City of Avondale Targets Growth in Multiple Sectors
The West Valley has a strong, talented workforce in the healthcare, finance, insurance and marketing industries, which has led to job growth increasing by 40 percent in the region, according to Westmarc.
It’s no surprise that the West Valley City of Avondale, Ariz., located 15 minutes west of Downtown Phoenix, is experiencing pphenomenal growth. Much of this expansion is facilitated by Avondale’s location off two major freeways, including Interstate 10 and the Loop 101. The completion of the Fairway Drive interchange off I-10 in 2020 will only solidify the city’s growing reputation as a Southwest Valley hotspot.
Avondale’s city council has also made economic development a top priority. The city’s economic development toolbox is filled with opportunities for developers who are looking to go West. Avondale boasts three Opportunity Zones, infill incentives, a Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone and tax credits, among other economic development incentives. The city is working hard to make itself attractive to developers looking for a region with burgeoning growth and stable leadership.
One such investor is the famous Chicago hot dog chain Portillo’s, which recently opened an 8,000-square-foot restaurant in Avondale. Other high-quality restaurants have been cropping up in the busy Gateway area around 99th Avenue and McDowell Road. The city is targeting a wide variety of dining options, from fast casual to sit-down to independent restauranteurs serving gourmet and ethnic cuisine.
The council is also anticipating a lot more movement in the near future once investors sign on to Avondale’s next hotspot. The Avondale City Council has revisited its ambitious City Center Specific Plan, which covers 356 acres in the city’s core, to address market trends and developer needs. City Center has been rebranded as The BLVD, an exciting destination with six trendy district concepts for shopping, dining, entertainment and living, in addition to pedestrian-friendly streets and outdoor activities. The new and improved plan allows for incremental development to address market demands, reduced regulations and public-private development partnership opportunities.
Avondale’s expansion strategy also targets the healthcare and biomedical industries. The McDowell Road corridor is filling out nicely, thanks to a significant uptick in medical-related development along the three-mile stretch. Phase I of the 68,000-square-foot, Class A AKOS Medical Campus Class is currently under construction. The project will include office buildings, a 24-hour urgent care clinic, and a multi-specialty clinical timeshare space and surgery center.
The campus’ freeway visibility, along with the availability of much-desired healthcare timeshare space, continues to garner investment interest from physicians.
Avondale’s industrial locales are also heating up. Solar-powered mobile light tower assembler Site Solar opened its 40,000-square-foot space at Eliseo Felix Jr. Way and Riley Drive in October 2018.
Developers are also recognizing the West Valley’s desire to work closer to home. They have responded by constructing more than 2 million square feet of new spec industrial space that is set to come online throughout 2020. Suites and buildings will range from 5,000 to 400,000 square feet, which is ideal for high-tech manufacturing. Hickman’s Family Farms will also debut its 78,000-square-foot building on Lower Buckeye Road in 2020. The space will house a clean manufacturing process that creates plastic egg cartons from recycled plastic bottles, allowing Hickman’s Family Farms to hire up to 40 employees. A secondary operation at the facility will include cooking and distributing hard-boiled eggs.
Avondale is also home to ISM Raceway, which recently underwent a $178 million renovation. This effort has positioned the racetrack as one of the premier venues on the NASCAR circuit. The investment has paid off, with ISM Raceway being named as the host site for the 2020 NASCAR Championship Weekend, which will be held in November.
— By Pier Simeri, director of community relations, City of Avondale. This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Western Real Estate Business magazine.