Chandler developer: New tool to boost Price Corridor
David Allred, Special for The Republic | azcentral.com
(Photo: Weldon B. Johnson/The Republic)
As the developer of the most square footage in the Price Road Corridor over the past decade, we read this paper’s recent article about the area with great interest.
Essentially, the article by Chris Coppola talked about the changing marketplace for technology companies that are no longer seeking to obtain their own land use entitlements and build massive, single-user buildings. Think Intel.
This is a critical discussion. The new market of employers are seeking to locate quickly in buildings already built and ready to move into.
Allred has built six office buildings on spec (before tenants were identified) and are now working to complete our seventh. That’s some $215 million invested in the Price Road Corridor of Chandler.
Every day we are talking to potential users about what they want and how quickly they want to move in. Here’s the reality. Of the 39 companies actively looking for space in the Valley right now, only two are looking for space of 150,000 square-feet or more. Two.
This means 37 of the most desirable jobs opportunities couldn’t locate in Chandler, south of Willis Road, even if they wanted to, because without the Innovation Zone, the current city requirement is for buildings to be at least 150,000 square-feet in size and have only a single-user.
The economic development officials in Chandler are very good, but no one is so good that they can be handicapped with such restrictions and best compete against the aggressive efforts of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale.
Consider one of our Chandler tenants, Infusionsoft. Theirs is a great Arizona success story. They originally started with 46,000 square-feet and have since grown to 160,000. And they continue to grow. Under current rules, Infusionsoft wouldn’t have been able to do this south of Willis Road, along Price.
Does that make sense? These are the very companies we want.
Fortunately, there is both a short-term solution a long one as well. To help Chandler’s continuing economic development efforts, we are preparing to invest hundreds of millions more in the area, with additional spec office buildings within a beautiful campus environment, so that fast-moving, nimble companies can have a desirable place to move into quickly.
In order to increase our 650,000 square-feet to 2 million we are seeking to use a General Plan-approved tool in our PAD called an “Innovation Zone” to build these spec buildings for the technology companies of today, and tomorrow.
This innovative planning tool was used to allow multiple-users into the old Motorola building and can serve the city well again as it responds to a changing market and increased competition. As happened with the Motorola redevelopment, this will immediately spark substantial new investment and more jobs. Right now, we have 2,400 employees in our buildings. We hope to triple that after our next project is approved.
No company has been or is more bullish on the Price Road Corridor than we are. That’s why we are constantly monitoring trends, changes, competition and other dynamics that could impact the area. For example, when the marketplace started telling us it was time to bring a hotel conference center to the area — the city’s first — we listened and will soon start building it.
Now, the marketplace is telling us something else. And city economic development officials, as described in the recent article, are making changes to keep up with the times. We applaud them for this. By staying pro-active we can all keep the Price Road Corridor the best one for jobs in Arizona.