The city of Tempe, Arizona enjoys a vibrant economy with anchors such as the State Farm Regional Headquarters, Arizona State University, the Novus Innovation Corridor, local tourism, and many other diverse industries. Like other successful cities of its kind, Tempe is also experiencing low vacancy rates and rising rents, causing them to look for redevelopment opportunities that will allow the city to continue to flourish.
The Smith Industrial Innovation Hub was created by Tempe City Council in March 2018 as one of eight key employment corridors for the community and is the pilot project for the Innovation Hub Initiative. Located on approximately 302 acres and bounded by Rio Salado Parkway, University Drive, Loop 101, and McClintock Drive, this region is characterized by mostly industrial uses with buildings ranging in age from 50 to 70 years. This area is also located in a designated Opportunity Zone and enjoys close proximity to major redevelopment and investment, including Rio 2100 and the ASU Novus Innovation Corridor, and is ideally situated to meet the future need for more commercial space of all types. The City is considering four key strategies for the Smith Industrial Innovation Hub, including allowing a larger variety of land uses, encouraging more density and height, attracting educational and training institutions, and applying for grants and identifying other funding sources to enhance the area.
In order to help realize the project’s vision, the City enlisted the help of the ULI Arizona Technical Assistance Panel (AzTAP). ULI’s AzTAP was created to help local communities with development challenges and planning issues by utilizing the talent and expertise of ULI Members. A full member of ULI and a member of the AzTAP Committee, Doug helps bring together panels for similar projects across Arizona. For the Tempe TAP, Doug served alongside 8 other experts on the panel who conducted in-depth stakeholder interviews, toured the Smith Industrial Innovation Hub site, and presented a series of ideas and recommendations related to planning, design, market potential, transportation, and connectivity.
“This project represents a prime opportunity to not only preserve existing industrial, manufacturing, and business services, but also to enhance the areas in which these businesses operate and to help guide future development so it is in the best interest of the community overall,” Doug said.