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The city of Glendale, Arizona is a vibrant, welcoming metropolitan city where opportunities to prosper, connect, and experience a remarkable quality of life abound. Located in Maricopa County, about nine miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, Glendale is proud of its historic attractions like Sahuaro Ranch Park, and world-class entertainment facilities like State Farm Stadium – home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and the 2008, 2015, and 2023 Super Bowls.
Adding to the diversity of the area are nature preserves such as Thunderbird Conservation Park and high-tech manufacturers including Conair, Red Bull, Ball Corporation, White Claw, and Honeywell Aerospace. The city also boasts medical school Midwestern University (the only veterinary school in the state of Arizona), and Luke Air Force Base – the national and international training site for F-35 pilots. The Westgate Entertainment District offers a stunning outdoor setting with unique water features and an interactive shopping, dining, and entertainment experience. Nearby, Gila River Arena hosts the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, as well as concerts and other events throughout the year.
Glendale has four unique character areas, each offering the visitors and citizens alike a unique opportunity to experience Glendale. Brian Friedman, Economic Development Director, explains, “It all started in our downtown core over 100 years ago, now a quaint historic district surrounding city hall. Glendale enjoys strong demographics with a quarter-million residents. The Greater Arrowhead Region sees household incomes climb to above six figures. The Glendale Sports & Entertainment District flanks the Loop 101 region near the airport. Our stadiums are there, our arenas, our spring training baseball facility home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, and we’re working on finishing up our 12th hotel; lots of retail, and new luxury multi-family residences. Our final character area is the Loop 303 Luke Airforce Base Industrial Area known as the New Frontier. It is experiencing unprecedented growth and currently has over seven million square feet of Class-A Industrial under construction. Glendale is a full-service city in of its own right. It just also happens to be adjacent to Phoenix in one of the largest and fastest growing MSAs in the country.”
The historic downtown is the heart of Glendale with its wonderful heritage architecture and a central park for festivals and events; soon to also feature a tech business accelerator. Arrowhead was developed in the 1980s with several new golf courses and Arrowhead Towne Center and the Bell Road commercial corridor which drives sales tax generation with hundreds of restaurants and experiences in the area. Arrowhead also features the luxury auto corridor and is one of Glendale’s employment hubs.
According to Friedman, “The Arrowhead region has been maturing well. It has high-end lakefront housing, multiple hospitals and medical facilities and the regional mall serving the entirety of the West Valley – with impressive gross sales per square foot and a very robust retail/commercial marketplace. The last parcels of property are under construction and we’re seeing the tenant mixes improve. A BMW dealership that just opened, and new Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover dealerships and a luxury vehicles collision center are all under construction now, adjacent to Arrowhead BMW. These additions are a clear reflection of the strength and purchasing power West Valley residents provide. Ultimately having access to these types of top-notch amenities provides them with a better quality of life.”
Friedman notes, “The Sports and Entertainments District is growing with the opening of the new Desert Diamond Casino and Topgolf along with multiple new first-class hotels each contributing to the Glendale’s skyline along the Loop 101. In conjunction with our Council’s support, City Manager’s directives and our colleague’s teamwork across many departments, we’ve been strategically ensuring Glendale’s proactive approach to development, sustainable growth in key sectors and speed to market ensuring we move the city at the speed of business. Both the Arrowhead and Westgate Areas continue to welcome contemporary establishments and eateries that will, combined, continue to set us apart as a city and as the economic engine of the West Valley’s 1.7 million residents.”
Even more exciting news: building on the experiential entertainment it is known for, the city just announced a massive, mixed-use development project – the Crystal Lagoons Island Resort – an exquisite destination with an 11-acre white sand lagoon with retail, family entertainment including Fly and 4-D theaters, office space and three premier hotels (630 rooms). The city currently has 1,154 hotel rooms and this new project along with additional properties under construction will bring it to 2,300-plus in the Westgate area, alone. Those accommodations, combined with convention space in the stadium, convention and meeting expo space at the city-owned Renaissance Hotel, and the arena facilities, mean Glendale can begin to host much larger events and enjoy the benefits that come from it by having participants experience the area. Combined, all these offerings provide a better fan experience for residents and visitors alike.
The ultimate experience for some is the Super Bowl. Glendale is a host city because of its amenity base and the projects the team is continually working with the open market to bring to Glendale, making for fan experiences year round. “Some of what’s driving all this new activity is that in 2023 we’re hosting the Super Bowl and then in 2024, we’re also hosting the NCAA Final Four Tournament,” says Glendale Economic Development Officer, Randy Huggins. “That’s another major event that fills hotels and resorts. Fifteen years ago, the Westgate area was mostly farms. Now with the stadium, the arena, the spring training facility, and the casino, we’re up over 20,000 jobs in the area, which has really driven our economy and the need for additional housing, as well. There are over 4,000 new homes in subdivisions within two miles, and another 4,000 multi-family units either under construction or in for review, all in close proximity. Six of the new apartment facilities include luxury four-story developments to meet the density required to serve the new jobs being created in the region.”
Huggins goes on to describe the three basic tenets Glendale uses for responsible growth: “One, everyone needs a good job at every sophistication level. So, we work with all types of industries … And that’s intentional. Two, we also plan for the future, but work within the confines of current market trends where we are experiencing industrial, commercial, residential, and retail growth citywide. Three, people and companies invest in relationships. That’s why Glendale has seen growth even through the tough times, because of the relationships we’ve built. Merit Partners, Butler Design Group, Lincoln Property Company, LGE, Swire Coca-Cola, Van Tuyl, and Mack Industrial to name a few – when someone chooses Glendale and has a great experience, they will keep coming back time and again.”
Sustainability is another important focus for the city. “When we look at sustainability, we have a very broad view because we have a lot of existing buildings,” says Huggins. “We have over 250,000 citizens, so we want to make sure we’re considering all of them but, also, how do we move into newer, nicer buildings that meet all the energy efficiency and sustainability requirements? For existing buildings, we have a program for commercial or residential owners who want to convert their lawns into xeriscaping. (Xeriscape landscapes need little or no water beyond what the natural climate provides.) The city has put together a xeriscaping garden out at our library so citizens can visit and learn how the process works. And the city will pay a stipend to the commercial company or the homeowner once they have their lawn converted to xeriscaping, based on the size of the lawn.”
An example of sustainability in new homes: Glendale has a new housing subdivision in development called Stonehaven – about 1,300 homes that are being pre-wired for rapid auto chargers. The developer knows that electric vehicles are the way of the future, so they’re preparing for that. “We also work with our large industrial builders to convert from outdated concepts like installing skylights in the ceilings of these mega buildings,” says Huggins “to installing low energy clear-story windows that are higher up on the walls, a much more modern natural lighting option. It creates an energy efficient envelope – the skylights brought in a lot of light but also released a lot of energy. And we work with our utility companies in the construction of new buildings because they have incentives for companies to install energy efficient equipment including air conditioning systems and lighting. They will actually pay the developers to put in higher quality, more energy-efficient equipment.” In another sustainability effort, over the past two years, Glendale has been converting all its streetlights to LED.
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce is one of Glendale’s key stakeholders and partner. It has over 1,400 business members and the city works closely with them in developing the downtown and promoting business growth throughout the area – especially through COVID-19. The city also works with the local education institutions – ASU, Glendale Community College, Midwestern University, Arizona Christian University – and with businesses, so that the pipeline of workforce coming out of the schools meets the type of industry and commerce that’s being developed in the city, right now. Glendale is also looking to grow the existing base of Technology, Aerospace and Defense sector employers.
Friedman sums it up well: “It took a while to build superb relationships with the greater development community and now they’re singing for and with us. They’re really appreciative of what we’re doing, and we are keenly aware the way we treat people is why we have the opportunity to serve them again. There is growth in all our character areas; there’s big investment in Glendale, and the sky’s the limit.”
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Vibrant metropolitan city; estimated population 252,381
WHERE: Nine miles NW of downtown Phoenix, Arizona
Salt River Project (SRP) – www.powertogrowphx.com
Site selection experts know that the best locations in which to establish or expand a business are those that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to sustainability. The varied human, social, economic and environmental factors of a prospective market reveal much about its long-term potential. Tempe-based Salt River Project (SRP), a notfor- profit utility company, has been a dedicated community partner and key driver of development in the Greater Phoenix area for more than a century. SRP provides power to more than one million customers across 15 cities, delivers nearly one million acre-feet of water to the region each year, and maintains 1,800 route miles of dark fiber. All of this is done with a focus on ensuring the continued viability of the Greater Phoenix area.
Availability of resources is paramount to a company’s performance, productivity and profitability. Therefore, it’s a critical factor in site selection. SRP and state leaders have proven proactive in creating cutting-edge, responsible water policies and practices that support economic development. Further, SRP’s renewable energy sources, including wind, geothermal, large and low-impact hydro, landfill gas, and solar options, are instrumental in lowering the carbon footprint and environmental impact of companies across the Valley.
“Beyond being a major part of regional water management, SRP also is a leader in reducing carbon emissions, leveraging electric vehicle capabilities, reducing waste, protecting native habitats, and more,” said Kelly Barr, SRP’s Associate General Manager, Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive.
By embracing a shared responsibility to build a reliable, sustainable energy future, SRP is helping to solidify Greater Phoenix as one of the country’s most prominent capital investment markets.
Westgate Entertainment District – www.westgateaz.com
“Westgate Entertainment District delivers an interactive shopping, dining and entertainment experience in a walkable, vibrant outdoor setting located in Glendale, AZ! This retail destination also offers residential living, leasable office space and is anchored by Gila River Arena, home to the Arizona Coyotes, and adjacent to the State Farm Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals.”