When 2020 began, the commercial real estate industry was enjoying calm winds at its back and smooth sailing ahead. The forecast changed rapidly, and by the middle of 2020, it was lifeboats in the water and everyone was bracing for the commercial real estate ship to go down in 2021.
However, the industry managed to salvage a solid 2020, with many companies in the Greater Phoenix market enjoying record years in terms of activity. This was due to the overall strength of the market, one that was shaped by the last downturn that took almost a decade to recover from.
The companies highlighted below were some of the ones leading the way as the industry fought through the unknown elements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be the ones to keep an eye on as they navigate into 2021. Here are the commercial real estate companies to watch in 2021.
Celebrating 15 years of ongoing success in healthcare architecture, ARCHSOL continues to design solutions that enhance and benefit its clients’ ability to serve the community’s healthcare needs. This past year, ARCHSOL has grown to more than 35 individuals with experience in all facets of healthcare project delivery. ARCHSOL was awarded a 2020 “ENR Award of Merit” for a bed-pod renovation project as well as a “Best Places to Work” award. The ARCHSOL team is ready and prepared to handle all that 2021 has to offer!
Butler Design Group / Architects and Planners
Butler Design Group (BDG) remains an industry leader for commercial architectural firms in the Valley. Named Architectural Firm of the Year in both the 2020 NAIOP and AZRE RED Awards, BDG recently surpassed the 50 million square foot mark of projects completed and/or under construction over the past 25 years. In 2020, BDG was involved in the design of over 6.5 million square feet, including the design of several marquee projects such as the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus.
Caruso Turley Scott Structural Engineers
As one of the oldest and largest structural engineering firms in the Southwest, Caruso Turley Scott was well positioned to thrive during the challenging 2020. CTS worked on noteworthy projects that came to life in 2020, including HonorHealth Sonoran Medical Center and Valleywise Health Medical Center. Moving forward, CTS will continue to deliver best-in-class engineering across the entire scope of product type.
Celebrating over 25 years, Cawley Architects looks forward to advancing their clients’ and staffs’ aspirations in the next 25. Cawley has developed best in class practices that combine art and engineering to deliver striking contemporary building designs. Recent successes include the state-of-the-art Heidi’s Village Animal Rescue, the Ottawa University O’Dell Recreation Center, the Adelante Primary Healthcare facility, and the Southwest Industrial Center. Cawley has been the No. 1 Small Architectural office in Ranking Arizona for three straight years.
In spite of tremendous headwinds caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, CBRE continued to serve as an invaluable strategic partner and advisor to its clients during uncertain times. As Arizona and the rest of the world deal with the effects of the pandemic in 2021, CBRE will continue to leverage its scale, research, data and thought leadership to determine future trends and opportunities to ensure their clients prosper and build advantage for themselves across their entire commercial real estate footprint.
Clear Commercial Advisors
In 2020, Clear Commercial Advisors enjoyed record revenues as the team continued its focus on retail leasing in Downtown and Midtown Phoenix. The team is one suite away from completing lease up of Portland on The Park, located in the historic Roosevelt neighborhood, and Tapestry on Central, a Midtown Phoenix condominium project with ground-floor retail located on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Encanto Boulevard, is almost fully leased as well. Moving into 2021, they are expecting more growth.
Colliers AZ is projecting a strong year in 2021, especially in the areas of industrial, multifamily, healthcare and land. During 2020, Colliers was awarded more than 200 new assignments and we believe the Arizona economy will provide the conditions to successfully service them. During 2021, Colliers plans to build on its 2020 momentum and continue providing strategic real estate advice to clients, navigating the many “moving parts” of the current business environment.
Commercial Properties Inc.
Commercial Properties Inc. has become a juggernaut in the Valley, and enjoyed one of its best years ever in 2020. CPI’s focus is mainly on properties in the exploding East Valley market, which is seeing big population increases and an expanding development footprint. As CPI moves into 2021, the firm feels that the Phoenix market is positioned to continue to grow. The market will need to see flexibility in the first two quarters of 2021, but then expect to see some positive traction in leasing for the remainder of the year.
Concord General Contractor
In January 2020 Concord completed a succession plan and leadership transition that had been in the works for over a decade. With the leadership transition came a strong focus on identifying how Concord had grown and changed over the years and building on the strong culture and reputation we have within the industry. People are the strongest asset at Concord and in 2020 they officially became Employee Owners by becoming an ESOP company, building an even stronger dedication to the building environment.
During 2020, CORE had the opportunity to build a wide range of projects that will transform education and public safety across Arizona. In the coming months, CORE looks forward to the successful completion of nine fire stations currently in design and construction as well as the opening of a landmark, 150,000 SF Public Safety Training Facility in Gilbert. In 2021, CORE will complete key projects at all the major universities and work on facilities for more than 50 Arizona school districts.
Coreslab Structures Inc.
Coreslab Structures has provided total precast concrete solutions for projects across Arizona and Nevada for the past 32 years. While 2020 did have its surprises and challenges, Coreslab successfully completed a number of high profile projects including the Catalina Parking Garage at Park Central Mall which is the tallest parking structure in Arizona. Ron Harman, who has been with Coreslab since 1982, will retire in 2021 as the General Manager and Rick Reichenberg will step into that role.
Corgan’s aptitude for agility and focus on human-centric design offered the foundation to navigate this unprecedented year. In 2020, the firm opened a northern Arizona office in Flagstaff and celebrated recognition by AZ Big Media as the No. 1 architecture firm in Arizona, one of the top 20 companies to watch out for, and one of Arizona’s most admired companies. Design, planning, and strategy projects across the globe continue including current work in Arizona spanning the aviation, data centers, education, healthcare, municipal, and workplace markets.
For more than 50 years, Cuningham Group has earned an outstanding reputation for delivering excellence in architecture, interior design, urban design, master planning, and landscape architecture for a diverse mix of clients and project types including healthcare, senior living and multifamily. Select work includes Valleywise Health’s Roosevelt Campus Replacement Hospital, Dignity Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Outpatient Services Building, Banner Desert Medical Center’s New Women’s Tower, and Aspire Park Central, which will provide market-rate apartments as part of the redevelopment at Park Central.
Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield went into 2020 with great expectations after a strong 2019, but the impact of COVID-19 caused the company to pause and hit the reset button for how the pandemic has impacted the industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cushman & Wakefield has been an industry leader delivering innovative materials for clients such as the Six Feet Office prototype, a conceptual idea to help clients prepare for the return to the office, and the Recovery Readiness guide, which outlines some of the best thinking and practices in reopening the workplace.
DAVIS projects completed in 2020 include The Grand and Cambria (Phoenix), Novus (Tempe), Canopy (Scottsdale) and RendezVous Urban Flats (Tucson). Looking ahead, the firm will continue to design mixed-use properties that are timely and timeless, as well as excellent investments for owners and developers. Known for noteworthy architecture that generates impressive return on investment, DAVIS designs feature sustainability and wellness for improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, and enjoyable work, hospitality, and multi-family residential environments.
Celebrating 30 years in business and a fourth AZCentral Top Company Award, 2020 was a milestone year for DP Electric. Company growth was forefront going into 2020 and met by groundbreaking projects like Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 4 South Concourse and Nationwide regional headquarters. DPE also launched its new in-house, NCCER accredited, apprenticeship training program, which is instrumental in the success of providing high quality talent to all projects. Looking towards 2021, DP Electric plans to continue to invest in employee development, prefabrication and virtual design.
Earthworks was born in 2014 of a single client in Phoenix and continued to develop client relationships throughout Arizona. Today, Earthworks is making waves across the country, now providing stormwater consulting services across 14 states. A highly knowledgeable team combined with unparalleled customer service has been the catalyst for growth. It plans to revolutionize regulatory record management with ERX, its proprietary environmental management software program. Earthworks will explore additional growth opportunities in 2021 as it strives to be residential construction’s first choice in compliance services.
Fenix Development is a privately–held Los Angeles-based real-estate investment and development firm with holdings in Arizona, Nevada and California, with more than 30 years of experience in land entitlement, planning, and development. In 2020, Fenix Development proudly completed the first phase of a 15-acre master plan of The Watermark | Tempe. Phase one includes a 16-story high-rise Class A office and curated retail and restaurant space, and won the 2019 NAIOP Mixed-Use Project of the Year Award.
The architecture and design firm is set to unveil its new office at the renowned Esplanade. Conceived as a true “living lab,” the new office expands the firm’s presence with a ground-level retail space that was repositioned into a highly flexible, sustainable workplace. Gensler has seen growth in residential, health and tech sectors with multiple new projects in development. Early 2021 will see completion of GateWay Community College’s Phoenix Forge Makerspace for the Maricopa Community College District, an innovative and community-focused place to create.
Greenlight Communities successfully completed its first two attainable rental apartment communities in 2020, producing 478 units in the city of Phoenix. Having brought these two projects, Cabana 12th and Cabana Washington, to full lease-up, Greenlight has successfully provided rental housing for the growing numbers of renters that have been priced out of the market. Construction of an additional five Cabana communities, totaling 1,241 units, is already underway. Greenlight Communities is well-positioned to continue making a mark in the rental housing market in 2021.
In 2020, Haydon’s work helped reshape communities. Festival Fields Park in Avondale was transformed into a community gathering place and in the Southeast Valley, Haydon completed phases 1 and 1B on the Gilbert Regional Park. Haydon also delivered the new Ottawa University Athletic Facility, helping that institution continue to thrive. In 2021, Haydon will deliver The Edge, a 234,000 square foot, Class A mixed-use (office and retail) project in Scottsdale, as well as a state-of-the-art dispensery and indoor growing and processing facility for Gold Leaf.
While Hines has made waves with its office and multifamily projects, 2020 was the year of the major industrial project, Glendale 303. This development could grow to 1.2 million square feet and is in the heart of the booming Loop 303 corridor. In 2021, Hines will look to deliver on two luxury multifamily projects, one in North Phoenix and the other, Adeline, which will be a 25-story, 379 unit high-rise located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. Hines is also working on a high-profile project in Downtown Tempe, 100 Mill, which will be a 17-story office building at Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Parkway.
Jokake’s honors from the Arizona Corporate Excellence Awards and Arizona’s Most Admired Companies this past year illustrate the team’s commitment to providing an exceptional service. Additionally, Casey Cartier’s recognition as a Global CEO underscores the role his leadership has played in the company’s success. Gilbert’s San Tan Medical looks to be completed mid-year with Sonoran Spine being the anchor tenant; medical manufacturer BD will undergo an extensive cleanroom fit-up for the recent expansion; and an increasing number of industrial and e-commerce clients are reimagining their footprints.
Since forming its Phoenix office in 2008, JLL has grown into a local market leader, employing more than 685 of the region’s most recognized industry experts in office, industrial, retail, healthcare and data center brokerage, tenant representation, facility and investment management, capital markets, multifamily investments and development services. In the past year, the Phoenix team completed 70 million square feet in lease and sale transactions valued at $2.7 billion, directed $190 million in project management and currently manages a 52.3 million-square-foot portfolio.
Spurred by significant growth in the office, industrial, and hospitality market sectors, Layton Construction experienced unparalleled results at both the local and national level in 2020. Building on several consecutive record-setting years, a substantial backlog of major projects, and a strong team of talented employees, this positive momentum is expected to propel Layton to another unprecedented year in 2021. Layton officially merged with the STO family of companies. The merger allows both firms to leverage each other’s geographic reach to better service clients.
LGE Design Build had a busy 2020 with its highest volume year to date. LGE currently has over 6 million square feet in design and construction spread across several product types including medical office, corporate office, manufacturing, hospitality and distribution. LGE opened its second office in Dallas, TX and has several projects already in its pipeline, including the 1 million square foot 820 Exchange. Through it’s non-profit David R. Sellers Foundation, LGE was also able to make substantial impacts in the Valley.
Lincoln Property Company
As NAIOP Arizona’s back-to-back 2018 and 2019 Owner/Developer of the Year, LPC is celebrating 20 years in the Southwest market. In 2020, LPC delivered the Class AA Grand2, the second of eight planned LPC-developed buildings at Papago Park Center and sold the building in late 2020 for a record-breaking $187.5 million. It also delivered the first of four office buildings at Union, a 1.35 million-square-foot, Class A office project in the heart of the Riverview District; and the 1.25 million-square-foot Park303 Phase I.
In 2020, Marcus & Millichap navigated a multitude of challenges, bringing to light its adaptability and unwavering commitment to clients and team members. Marcus & Millichap underwent key technological advancements for clients and agents alike, including an improved website and new proprietary systems for enhanced client connectivity. Locally, the firm’s Phoenix office completed its third expansion in three years as more investment sales professionals and Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) agents joined the team. In 2021, Marcus & Millichap will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a firm.
One of the market leaders in industrial development, Merit Partners enjoyed a robust 2020 and has ongoing projects all over the Valley, representing an investment of more than $2 billion. Current notable projects for Merit include the 570 acre Camelback 303 development which envisions more than 9 million square feet of industrial space in Glendale, and PV|303 in Goodyear which Merit has already developed over 5 million SF with ability to develop an additional 4 million. Merit Partners is also developing Tolleson Corporate Park as well as Phoenix Logistics Center.
Mortenson is expanding the boundaries of innovation and building expertise that delivers better-than-imagined outcomes. In 2021, Mortenson will help customers solve complex problems in the development and construction process, whether it be in front-end services, a small tenant improvement or a complex landmark project. Success in 2020 included the delivery of the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House within ASU’s Novus Innovation Corridor; the Hyatt Place Phoenix Downtown groundbreaking; and supporting SRP’s corporate growth; Mortenson expects continued growth in the healthcare, industrial, higher education and sports markets in 2021.
NAI Horizon’s continued focus on growth and advancement of technology to best serve its clients helped the full-service commercial real estate company weather a pandemic that devastated economies. In 2020, NAI Horizon added to its property management division, one of the most experienced in the Southwest, and celebrated the mentoring and growth of six up-and-coming professionals. NAI Horizon’s broker ownership platform allows agents to benefit from both personal achievement and the success of the company while encouraging a collaborative culture.
Nathan & Associates Inc.
On the verge of its 40th anniversary, Nathan & Associates went into 2020 all pistons firing. Land deals were coming back due to the lack of available lot inventory, and when the state of Arizona went into lockdown in March there was a roughly 4-5 week hiatus, which was completely dominated by deal extensions waiting to see what was coming. By the 5th week of the pandemic sales went supersonic. The second half of 2020 will go down as one of the best periods of time for land and lot deals that Nathan & Associates has ever seen.
Okland Construction Company, Inc.
For another year, Okland Construction Company delivered on some high-profile projects to the Valley, including Chandler’s newest full-service hospital, the Banner Ocotillo Medical Center, as well as The Watermark | Tempe. Okland also completed the first building in the I.D.E.A. Campus in Tempe. Okland continues to remain on schedule for a 2021 completion of the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus at Park Central, as well as the renovations at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Plaza Companies continued to advance some of Arizona’s most high-profile commercial real estate projects. Construction on the new $100 million Creighton University Health Sciences Campus continued at Park Central, and that project continued to gain momentum in the market. In 2021, the Creighton Health Sciences campus will open, and will continue to grow the overall impact of Park Central on midtown Phoenix. Planning is underway for the sixth office building at SkySong, and Plaza is also working on medical office buildings in Prescott, Phoenix and the East Valley.
Prologis, publicly traded on the NYSE and a member of the S&P 500, is the global leader in logistics real estate with roughly 800 million square feet of modern logistics facilities in 19 countries. Locally, the Prologis Phoenix metro portfolio growing at a steady pace as more and more warehouse and logistics facilities are being delivered in the Greater Phoenix Market. Prologis is in the final stages of work on the 2.3 million square foot, multi-story Project Sol in Goodyear, which will be utilized as an Amazon fulfillment center.
Ryan Companies US, Inc.
In 2020, Ryan Companies had 2.7 million square feet of projects under construction spanning office, senior living, industrial and hospitality sectors. The firm completed several projects, including 777 Tower at Novus Innovation Corridor, Acoya Scottsdale at Troon, Chandler Airport Commerce Park and Canopy by Hilton. Further, the real estate management team recently added nearly 900,000 square feet of management assignments to its southwest portfolio. With several projects still on track for completion, 2021 will be another successful year for Ryan.
In 2020, SmartRent broadened the robust set of smart home automation solutions to include all elements of a community. Core product offerings now include a smart parking management platform, self-monitored home security features for smart homes, and a more robust self-guided tours platform. Amidst the pandemic, SmartRent’s Self-Guided Tours became the most popular solution, with over 170,000 tours completed at communities nationwide between March and November 2020. In May 2020, SmartRent raised $60 million in series C funding to support smart home expansion efforts.
SmithGroup continued its brand promise to Design a Better Future with 2020 project wins from Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Republic Services, and Axway while celebrating grand openings including Chandler’s Banner Ocotillo Medical Center, the I.D.E.A. Biotech Campus in Tempe, the Novus Innovation Corridor at Arizona State University, and the Phoenix Warehouse District’s Lincoln Union. Throughout 2021, SmithGroup’s commitment to creating spaces for Arizonans to live, work, heal, learn, and play continues through its projects.
Stevens-Leinweber Construction, Inc. has emerged as one of the Valley’s most active tenant improvement contractors. In 2020 it strengthened its position as a TI leader while also cementing a new ground-up division with a string of high-profile office and industrial projects. SLC’s ground-up division has completed or initiated more than 3.5 million square feet of Class A industrial space. In 2020 that included new buildings at PV303 and Tolleson Commerce Park, and tenant improvements for companies including Ball, Boeing and XPO.
Sundt has been building critical infrastructure across Arizona for more than 90 years. Headquartered in Tempe, the company continually ranks in the top five of ENR Southwest’s Top Contractors. Sundt’s current work in the Valley includes expansions for Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass, the Royal Oaks Community, UArizona’s Student Success District and the I-10 and Ruthrauff interchange. Recently, the company completed the Canopy by Hilton Tempe and Valleywise Health North and South Metro Ambulatory clinics. Chad Buck recently was selected to lead the Southwest District for Sundt Construction’s Building Group.
Forged out of pure grit and determination, Suntec has established themselves as a Western United States leader in the concrete industry by mastering the challenging, critically timed, and technically demanding work in the commercial real estate market. Over the last year, Suntec’s steadfast service has attracted many exciting new projects; some of which include: Project Sol, a 2.3 million square foot industrial and office space development in the West Valley; X Phoenix, a 20-story “co-housing” development in Downtown Phoenix; Block 24; and the recent Mayo Clinic West Tower Expansion.
Terracon saw strong vibrant project activity in 2020 despite challenges presented by COVID with staff growth and the key acquisition of Phoenix based Environmental Planning Group (EPG). Key projects kicking off construction were projects with ALDI at multiple locations, Love’s at a new Travel Stop in Cordes Junction and two projects with Transwestern in downtown Phoenix. In January 2021, Terracon will begin work on the I-10 Broadway Curve improvement project, along with a new 61,000 square foot Banner Rehabilitation Hospital in Mesa, and the new ASU multi-purpose arena project.
The Opus Group
The Opus Group has served as a driving force behind much of the industrial development activity in the West Valley. In 2020, The Opus Group wrapped up two speculative industrial buildings, the 450,619 square foot Goodyear Airport Industrial project and the 275,000 SF Goodyear 85 project. The Opus Group also delivered a Class A multifamily project to the West Valley, as the Paradise Multifamily @P83 in Peoria opened in November. The Opus Group has already begun work on Fairway 10, a 720,000-square-foot, three-building industrial project in Avondale, which is scheduled for completion in Summer of 2021.
The Renaissance Companies
Kelly Pettigrew was named President of The Renaissance Companies in 2020 as the result of a multi-year initiative started by late founder Craig Porter. Renaissance’s co-founder, Jill Porter, also leads the team while establishing Renaissance’s new foundation in honor of her husband, Craig Porter, called Will to Thrive, in support of Glioblastoma Multiform Brain Tumor research. This year Renaissance celebrated milestones including the completion of their largest contract project to date, a design/build beverage manufacturing facility and the award of Arizona’s largest speculative industrial facility ever built at 1.3 million square feet.
Trammell Crow Company
Less than a month apart, Trammell Crow Company completed two, large, Class A industrial developments, Gilbert Gateway Commerce Center and Park Aldea. This summed up a very active 2020 for TCC. In 2021, TCC will wrap up construction on Axis Raintree, a 175,000 square-foot, three-story, Class A speculative office building with a structured garage, located on an 8.24-acre site in Scottsdale. TCC’s subsidiary, High Street Residential, will wrap up work on the 160-unit luxury multifamily project, Gramercy Scottsdale, by mid 2021.
As a prominent figure in the Valley, Wespac is well-known for projects ranging from tenant improvements to large ground up construction. These projects have generated $220 million in 2020 for Wespac as a firm and are set to generate $250 million for 2021. In addition to their commitment to sustainability and safety on all job sites, Wespac gives back to the community each year through Arizona’s only nonprofit music festival, M3F. With more than 85 percent of Wespac’s portfolio consisting of repeat or referral clients, their 29 year history speaks for itself.