An economic development expert who works with Valley cities to locate large corporations in their communities said Goodyear is positioned to easily handle the industrial construction boom it’s experiencing as well large-scale office building construction he predicts will reignite in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the economy is healthy, you will see office peak in the 45% to 50% range of the total (construction) pipeline,” Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Chris Camacho told the Goodyear City Council in an update on local and regional economic development during the council’s Monday, Sept. 21, work study session. “You’ve seen in just the last year and a half a very strong leaning toward industrial ... certainly in Goodyear, Glendale, Avondale and Buckeye.”
While he doesn’t expect many construction loans for new large-scale office buildings during the next three years as more employees work from home, Mr. Camacho said projects such as the 100,000-square-foot, three-story Globe Corp. speculative office building included in phase one of Goodyear’s Civic Square at Estrella Falls will go forward as planned.
Speculative projects are those developed before formal tenant commitments are in place. While Goodyear has developed speculative industrial space for more than a decade, there is little large office space in the West Valley available, and the Globe building’s anticipated mid-2022 completion puts the city in a good position to attract companies that need lots of office space.
“It’s really important for the West Valley to have office product vertical, so I’m really excited,” Mr. Camacho said. “There’s an intense east-west commute in the morning as you probably see on 10. We want to keep more of those residents in your community and have a better jobs equity balance in the market.”
In addition to the Globe Corp. building and adjacent multilevel parking garage accommodating up to 1,100 vehicles, phase one of Civic Square at McDowell Road and 150th Avenue will feature a four-story, 125,000-square-foot City Hall building with a two-story, 20,000-square-foot public library in addition to council chambers and city offices. It also will feature Civic Square Park, a central, two-acre greenspace where the city can hold activities and special events.
During the past five years, GPEC has worked with Goodyear to bring in 18 companies, generating 4,300 jobs and $2.4 billion in capital investments in the city.
Among them are Amazon, which Mr. Camacho said will bring 2,500 jobs and $250 million in capital expenditure to Goodyear; Compass datacenters (45 jobs and $350 million capital expenditure); Ferrara Candy Co. (200 jobs and $50 million capital expenditure); Microsoft (58 jobs and $350 million capital expenditure); Quetico (300 jobs and $45 million capital expenditure); and Vantage Data Centers (40 jobs and $350 million capital expenditure).
In response to an aviation question by Councilwoman Laura Kaino, Mr. Camacho said he anticipates more opportunities in cargo and industrial uses that need access to Phoenix Goodyear Airport vice passenger traffic.
“Most of the passenger traffic will be Mesa Gateway and Sky Harbor,” he said.
“No matter who gets a GPEC project, it’s good for all of us,” Councilwoman Wally Campbell said.
Watch Mr. Camacho's presentation below:
Regionally, GPEC assisted its 22 partner cities across the Valley in bringing 42 new businesses and 9,776 jobs to the greater Phoenix area in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Mr. Camacho said, noting that two-thirds, or 6,190, of those jobs are considered high-wage, with an average salary of $68,000 annually. That equates to more than $555 million in payroll generated, he said.
In the first 2 1/2 months of fiscal 2021, the organization assisted its partner cities in bringing eight companies and 2,285 jobs to greater Phoenix, which reflects $243.6 million in capital investment. The average salary for high-wage jobs is $93,470, he said.
“Overall, I’m shocked at how well the region’s doing” during the pandemic, he said.
The region currently has 51 active prospects with the potential to bring 8,023 jobs, $2.5 billion in capital investment and more than 10 million square feet of building space.
“We have 30 members on staff that are all over the globe selling Goodyear and selling greater Phoenix to pretty much anyone who will listen,” Mr. Camacho said. “That’s a lot more than 10 years ago.”
Under its partnership with Valley cities, GPEC pitches the area to companies, then economic development teams led by people like Goodyear Economic Development Director Lori M. Gary step in.
“We go out and find these new employers. They may be in California, they may be in New York, they may be in the U.K.,” Mr. Camacho said. “Our job is to make pitches to consider the region, and then Lori’s team will come in and make the specific pitch on Goodyear. She will be there arm-in-arm, lockstep with us giving the messaging as to why this community is attractive, how you’re pro-business, the right kind of economic development programs you have, the labor sheds, all of those attributes.”
To receive its help in recruiting corporations, Goodyear will pay GPEC $43,520 in fiscal 2021, and receive an estimated $554 in direct revenue for every dollar invested, Mr. Camacho said.
“I think you probably have the highest (return on investment) in the region because of all the projects and the jobs and associated indirect revenue that’s been created in your city” over the last five years, he said.
In November, GPEC will kick off a California Blitz campaign pitching the region to industrial companies in the Los Angeles area, to corporate and advanced business service companies in the San Francisco Bay area, and to office and industrial bioscience companies in the San Diego area.
In response to a question from Councilwoman Sheri Lauritano, Mr. Camacho said the region’s largest competitors for business are Austin for tech companies; Dallas, Atlanta and Denver for large office users; and California’s Inland Empire, Las Vegas and Utah for industrial.
At the end of Mr. Camacho’s presentation, the council congratulated GPEC for its hard work on behalf of Valley cities, and Mayor Georgia Lord also sang Ms. Gary’s praises.
“We want to brag about Lori. I think she’s probably one of the most outstanding agents of economic development in the Valley right now,” Ms. Lord said. “You’re a stat guy and GPEC is all the stats. Well, we got someone who came on as a staffer and she believes in those ... she’s taught us some good lessons and she’s learned from GPEC.”
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-963-1697.