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Greater Scottsdale Airpark goes live, work, play

The growing Scottsdale Quarter, facility additions like Sneaky Big Studios and new tech company tenants have propelled the Greater Scottsdale Airpark into the modern live, work, play era, according to a recent report.

Jim Keeley released his annual Greater Scottsdale Airpark 2030 Report earlier this month, which credits the expansion of the Scottsdale Quarter to the fresh attitude towards the Airpark.

Keeley, a founding partner of Colliers International’s Scottsdale office, which manages the business park, first published the report in 1989 to provide perspective and information on the economic activity and growth for the Scottsdale Airpark.

According to the Pete O’Neil, research director for the Greater Phoenix region of Colliers International, the total inventory of the Airpark currently amounts to around 34 million square feet.

As of Dec. 2016, vacancy at the Airpark is at 10.3 percent, which is down from 2015’s vacancy at 11.6 percent, according to the report.

The report states there are 3,075 businesses at the Airpark, employing 56,180 people.

The report outlined many of the Airpark’s achievements and advancements throughout last year, including the decision to tear down and renovate the current airport terminal and replace it with a new terminal and two new hangars.

“It’s progress; we wanted to make a newer, better facility for the overall city tenants who will use the terminal and the new hangers,” Keeley said.

“The airport is a great amenity. This investment from the City gives other companies confidence that both the private sector and the public sector are invested in updating city assets,” he said.

New multifamily developments in the area have been a driver of the live, work, play aspect at the Airpark.

Optima Kierland, a condo development that will include four towers when completed, recently opened a 10-story leasing tower near Scottsdale road and Greenway parkway.

Keeley said, that people living and working in the area are utilizing the restaurants and retail, creating an environment that embraces innovation.

“Millennials are driving it and we like that,” he said.

The Scottsdale Quarter also added its new six-story office building, which is expected to lease up quickly with the highest rents in the Airpark, according to the report.

There is also YAM Holdings’ new 60,000-square-foot headquarters adding to the area’s density.

Branding the Airpark will be a major focus in the coming year. A committee has already started working on the process of understanding exactly what the opportunity is and what the process of branding entails, according to Scottsdale Economic Development Director Danielle Casey.

“Branding is something that if you do it right you can do it very well,” Casey said. “We are still having preliminary discussions about how we want to proceed.”

Casey said the committee is actively discussing how to do a better job of promoting the Airpark in order to raise an accurate level awareness of what the Airpark is and what is going on there.

“When we talk to people who have not been exposed to Scottsdale, sometimes the phrase ‘Airpark’ can be confusing,” she said.

With the new branding, they hope it attracts more aerospace and defense and technology companies.

Chairperson for the committee, Renee Wittrock, explained the brand of the Airpark will capture the feeling towards the Airpark and what people are saying about it.

“What we found out was that the Airpark is brand-less and deserves more notoriety than what it’s getting,” Wittrock said.

The group has no plans to change the name of the Airpark, but they are going to find a collective way to describe what the Airpark really is and what it encompasses, Wittrock said.

“It’s a place that is open for business and we welcome people to come here,” she said.

Wittrock’s goal is to be inclusive and unify the area so it will become more familiar to people.

“The biggest advancement will be in economic development,” she said. “If we can give Danielle something we can sell, she can bring more business here and that’s good for all of us.”

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