A few blocks south of downtown Phoenix, an old produce warehouse has been turned into a technological education campus. In Phoenix’s Warehouse District, there are several abandoned structures that are now housing approximately 60 tech start-ups.
One such business is a well-established electronic medical record company, Galvanize. WebPT, a multimillion-dollar company which has hundreds of employees is now run out of warehouse district and a warehouse that had originally opened in 1926 is now the location for the advertising agency R&R partners.
Though the area is in plain sight, it went ignored for a long time. Mayor Greg Stanton stated, “This area was hidden in plain sight for decades. But Phoenix is a land of opportunity, a place for risk takers.”
In 2015, the district began to become more populated when a 35-year light rail expansion plan was put in place. It would connect the south side of town to the downtown area and also become accessible to the local campuses of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
An added boon was the residential construction that was also slated to take place – 5, 000 apartment units over three years. Commercial development started to increase and tech hires by established companies in the financial and health care industries were on the rise. Workers in the industries started moving downtown where the cost of living was affordable. Workers from cities with a higher cost of living were drawn to the area.
Tech talent abounds in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Boston. However, with Phoenix’s expanding population, business friendly climate, and inexpensive office space, downtown Phoenix is more and more attractive to expanding tech companies.
Phoenix is the nation’s 13th-largest metropolitan area and has 4 million people. With the construction of high-rises and other buildings, tech companies are moving in.
With growth in the area, Phoenix is getting a reputation for hosing “mega-events.” The city hosted the NCAA basketball Final Four this year and the Super Bowl in February 2015. The city will also play host to the Lost Lake Festival in October of this year. It is a three-day music event which will feature The Killers and Chance the Rapper.