why Does Everyone Compare L.A. to Scottsdale?

When you think of the most stylish, beautiful, and trendy cities in America, which ones come to mind? Odds are, you can name a few great places – and we’re willing to bet that your list includes Los Angeles, CA, and Scottsdale, AZ.

The L.A. vs. Scottsdale Debate

These two West Coast cities get plenty of recognition for being two of the best cities to live in in the United States. Scottsdale and L.A. are the cities you see featured in your favorite movies, the hometowns of celebrities, socialites, athletes, and everyday people alike. 

Both boast warm, sunny weather, friendly locals, and a wealth of things to do and see. But even though L.A. and Scottsdale share many similarities, they also have a fair number of differences.

If you’ve ever wondered why Scottsdale and L.A. are so often compared, the answer is pretty simple: they’re both incredible cities to live in, visit, and enjoy. And while each one has its unique benefits, many agree that one comes out on top in the big picture.

Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between Los Angeles and Scottsdale – when we’re done, and we’re confident that you’ll agree with our winning pick.

Similarities Between L.A. and Scottsdale


Both Scottsdale and L.A. have the kind of weather that most people only dream about: sunshine, warm temperatures, and no harsh winters. With weather like that, you can make the most of everything the cities have to offer. These two cities make it all easy, from hiking and biking to enjoying patio brunches and a day at the pool.

If you’re a dedicated sun lover, it might be worth noting that Scottsdale tends to have more sunny days per year

Fabulous Dining, Shopping, and Nightlife

Ask anybody why moving to L.A. is a good idea, and they’ll likely mention how many things there are to do in the City of Angels. Los Angeles has a world-famous culinary scene and some of the best shopping on the planet. Plus, it’s an excellent destination for nightlife, whether you prefer laidback local bars or hip nightclubs.

But even so, Scottsdale can hold its own in this comparison. The shopping, nightlife, and restaurants in Scottsdale have an excellent reputation for being as diverse as they are incredible. You can sit down for a casual weekend brunch with a Bloody Mary, then browse an upscale designer boutique, swing by a dive bar for an afternoon beer, then end the evening at one of the finest gourmet restaurants in the country. Scottsdale is the perfect balance of casual cool and high-end, giving you the best of both worlds.

Differences Between L.A. and Scottsdale

Cost of living

Even if you’ve never set foot in L.A., you’ve probably heard about the shocking cost of living in the city. The entire Southern California region is famously expensive, with high prices for everything from rent and taxes to groceries and gas. The average cost of living in Los Angeles is almost double the national average, with housing expenses clocking in nearly three times the U.S. average.

Compared to L.A., the Scottsdale cost of living comes out on top. You can expect to pay at least 30% more as a resident of L.A., meaning that a third of your income (or more!) will go into basic expenses. Wouldn’t you rather have that chunk of cash to use towards dining, shopping, and fun?


Like any large city, Scottsdale has streets that can get a little busy at certain times of day – but if you’ve ever sat for hours in L.A.’s infamous traffic, you know that nothing can be as painful as a Southern California freeway in rush hour.

This is partly due to the fact that Scottsdale is less congested than Los Angeles, so traffic simply flows more smoothly here. Our system of freeways and surface streets gives you a variety of options for getting from Point A to Point B, so you can always opt for an alternate route to avoid slow speeds. Plus, our grid-style street set-up makes it a lot easier to get around in general – you can forget about all those U-turns, missed exits, and detours that are so common in L.A.

Places to live

We’ve already talked about the prices you’ll pay for an apartment in L.A., but what if you don’t mind paying a little more to live in California? Well, you might not be too bothered by spending extra on rent, but you’ll probably be a little alarmed when you see how far your money gets you.

By comparison, Scottsdale is where you’ll find some of the best upscale rental communities in the region. For the same rent price, you can live in a resort-style community with all the amenities you could ever want. Professionally designed interiors with upgraded finishes and spacious floor plans can be yours, as can a community that offers private gym facilities, concierge services, swimming pools, and even parking. 

Live Your Best Life at Optima Sonoran Village Scottsdale

Sure, living in Los Angeles may have its perks – but have you ever tried to find apartments for rent in L.A.? Sky-high prices and a fast-paced market make it virtually impossible to discover great places to live in Los Angeles. But here in Scottsdale, you can enjoy the lifestyle offered by the best luxury apartments in the Valley: Optima Sonoran Village. 

When it comes to the level of luxury, style, and quality that’s waiting for you at Optima Sonoran Village, Los Angeles simply can’t complete. Located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, our exclusive community offers unmatched amenities, designer-level residences, and accessibility to all of the city’s top highlights – and best of all, our Scottsdale rents are far more affordable than what you’d find in L.A.

As a resident of Optima Sonoran Village, you’ll be surrounded by a wide range of things to do in Scottsdale: five-star restaurants, luxury shopping, scenic surroundings, and so much more. Plus, you’re a short commute away from countless businesses throughout the Valley, making it that much easier to snag your dream job. When you come home, you’ll have a top-of-the-line gym, fitness classes, resort pools, saunas, and many other community amenities just steps from your front door. And when you venture out into the city, you’ll realize that you can never run out of new places to explore.

Learn more about how to move to Scottsdale and start living the lifestyle you want and deserve. Contact Optima Sonoran Village to schedule your private tour of our community and residences today.

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Why Are So Many Californians Moving to Arizona

Updated March 2022

In 2020, tens of thousands of people were leaving California and relocating to Arizona – but why are so many West Coasters heading to the desert state?

It’s no secret that Arizona is drawing new residents at an impressive rate, making its capital city of Phoenix the fastest-growing city in America. According to an article from Forbes, benefits like a thriving job market, affordable housing, and reasonable taxes make Arizona a popular relocation destination. Making a move to Arizona is an especially attractive idea for Californians.

We’re taking a closer look at why so many Californians want to move to Phoenix, breaking down key factors such as:

  • A stable, expanding job market that includes a diverse range of opportunities, including many roles in technology, bioscience, healthcare, and other advanced industries
  • Excellent housing options, including luxury residences that are surprisingly affordable when compared to California real estate prices
  • The desert dweller lifestyle, which offers plentiful amenities and things to do

Why Do So Many Californians Want to Move to Phoenix?

Our Southwestern state has become a hot spot for relocation, especially for people heading east from California to Arizona. The Phoenix metropolitan area, which includes Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler, is where you’ll find many former California residents.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have been added to the Arizona population – and here’s why.

  1. Jobs in Phoenix are plentiful and diverse.

One of the most important parts of deciding to relocate is determining the next steps for your career – and in Phoenix, you have the potential to go as far as you want to.

During the early 2000s, the Arizona economy overcame major challenges to come back stronger than ever. As a result of the learning and growth during those years, Phoenix has built an impressively solid economy based on modern industries such as bioscience, technology, business, health care, and financial services. For job seekers, that means that there are many opportunities for skilled professionals, offering excellent job security and income potential.

Because the valley is a popular travel destination, there are also many Phoenix jobs in hospitality, corporate industries, entertainment, and retail. The state is host to Major League Baseball’s Spring Training Leagues, the Waste Management Open, and other tourism-based events, all of which keep local businesses busy and job growth on the rise. And of course, as more people move to Arizona, industries like construction and real estate stay healthy as well.

The California unemployment rate is significantly higher than in Arizona, so if you are looking for a job in the Grand Canyon State, your prospects are good.

  1. The cost of living in Arizona is much lower than in California.

When you live in California, you get used to everything being exorbitantly expensive. The first time you come to Arizona, you might be shocked to see low numbers everywhere, from the gas station to the grocery store.

Many people who move from California to Arizona name the cost of living as their biggest draw. Everyday expenses such as car insurance, gas, state income tax, health care, and groceries tend to be much less expensive. Plus, your dollar goes much further when it comes to rent, dining, and entertainment as well.

Phoenix is the better choice for the savvy spender when you’re comparing the amount you pay to live in California cities such as San Francisco or Los Angeles.

  1. Finding great places to live in Phoenix is simple.

Are you tired of settling for a too-small studio apartment in California, even though you’re paying through the nose for rent? In Phoenix, you can choose from a good mix of housing options priced well below anything in the Golden State. New construction and regular remodeling mean that you can easily find upgraded residences to suit your lifestyle, rather than having to deal with subpar amenities, repair issues, and other frustrations.

As one of the most in-demand luxury rental communities in Scottsdale, Optima Sonoran Village has welcomed more than our fair share of people moving from California. From the moment many new residents arrive, they’re delighted by the comfort and luxury waiting for them here. Lush landscaping, spacious residences, private outdoor spaces, and amenities worthy of a five-star resort are just a few of the features that draw people to our Scottsdale apartments – it's a lifestyle that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

  1. There are so many things to do in Phoenix and the surrounding area.

California and Arizona have plenty of differences, but they have one big thing in common: you’ll virtually never run out of things to do and see. Here, you can go from mountain biking at South Mountain Park to eating at one of the five-star restaurants in Scottsdale, then wake up the next morning and choose between designer boutique shopping, a casual brunch, hiking in the desert, or an afternoon at the spa.

When you’re coming from California to Arizona, you aren’t saying goodbye to a lifestyle full of excitement; instead, you’re signing up for one that has more possibilities than you could ever imagine.

  1. You have all the fun of big city living, without the hassles.

It’s difficult for many Californians to imagine saying goodbye to the convenience of being in a large metropolitan city. Whether you reside in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, or another large California, moving to Arizona might seem like a big sacrifice.

However, you just might be surprised after moving to Arizona – the experience of living here captures all the best things about a city dweller lifestyle. Scottsdale, Phoenix, and other Valley cities have vibrant downtown districts filled with high rises and major attractions. Public transportation is easily accessible, and you’re never far from a great restaurant, trendy bar, or stylish boutique.

You don’t have all the stress associated with living in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other California cities. For example, Phoenix traffic is a breeze compared to L.A., and the city as a whole is much less congested. Even though the rate of population growth in Arizona is steady, our cities have been built to accommodate the growing number of people very well.

Live Your Best Arizona Life at Optima Sonoran Village

Are you considering moving from California to Arizona? If the long list of reasons above hasn’t convinced you yet, we think that experiencing Optima Sonoran Village definitely will.

Situated in Old Town Scottsdale’s heart, Optima Sonoran Village is the Valley’s premier luxury rental community. We’ve created an exclusive private retreat that’s just minutes away from the best highlights of Phoenix, putting you within easy reach of everything you could want to see and do. Our contemporary residences are designed for the individual that expects more, incorporating unmatched designer touches, upgrades, and thoughtful details.

Whether you’re a young professional joining the Phoenix job market or a retiree interested in moving to Arizona, Optima Sonoran Village can be the place you love to call home. There’s no community quite like ours with unmatched amenities and an unparalleled location.

Discover the luxurious lifestyle awaiting you at Optima Sonoran Village by contacting our leasing office for more information today.

Green Space Spotlight: Optima Sonoran Village

At Optima, one of the cornerstones of our design process is the green space in our communities. With Optima Sonoran Village situated on a ten acre site in downtown Scottsdale, there was an abundance of space to become green. Of the ten acres, six of them are open space that not only mediate the harsh desert climate but also create visually stunning landscaped areas to be enjoyed by residents and the community.

Lush Landscaping and Pedestrian Paths

Courtyard walking paths wind throughout the property, guiding public pedestrians into and through the development and its centralized courtyards. Surrounding the paths is a varied palette of plantlife. This colorful landscaping against the signature Optima pops of color provides a vibrancy and complement to the more subdued, natural hues of the surrounding desert. 

Original Public Art

Placed within the courtyards are five original David Hovey sculptures, which range in size up to ten feet. As expansive and evocative pieces of public art, these sculptures activate the spaces that they occupy, and enhance the experience of those passing through. 

Green Space as Mediator

The greenspace at Optima Sonoran Village also serves to mitigate the heat island effect, where dense urban areas experience warmer temperatures due to human activity. To reduce the urban heat island experienced in Scottsdale, the abundant landscaping throughout the courtyards provides shade and cooling through evapotranspiration — the release of water into the atmosphere from plant surfaces. 

Outdoor Amenities

Nestled within the courtyards and their intricate spread of walking paths are exceptional outdoor amenities. A large fountain serves as a dazzling display and a centerpiece around which to lounge and relax. Farther in, an outdoor resort pool with lounge chairs, umbrellas and firepits is made private by the surrounding landscaping.

The greenery continues, drawing the eye upward to the building’s spectacular vertical landscaping and creating a whole immerse experience. The effect of walking through the property’s greenspace, backdropped by dusky desert mountains, is one of entering a lush oasis. 

As an installation in downtown Scottsdale and with paths open to the public, the greenspace at Optima Sonoran Village is enhancing not only the community of the development, but of its surrounding area too. 

Community Growth and the Importance of Retail Space

At Optima, we don’t just construct buildings, we create communities. At every step of our process, from selecting location, to construction, to leasing and renting out our retail space, we make decisions leveraging what we can provide to enhance our residents’ lives and the lives of the people in the surrounding neighborhood. 

At Optima Signature in Chicago, our retail tenants include Egg Harbor Cafe, Guidepost Montessori School, RUNAWAY Fitness,  Bedazzled Nails, GoodVets. These amenities enhance the lives of our residents and neighbors, creating onsite amenities and vibrant gathering places that encourage connection and socialization. Not only are our retail tenants adding to Optima Signature, but they contribute to the greater Streeterville community — Egg Harbor is a beloved breakfast staple in the Chicago suburbs, and their Optima Signature location will be their debut in downtown Chicago. And Guidepost Montessori School was the first of its kind for the neighborhood.

At Optima Sonoran Village in Scottsdale, one of our retail tenants, Kaleidoscope Juice, has become a place where people can meet old and new friends over a meal, juice or coffee throughout the day. Residents might meet someone in the gym at Optima Sonoran Village and decide to reconvene on their patio — having the retail space to gather deepens connections within the community, allowing residents to get to know their neighbors. 

When selecting our tenants, it’s vital to our mission that the retail we bring to our communities is additive, contributing new spaces for our residents to use and bringing much needed and desired resources to the neighborhoods we call home.


Live Colorfully: How Color Influences Design

Optima buildings are distinguished by our Modernist design, and by our signature pops of color. Because color can influence design, and in turn, influence those that experience our design, the color decisions we make are purposeful and serve to enhance and activate our architecture and the spaces around it. 

Color Theory and Psychology

Color is fundamental to the Modernist tradition. Much of color theory was born out of the Bauhaus modernist art school, where four artists changed the way we talk about color today: Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Itten, particularly, created the color sphere with primary, secondary and tertiary tones, was the first to determine warm and cool tones, and was a pioneer in associating different colors with emotions. 

Today, the study of color and their relationship to human emotion is called color psychology. In the first 30 seconds of viewing an object, our brains make a quick judgment and react to what we see. Color plays a large part in this response; for people, tones and hues are tied to specific emotions and feelings. On a biological/physical level, when we see colors, that vision is transferred over to the brain, which in turn signals to our endocrine system to release specific hormones that create a correlating feeling or mood to what we’ve seen. Armed with this insight, we integrate color into our design solutions to create an emotional impact. But our use of color goes beyond.

Color in Optima Design

In our Arizonian desert residences, we select hues to complement the vegetation of the desert, seamlessly blending our architecture with its environs; indoor with outdoor. At Sterling Ridge, concrete walls merge with the earth, making the home an extension of the land. The result is a harmonious design, one that enhances our building and the land around it. Orange and red color details serve to give an exciting pop of color against a cohesive, blended pallet.

In many of our condos and multifamily residences, we use color in the exterior facade to compliment the surroundings of the building. At Optima Sonoran Village, orange, yellow, and green details are drawn from actual colors found in the surrounding lush landscaping. The hues were inspired by the area’s desert flowers, serving to draw out the naturally occurring colors of the terrain.  

Color isn’t just important in our building design — we incorporate color into all of our design practices, including experimental color play with our sculptures. Often executed in different colors depending on the surrounding space, sculpture is another facet to Optima in which we experiment with shades and hues. Color has a long and storied history, but for us, it’s a continuing exploration that has us learning more each day.

Business Suite Spotlight

One of our cornerstone beliefs at Optima is that our buildings can help improve the lives of those who reside within them by offering everyday comforts and conveniences — and we’re constantly searching for ways to innovate and improve.

It’s no secret that coworking spaces and the ability to work remotely, or from home, has become increasingly popular in the professional sector. In 2018, a staggering 1,000 new coworking spaces were introduced in the United States alone — and experts don’t see the trend slowing down anytime soon. Some estimates claim that freelancers will even outnumber full-time employees in the workforce by 2027.

We were happy to respond to the growing need by integrating our own rentable, commercial business suites into our multi-family communities, starting in 2010 with Optima Camelview Village. Since Optima Camelview Village, we have designed business suites at Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Chicago Center and Optima Signature with a live-work-play environment in mind. At each site, we have seen measurable success as the remote working trend continues to be on the rise and residents take advantage of the opportunity to utilize a workspace right in their own home.

Having business suites within our communities makes work feel like a more comfortable, more convenient experience. And that’s exactly what we want to bring to our residents and tenants.

Autumn in Chicago and Scottsdale

Chicago and Scottsdale both provide endless activities and events throughout the year, but autumn is when the allure of both cities emerges more than ever. From Oktoberfest in Lakeview to a hike in the Sonoran Mountains, here are a few of the many activities you can discover throughout Chicago and Scottsdale this autumn: 


Throughout the city, there are many locations to admire the vibrant autumn leaves as they change, and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is one. Across their more than 385 acres of land, they provide their fall-color tree walk and host the Night of 1,000 Pumpkins event in October. 

Another way to enjoy the cool autumn weather in Chicago is by visiting the nostalgic ChiTown Movies Outdoor Theater. Nearly every night, they showcase blockbusters, classics and every genre in between in the Pilsen neighborhood. For anyone looking to stay indoors, you can catch Broadway shows like Wicked and Anastasia downtown or enjoy cutting-edge shows in the Belmont Theater District, in the neighborhood of Optima Lakeview.  

Autumn also brings an array of local festivals that reside throughout almost every neighborhood of the city. Two of the most popular events include Lakeview’s entertainment-filled Oktoberfest held on September 23-25, and Lincoln Square’s Apple Fest the first weekend of October. 


There’s no better way to enjoy the Sonoran desert and its autumn weather than seeing it up close! McDowell’s Sonoran Preserve, less than a 15-minute drive from Optima Kierland and 30-minute drive from Optima Sonoran Village, is the perfect desert habitat for both bikers and hikers, thanks to its more than 225 miles of scenic trails. Pinnacle Peak Park, a little farther North, provides even more panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert. 

McDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch is a popular spot for anyone looking for classic, seasonal entertainment. Not only are they known for their bright pumpkin patch, but they also have a petting zoo, hay-bale maze, and various lawn games throughout October.

The season also brings various themed festivals to Scottsdale. One of the most enjoyed is the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival, where visitors can discover both unique artworks and new blends of wine. In October, the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale fill their grounds with a display of graphic hot air balloons accompanied by live music, delicious food and costumed guests for its Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The autumn months don’t last long. So before time runs out, take advantage of all the fascinating seasonal opportunities found throughout Chicago and Scottsdale!

The Benefits of Urban Greenspaces

At Optima, we approach every project as an opportunity to explore the best possible ways to create harmony between the built and natural environments to allow our residents to enjoy a wealth of benefits that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

We understand that greenspaces; parks, gardens, conservatories, roof gardens and residential greenery are crucial to the vitality of urban spaces and the communities where they are found. Population density of urban areas is increasing swiftly. By 2050, it is estimated that 68% of the global population will live in cities. According to the WHO, urban greenspaces promote mental and physical health through the promotion of physical activity, mutual understanding, and mitigating exposure to air and noise pollution as well as excessive heat. 

In the summer, the heat generated by human activity, transport, and industry creates an increased need for energy consumption to cool spaces. Green areas have the ability to absorb that heat and pollution. They also allow urban dwellers to stretch their legs and be outside, improving cardiovascular health and relieving stress. Each space also promotes social cohesion, the coming together of people who would usually not interact with each other due to the individualistic nature of urban living.

At Optima we recognize the tremendous advantages greenspaces provide. In Chicago, Optima Signature’s inviting plaza filled with lush landscaping and 1.5 acres of amenity space encourages residents to spend time outdoors. Gardens, landscaped fire pits, swimming pools, and outdoor entertainment all radiate the feeling of an oasis within the larger urban environment.

Optima Kierland Center embraces its surrounding beauty and builds off of it. Lush greenery fills the more than 7.5 acres of open space connecting Optima Kierland’s buildings in a park-like setting. Similarly, Optima Sonoran Village utilizes more than half of its 10-acre property to house stunning landscaping, sculpture, and pedestrian paths while mitigating the desert’s harsh climate. We utilize rooftop gardens and our signature vertical landscaping at Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Kierland Apartments, and will be bringing it to Chicago at Optima Verdana, to create an oasis inspired by its surroundings that contribute to the greater environment. This type of green space brings both beauty and positive contributions to their communities. 

Greenspaces make urban living refreshing, enjoyable and social. And as our cities become more and more dense, urban greenspaces become a crucial part of the ecosystem — and of our enhanced quality of life. 

The Environmental Benefits of Vertical Landscaping

Vertical landscaping is a signature feature across Optima communities. In Arizona, we’re easily recognized by the lush greenery that makes itself a key element of the facade at Optima Camelview Village and Optima Sonoran Village. Most recently, we’ve even strategized how to bring our vertical landscaping to the inclement midwestern climate, with plans to incorporate it at our latest development in Wilmette, Optima Verdana.

Besides providing aesthetic value through added beauty and privacy for residents, our vertical landscaping system also serves another important purpose: bringing a broad array of environmental benefits to the natural environments in which we build.

The impact of our vertical landscaping system is something we calculated carefully through extensive design exploration, engineering and a multi-year research collaboration with Arizona State University.

The system, with self-containing irrigation and drainage, provides a haven for urban wildlife, promotes evaporative cooling, re-oxygenates the air, reduces dust and smog levels, reduces ambient noise, detains stormwater and thermally insulates and shields residents from the desert sun, all of which contributes to a sustainable urban environment.

Residents and community members alike also get to experience the direct impact of being surrounded by nature, with the vertical landscaping system serving as a connection to nature. Wherever this connection is made, it fosters a lifelong appreciation for the environment around us, and helps us all to stay mindful of the role we play in keeping that environment safe.

Unpacking the Idea of Democratic Spaces

Coming out of the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic where so many people suffered from social isolation, human connection and shared experiences feel more urgent than ever. One way to achieve such experiences is to embrace the idea of democratic spaces. This term describes spaces that are shared by the public for the free enjoyment of all. Below, we take a closer look at how the term came to be and what it looks like in action.

Brazilian Origins

The idea of democratic space has historically thrived in Brazilian architecture and design. To break it down: democracy itself is a system that ensures plurality and representation in politics and society. Democratic space, then, becomes any space that invites multiple groups to equally decide how they’d like to use the space, and then do so freely.

Late Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi was one such Brazilian figure who advocated for more democratic spaces. Most notably, her work in creating vital cultural centers in the region demonstrated the philosophy in action: these were places where tolerance, equality and freedom drove design.

In an interview with Fora, professor and critic Guilherme Wisnik discussed how, if public space is a source of conflict (i.e. how should it be used and by whom), then this conflict is a virtue. Conflict and debate give way to the opportunity to better understand a wide variety of diverse people and diverse needs, and approaching space democratically allows architects and urban planners alike to use space as a "theater for the mediation of differences."

Democratic Space at Optima

Anytime you bring a residential development to a community, there’s a balance to be struck between creating a private haven for residents themselves, as well as adding value and resources to surrounding community members.

At Optima, this moral consideration plays out in several ways. First and foremost, we’re committed to bringing beautiful buildings that pay respect to the surrounding built and natural environment alike. Ours are communities designed with the existing climate and available, sustainable materials in mind – and through landscaping, we’re always thoughtful about bringing visual beauty and increased greenery to the neighborhood.

Public art is also a component of what we do at Optima. Many of our communities feature original sculptures by David Hovey Sr. In fact, Optima Sonoran Village is home to an entire sculpture garden for all in the area to enjoy. Beyond the sculpture garden, Optima Sonoran Village incorporates lushly landscaped open spaces, which are interconnected with the central courtyards allowing public pedestrian access along pathways into and through the development. Located on the boundary of the Downtown District, the pedestrian areas are designed to accommodate and encourage a visual and functional connection of the adjacent neighborhoods with the Camelback Corridor and Downtown Scottsdale.

Meanwhile in downtown Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, the plaza out front of Optima Signature brings an unusual public space to a densely developed area. Kiwi, an original David Hovey Sr. sculpture swathed in a brilliant shade of yellow, is a feature that invites passerby to stop and linger for a while. In addition to the public art sculpture, the plaza at Optima Signature also features a long stretch of lushly landscaped gardens, perfect for an inner-city stroll.

As we come out of these challenging times, design has a crucial role to play in creating opportunities for connection and community just like these.

New Age Modernism: Environmentalism over Formalism

While Modernism has a history over a century deep, modern-day architects designing in the discipline are looking towards the future. Recently, Space Caviar founder Joseph Grima published a manifesto for a new kind of non-extractive architecture, positioning Modernism’s traditional, formalistic approach against a new, environmentalist way of operating.

Moving Away From the “Top-Down” Approach

In a conversation with Dezeen, he says that modern-day architects are considering how Modernism can be a “form of stewardship of the natural environment," as opposed to just in conversation with the landscape through compositional considerations. At the center of Grima’s manifesto is the idea that architecture should no longer have a top-down approach, where materials are selected for their aesthetics and function, but without consideration for their impact on the environment.

Interestingly enough, Mies van der Rohe’s famous Barcelona Pavilion is employed as a primary example of “top-down” architecture here. The materials used in the project – green marble, travertine and onyx – exemplify Modernism’s “skin and bones” appeal at its most raw. But where did they come from? These are questions that will no longer be ignored, according to Grima.

Setting Our Sights on Sustainability

Grima’s manifesto resonates. At Optima, we create built environments with the surrounding natural environment in mind. Beyond just living in visual harmony with the landscape, we’re invested in fostering a more reciprocal relationship.

Our signature vertical landscaping system, featured at properties such as Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Camelview Village, and Optima Kierland, plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment. The system, with self-containing irrigation and drainage, provides a haven for urban wildlife, promotes evaporative cooling, re-oxygenates the air, reduces dust and smog levels, reduces ambient noise, detains stormwater and thermally insulates and shields residents from the desert sun, all of which contributes to a sustainable urban environment.

Meanwhile, Optima Sonoran Village also served as the pilot project for Scottsdale's International Green Construction Code, or IgCC. Having earned full certification from the program, Optima Sonoran Village’s attributes include major building elements consisting of 95 perfect local and recycled content materials; energy efficiency as a result of the high-performing glazing, overhangs, building configurations and exterior shading devices; water resource conservation from plumbing fixtures and excellent indoor environmental quality and reduced material emissions from the materials used in the development.

From building construction and materials, to design details like the salvaged barge wood featured in the lobby at Optima Signature, we’re excited to play our role in ushering in this next era of environmentally-minded Modernism.

Best Day Trips Close to the Phoenix/Scottsdale Area

Phoenix and Scottsdale, cities sitting shoulder to shoulder in Arizona, are the central and exciting location of several Optima communities, including Optima Biltmore Towers, Optima Sonoran Village, and Optima Camelview Village. And while Phoenix boasts being the vivacious capital of Arizona, and Scottsdale prides itself in being the locus of access and luxury, these two twin cities also share another benefit in common: their proximity to countless other exciting destinations in the state.

 To help inspire your next excursion, here are just a few of the best day trips close by:

Grand Canyon

This is a destination that needs no introduction. The Grand Canyon is just under a two-and-a-half hour drive north out of Phoenix. That’s pretty easy access to one of the world’s premier tourist attractions — a site that attracts over 5 million visitors annually. With its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history, there’s really no wrong way to enjoy this immense natural attraction, we recommend the South Rim and the Skywalk for the best view, as well as planning to hike, ride a mule, or whitewater raft for the adventurously inclined.


A day trip to Sedona is well worth the two hour drive south from Phoenix. No doubt the drive down will be a sight to see, too — Sedona is surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. The breathtaking landscape is the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts, who will enjoy the numerous trailheads across Red Rock State Park. Whether you’re into an intense ten-mile hike, or something more mild like birdwatching and picnicking, there’s something for everyone. Once you’ve gotten your fair share of the outdoors, take a trip into town to enjoy the vibrant arts scene, New Age shops, and countless spas.


Further proof of all there is to see just outside of Phoenix, Prescott isn’t even a two-hour trip away. There’s so much to do here that you may even end up wanting to stay more than a day. From the historic Whiskey Row downtown, perfect for bar hopping and catching a live music performance, to the many museums worth visiting, there’s an endless list of itinerary items within the city limits alone. And like everywhere else in Arizona, Prescott also boasts an outstanding roster of hiking and outdoor recreation on its perimeter, including Prescott National Forest and Watson Lake.

Exploring Optima Communities: Camelback Mountain

One of the reasons we were inspired to move to Arizona was our love for the surrounding desert landscape, and that same passion still resonates across our Arizona communities. An iconic landmark in the greater Phoenix area, Camelback Mountain is a prime example of the way nature informs our own designs through its neighboring Optima communities, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview Village. But Camelback Mountain has its own distinct allure, fostering a wide-reaching and beloved sense of community for many in the area.

Camelback is located in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area between the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix and the town of Paradise Valley, and is named after its distinct shape, which resembles the hump and head of a kneeling camel. The site has long held significance to Native tribes and settlers in the area, and by the early 1900s, there were strong efforts to keep the mountain protected and preserved. The surrounding area saw major development, but in 1965, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater helped secure the higher elevations against development. The area became a Phoenix city park in 1968.

Phoenix offers seven breathtaking mountain summits to climb, and Camelback Mountain has the highest, reaching 2,704 feet to provide the best views in the area. Climbing to the summit is considered a right of passage for many.  Hikers can choose from two trails to reach the summit: Echo Canyon and Cholla. Both trails are difficult, with Echo Canyon being the steeper of the two and Cholla being the longer option. Luckily, there are a few less strenuous trail hikes as back-up options, as well. Camelback is the perfect place to experience the vast diversity of desert beauty; from colorful granite, to blooming wildflowers, to local wildlife. And since the trailhead is only 20 minutes away from downtown, there are plenty of places to recharge after a long hike.

There’s a reason why Camelback Mountain is considered one of Phoenix’s Points of Pride; the beauty both on — and off — the mountain top are truly spectacular.

Sculpture Spotlight: Curves and Voids

As devout fans of Modernism, at Optima we love to experiment with form and function. That’s how Optima Co-Founder David Hovey Sr. got into sculpture. Combining his love of art with his interest in materials, David Hovey Sr. began manipulating steel to create striking sculptural pieces that play complement to Optima’s architectural spaces. Today, we’re examining one of his sculptures: Curves and Voids.

Like all original Optima sculptures, Curves and Voids can be found across our properties in various colors and sizes, as evidenced above. But what never changes is the form of the piece: Curves and Voids plays with the expression of steel and explores ideas of its potential. This play is demonstrated in grand, sweeping curves that make up the various sculptural components. Meanwhile, voids are laser cut within the sculpture’s steel planes. These holes provide gaps and textures to contrast and juxtapose the sculpture’s curves.

The sweeping curves of Curves and Voids play perfect complement to the stark Modernist lines in our communities. At Optima Sonoran Village’s sculpture walk, Curves and Voids stands boldly expressed in natural Cor-Ten steel. The steel’s raw coloration was chosen so as not to compete with the vibrant colors in the building’s facade and landscaping. Meanwhile, at Optima DCHGlobal’s Whale Bay House in New Zealand, Curves and Voids is supersized in the courtyard, becoming a show stopping statement piece for contemplation.

Whether we’re experimenting with form, function, size or color — at Optima we love to playfully implement sculpture as yet another component of thoughtful design.

Indoor Basketball at Optima

As part of our commitment to creating healthy and happy communities, we’re constantly looking for inventive ways to keep our residents entertained, engaged and on the move. In all of our apartment communities, indoor basketball courts help achieve those goals. Integrated into our extensive amenity floors, indoor basketball at Optima helps residents stay healthy while having fun.

Our properties across Illinois and Arizona house their own courts, including 7180 Optima Kierland, Optima Kierland Apartments, Optima Signature, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview. Basketball courts will also be part of the 40,000 square feet of amenity spaces at our latest project, Optima Lakeview. Each court is designed to seamlessly flow with the Modernist design of all of our spaces. And to accommodate the interests of our residents, many courts are now being striped for pickleball use. Along with being an in-demand recreational amenity, basketball has quite a few health benefits for those interested in playing.

Although many may have played as kids, there are plenty of perks to getting into basketball as an adult. Playing basketball requires agility, strength and stamina, so it naturally builds muscular endurance and healthy bones. It also helps improve balance and coordination and like many other regular physical activities, it boosts heart health. As far as mental benefits, engaging in physical activity releases endorphins and can be a big mood booster, whether you’re playing a quick game or you’re on the court for a few hours.

Our favorite benefit of basketball might have to be the team spirit and communications needed to play the game. We hope that all of our amenity spaces — our indoor courts included — make space for camaraderie and community, especially during a time when many are craving them. From new novices to life-long players, indoor basketball at Optima provides a welcomed escape to relax, play and stay active for our residents.

The Health Benefits of Swimming

We enjoy creating communities with amenities to support a well-rounded, vibrant lifestyle. Many of our properties, including Optima Kierland, Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Signature, and the in-development Optima Lakeview include swimming pools as part of our impressive amenity stack. Spending time swimming is the perfect leisurely activity as well as a great fitness option with a wide-ranging array of health benefits. Here are just a few:

Full Body Workout

Water is 800 times more dense than air, and spending 30 minutes in a pool is actually worth the equivalent of 45 minutes doing a similar workout on land. Because of this, swimming is an intensive form of fitness that works your entire body. The activity, which engages arms, legs and core all at once, has a head-to-toe impact that leads to muscle toning, endurance building and strength building.

Lifetime Health Boost

In addition to the external impact, swimming does great things for your internal and overall health. It improves the cardiovascular system, leading to a stronger heart, lungs and circulatory system. This also helps guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as helping to control blood pressure and blood sugar.

Great For Injuries

Because swimming is such a low-impact sport, it’s the perfect fitness option for those experiencing arthritis, injuries or disabilities. While water provides enough resistance against muscles for an effective workout, your buoyancy provides support you won’t find on land. Experts even say that swimming can help reduce pain and improve recovery from injuries.

Positive Mental Impact

Research shows that those who swim regularly experience better sleep at night. In addition to being a restful activity, swimming also serves to boost your mood. By exercising, your body is releasing endorphins and increasing your metabolic rate, which leads to both improved mood levels and improved energy levels.

Whether you’re looking for a regular fitness regimen, recovering for an injury or even looking for a pregnancy-safe workout routine, swimming is a great and healthy option for everyone.

2020: A Year in Review

As 2020 comes to a close, we’re taking this moment to reflect and look back on all that’s happened through this unexpected, unprecedented year. From our team, to our projects to Optima as a whole, we’ve learned, grown and thrived. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Projects and Properties

This was a big year of growth for us with many exciting projects. In Arizona, we launched the leaseup of the new 7140 tower at Optima Kierland Apartments, the second apartment tower within the Optima Kierland development. Also within Optima Kierland, 7180 Optima Kierland surpassed its 85% sold milestone.

And in Chicago, our portfolio expanded with the groundbreaking of Optima Lakeview and the approval of Optima Wilmette, two projects we look forward to making future strides with in the coming year.


We were honored to win thirteen awards this year. Our architecture and design were acknowledged with the AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards for Distinguished Building (Whale Bay House) and the Outstanding Property Award London for Winner in Architectural Design four times over (Whale Bay House, Arizona Courtyard House, 7180 Optima Kierland and Optima Sonoran Village).

Our property management team was recognized with the Best Community & Management Team Tribute Award by the Arizona Multihousing Association.

Meanwhile, our corporate culture was acknowledged with the award for Crain’s Chicago Business Best Places to Work 2020, and AZCentral Top Companies 2020.

To see the full 2020 lineup, visit our awards page.


Throughout the year, we rallied to keep our culture thriving and to ensure our team stayed more connected than ever. We launched our Be Well | Work Well initiative, made up of the Be Well | Work Well Newsletter and new Wellness page within our company intranet , focused on keeping our team well: mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

We created a new normal and found ways to have fun together, even while apart, through virtual trivia, virtual happy hours supplying cocktail kits and our dueling pianos virtual holiday party. We brought families into the fun, too, with our innovative “Optima Community Garden,” sending seed packages for team members to plant in their home gardens, and with our pumpkin carving contents, sending supplies and holding voting to determine a winner.

We can’t thank our leadership, team members and communities enough for rising to the occasion and making this year special. Going into 2021, we’re excited to continue innovating, growing and achieving together.

Scottsdale Public Art: Jack Knife

We love Scottsdale for many reasons, one of which is its vibrant and bustling arts scene. Home to the Scottsdale Arts District, the city makes its unique voice heard through striking public art such as Jack Knife by Ed Mell. To understand more about the local arts scene and to celebrate its impact on the city our residents call home, today we’re exploring the work and artistry behind Jack Knife.

Jack Knife boldly commands attention at the intersection of Marshall Way and Main Street in Downtown Scottsdale — the center of the Scottsdale Arts District — mere steps away from Optima Sonoran Village. The piece is the perfect introduction to the city’s history and culture, depicting a rider astride a bucking horse modelled after the official city seal. The bronze sculpture, which sits on a high pedestal, stands over eight feet high. Even more notable: Jack Knife is Ed Mell’s first ever large-scale sculpture.

Completed in 1993, Mell says of his work: “Jack Knife has a reverence for the Old West. It is not traditional, but yet it has a traditional theme. The angularity accelerates the power and energy of the rider and horse, more than accurate depiction.” While the piece may have been his first large-scale experimentation, Mell is one of Arizona’s premier artists.

Mell grew up in Phoenix, and his artistic practice is inspired by the natural beauty and wonder of the desert. He works primarily in oil paint, creating natural expressions of the Western landscape that exhibit striking colors and Cubist elements. This bold, graphic style is translated evidently into Jack Knife, and the artists’ passion for Arizona shines through, too.

It’s passionate creations like these that inspire us every day, and make us proud to call Scottsdale Optima’s second home.

A Brief History of Irrigation

Lush, verdant landscapes are a cornerstone of Optima communities. We’ve spent years of research and application honing our landscaping, arriving today at an innovative vertical planting system that incorporates self-containing irrigation and drainage. But just what is irrigation, why is it so important and how did we arrive at this solution? Today, we’re taking a closer look at the history of irrigation.

While our own landscaping research has gone on for decades, the history of irrigation dates back at least 8,000 years. The earliest known systems of irrigation originated in Egypt and Mesopotamia in 6,000 B.C. Fighting against the flooding of the Nile several months each year, ancient civilizations pioneered a technique to divert flood waters to nearby crop fields, thereby utilizing excess flood water for crops that would otherwise be difficult to grow due to lack of resources.

This ancient technique is credited as the basis of agricultural economies and societies across the world. As the process of applying controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals, irrigation aids in growing agricultural crops and maintaining vegetation in a way that conserves water, preserves soil nutrients and saves time and energy.

Before the Egyptian and Mesopotamian approach, primitive irrigation likely involved laborers carrying buckets of water from rivers and wells to water their crops. Increased innovation to control water flow where desired included innovations such as irrigation canals, dams, dikes, aqueducts and water storage facilities.

Nowadays, modern irrigation systems have evolved to include reservoirs, tanks and wells, with reservoirs serving to collect water from natural sources such as lakes and rainwater runoff. As our global agricultural output continues to rise, irrigation protects against droughts and famines, ensuring successful and widespread crop yields.

At Optima Kierland Apartments and Optima Sonoran Village, our self-containing irrigation and drainage system enables a palette of vibrantly colored plants at the edge of each floor to grow both up and over the edge of the building, culminating in a beautiful rooftop garden. Thanks to the innovations of many civilizations before us, these gardens are easy to maintain, and a beautiful natural respite for all our residents to enjoy.

Modernism and the Pandemic

This year, health and wellness have been more important than ever. And with self-quarantining and spending more time at home, many have redefined what a healthy home means. Like other shifts in the world, COVID-19 has certainly prompted us to reflect on the impact of design. We’ve seen how Modernism has affected pandemics in the past, but how might it impact our sense of wellness during COVID-19?

Green-Inspired Design

To house healing tuberculosis patients, the Paimio Sanatorium was designed to connect its residents to fresh air and the healing qualities of nature. While its setting in Southwestern Finland was ideal for recovery, it’s not a feasible solution for those trying to stay healthy in urban areas. Our buildings bring the outdoors in, connecting residents to nature through green roof gardens, vertical landscaping systems, private terraces and lush common spaces.

Natural Light

Sunshine is another natural remedy for ailing health problems, and the iconic expansive windows found across Modernist practices invites plenty of light inside. From Optima Signature in Chicago, to Optima Kierland Center and Optima Sonoran Village in Scottsdale, our buildings feature floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls, swathing our interiors in light. And for those who may want to more fully soak in the sun, our outdoor amenity spaces, like the grand courtyard promenade at Optima Camelview Village, have plenty of seating amongst resort-style luxury amenities for residents to get their daily dose of Vitamin D.

Minimal and Open

Modernism is known for its minimalist design, where a lack of ornamentation, decorative moldings or elaborate trims are simplified to create a clean aesthetic. Also simplified: floor plans. Modernist architecture is known for its simple, sweeping interiors, taking a “less-is-more” approach to the division of space. At Optima, our large, open floor plans provide bigger and more open spaces, rather than a series of small rooms, allowing people to comfortably spread out and maintain a safe distance.

Whether residents are still self-isolating or just spending more time at home, we know it’s a challenging time to stay healthy and well, both mentally and physically. But we hope that the Modernist sensibilities of our buildings allow for moments of respite throughout the day and better opportunities to focus on wellness.

Working From Home at Optima

Achieving work-life balance has taken on new gravity as we shelter-in-place. At Optima, our teams are with you every step of the way to ensure you have a productive workday, and find daily fulfillment and joy in the comfort of your home. Here are just a few of the ways our properties are already optimized for people’s remote working needs:

Distinct Work Zones

One of the biggest challenges when working from home is achieving a healthy separation between work and life. At our multifamily communities, each home is designed to have space for a desk and at-home workspace. With the opportunity to have a dedicated work zone, you’ll be able to create an environment that is conducive to your daily success and that allows you to tackle any challenge.

Connection to Nature

A shelter-in-place order doesn’t mean we have to separate ourselves entirely from the outdoors. It’s important to continue finding sensitive ways to get your daily dose of sunshine. With the integration of the built and natural environment integral to our design sensibilities, all of our communities feature vast outdoor spaces, with many homes offering significant outdoor living spaces. These outdoor spaces are the perfect place to take advantage of weather on a nice day — like having an outdoor picnic on your balcony.

Engaging Digital Programming

Our property management teams are committed as ever to ensuring that our communities and residents stay connected — with one another and with their daily patterns. We’ve been hard at work putting together virtual event series and fitness classes that allow Optima residents to enjoy a full array of digital amenities from the comfort of their own home. Some of this programming includes digital patio workouts with a fitness trainer at Optima Sonoran Village, digital fitness classes with an onsite trainer at Optima Signature and even building-wide movie, trivia and comedy nights at Optima Kierland Apartments.

As we continue to shelter-in-place and practice social distancing, our buildings and our teams are ready to collaborate and come together to make being home even more enjoyable for our communities.

At Optima, we’ve always been dedicated to building communities that provide a balanced lifestyle for our residents. From carefully curated retail partners to an abundance of outdoor space, we thoughtfully incorporate elements that respond to the needs of our residents. With the recent rise in remote working, and in celebration of National Work from Home Week, this week we’re honing in on how residents can best utilize Optima communities to support their remote productivity.

Dedicated, At-Home Work Spaces

Across all of our properties, from Arizona to Illinois, we incorporate a dedicated work-from-home space within each apartment. As we learned earlier this year, curating a distinct work zone at home improves productivity and limits distractions. The designs of our buildings also lend themselves to staying focused. The abundant floor-to-ceiling glass windows in each Optima building invites in plenty of natural light. Studies show that exposure to sunlight helps regulate sleep cycles, and our well-restedness therefore contributes to more satisfied, productive workdays. And the beautiful views in both Arizona and Chicago don’t hurt either.

Business-Centric Amenities

If ever you need a change of pace from your in-home workspace, our communities offer an abundance of business-centric amenities to meet your every need. Optima Signature, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland Center all feature on-site conference rooms and business rooms, and the new tower at Optima Kierland Apartments even features private huddle rooms with work spaces. Optima Signature and Optima Sonoran Village also both offer their own on-site business suites.

Celebrating Live-Work-Play Balance

Optima’s on-site retail tenants offer the perfect midday spot, whether it’s to break up your workday or to provide a setting for your next lunch meeting. At Optima Signature, Egg Harbor Cafe provides not only the perfect place for lunch (meetings), but you can meet over breakfast too! Meanwhile, at Optima Sonoran Village, Kaleidoscope Juice is the perfect place for a quick break or a longer breakfast or lunch occasion. Or, for those having a busy day, Optima Signature also boasts onsite concierge and room service, ready to serve all your needs.

At times, work can be stressful, but we’re here to help make each work day easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable.

The Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

When Optima expanded to Arizona in 2000, we were enthralled by the new frontier and its unique climate. To this day, we continue to be inspired by the desert landscape — and there’s no better place to indulge that passion and find new inspiration than at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. The gardens, which are located just a short drive from Optima Biltmore Towers in Phoenix, and Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview Village in Scottsdale, are also perfect activity for our residents.

The Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a 140-acre sprawling wonderland of flora and fauna nestled among the red rocks of the Papago Butte. Visitors can see thousands of species of towering cacti, lush trees, alluring succulents and brilliant flowers from not just Arizona, but all over the world. Overall, 50,000+ plants cover five thematic trails, and the garden is proud to care for 485 rare and endangered species among that number.

The garden was first established back in 1939, when a small but passionate group of Arizonians were compelled to act and preserve the beautiful desert environs. Among them was Swedish botanist Gustaf Starck, who rallied others to the cause with a posted sign reading “Save the Desert.” Eight decades later, Desert Botanical Garden has expanded, thanks to the generous investment and care of many. Alongside its impressive collection of plantlife, the garden also offers specialized tours, special events, seasonal exhibits, concerts, family exhibits and two places to dine: Gertrude’s restaurant and the Patio Cafe.

The Desert Botanical Garden has reopened during COVID-19 with increased safety precautions in place. Tickets must be reserved in advance, but the garden’s limited occupancy amidst its sprawling gardenscape makes it the perfect place for socially distanced fun. Whether you’re looking to reconvene with nature or just while away the day in a beautiful setting, the Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect place to find inspiration and relaxation.

An Interview with Ellison Keomaka

Artwork at Optima is a huge part of our love of design, and what makes our spaces special at every turn. Recently, we sat down with Ellison Keomaka, an artist whose work appears throughout some of our Arizona properties, to discuss his process, his sources of inspiration and his relationship with Optima.

Tell us a bit about your background. Where does your passion for art stem from? How did you first get started as an artist?

I believe everyone is creative in their own way, and mine happens to be visual arts. I’ve had many interests and endeavors over the years, but I always enjoyed doing my own thing and set out pretty young to start my artistic career. I started off drawing vehicles, eventually navigating away from that and into comic-style artwork. Every piece paves the way for new ideas in the next creation. My style has changed quite a bit over the years and evolved with my experiences in life.

What are your preferred mediums? How do 2-D and 3-D spaces interact within your pieces?

I used to be very into realism, and I used a lot of airbrush and classic techniques. As an artist, I wanted to use more of the material found in the world around me. From soil found in distant countries to fabrics found at a craft store, I’m always searching for the next textural combination that makes something interesting. It’s fun to see these materials, textures and artifacts and make them come together in a 2-D space.

An example would be my use of vintage magazines and articles. In one of the Optima paintings, — Present Future Past — there are magazine articles from 1938, a dishtowel, watchband and wooden cutouts pressed into the piece.

How does color play a part in your work?

In my earlier works, there were more dark colors. As I developed my style, I recognized the value of color in changing human emotion. When you look at specific colors or shapes, they cause you to feel something or spark inspiration. All of that makes color an infinite playground for an artist to create.

How did you get involved with Optima?

Around 2016, I was eating lunch across from Optima Kierland while it was under construction — and it just looked so wildly different from anything else in Phoenix. I enjoy architecture, and Optima’s aesthetic caught my eye. Fast forward, and I ended up moving in there. They were looking for resident events, and I offered to do an art show; I hosted three across Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland Apartments. The Optima team saw my work, and we started having conversations about commissioning pieces for 7180 Optima Kierland.

I was fortunate to have full creative reign on the layouts of each piece, which allowed me to take creative risks and challenge myself. I would consider the Optima series of paintings to be my best body of work to represent myself because each one is unique and tailor-made to fit in those spaces.

Give us some details on a favorite piece of yours at Optima. What was the inspiration behind that particular piece? How does it fit into the space at Optima? 

Suppose I had to pick a favorite piece —which is always a challenge — I resonate most with Present Future Past. It has a real impact on the viewer with the contrast between the bright blue on the bottom and the upper half's antique design. While the fluorescent pink line emits excitement of the future, the top presents a juxtaposition of a rugged, forgotten past. This painting aims to inspire us to be present, calm and grateful for occupying this time and space.

Keomaka’s color-filled, vibrant artwork mirrors the same inspired emotions that we search for in our built environment. As with all of the artwork that adorns our walls, his work tells a series of unique stories that speak to everyone who passes through our spaces. Optima certainly wouldn’t be the same without them.

The Optima Connect Program

We believe that building community extends beyond architecture and design. Community is a crucial component to how we design our properties — ensuring that residents and neighbors alike feel more connected through what we do. In support of this, we created the Optima Connect program, which encourages truly holistic community connections.

Optima Connect is a program that offers exclusive benefits and discounts at local businesses. Like our Optimized Service program, the goal of Optima Connect is to provide an added everyday convenience that brings ease, comfort and joy to our residents. The program also serves to bolster local businesses and ramp up support, creating a friendly community ecosystem.

Through Optima Connect at Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland Apartments, residents can enjoy exclusive and luxury benefits such as BOGO tickets at Ballet Arizona, discounted fitness classes and up to 20% off at nearby restaurants — just to name a few. To peruse the full list of Optima Connect benefits available to Optima Sonoran Village residents, visit here.

Supporting community growth and connection amongst our residents and neighbors is something we care deeply about at Optima.  As Jamie Springer, Regional Manager in Arizona, explains:

It’s really made us a stronger part of the community. It’s a dual partnership that gives discounts to our residents and helps promote local businesses. We seek Optima Connect partners for events — especially virtual events right now, like mixology and cooking classes — to introduce residents to nearby businesses. We want residents to feel connected to the community outside of our buildings and create a neighborhood feel with places they can walk to.

From the Optima Connect program, to the careful and thoughtful selection process that goes into choosing retail tenants at our properties, we know that our relationship to the spaces around us deepens our sense of belonging.

Pet-Friendly Amenities at Optima

Though 68% of all US households own a pet, finding a condo or apartment that allows pets can be quite the treasure hunt. And even when pets are allowed, there’s still a big difference between having a pet policy and being pet-friendly.

To overcome this challenge for renters and owners, pet-friendly buildings are including additional amenities or offerings that welcome and celebrate the community of pet-lovers and their furry companions. Particularly in urban areas, these pet-friendly inclusions become crucial to the convenience and happiness of animal owners and their pets.

At Optima, we constantly push ourselves to innovate and include exceptional features that elevate the resident experience, from installing pickleball courts to carefully choosing retail tenants that meet our residents needs. Over the past few years, improving the resident experience has also meant amping up our amenity offerings for oft-overlooked residents: our four-legged friends. Here’s a closer look at pet-friendly amenities at Optima.

Optima Sonoran Village

Situated in the heart of urban Scottsdale, Optima Sonoran Village makes the optimal home for pet-owners with the inclusion of a community pet park. Beyond this dedicated space, Optima Sonoran Village has several acres of open space with walking paths, making it the perfect place for a morning dog walk. Each apartment at Optima Sonoran Village also features a private terrace, so your pet can get some fresh air at any time of day, without you even having to leave home.

Optima Kierland Apartments

At Optima Kierland Apartments, our pet-friendly amenities at each tower include a dog park and pet spa. Residents and their pet companions can also make use of the sprawling green space that surrounds the properties, where getting exercise for your pet never requires going far — and even better, each unit’s private terrace offers outdoor space right within the bounds of your own home. The community even features a pet spa, so after a day of play, you can make sure your furry companion comes back to your apartment sparkly clean.

Optima Signature

At Optima Signature, our package of pet-friendly extras includes both indoor and outdoor dog parks as well as grooming facilities. We’ve even gone so far as to choose retail tenant GoodVets for our community here -- a choice made specifically to respond to residents’ needs. Beyond on-site pet-friendly amenities, Optima Signature’s proximity to the riverfront and lakefront make it easy to take an adventure into the city with your pet.

Particularly in urban areas, we recognize that finding the perfect space for your pets to thrive can be tough, so we strive to make our residents’ lives easier and more enjoyable — for people and pups alike!

Modern Design for Your Home

Recently, we explained what exactly makes up Modern furniture and how to spot it. But what if you’re looking to bring a bit of Modernism into your own space? Considering our own affinity for Modern pieces and design, we love seeing the style applied across homes, condominiums or apartments. So if you’re looking for tips on modern design for your home, here’s where to start:

Form Follows Function

Modernism’s top rule is “form follows function,” essentially meaning that any decor or furnishings should reflect its intended purpose. Anything that doesn’t have a practical purpose can be eliminated, so Modern spaces are often very minimal. However, Modernism also celebrates the expression of form. Le Corbusier lounges or Barcelona chairs all embrace unique shapes and features in bright, joyful colors. Look for pieces that explore color, textures, and material, all while staying functional. 

Bring the Outside Inside

Modernist architecture celebrates expansive windows and natural light, as do Modern interiors. Keep windows unobstructed when possible, and keep any blinds or curtains minimal in color. If you feel inspired by the green space at Optima, get a few houseplants to add pops of green. Or if your seasonal weather cooperates, get creative with container gardening

Contemporary vs Modern

Contemporary and Modern are often confused when dealing with interior design, but it’s important to note the different. Contemporary style isn’t attached to any specific era; it changes as time evolves. So Contemporary design would currently refer to anything in demand in 2020. Whereas Modern design specifically refers to a movement in art, design, architecture and of course, furniture. 

If you want to hunt for Modern pieces to add to your own home, here are a few shop recommendations to check out. Or even better, peruse your local thrift store or furniture restoration shop for truly authentic Modern furniture and decor.

Our Signature Vertical Landscaping System

With every project, we ask ourselves how the natural land around us influences, affects and works in tandem with the structures we build. Seeking to holistically integrate the natural and built environments led us to develop our next-generation vertical landscaping system. The lush green element, utilized in many of our Arizona properties, is a cornerstone feature of Optima communities, a key component to our sustainability initiatives and so much more.

Aesthetic Enhancement

On its surface level, our signature vertical landscaping system serves to enhance the natural beauty of our communities. The lush verdure enables a palette of vibrantly colored plants at the edge of each floor to grow both up and over the edge of the building. This creates beautiful, private terrace gardens for each unit in buildings like Optima Camelview Village, Optima Kierland Center, and Optima Sonoran Village. The intense greenery also plays bold juxtaposition to our building’s facade, where concrete and glass work in harmony to celebrate the relationship between the built and natural environment, with glass blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, home and garden. 

Functional, Sustainable Beauty 

Our signature vertical landscaping system isn’t just for aesthetic value — it plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment. The system, with self-containing irrigation and drainage, provides a haven for urban wildlife, promotes evaporative cooling, re-oxygenates the air, reduces dust and smog levels, reduces ambient noise, detains stormwater and thermally insulates and shields residents from the desert sun, all of which contributes to a sustainable urban environment. Residents also experience the direct impact of being surrounded by nature, with the vertical landscaping system serving as a connection to nature and added source of privacy.

Like all good design, our vertical landscaping system is a natural study in form and function. We’re proud to pioneer a system that contributes to the natural beauty of the environment, and helps preserve it, too.

The Sculpture Garden at Optima Sonoran Village

At Optima, our appreciation and curiosity about materials — and how those materials are expressed — extends beyond architecture and into the artistic medium of sculpture. The sculpture garden at Optima Sonoran Village is home to several original sculptures by Optima founder David Hovey Sr., and exemplifies how art can influence and impact the space it resides within.

The garden includes five original David Hovey Sr. sculptures: Curves and Voids, Silver Fern, Triangles, Intersecting Arches and Duo. Originally created as a large and monumental sculpture, Duo is crafted out of steel to create a striking silhouette alluding to a man and a woman gazing at one another. Meanwhile, Curves and Voids expresses steel and its potential through grand, sweeping curves. The voids are laser cut within the sculpture’s steel planes; the holes provide gaps and textures that contrast and play off of the sculpture’s curves.

Each original sculpture within the garden is just one of many variations of a design. David Hovey Sr. often experiments with color, size and orientation within his sculpture designs to breathe new life into the same form, placing these iterations across Optima communities. At the sculpture garden at Optima Sonoran Village, Hovey Sr. chose to use Corten steel rather than coat the sculptures in bold hues. He did so to ensure that rather than competing with the building’s vibrant facade, the sculptures would complement the community. Of the five sculptures, Curves & Voids is large-scale, and the other four remain of modest size. 

We invite anyone who visits Optima Sonoran Village to take a stroll through the sculpture garden, to immerse themselves in the art form and to discover how sculpture can transform the space it’s within

Neighborhood Spotlight: Phoenix

Home to Optima Biltmore Towers and a rapidly evolving city skyline, Phoenix is the vivacious and sprawling city capital of Arizona. Today we’re diving deep into why we love Phoenix, its endless pockets to explore and its bustling arts scene.

Arts and Culture

Phoenix is thriving in the arts and culture arena, with classic spots like the Phoenix Art Museum whose collection spans from the Renaissance era to the present day and the Heard Museum, showcasing American Indian art, to a burgeoning underground arts scene. Phoenix’s newest walkable arts district, Roosevelt Row, features urban murals, galleries from up-and-coming artists and is the home of First Fridays art extravaganza, a once-monthly neighborhood art crawl.

Architectural Treasures

We’re proud to put down roots in a city that has inspired Modernist architectural masters like Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West is a cornerstone piece of Modernist architecture, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as his winter home and school, and the now-home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The city is also home to the futuristic desert home, Cosanti, designed by Wright’s seminal student, Italian architect Paolo Soleri.

R&R - Both Natural and Manmade

Phoenix also boasts unparalleled access to the natural gems of the Arizona landscape, with options like Desert Botanical Garden, Camelback Mountain (which is also right next to Optima Sonoran Village) and Papago Park all closeby to the urban oasis. When it comes to manufactured R&R, Phoenix is known too for its lush golf courses and luxury spas, where you can while away the day and recenter.

As we continue to expand in Arizona, we look forward to discovering more in our favorite places, and learning about new communities, too. Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities.

Staying Well at Home

In the face of adversity, nothing is more inspiring than seeing everyone come together and get creative pursuing at-home health and wellness initiatives. As we continue to explore new ways to stay active and entertained, here are a few of our favorite ways to practice wellness at home: 

Take a Digital Fitness Class

Keeping up your fitness routine — or establishing a new habit — is a great way to kickstart your morning and get those endorphins pumping. When it comes to digital fitness classes to help guide you, the options are endless. Good Housekeeping recently shared their all-encompassing list of 25+ free live stream workout classes to try while quarantined, including high-intensity boxing, toning dance parties, yoga, meditation and more. Our own Optima communities are hosting classes too — Optima Signature is putting on virtual fitness classes like pilates and core fitness through Chitown Trainer, while Optima Sonoran Village organized a patio workout series via the building’s Instagram

Organize an Online Meet-Up

Social distancing still allows for plenty of room to get creative with your social gatherings. Making the time to keep up with friends and family is a great way to boost your mood  — and theirs. The increasingly popular video conferencing platform Zoom allows up to 100 people in one meeting. Try gathering your coworkers for a digital happy hour, or getting your friends together for a creative themed night, such as a Chopped-inspired cooking challenge or a Bob Ross-style paint along.

Cultivate Your Green Thumb

Satisfy your spring fever and brighten up your home with your own personal garden. Gardening is a meditative task, and the result is lush greenery that is proven to boost your spirit. At Optima, many of our units feature private terraces, which are the perfect place for you and your new plant friends to soak up the sun. But even without an outdoor space, the rising container gardening trend allows anyone to have a green thumb at home. To help our residents get started, the property management team at Optima Sonoran Village even delivered a succulent plant to each unit.

As we continue to spend our days at home, finding ways to stay grounded and focusing on our wellness is as important as ever. Stayed tuned for more Optima features on at-home initiatives.

The History of IgCC

When it was developed, Optima Sonoran Village had the privilege of being the pilot project for Scottsdale’s International Green Construction Code, an alternative to LEED fully managed by local municipalities, and was one of the first projects in the world certified under IgCC. To understand the true breadth of its merit, we’re taking a deep dive into the IgCC: its history, its mission and its modern day impact. 

History of IgCC

IgCC was first conceptualized by the International Code Council (ICC), a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification and training. ICC also develops model codes and standards that are used around the world to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. 

ICC realized that there was a significant gap in construction in the way of a mandatory baseline of codes that would address green commercial construction. This kind of regulatory framework was becoming an increasingly appealing concept, with many local and state jurisdictions already exploring their own potential “substitute codes.”

In response to the call, ICC collaborated with cooperating sponsors - the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASTM International, ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to help get the code passed. And in 2010, ICC established The International Green Construction Code™ (IgCC) to provide model code regulations that promote safe and sustainable construction. 

IgCC Today

IgCC “provides the design and construction industry with the single, most effective way to deliver sustainable, resilient, high-performance buildings.” Support of the IgCC promotes a new era of building design and construction that includes environmental health and safety as code minimums.

Benefits of certification under IgCC abound; IgCC certification includes measures that result in better indoor environments, lower impact on natural resources, better neighborhood connections and improved walkability, increased resilience to natural disasters and climate change, resource consumption/management and service interruptions.

IgCC and Optima

IgCC operates as a code that can be easily adapted by public or private entities, allowing government jurisdictions to adopt it and save themselves the labor of creating their own code. Arizona took advantage of this opportunity, adopting the IgCC, which then took effect in January of 2017. 

It was at that time that Optima Sonoran Village became a pilot project for IgCC in Arizona.

Optima Sonoran Village IGCC attributes include major building elements consisting of 95 perfect local and recycled content materials; energy efficiency as a result of the high-performing glazing, overhangs, building configurations and exterior shading devices; water resource conservation from plumbing fixtures and excellent indoor environmental quality and reduced material emissions from the materials used in the development. Because of its environmentally-friendly construction, Optima Sonoran Village passed muster and was one of the first buildings in the world to earn certification.

Optima will continue to push the boundaries of building in pursuit of new and sustainable ways to contribute to our built environment. ICC is an association that will continue to do the same—we look forward to a world in which green building is commonplace.

Modern Office Design at Optima with Knoll

Design permeates every corner of our communities. Across our multi-family properties, we utilize furniture designed by globally renowned Knoll to craft spaces that are sleek, modern and comfortable. Not just purveyors of elegant and stunning design, Knoll also has a history entangled with our own, beginning in 1938.

Modernist Roots

Knoll was founded in 1938 by Hans G. Knoll, a German immigrant to the United States. Familiar with the seminal Bahaus School of Design and Modernist masters like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, he founded Knoll on the belief that modern architects would need modern furnishings.

Later, Hans Knoll engaged with (and then literally got engaged to) Florence Schust, who studied with Mies van der Rohe at the Armour Institute in Chicago, and worked in the architectural offices from Gropius and Breuer in Boston. Her understanding of Modernist architecture, and the Bauhaus and Walter Gropius himself, transformed the Knoll approach to furniture design, placing new focus on offering objects that represented design excellence, technological innovation and mass production.

Their strong vision attracted collaborators, such as Isamu Noguchi, who contributed to a collection of furnishings now heralded as classics in the pantheon of modern design. With a repertoire of pieces spanning including the Wassily chair, the Barcelona chair, the Tulip chair; over 40 Knoll designs can be found in the permanent design collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

As seminal collaborators with the Modernist architecture discipline, Knoll is a natural fit for our modern spaces. Their executive designs embody elegance, craftsmanship and emblematic details across seating, tables and desks. The thoughtful and artistic creations of Knoll bring expansive history, elevated design and of course, comfort, to our communities.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Scottsdale

Home to Optima Camelview Village and Optima Sonoran Village, Downtown Scottsdale is a locus of access, spanning from arts, culture, shopping and nature. Here are just a few of our favorite spots:

Fashion Square

Nextdoor neighbor to Optima Sonoran Village, Fashion Square is an upscale, contemporary shopping hub. The Square features luxury shopping, dining and entertainment unmatched by anything else in Arizona. High-scale brands include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Bottega Venetta, Saint Laurent and more. Scottsdale Fashion Square is also host to exclusive events and unparalleled guest amenities. The multi-level mall is the perfect place to while away the hours on a shopping spree, or even just window shopping. 

Arts and Culture

Scottsdale is home to a bustling arts scene, with an abundance of cultural institutions, museums and galleries calling the area their home. Scottsdale Arts welcomes residents and visitors to experience performing and visual arts from around the world, with programming that spans far beyond being just a theater or museum. Meanwhile, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a premier collection of modern works in art, design and architecture. Other specialized locales include the Scottsdale Historical Museum, complete with one-room schoolhouse, and the Fiesta Bowl Museum, dedicated entirely to college football memorabilia.

Dining, Drinking and More

Residents of our communities don’t have to look far to find a bite to eat. On-site at Optima Sonoran Village, Kaleidoscope Juice provides a boost with delicious organic juice and coffee drinks. And just a short walking distance away, the vibrant Downtown Scottsdale dining scene brings flavors to satiate any taste palette. 

The Great Outdoors

With Arizona set in such a gorgeous landscape, it’s only natural that there are bountiful parks and outdoor recreation areas to explore. Scottsdale offers immediate sweeping views of Camelback Mountain with Echo Canyon Trailhead just steps from Optima Sonoran Village, gorgeous greenery at Camelback Golf Course and the Phoenician Golf Course, and just down the road in bordering Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden provides a peek at desert vegetation. 

As we continue to expand in Arizona, we look forward to discovering more in our favorite places, and learning about new communities, too. Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities.

2019: A Year in Review

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflectively look back on all that’s happened throughout a busy and exciting year. Our team, projects and Optima as a whole have experienced tremendous growth over the last twelve months. Here are just a few of the highlights:


Our team was honored to win five awards, including AIA Chicago Divine Detail award for Optima Sonoran Village, Architecture MasterPrize and Architizer A+ Finalist Award for Arizona Courtyard House, American Architecture Award for Whale Bay House and Build Magazine’s Luxury Urban Housing Designer of the Year. 

Projects and Properties

This was a big year for development, construction, leasing and more. 

In Arizona, we completed construction and leased up Optima Sonoran Village Phase III, the fifth and final tower at Optima Sonoran Village. 7120 Optima Kierland sold out – and was the fastest selling community in the Valley. We launched sales at 7180 Optima Kierland and are already over 50% sold. We also began construction on both 7140 and 7180 Optima Kierland, both slated for completion in 2020. We also purchased new land in Scottsdale to develop new Optima communities.

In Illinois, we leased up 100% of our commercial and retail space at Optima Signature including business suites. We also purchased new land in Chicago and the North Shore for new developments.

We also launched Optimized ServiceTM, a next-level white-glove approach to our concierge experience.


Working across our entire organization, we formalized our purpose statement and core values to reflect our growth and inspire our path forward. We volunteered: we spent the day with Habitat for Humanity in both AZ and IL, cleaned up the Skokie Lagoons in IL, and worked with animals at Amy’s Farm Sanctuary in AZ. We had fun: we enjoyed axe throwing, bowling, go karting, beaches, barbeques, concerts and high tea. We also learned: our team attended the Metropolitan Planning Council lunch, the TCN Women in the Forefront Luncheon, the Goldie Gala, the Chicago Build Expo and NAA Apartmentalize. 

We can’t thank our leadership, team members and supporters enough for such a fantastic year. As we look towards 2020, we look forward to the new year to come, new milestones to pass and new ways to innovate across our upcoming projects. 

Rooftop Amenities at Optima

Across all of our projects and properties, we believe amenities are essential to building wellness-focused, holistic spaces. From our single-family homes to our multi-family residences, we carefully curate our outdoor and indoor amenities to reflect these values. One of our favorite applications is utilizing our rooftop areas, particularly in our multi-family residences. Although rooftop gardens and green spaces have existed since the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, new technologies have allowed us to expand into sophisticated, expansive systems of features. Optima began using green roofs in Chicago back in the early 1980s, and have evolved our practice to include both green space and amenities throughout our properties in Arizona and Illinois.

One of our favorite aspects of moving out to Arizona was creating outdoor spaces that celebrated and embraced the desert atmosphere. Our Arizona rooftop amenities include heated pools, built-in seating areas, spas,cold plunges, rooftop running tracks, outdoor yoga studios, entertaining spaces with barbecues and fire pits, and of course, panoramic mountain views. At Optima Sonoran Village in particular, we maximized the small footprint of the building to offer incredible views of Camelback mountain and to create socializing space for residents. 

With state-of-the-art features and unparalleled views of the surrounding environments, our rooftop spaces across our Arizona projects create the perfect backdrop for time spent outside with loved ones. 

Despite the cold Chicago winters, our projects within the city still take advantage of their rooftop space for dynamic city views and amenities for our residents to enjoy. With outdoor heated swimming pools, cabanas and bars, outdoor saunas and steam rooms, outdoor terraces, fire pits, herb gardens, dog parks and outdoor children’s play areas, both Optima Chicago Center and Optima Signature feature plenty of enticing areas and activities. 

Our building amenities are an integral step in our process of creating functional, beautiful and welcoming spaces, and in utilizing our rooftops, we extend our creativity into designing desirable, innovative outdoor space. 

A Brief History of the Terrace

The usage of terraces dates back 12,000 years, evolving over the millennium to be the sophisticated components of urban architecture that they are today.

A hallmark of Optima properties is our integration of the built environment with the natural. Oftentimes, we employ terraces—level platforms incorporated into buildings that allow for plantlife to thrive—that allow our buildings, and their residents, to live in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The usage of terraces is one that dates back for over 12,000 years, evolving over the millennium to be the sophisticated components of urban architecture that they are today.

Terraces of Ancient Times

The word terrace is derived from terra, the Latin word for earth. The technique has been in use for over 12,000 years, first utilized as an ancient farming method in hilly regions. Agricultural terracing involved cutting the land into a series of successively receding flat platforms, much like steps, to allow for more effective farming, by decreasing erosion and surface runoff and increasing the effectiveness of irrigation.  

In 9800 BC, ancient civilizations realized that they could adapt this technique to buildings, and they began to add terraces to their homes and other domestic structures. This first usage was seen across the globe, from the Middle East to the Pacific Islands. The most famous interpretation is undeniably King Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although no actual proof of its existence has been found, depictions show an ascending series of tiered gardens abundant with plantlife, complete even with a waterfall.

Thousands of years later, from 3000 BC - 600 BC, Mesopotamians grew gardens atop ziggurats, terraced religious temples that allowed for religious spaces to become placed ever higher. The structures were placed upon many layered platforms, and it’s believed that ziggurats were what inspired the Biblical parable The Tower of Babel. 

Terraces continued to be integrated into homes. Around 1500 AD, Venice adopted terrace design to the tops of their homes, called altanas. Altanas were private, slat-floored roofs. They started out as a place to hang laundry out to dry, but continue to be used today as social spaces.

Terraces in the Modern Age

Following the progression of altanas as a place to socialize, people began more and more to use the terrace as a location to congregate in privacy. Private rooftop and per-unit terraces became luxury amenities in the 1920s, when building height began to increase due to the adoption of the elevator. At that time, terraces become a status of wealth, allowing for privacy, fresh air and separation from the increasing bustle of life on city-level. 

Today, the use of terraces continues to flourish, finding increased purpose and urgency in response to population growth and a changing environmental climate. They provide private places to reconvene with nature, away from the bustle of the city. Terraces also create sustainable and contributive space, by providing thermal insulation, solar shading to mitigate air pollution, increased biodiversity and enhanced quality of life. 

At Optima, we incorporate terraces to create private social space, to integrate nature into our communities through our signature hanging gardens, and to contribute to our sustainability practices at many of our properties, including Optima Camelview Village, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Kierland. Terraces at Optima serve as outdoor living space, connecting the outdoor and indoor for a seamless living experience. From agricultural beginnings, the terrace stays true to its roots, allowing us to find harmony with nature.

The New Architecture: Integrating the Built and Natural Environment

In a recent New York Times article, author Karrie Jacobs wrote that the “hard barriers between the designed environment and the natural one are softening — maybe for good.”

Jacobs went on to say, “Designers today are rebalancing the relationship between architecture and nature, with the goal of increasing the quality of life, especially in urban settings.” 

The NYTimes article features several new and innovative works by global architects who are designing to fuse outdoor and indoor, with structures that are both influenced by and have influence on their environment. We love to see the innovation taking place throughout the architecture world, and the continued conversation surrounding how design can evolve to appreciate nature.

From the beginning, our work at Optima has celebrated this fundamental connection between design and nature as a way of enhancing the human experience. Since our founding in the late 70s, we have been utilizing Modernist design to create homes that are an extension of their environment and integrate nature into the lives of those that live in them.

One of our first residences, Sandy Knoll, demonstrated how modular housing could integrate a home into a steep, challenging wooded knoll. What resulted was a beautiful home that preserved the integrity and grace of its site, with mature trees and local Illinois vegetation creating the views out of glass-paneled walls. 

Since then, we have continuously challenged ourselves to evolve new ways of incorporating nature into our design. Green space has always been a large component to the communities that we build, and our move to Arizona has only deepened our intimate understanding of landscaping.

Our desert dwellings incorporate the elevation, vegetation and climate of the desert into every facet of design, from bridged courtyards to the materials and colors used for each home’s exterior. Glass curtainwalls also provide uninterrupted, panoramic views of the sweeping landscape, so that the mountains of the desert feel a part of each home.

In our multifamily work, we incorporate the Optima vertical landscaping system to create protection, privacy and beauty. For us, lush landscaping vertically and horizontally across our communities is an integral part of creating connection - a connection that is both physically inviting and spiritually inviting, as our design seeks to connect people with their surrounding environment.

We look forward to the future, to constantly pushing the boundaries and exploring how to further unify the built and natural environment. We’re excited that the work we do is part of a larger conversation in the architecture world and can’t wait to see what we, and others, do next for architecture and for the earth.

Desert Dwellings: Laboratories to Test Our Tastes

Our desert dwellings homes serve as laboratories in which we are able to test our tastes and stretch the boundaries of our thinking.

Optima’s residential work goes back to 1982, when Sheridan Elm in Winnetka, IL first allowed us to challenge the status quo. Sandy Knoll and Ravine Bluff followed, each an exploration of the steel-and-glass Modernist aesthetic on our own terms. Ultimately, however, it was our geographic leap to designing homes in the Arizona desert that drew our practice, and design, into a new realm. Our desert dwellings serve as laboratories in which we are able to test our tastes and stretch the boundaries of our thinking.

A New Frontier

In moving out to Arizona in the early 2000s, our intention was to build in a physical environment that was drastically different than our Chicago beginnings. Our team, led by David Hovey Jr., needed to utilize the outdoor space year-round, an interesting new challenge in comparison to Midwest seasons. Over the years, our desert homes have included  Shadow Caster, Cloud Chaser, Vanishing Rain, and Sterling Ridge. While our Illinois residences were straight-forward, functionalist modular builds, the Desert Homes are deepened and complexified by the multi-layered and defined spaces within. 

Our desert residences also allowed us to test changes in traditional components of Optima architecture, like our all-glass facades. Traditionally, transparency into such a hot region is ineffective for temperature control. However we were able to experiment with landscaping and solar screening that would help to shield our structures from direct sun and subsequent heat, while still allowing seamless desert views. We also discovered new methods of landscaping, creating shallow and bridged beds, as well as self-irrigating planter boxes, in order to create the vibrant verdure of the landscaping seen today at Optima Camelview Village, Optima Sonoran Village and 7160 Optima Kierland.

A New Way of Seeing

With a new office in Arizona, we were able to utilize current technology to form a project flow for both areas. About this time in 2001, technology was improving from an architecture standpoint; things were moving from a 2-D CAD design system into a 3-D building information modeling system. This allowed us to communicate effectively through our offices, helped our executive team take on more responsibility and started the process for multi-family projects in Arizona. 

Part of this expansion in Arizona was the introduction of Optima DCHGlobal, which acted as another laboratory for some of the processes we envisioned for large-scale buildings, especially with the transformation from 2-D design into 3-D BIM systems. The vision for Optima DCHGlobal was to create a customizable, flexible and standardized system, which resulted in additional desert dwellings, Relic Rock and Arizona Courtyard House. Through our desert laboratories, we have explored not only how to create beautiful spaces, but how to make them sustainable and adaptable across all types of geographic environments. 

The discoveries that we make through our desert dwellings don’t exist in isolation. With each new home, we uncover more of what makes our design uniquely us, and how to create our vision in the best way possible, so that we can bring it to each and every project that we undertake, no matter the type of home or type of terrain.

The Work of Joan Miró

It’s no secret that we love color. We believe that color, like art, brings a new dimension to the beautiful spaces that we design. That’s why the colorful and surrealist work of the Spanish painter, Joan Miró, is a natural fit to enliven the walls of our communities.

The Life of Joan Miró

Joan Miró was born in 1893 in the seaside town of Barcelona. He grew up influenced by the beauty and culture of his city, and surrounded by the arts with a watchmaker father and goldsmith mother. His began drawing as a young child, though he diverted from his true calling when he went to business school for college. After school, Miró worked as a clerk, but quickly found his way back to art, evolving through several styles and artists’ circles and leaving an influential mark in his wake. 

The Art of Joan Miró

Miró’s early work was inspired by Vincent van Goh and Paul Cezanne. By 1919 and his first trip to Paris, Miró began to dabble in geometric, patterned art inspired by the Cubists. In the early 1920s, Miró began to draw inspiration from Sigmund Freud and the Marxists, joining the ranks of the groundbreaking surrealists with work marked by lines, organic shapes and color. Miró himself once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”

We are proud to enliven our interior spaces with the art of Joan Miró, and are deeply moved by the power of his works and words. Miró’s work adorns the walls of a handful of units at Optima Sonoran Village, playing off the lively interiors and lush outside landscape. Like Miró, we too, try to apply colors, and art, to shape the beautiful spaces that we design.