The next corporate office hotspot might ‘surprise’ you.
Since before 2020, the north-west Greater Phoenix community of Surprise, Arizona, has been well-recognised for its enormous residential, retail and industrial growth. The big question has never been if, but when the massive corporate office successes would start to migrate westbound to the adjacent, affluent submarket community located just west of Peoria and Glendale.
Fast forward to 2022, and the growing community of Surprise is 100% ready for suburban Class A corporate office development. Less ostentatious than a downtown high-rise development, suburban Class A offices boast high-end tenant improvements, high-quality, first-class finishes and high-tech technology. In other words, these buildings are built to impress, while designed to fit into a suburban setting.
1. A surprisingly deep office talent pool
Like many other suburban cities from 2020–22, Surprise has realised the sheer volume of remote workers in the community. Instead of driving to downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale or elsewhere, Surprise residents worked remotely and shopped and dined locally – and the double-digit boost in year-over-year retail revenues proved it.
As an easily accessible West Valley community, Surprise is a growing city of 150,000 people, within a direct commute of more than 1.7 million people – and growing. Surprise is also a market with a higher-than-average rate of ‘super-commuters’, meaning those that drive more than 90 minutes, which indicates an available workforce ready to ditch the commute for a Surprise-based office location. Top occupational categories in the City of Surprise include computer, engineering and science; management, business and financial; healthcare practitioners and technical; legal; and installation, maintenance and repair. (Source: Surprise Community Profile, Maricopa Association of Governments).
The talent pool might be shallow in some markets; Surprise is in the deep end.
2. Spare the commute
While it is true that the office market has seen some ups and downs on the national level, here’s what we know: (1) hybrid working – or working in-office a portion of the week – seems to be sticking, and (2) remote and hybrid workers alike dread the long commute much more than a return to the office. A recent worldwide survey found that the top reason people enjoy remote work is the lack of commute.
3. Committed to broadband
Broadband capacity is one of the top factors driving corporate office site selection today. Just announced this month, Surprise was one of only 20 cities in Arizona to be awarded a competitive grant in the amount of $1.65m to increase broadband capacity in the community.
4. The right office elements
All well-established suburban Class A office markets – from Irvine, CA, to Centennial CO – were at one time ‘just’ suburbs, and some even fairly recently. That said, not every suburb has the right elements to evolve into a strong suburban Class A corporate office market.
Not every suburb has the following elements, bar Surprise:
- Proximity to a major metropolitan area with an international airport: The Surprise City Center is only 30 miles from the centre of downtown Phoenix and only 32 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
- Technology and innovation focus: Surprise launched the Greater Phoenix West Valley’s first business incubator, the AZ TechCelerator (aztechcelerator.com), in 2010. Now, Surprise is seeking a federal grant in partnership with Greater Phoenix Economic Council to build a new 40,000ft2 tech-focused business incubator on the City Center campus it shares with Ottawa University. This grant would help expand healthcare innovation, education and workforce training – and we are currently a regional coalition finalist.
- Signature retail and entertainment: One of the largest outdoor malls to be developed on the West Coast in over a decade is under construction – and now 100% leased – in the City of Surprise. The Village at Prasada on the Loop 303 is bringing more than 700,000ft2 of brand-name shopping, restaurant and entertainment retail development.
- Industrial development: Surprise is in the centre of the Greater Phoenix industrial powerhouse corridor. The Surprise market is served by major railroad provider BNSF and represents a major growth opportunity for the advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution industries.
- University presence: Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ) launched its new residential campus in the heart of Surprise at our Civic and Recreation Campus. With more than 1,000 students today, it expects to grow to 3,000 students over the next decade. OUAZ degree programmes include Biology, Communication, Engineering, Leadership and Management, Mathematics, and many others.
- Affluent residential growth: While Surprise has its fair share of affordable and traditional single-family housing projects flooding the community today, it is home to the region’s latest executive luxury resort-style living community, Sterling Grove by Toll Brothers, with more than 2,200 homes planned.
- Highway proximity: Surprise is accessible via the SR-Loop 303, the US-60, and is just five miles west of the SR-Loop 101 and eight miles north of the I-10.
- Access to quality healthcare and medical assets: Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center and Banner Boswell Medical Center are the two hospitals that currently serve the Surprise market, and many other premiere healthcare organisations are growing and investing in our community.
5. Best reason yet: Surprise has office-ready sites
Office-ready sites are top-of-mind for the team in the Surprise Economic Development Department. An office campus would thrive next to the future mixed-use downtown at Surprise City Center next door to Ottawa University, or a prime location on the Loop 303 next to major retailers. Surprise has attractive, visible, top-class locations that are guaranteed to be a source of pride for any Fortune 500 office or financial headquarters operation.
The team in Surprise is ready to bring its A game for Class A office development.
Give the Surprise team a call at 623-222-3300 or check out our website at aztechcelerator.com to connect with us and learn more about our sites and opportunities to welcome new office development.