Major forces promoting Downtown Phoenix continue to attract tech tenants

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For years, the Phoenix tech industry has been driven by heavy activity in Scottsdale and Tempe, particularly South Scottsdale and Downtown Tempe. The live-work-play concept of these areas continue to lure the young professionals many tech companies recruit.

However, Downtown Phoenix has recently emerged as another popular submarket to evaluate, and it’s growing as a strong contender. According to Shannon Selby, the economic development program manager for the City of Phoenix, the number of high-tech companies located in Downtown Phoenix has grown from 67 to 281 over the last five years. Why? The continued revitalization of the area—with new, modern apartments and growing amenity options—has contributed to strengthening the area’s live-work-play concept, resulting in more Millennials being drawn to the area.

The support of this revitalization is coming from many different influencers including the City of Phoenix, major tech companies like Uber, educational providers, and even JLL’s own tech expert, Ryan Bartos. Some of these influencers recently sat on a panel together at an AZ CREW event to discuss why they believe in Downtown Phoenix and how they expect it to grow. The following are highlights of their discussion.

  • Ryan Bartos, executive vice president of JLL who specializes in advising high-growth companies, expects more tech companies to evaluate Downtown Phoenix because of the unique product type. According to Ryan, “This area has older buildings that provide a cool environment. This is the type of product big tech players coming from primary markets desire.”
  • Brenda Schmidt, founder and CEO of Solera Health Inc., a company who is moving into a Downtown building said the company is moving there because they wanted to be a part of the buzz.
  • Diana Vowels, general manager of Phoenix Galvanize, said the company is excited to be a part of building of the urban renewal efforts of Downtown Phoenix and building tech talent in Phoenix. She hopes to see more tech-specific educational opportunities throughout the Valley.
  • John Hamby, manager of community engagement of Uber, says the company plans to grow its presence at the Colliers Center with more support operation lines not currently in this market. The company is also exploring the idea of bringing driverless cars to the area.
  • Jenny Poon, founder of Co-Hoots said Downtown Phoenix has grown so much that her company was essentially priced out of the market. Now operating from an office in Midtown, Co-Hoots hopes to open another office in Downtown in the next couple years.

For a full summary of the discussion, check out these articles:

Phoenix Business Journal: Downtown Phoenix has seen 318 percent increase in tech companies since 2012

KTAR: Could downtown Phoenix be the next major hub for high-tech companies?

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