“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, and if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur “
By MARK COWLING Staff Writer Aug 8, 2017
This illustration shows the major components of a campus designed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation and attract skilled Millennial residents.
Florence could get a boost from a new development with various parts working in synergy to encourage entrepreneurs, educate a local technical work force and attract the skilled young adults that growing companies want to hire.
This new “Innovation Pavilion” will begin in Town Hall, but could eventually result in construction of a 200,000-square-foot campus north of the Florence Library and Community Center. The Town Council gave town staff the OK to begin negotiating a development agreement with Startup Pavilion LLC, doing business as Innovation Pavilion, at Monday’s meeting. Pinal County will also be a party to the agreement.
Town Manager Brent Billingsley told the council that town staff believes this is an “awesome opportunity” for Florence and “we worked hard to obtain this opportunity.”
There isn’t immediately a financial cost to the town except for staff time. But Vic Ahmed, CEO of Innovation Pavilion, said afterward the town will eventually be expected to “have some skin in the game.”
IP seeks to locate in “ring cities” near the big cities, Ahmed told the council. “We’re very excited about being here in Florence.”
The IP in Centennial, Colorado, opened in 2012 and now has 75 companies on site, Ahmed told the council. Seventy of them entered with high-paying jobs, and 46 of them achieved pilot and partner projects through IP’s network, Ahmed told the council. Thirty-five of the companies have been accepted into accelerator programs. In all, 243 companies are members, according to IP literature.
More IPs are scheduled to open in Parker, Colorado, and Olathe, Kansas, in the fall of 2018, and plans for a new one have just begun in Joliet, Illinois. An IP attracts “millennials” (young adults), entrepreneurs and corporations, Ahmed told the council. He said millennials are willing to live in small apartments, “as long as it’s hip, cool and tech-enabled.”
Besides millennial housing and retail, key components of an IP include corporate suites, a conference center, “maker space,” “co-working space,” a 21st-century library and a STEM school. STEM doesn’t stand for what it usually does in the IP concept. In this case it’s science, technology, entrepreneurship and mastery, Ahmed told the council.
In addition to the brick-and-mortar features, there are the “soft services” such as corporate and city innovations, entrepreneur initiatives and transformation of education, Ahmed said.
Mayor Tara Walter said she liked how an IP encourages economic development and “moves our strategic plan forward.” The town recently completed a strategic plan to guide town decisions for the next five years. Walter asked if the concept includes the participation of the local school district. Ahmed said they’re “in the process of setting those up.”
Council members Kristen Larsen and Karen Wall said they were also excited about the project. Mike Shoppell, who served on the strategic plan citizens committee, suggested the IP include vocational education.
Barbara Manning of Florence asked if IP chose Florence, or if Florence pursued IP.
“It was a little bit of both,” Ahmed said afterward. He said the company expressed an interest in the Phoenix area and reached out to 30 or so cities. “It was the level of the enthusiasm of the response and the substantive nature of the discussions that encouraged us to keep coming back (to Florence) for more discussion and dialogue.”
Ahmed said after Monday’s meeting the IP concept will get started at Town Hall and the Library and Community Center before it ever breaks ground.
“We will start engaging with stakeholders who are relevant to all eight pieces of our real estate model, and the three pieces of the soft side, which are even more important. … There’s a void here. They are looking for depth, expertise, technology, etc., that we can fulfill, and hopefully that creates jobs right here in Florence.”
Although the town made no specific financial commitment Monday, that will come later, Ahmed said in an interview after the meeting. He noted it is a public-private partnership that involves millions of dollars from the private sector.
“So there will be some skin in the game from the side of the city; we’re negotiating those terms.”
The project makes its money and gets return on its investment from rents and leases on various parts of the IP campus, and training programs that corporations and other clients pay for, Ahmed said.
Pinal County is also a party to the development agreement now being negotiated.
“Any benefit that happens to Florence is by default a benefit to Pinal County. The impact of what we are planning to do is not just on Florence. It’ll have a ripple effect on Pinal County also,” Ahmed said.
Pinal County representatives have “shown a lot of support in getting deeply involved in the project.”
Phoenix Commercial Real Estate and Investment Real Estate: Investors and Owner / Users need to really know the market today before making a move in owner user Commercial Properties, Investment Properties and land in Phoenix / Maricopa County, Pinal County / Arizona, as the market has a lot of moving parts today. What is going on socio-economically, what is going on demographically, what is going on with location, with competing businesses, with public policy in general — all of these things affect the quality of selling or purchasing your Commercial Properties, Commercial Investment Properties and Commercial and large tracts of Residential Land Therefore, you need a broker, a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) who is a recognized expert in the commercial and investment real estate industry and who understands Commercial Properties and Investment Properties. I am marketing my listings on Costar, Loop-net CCIM, Kasten Long Commercial Group. I also sold hundreds millions of dollars’ worth of Investment Properties / Owner User Properties in Retail, Office Industrial, Multi-family and Land in Arizona and therefore I am working with brokers, Investors and Developers. I am also a CCIM and through this origination ( www.ccim.com ) I have access to marketing not only in the United States, but also internationalClick here to find out what is a CCIM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCIM
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- DEMOGRAPHIC FACTS ABOUT MARICOPA COUNTY:
- The average age of the population is 34 years old.
- The health cost index score in this area is 102.1. (100 = national average)
- Here are some of the distributions of commute times for the area: <15 min (22.7%), 15-29 min (36.8%), 30-44 min (25.1%), 45-59 min (8.6%), >60 min (6.8%).
Feel free to contact Walter regarding any of these stories, the current market, distressed commercial real estate opportunities and needs, your property or your Investment Needs for Comercial Properties in Phoenix, Tucson, Arizona.
Kasten Long Commercial Group tracks all advertised apartment communities, including those advertised by other brokerages. The interactive map shows the location of each community (10+ units) and each location is color coded by the size (number of total units).
Walter Unger CCIM, CCSS, CCLS
I am a successful Commercial / Investment Real Estate Broker in Arizona now for 20 years. If you have any questions about Commercial / Investment Properties in Phoenix or Commercial / Investment Properties in Arizona, I will gladly sit down with you and share my expertise and my professional opinion with you. I am also in this to make money therefore it will be a win-win situation for all of us.
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Walter Unger CCIM
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Kasten Long Commercial Group
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