Gilbert’s Opportunity Zone was featured in Business Facilities July/August 2020 issue.
Gilbert celebrates its 100th birthday this year and has grown from a small farming community to the 5th largest city in Arizona. With a population over 265,000, Gilbert is larger than Salt Lake City, UT, Boise, ID, Tacoma, WA, and Richmond, VA. Located near the original Town site, Gilbert’s Opportunity Zone is one square mile and encompasses the community’s Northwest Growth Area and the downtown Heritage District. Two key community growth areas with focused revitalization efforts underway, both have a unified vision of making strategic infrastructure improvements, encouraging reinvestment, attracting new development, increasing property values, and improving the quality of life.
On a typical night in Gilbert’s vibrant downtown Heritage District, music can be heard from the street, restaurant patios are filled with the laughter of family and friends, theater patrons are scurrying to take their seats, and colorful art benches line the sidewalks. Over the past 10 years, Gilbert’s Heritage District has undergone a renaissance, transforming it into a premier entertainment and employment destination within metro Phoenix. Now home to over 140 businesses, ranging from restaurants to retailers to higher education institutions, the Heritage District has received over $60 million in public investment and attracted over $80 million in private investment since 2012. The district has also seen a 110 percent increase in sales tax revenue in the last five years.
This growth can partially be attributed to it being designated as a redevelopment area in 1989. Through revitalization efforts, this area continues to attract investment from industry leaders like ETix and is now home to Park University and the University of Arizona. Several other exciting projects are currently in the planning phase and will combine transit-oriented development with a mix of office, retail, restaurant, multifamily, and hospitality amenities.
The Northwest Growth Area is Gilbert’s densest employment area, with 20.7 percent of the Town’s job base concentrated here, and is home to 2.3 percent or more than 7,500 of Gilbert’s residents. In Fiscal Year 2019, Gilbert kicked off a focused revitalization effort within the Northwest Growth Area, which includes a designation of a redevelopment area. The beneficiary of over $20 million in public investment, and over $130 million in private investment since 2012, this area continues to attract a portfolio of industrial, office, housing, and retail uses with industry-leading anchor institutions and companies. These companies are primarily associated with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related occupations in aerospace, manufacturing, and professional services industries. Notable employers in the Northwest Growth Area include GoDaddy, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, MOOG Broad Reach, and Curry Supply Company. Ideal investment projects for the Northwest Growth Area could include manufacturing, distribution, research and development, office, hotel, breweries/tap houses, and live/work residential.
Both the Northwest Growth Area and the Heritage District present unique and different opportunities for investors. A few of the current developments in Gilbert’s Opportunity Zone include:
- North Anchor.
In 2019, the Gilbert Town Council unanimously approved the development of this 9.1-acre site. This development will consist of a minimum of 500,000 gross square feet and is planned to include Class A Office, retail, hotel, multifamily housing, an urban park, a pedestrian paseo, and two parking structures.
- South Anchor
Serving as a gateway entrance to the Heritage District, the South Anchor development will strengthen adjacent commercial uses and spur development of nearby vacant parcels. Gilbert is currently in negotiations with developers for the 2.18-acre site.
- The Paseo
This north-south, car-free pedestrian and bicycle route will link existing Heritage District neighborhoods with key redevelopment areas. A ‘common thread’ of distinctive landscape, paving, furniture, and signing elements will create a joyful and memorable setting.
- Vaughn Ventilator
A new ‘alternative route’ that will provide new vehicular access through the Heritage District from the west. The slow-speed, human-scaled road will be designed to provide a setting for strolling and window-shopping in the District Core.
- The Collab
The Collab is a four-story, mixed-use project that recently finished construction and is now available for lease. The 40,500 square-foot building brings new office, shopping, and dining opportunities to the Heritage District.
- University Building
Gilbert’s University Building is home to two higher education institutions; Park University and the University of Arizona.
– Park University began offering classes in the fall of 2018 and grew to over 300 students in just one year.
– The University of Arizona College of Nursing began offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN-IH) at the University Building in Fall 2019. This is the first program in the nation to incorporate integrative health knowledge and interventions into a BSN program.
About Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona, is on a mission to become the City of the Future, which focuses on continuing to be the thriving community that it is today well into the future. Nationally recognized as the 12th most livable city in the country (SmartAsset, 2019); America’s fastest-growing city (WalletHub, 2018); 2nd Safest City in the U.S. (FBI Uniform Crime Report Data, 2019); and Best City for Business in Arizona (Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2019), the Gilbert community continues to prosper.
Potential Investment Opportunities
Throughout Gilbert’s Opportunity Zone, there are properties and land available for investors who want to make Gilbert, Arizona the place for their next project. Find out more about Gilbert’s Opportunity Zone.
Learn more through the Business Facilities July/August 2020 issue.