It is a city that was originally founded by a titan of American industry, so it makes perfect sense that industrial building would be triggering a development boom in the City of Goodyear.
The city was created when the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company bought the land in 1917 to grow cotton for its tires. Now, more than 100 years later, Goodyear is cementing its reputation as a major leader in industrial development in Arizona. The city has attracted major companies like Amazon, Ball Corp., Chewy.com and Dick’s Sporting Goods to build manufacturing and distribution centers in the bustling West Valley.
“The City of Goodyear has crafted policies that have made their community a more attractive environment for development,” said Joyce Grossman, executive director of the Arizona Association for Economic Development. “Policies that have lead to the development of the critical infrastructure along the 303 extension which have made the area ripe for speculative building. Through strategic planning by the City, they have maximized the value of this new highway and its easier access to Southern California markets for the industrial/logistics/warehouse projects.”
While most of the recent developments have been traditional industrial products, Goodyear is beginning to make inroads in attracting data center development. In January, Vantage Data Centers, a leading provider of wholesale data centers in North America, announced plans for a mega-scale data center campus in Goodyear. And in late February, Stream Data Centers purchased a 418,000 square foot facility on 157 acres in the first steps toward establishing its own data center campus.
“We’ve been trying to get data centers for a long time because of the technology effect and because they are a high-capital investment and can bring a workforce to your community and can help brand your community,” said Harry Paxton, project manager in the City of Goodyear Economic Development office. “We knew we had the infrastructure, and the workforce, we believe, has existed here for some time.”
There are several factors that have helped Goodyear attract major industrial developments. Perhaps the biggest factor is the business-friendly environment that has been carefully cultivated by the City of Goodyear. Economic Development Director Lori Gary, Paxton and the rest of their staff have worked hard to establish a development process that is streamlined, efficient and ensures that the developers see their projects get completed on time.
“One of the things that our city did several years ago was to look at our development process, from economic development to development services, which include engineering and building safety,” Paxton said. “We looked at what we do all the way down the line, to when we actually receive a certificate of occupancy.”
“Reputation is everything. Goodyear has worked very, very hard to make this a smooth process,” Gary said. “So that we are able to deliver when it needs to be delivered.”
By creating streamlined processes, Goodyear has improved the environment for developers, brokers and builders.
“(They are) extremely easy to work with,” said Andy Markham, executive managing director for Cushman & Wakefield, which has worked on several high-profile developments in Goodyear, like the Chewy.com distribution center, the Andersen Windows manufacturing plant, as well as the Camelback Center at Loop 303, a 305-acre business park. “Harry Paxton and mayor Georgia Lord welcome all industries, especially industrial, distribution, e-commerce and manufacturing with open arms.”
Goodyear planners and the natural growth of the Valley created ideal zones for industrial developments. One zone is around the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, that zone stretches south and west and connects to another industrial zone along Maricopa County Highway 85 (also referred to as State Route 85), and the newest zone is in the northwest part of the city, along the new Loop 303, which opened in 2014.
“For the most part, you see that the community is well planned where there are clear areas that are our commerce and industrial areas,” Paxton said. “Sometimes they may border against a neighborhood, but for the most part they’ve been zoned industrial for a long time.”
Naturally, the area nearest the airport has attracted aerospace and aviation industries like Lockheed Martin, ATCA (a Lufthansa flight training subsidiary), as well as LuxAir Jet Centers.
The other industrial zones in Goodyear have a variety of users, from advanced manufacturing at the Ball Corporation or Huhtamaki plants, to warehouse and logistics facilities for Macy’s – Bloomingdale’s, REI, United Parcel Service and Amazon.com.
“The city’s investment in robust infrastructure is another key differentiator for employers seeking to locate,” said Tony Lydon, managing director for JLL, another firm that is active in West Valley development. “Geographically, Goodyear straddles the I-10 corridor, offering proximity to regional supply chain markets including Southern California. Finally, the city is proximate to over 1.5 million people within 30 minutes. An acessible workforce is a significant draw for employers seeking a deep, qualified, affordable employee pool.”
Goodyear’s industrial growth has also been helped by the establishment of Foreign Trade Zone No. 277 in the West Valley in 2010. The FTZ designation creates economic incentives to companies to build and operate facilities in those FTZ’s. Goodyear has three FTZ Magnet Sites, which are pre-approved for future zone users. One is at Airport Gateway at Goodyear just north of the airport, one at PV303 Industrial Park along Loop 303 and Indian School Road and a third one at Goodyear Crossing Industrial Park, along MC 85 and Cotton Lane.
“This was important for us to get ourselves on the industrial map, especially targeting advanced manufacturing,” Paxton said of the FTZ. “Certainly, the FTZ has helped us and is a piece of what we felt we needed to do. Helped us get our name out there and helped us bring in infrastructure.”
Those FTZ’s also helped draw in speculative industrial buildings, with Lincoln Property Company, The Opus Group and First Industrial Realty all building spec facilities within the last two years.
Gary said that now Goodyear has established a strong industrial base of companies, the city is looking to expand into other market sectors, like technology, healthcare and retail. The announcement of the Vantage Data Center was just the first of what the city hopes will be a long line of technology and data center companies opening operations in Goodyear. A huge benefit for Goodyear is that there is a major fiber optic network line that runs through the city, providing easy connectivity for the data centers. Also, the city has an modern, reliable power grid, which is vital for data center operations.
“Because we’re right next to the fiber optic pipeline, that’s extremely important to data centers,” Gary said. “The Greater Phoenix area has a growing technology cluster, so there’s a growing workforce. So not only does Goodyear have the appropriate infrastructure to support data centers, there’s a lot more people in the workforce that can support that industry sector.”
With a strong industrial base already established, Gary said the city is focusing on attracting retail, restaurants and entertainment, along with vital healthcare services.
“We have a growing population and with that, there is a desire from our citizens, and rightfully so, that they have the services,” Gary said. “We need to be a well-rounded community, so we continue to work on balancing. And part of that balancing is to have a strong employment base, but also bring in the type of retail, entertainment and restaurants that our citizens want. So that’s a pillar of opportunity for us.”