Glendale, AZ - Economic Development
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October 2013 – Issue 2
Glendale Economic Development Division


Study: $771 Million Boost from Higher Education to Glendale
Glendale’s colleges and universities create an economic benefit to the city totaling $771 million according to a new study by Applied Economics commissioned by the city’s Economic Development Office. The analysis touts the five colleges and universities in the Glendale including, Midwestern University, Glendale Community College, ASU West (on the city’s border), DeVry University/Keller Graduate School of Management and the Thunderbird School of Global Management,  having a combined student-body of 38,000  and 3,700 employees. Both Glendale and the state benefit from tax revenue from the five schools. It’s estimated the state annually receives $16.6 million in state tax revenues and Glendale receives approximately $3.5 million in local taxes generated. Read the full press release | See the study

Midwestern University Glendale Enrollment Tops 3,000
for First Time

Midwestern University, home to Arizona's largest medical school and the state's first College of Veterinary Medicine, announced yet another enormous milestone in the University's history. For the first time since the University's Glendale campus was established in 1995, total enrollment in Midwestern's 14 graduate degree programs exceeds 3,000 students. For comparison's sake, only 136 students - 103 osteopathic medical students and 33 physician assistant students - were on campus during Midwestern's first year of classes in the Fall of 1996. More than 6,200 medical professionals have graduated from Midwestern University's Glendale campus since its inception, with over 40 percent remaining in-state to practice.
Glendale's Midwestern University
Midwestern University
in Glendale, Arizona

Permits, Revenues Up for Glendale’s CED Department
Things are looking up for Glendale’s economy, according to permit-related revenue collections by the City’s Community and Economic Development Department. Newly calculated end-of-year information for fiscal year-end 2013 shows a dramatic increase of 29% in combined Planning and Building Safety Division-related fee revenues over fiscal year-end 2012. Over the last two years, the two divisions have collected a combined $5,264,197 in revenues. From the beginning of fiscal year 2012 to date, the Department has experienced a consistent year-over-year increase in permit activity; over the last two years, a total of 12,764 permits have been issued.

New projects planned or under construction over the last two years that contributed to the City’s permit-related revenue increases include: Tanger Outlets Westgate, St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center, Arrowhead Cadillac, and several large projects at Midwestern University, including Arizona’s first veterinary college. Several more projects in the pipeline, many of which are soon to be announced, as well as the upcoming Super Bowl 2015 in Glendale, will likely contribute to additional permit-related revenue increases.

Glendale, AZ - Economic Development
Assistant Planning Director Tabitha Perry

From Hello to ‘C of O,’ CED Ombudsman Tabitha Perry Ensures Services Delivered
All too often, the hopes and dreams promised by the economic development division in any given community meander off-path when they reach the cold reality of the planning code books. Glendale’s Community and Economic Development Division now has an intermediary in position to help clients mitigate the process of working with both sides of the equation. Assistant Planning Director Tabitha Perry has just completed a six-month rotation in the Economic Development Division’s office as part of a cross-training initiative led by Executive Director Brian Friedman. Tabitha will continue to assist both the Glendale Economic Development and Planning Divisions in smoothing over the experience for clients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the City of Glendale is as business-friendly as possible.



New Business:

Glendale, AZ - Recovery - Grant awarded. Hensley Beverage Company Expands to Glendale’s Grand Avenue Corridor
Arizona’s leading distributor of beer, fine wine, and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks has a new West Valley distribution location. Hensley Beverage Company has just signed a lease for 72,000 square feet of warehouse, distribution and office space at 5107 N. 51st Avenue in Glendale. The building, which was renovated earlier in the year by Harrison Properties, now has 40,000 square feet remaining for lease.
Glendale, AZ - Recovery - Grant awarded. Performance Steel Under Construction in Glendale
Phoenix-based steel company Performance Steel is building a manufacturing and distribution plant in Glendale’s industrial district. The firm, whose parent company is Roadrunner Steel Inc., processes carbon steel coils, sheets and blanks. Its Glendale site, at 51st Avenue and Missouri Avenue, will span 100,000 square feet and employ about 30 people. The plant is designed to process 200,000 tons of steel annually. The $7 million investment fills one of the district’s few remaining vacant spots. The date the plant will open has not been announced, but construction is under way.
Glendale, AZ - Recovery - Grant awarded. Small Business Entrepreneurship Center will be coming soon
Economic Development will be proposing its new Small Business Entrepreneurship Center agreement to Glendale City Council for approval soon. The new center will provide hands-on services and programs for start-ups throughout the West Valley in a super-one-stop-shop. Located within the historic Sine Building in Downtown Glendale, across from Glendale City Hall just east of 59th Avenue on Glendale Avenue, the Center will offer entrepreneurship services from Glendale Community College, the Small Business Development Center, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
Glendale, AZ - Recovery - Grant awarded. Oregano’s Opens First West Valley Location in Glendale
Oregano’s Glendale restaurant at 6738 W. Bell Road has been anticipated for years, and now it has officially opened its doors. The company performed a demographics study and found that a large swath of customers frequenting their East Valley locations hailed from the West Valley. With the economic downturn, Oregano’s westward plans were put on hold until the chain found its location at 67th Avenue and Bell Road. For the Glendale restaurant, which is Oregano’s 13th, more than 100 employees were hired out of the nearly 700 who applied. Founded in 1993, Oregano’s has grown to become a Valley favorite with a number of locations dotted across the east side of town, as well as a handful of restaurants in Tucson and one in Flagstaff.


Glendale Downtown Buzzing with Arts and Culture

Music Lab Jivemind Brings New Sounds to Downtown Glendale
Downtown Glendale’s very own Jivemind recently announced that they have been hosting Florida-based producer and owner of Chango Studios (FL) Cameron Mizell. According to Jivemind’s October blog, “Cameron arrived in May and has since brought in various hardcore acts from around the nation each month including Honour Crest, A Skylit Drive, Myka Relocate, The Word Alive, and (currently) Memphis May Fire. Mizell has allotted each band a month to record a full album and it sounds like things are going well so far!” 

Glendale’s historic downtown is a musician’s paradise, now that music “incubator” Jivemind celebrates more than one year of operation in the community. Jivemind Cooperative Music Labs is a place designed to take the hardship out of being a musician, offering a production studio equipped with classrooms, a recording studio, rehearsal studio, listening area and other common areas - all in one place with instruments for use. With a corporate sponsorship with Inter Technologies, Jivemind began operating at the 6,500-square-foot building at 5754 W. Glenn Drive, vacated by the Bead Museum more than a year earlier. For more information about Jivemind, visit:

Star Theatre to Bring More Downtown Entertainment
Hooray for Hollywood – especially when it lands in Glendale! Longtime property owner and business entrepreneur, David Chang has set his eyes on another adventure; Star Theatre which is set to open this Fall. In early 2011, David began to envision a downtown dinner theatre to help boost local business, partner with the local arts initiatives, and further the goals and objectives of Centerline. Mr. Chang worked with staff and participated in the city’s Commercial Visual Improvement Program, which provides upwards to 50/50 reimbursement for exterior renovations made to commercial buildings located in the redevelopment area. Star Theatre will be the next place to hold a meeting, watch a play, or grab a bite! Mr. Chang is excited to create collaborative educational opportunities to advance the arts in the community.

Glendale Glitters Festival Season Ramping Up in Historic Downtown Glendale
After a day of shopping and sports entertainment along the Loop 101, why not hop over to the charming red-brick downtown, filled with lights, music and holiday cheer? November 29th kicks off the start of a holiday season not to be missed in Downtown Glendale, bringing an annual 400,000 people to the historic area from Fall through Spring:

  • November 29, 2013 – January 11, 2014: Glendale Glitters celebrates 20 years of this signature festival, with 1.5 million lights illuminating 16 blocks of the downtown. Click here for more details!
  • January 11, 2014: Glendale Glitter and Glow Block Party adds dazzling hot air balloons to the mix of lights and music in the downtown. Watch the fun with this exclusive video - click to watch now.
  • February 7-9, 2014: Glendale Chocolate Affaire starts off the season of love and romance in the sweetest way possible with a festival of music, arts, and of course, all ranges of chocolate flavors. Stay up to date on downtown festivals by clicking here.


Science is picking up ‘STEAM’ in the West Valley

Glendale, AZ - Science Glendale’s Passport to Science Opens up 2014 West Valley
Science Collaboration

Glendale’s Business Attraction team is joining forces with WESTMARC to push for a further-reaching, comprehensive, more regional West Valley initiative related to the Arizona SciTech Festival this year. Glendale’s efforts led the West Valley charge last year; the 2013 Glendale Passport to Science wrapped up with an estimated 10,000 participants enjoying twelve science education events that took place all over the City of Glendale and its bordering areas, more than any other West Valley community. The West Valley SciTech Planning Committee kicked off a regional planning meeting series in August with WESTMARC with the aim of creating more West Valley collaboration opportunities in 2014. The Economic Development division views the festival as one of several critical ways that it can achieve community goals related to workforce pipeline development, business retention, and branding enhancement. Follow the West Valley SciTech collaboration on  

To watch an August 28th broadcast of Economic Development Administrator Jeanine Jerkovic on the PBS News Show Horizon speaking about the upcoming Arizona SciTech Festival and what it means for the City of Glendale, click here.

Glendale’s SciTech Collaboration Draws Interest from Bogota, Columbia
Glendale was showcased to the directors of a Bogota, Columbia-based STEM school called Gimnasio Campestre Marie Curie during their visit to Arizona last week. The school founders and directors, German and Fabiola Rodriguez, originally had reached out to the Director of the Arizona SciTech Festival earlier this year in order to learn how to put together a science festival in their own community. Glendale was proposed as a best practices example for their visit as a community that created a festival using its local assets and opportunities, and the introduction was made. The visitors attended the West Valley SciTech Planning Committee meeting last week at Challenger Space Center and saw the Glendale Economic Development staff in action with 30 participating organizations. Following the meeting, they invited Economic Development Administrator Jeanine Jerkovic to meet and discuss practical science education ideas implemented in Glendale the previous year. For more information about the Gimnasio Campestre Marie Curie, please click here to watch this unique video.



101 West is on the move

101 Draws American Furniture Warehouse to Glendale Site
American Furniture Warehouse has purchased 41.5 acres just south of Bethany Home Road between the 101 and 99th Avenue. American Warehouse Furniture is planning a second location in the Greater Phoenix region upon completion of its Gilbert location opening. Much like the Gilbert location, the furniture retailer plans to hire 300 employees.

Glendale Landfill Waste-to-Energy Project with Vieste to Power Data Center
Renewable energy company Vieste Energy is entering the data center space, engaging ESD (Environmental Systems Design) to provide design services on a national portfolio of data centers that will be run on 100% renewable energy. According to a master plan provided by ESD, it is building its first data center with the City of Glendale, Arizona, at 11550 West Glendale Avenue, which will include a renewably powered shell with chilled water that will then be leased. Glendale’s city council approved a 30-year waste agreement in October last year which will see it guarantee the delivery of acceptable feedstock for a base load gasification waste-to-energy facility at the site, which will process 180,000 tons of municipal solid waste a year, producing 14MW gross of renewable energy. The site is on an 85 acre parcel of land and the first phase of the build will include a 171,005 sq ft powered sell and core. Another phase is planned, with each providing room for four data halls, with 80,000 sq ft of raised floor. For more information, click here.

Preparations for the F-35 at Luke Air Force Base are Underway
With the imminent arrival of the first wave of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base, construction is under way on facilities where pilots will be trained and the planes will be maintained. Air Force executives have projected a $265 million, seven-year construction program specifically to accommodate the F-35 pilot-training program at the base in west Glendale. The build-up will allow Luke to serve as the permanent training base for 144 of the single-engine stealth jets that military analysts say will be crucial to U.S. air-defense operations for the next 40 years. The construction is scheduled to be completed in six major phases to coincide with the arrival of six squadrons of F-35s and the departure of six squadrons of older F-16 fighter jets that are relocating elsewhere. The high-dollar construction program associated with the jets at Luke will boost the entire Valley’s economy, said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers.



Glendale’s Building Vacancies Drop 1% Across All Industries

What a difference a quarter makes. Economic Development staff found that from July of 2013 to October 2013, vacancy rates across all real estate sectors dropped in Glendale by one percentage point. What this means is that leasing transactions were being completed in Glendale across the board last quarter; the market has definitely picked up.

Building occupancy rates are one statistic used to track the health of the business community within Glendale.  Occupancy rates are tracked in three categories: office, industrial, and retail.

*Glendale’s October 2013 Building Occupancy Rates* (*source: CoStar Group)






Square feet Vacant




Square feet Occupied




Percent Vacant





Comparatively, July 2013’s numbers were as follows:

  • July Retail: 1,144,598 vacant / 9% vacancy rate
  • July Industrial: 874,591 vacant / 8% vacancy rate
  • July Office: 1,324,409 vacant / 27% vacancy rate

Glendale Retail Stands Strong: The Glendale Business Attraction team attended the 2013 ICSC Western Conference in San Diego, showcasing four retail infill opportunities in Glendale this past quarter. ICSC attendees who met with staff were excited to hear about the Coyotes (NHL) team staying in Glendale for the foreseeable future and enjoyed learning about new major employers coming to the community that could help support additional retail creation, such as St. Joseph’s Westgate and Terminix. By comparison, last year when the team attended the conference, the team was able to market ten properties instead of only four; a number of them have since then been leased, most notably Big Lots and Sprouts in Northern Glendale. Furthermore, the team was informed that several transactions were in the process of moving forward, totaling nearly 90,000 square feet to be absorbed in the next several months. The current Glendale retail vacancy rate is 8% compared to the Phoenix MSA of 10.8%.

Glendale’s Office Presence Growing: It’s no doubt that a premiere office addition like Terminix with 300 jobs at Westgate’s offices helped Glendale’s office numbers, even though they still appear to be higher than the Greater Phoenix average of 19.4%. Glendale’s vacancy rate dropped from 27% to 26% last quarter, which may still sound high, but it is not what it appears. When you consider that only three office spaces in Glendale account for 34% of that vacancy rate, the numbers tell a different story. If not for three Glendale office spaces, which total more than 500,000 square feet combined, the vacancy rate in the City of Glendale office market would be 17%, which would be below the regional rate of 19.4%.

And the Market Winner is…Industrial! Glendale continues to win large numbers of industrial projects to the market, increasing its demand for industrial development as its availability of inventory for large users decreases. With the development of the western corridors in Glendale, including the Loop 303, the Glen Harbor Airpark regional area, and land west of the Loop 101, there are several attractive build-to-suit development opportunities for large-scale end users. An enterprising developer may consider these opportunities to grow and attract new market users to the West Valley.



Meet the Glendale Economic Development Divsion:

  • Brian Friedman, Executive Director, Community and Economic Development Department
  • David McAlindin, Economic Development Official
  • Jeanine Jerkovic, Economic Development Administrator
  • Mark Paratore, Economic Development Specialist
  • Jessi Pederson, Economic Development Specialist
  • Suzie Ricard, Economic Development Administrative Assistant
  • Visit us online now! Click here.