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GM to Build $21M Innovation Center in Chandler

By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

GM Information Technology Innovation CentersThe Silicon Desert just blossomed again with General Motors announcing a new 1K employee innovation center will be located in Chandler. The East Valley location is the last of four sites selected for GM’s technology complexes.

The permanent home will be a new 150K SF building—likely location in the Price Corridor. There is a dearth of buildings ready to build in that size range and GM says it wants to be in Chandler. Although nothing has been signed, Balmer Architecture Group has designed a 150K SF spec building for Mark IV Capital. The developer has a zoning application pending for a spec building that size in Chandler Freeway Crossing northeast of Loops 101 and 202 off S. Ellis Rd. It’s been reported that this is one of the sites GM has its eye on. Mark IV says they do not have a tenant for that building signed at this moment. No GC has been selected.

General Motors has similar centers in place in Warren, Mich., Roswell, Ga. and Austin, Tex. The company has posted three dozen positions on its website to start work April 1 in a temporary West Chandler office center. The company plans a $21M investment in the permanent location.

The four innovation centers—which will ultimately house 4,000 employees between them—are in locations with a pool of 150 colleges within a two-hour drive. Arizona was selected because of its “talent-rich” information technology workforce, according to GM Chief Information Officer, Randy Mott. “To hire the best and brightest,” he said, “requires opportunities differentiating GM from other companies—location and access to creative professionals is one such advantage.”

The innovation centers provide the technology muscle behind the corporations’ entire IT effort. It is a major shift for GM, which is pulling IT back into the corporate fold instead of outsourcing the efforts—its model over the last three decades. “The innovation centers,” explains Mott, “are critical to our overall business strategy. Inside the company, we can look to them to design and deliver technology driving down the costs of ongoing operations and increasing the level and speed at which innovative products and services are available to GM.”

AZ AwardsState Incentive Tops $1.3M

Tapping the state’s $25M Arizona Competes Fund, GM could recoup as much as $1.3M in cash once it meets benchmarks for job creation and market investment. The pool of money is controlled by the Arizona Commerce Authority, which can approve incentives when specific thresholds are achieved.

The fund was authorized by the legislature at the governor’s request to give ACA capital to use in its recruitment efforts for new business to the state. Through December 31, 2012, the quasi-public agency allocated $6.2M from the fund to create $37.2M in investment for 1,397 jobs paying an average salary of $61K. GM has not announced the average salary for its Chandler positions.

Chandler Price Corridor Premium Space

Anchored with names like Intel and Wells Fargo, Chandler’s Price Corridor gets a lot of long looks from businesses moving into the Valley. Chris Mackay reports that there are only 218 acres undeveloped land remaining. Another 175 acres are undeveloped, but have development plans. The city is considering an update to the area plan governing the Corridor. The council directed the action several weeks ago, but a consultant is not yet being sought.

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