News Ticker

Rock Solid Vision for Chandler Economic Development

By Eric Jay Toll for The Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

“We’ve got 47 cottage industries right here in Chandler just as a result of Intel,” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny says with a great deal of pride.

For many, the term “cottage industry” brings pictures of a couple of guys in the garage building prototypes or a part-time mom-based business building equity while the kids nap. That’s not Chandler’s picture of a cottage industry.

Picture the shimmering white tanks and towers along Loop 101 just north of Loop 202—Air Products, that’s a Chandler cottage industry.

Picture the combined 50K SF of Chandler and ASU Innovation Centers or the new AKO engineering design offices. Those are Chandler cottage industries. Bioscience, technology and secure mobile are just some of the business categories directly connected to Intel. “Six businesses on the Price Corridor,” says the Mayor, “opened solely for the purpose of delivering services to Intel.”

Economic Growth Surrounds Intel

Chandler’s largest employer kicked off last week with an announcement of its latest development: a 285K SF, $300M research and development center on the West Chandler campus. Construction is still ongoing for the $5.2B Fab42 facility. Chandler and Intel officials will not confirm, but sources tell AZBEX there are reports floating about an Ocotillo Campus administrative complex or mirror-imaged Fab42-2 to start sometime after Intel’s DX-1 facility is completed in Hillsboro, Ore. in 2013. Economic conditions will dictate actual start dates.

Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

“Six businesses on the Price Corridor opened solely for the purpose of delivering services to Intel.” Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

Chandler says Intel spins off three to four additional Valley jobs for each employee it hires.

“We’re looking ahead to a solid future for our citizens,” explained Mayor Tibshraeny. “We can see our ultimate buildout, and we know that once it gets close, we need to focus on infill and redevelopment. Our vision is to put in place a solid economic development base.”

The person charged with that responsibility, Economic Development Director Christine Mackay, is one of the most respected leaders in the field in Arizona. Booked in meetings from the moment she walks in the door at the new Chandler city hall until late in the day, Mackay juggles downtown development opportunities, business retention and business recruitment.

Chandler Innovation Center Grows New Businesses

“We’re really proud of the Innovation Center,” she says. “We’ve got a number of companies in there growing and developing, and it’s time for us to come up with some ‘teenager space.’” With a 24 to 36 month timeline for business incubation, Mackay is looking for a transition to help businesses move out from the city-supported offices at the center and into the normal business world.

“Our incubating businesses find themselves surprised at the costs of running an office,” she explains. “We provide the basic support—copiers, conference rooms, technological infrastructure. Once they outgrow incubation, they are responsible for those costs and there’s a degree of sticker shock when a business is in between the Innovation Center and profitability.”

Christine Mackay

“Incubating businesses ready to grow out of the incubator find sticker shock with the cost of setting up their own offices.” Christine Mackay

“We call these the ‘teenagers,’ and we’re evolving the concept of transitional space for growth. We’re seeing some of our major business developers stepping into this concept,” echoes the mayor. “Several major business centers in the Price Corridor have indicated an interest in providing support for fledgling businesses coming out of the incubator.” Chandler Freeway Crossing, Red Rock Business Center, Allred’s Park Place, and Mark IV Capital are among those who have stepped into this unique market.

“We need to have places for these businesses to grow because incubated businesses already have roots in the community and should not need to move elsewhere for expansion,” says Mackay.

Combined with Chandler’s Innovation Center, ASU extended its Polytechnic campus into its Chandler College of Technology and Innovation as an engineering and technology-based education and research center. Located downtown, 249 E. Chicago St., between Chandler Blvd. and Frye Rd., the center scored another coup with the inclusion of the new TechShop workshop chain developing a site inside the facility.

This is the first of a three part series from an August 15th conversation between AZBEX publisher Rebekah Morris and Senior Correspondent Eric Jay Toll with Mayor Tibshraeny and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay in the Mayor’s conference room at Chandler City Hall. Part 2 publishes on August 24th, Part 3 on August 28th, focusing on Chandler’s Downtown Core, and then a study of individual properties in downtown Chandler, both city-owned and those controlled by private entities.