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Dev. Summit Brings Opportunities to Table

Credit: Rachel Kettenhofen/AZBEX

By Peter Madrid for Madrid Media, a contributor to AZBEX

Micro markets. Advanced manufacturing. Telemedicine. Flying cars. Pop-up sports facilities. As the development community continues to grow and change, so does its vocabulary.

That was evident at the 2017 Phoenix Metro Development Summit presented by Arizona Builder’s Exchange (AZBEX) at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Scottsdale.

Kicking off the event was Mark Stapp, executive director of the Masters of Real Estate Development program at Arizona State University. His overview of where the Valley stands in the current commercial real estate cycle was positive.

“The overall feeling is that the market experienced a tiny blip, but it’s back up again,” Stapp said. “Where are investor returns headed in the next six months? Where are vacancy rates headed? These questions affect us all.”

The most confidence (in the market) is coming from some nontraditional property types, he said. This includes non-anchored retail centers, tactically placed speculative space, and micro markets, areas within markets that are enjoying great success.

“Technology is creating an omni-market,” Stapp said. “Social media is becoming very important to many demographics including millennials. It’s all about the experience now. The design of the place matters more today. Food and beverage, very important. It’s all about entertainment, and how we spend our time.”

Panel highlights:

Developing Advanced Manufacturing Facilities in Arizona

The opening panel was led by heavyweights Chris Camacho, President/CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and Rick Smith, CEO, Axon (formerly Taser International).

“We have a great opportunity to propel our brand,” Camacho said. “This is a young market. Arizona is a young state. Aerospace and defense are pretty much a triple down situation here. Advanced manufacturing is that one key piece.”

Smith said his company is growing organically to the point that there are plans for a new manufacturing facility in Scottsdale. The 325KSF research facility designed by SmithGroupJJR will be built by Okland Construction on the SRPMIC along the Loop 101 in Scottsdale.

“We do all our manufacturing on site,” Smith said. “It’s just more practical to do so.”

Smith also said there is a need for Arizona to get on board when it comes to computer coding in grades K-12 and to produce a well-educated workforce.”

Also on the panel was Richard Wilkie, economic development manager for the City of Casa Grande. His municipality is experiencing a resurgence of its own. Lucid Motors has come to town. Phoenix Mart is moving forward. Atessa Motorsports Complex is coming to Pinal County.

“A modern infrastructure system will be crucial,” Wilkie said. “The question we ask is ‘are we set up with proper infrastructure?’ Two hundred and eighty companies have evaluated this market – 62 percent in manufacturing, 22 percent advanced manufacturing. It is all about organically grown sources of talent. Automation is going to have a big swing over the next two decades.”

“We have to keep pressure on the Legislature for our K-12 education,” Smith said. We have to position ourselves for emerging technology, and yes, like flying cars.”

Developing Healthcare Facilities

Developers of healthcare real estate can’t stand on sidelines and wait for something to happen with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Banner Health has been active the past five years with its health clinics and rethinking how healthcare is being delivered. Mark Barkenbush, senior project executive, gave an overview of other Banner projects.

Bruce Russo of Vanir Construction Management gave an update on Prop 480. In 2014 Maricopa County voters approved the $935M proposition to develop, improve, and expand Maricopa Integrated Health System healthcare facilities for outpatient and behavioral healthcare throughout the county. They expect to issue an open RFP for design services in the next 90 days.

Julie Johnson, CCIM, principal with the Health Care Affinity Group at Avison Young talked about “the retailing of medical projects.” She also discussed how cancer is becoming “an industry” as more facilities are reacting to how cancer care will be delivered differently.

Assisted & Senior Living – The Differences between For-Profit and Non-Profit Operators

This isn’t your grandfather’s retirement home. Aging Baby Boomers still expect certain amenities, whether they continue to live at home or move into an assisted or senior living facility. Representatives of for-profit and non-profit assisted and senior living formed this panel.

Greg Corns, vice president development and acquisitions for Solterra Senior Living, gave an update on his company’s Bridgewater assisted living facilities. There will be two in the Valley with another site opening May 8.

Steve Hastings, chief of real estate services at Foundation for Senior Living, gave an update on projects with which his non-profit group is involved.

Developing Sports & Entertainment Facilities

A new stadium for a professional soccer team in the Valley, ASU’s stadium district, and the motorsports park near Casa Grande highlighted this panel.

Mark Detmer, an industrial broker for JLL, is also co-owner and board member of Phoenix Rising FC, a pro soccer team. It plays on a “pop-up pitch” off the Loop 202.

Patrick Johnson, manager at Danrick Builders, shared an update on Atessa.

Developer Quick Hits were given by Ron Ensley, senior project manager, The Opus Group; John Minieri, director of real property and facilities, Diocese of Phoenix; Danny Plapp, director of real estate, LGE Design Build; and Matt Jensen, project manager, The Boyer Company. Jason Morris, a partner at Withey Morris PLC gave the closing remarks. A crowd of 389 attended.

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