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Volume 21 No. 30
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Market bounced back from failed facility proposals

The Phoenix market has been down this road before.

Prior to the NFL Cardinals and NHL Coyotes landing new buildings in suburban Glendale in the early 2000s, a deal was proposed for a new hockey arena in Scottsdale and parcels were compiled in downtown Phoenix for a new football stadium.

But while the Coyotes and Cardinals ended up in the western suburbs, the story still ended well for Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix. The arena and stadium sites have since become employment hubs driven by state universities.

David Krietor, CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Inc. economic development group, said not landing the football stadium downtown might have been a blessing in disguise. The land ended up being developed into a 30-acre biomedical campus that is home to research labs and programs for the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and medical groups. The Phoenix Biomedical Campus accounts for 9,400 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual economic activity.

Krietor said the development is also next to a campus ASU has developed downtown that has more than 11,000 students. “There’s housing now downtown, people working and going to school as opposed to 10 to 15 events for the football stadium,” he said.

The Scottsdale arena site, a former shopping mall, is now a high-tech, mixed-used development run by ASU. The SkySong Center is home to 2,000 employees for companies such as Groupon, Recruiting.com and Web.com, said Tom Evans, an executive at the development. Office buildings, apartments and restaurants have been built and more development is planned, said Evans, who also worked on Coyotes and Cardinals site selection before the teams landed in Glendale.