It’s not often that people just happen to stumble upon a favorite restaurant or vacation spot on their own. Most of the time, it’s a recommendation from a friend or neighbor that guides people to places that they fall in love with. For Ryan Companies US, Inc., it was one of its Minneapolis neighbors that pulled the company to Arizona for the first time in 1992 and it didn’t take long for Ryan to settle in and make Arizona a regional home for the company.
“In 1992, Target, one of Ryan’s long-term customers, asked us to build four stores in Arizona,” said John Strittmatter, chairman of the Southwest Region for Ryan Companies. “That got us interested in pursuing additional opportunities in Arizona. After acquiring two more build-to-suit projects and thereby realizing Ryan could compete in Arizona, we decided to venture permanently to the Southwest. Personally, the challenge of introducing Ryan to a new high growth market outside of the Midwest was exciting along with the fact that I would never have to shovel snow again!”
Ryan’s Phoenix-based Southwest Region is celebrating 25 years in operation in 2019 and the company’s fingerprints are all over the Valley. Ryan Companies projects are some of the most high profile in the Valley and the company has established a sterling reputation in the market.
“The Ryan team met every deadline and was a pleasure to work with,” said John Graham, president & CEO of Sunbelt Holdings, who partnered with Ryan in the development of the largest office development in Arizona history, the 2 million square foot Marina Heights project along Tempe Town Lake. “Our relationship is one of mutual respect and has resulted in another quality project for our client. We look forward to working with Ryan on many more developments in the future.”
The company was founded in 1938 in Minneapolis by James Henry Ryan, along with his sons Francis and Russel. It began as a lumber company, grew into construction and has continued
to evolve into a full-service commercial real estate company. Ryan Companies provides general contracting services, project design (architectural and engineering), development, management and financing. The third generation of the Ryan family leadership tree, Patrick Ryan, is company chairman and in 2018 the firm employed more than 1,200 and enjoyed $1.75 billion in revenue nationwide.
Ryan Companies has come a long way from its first foray into Arizona, which was building four new stores for Minneapolis-based Target. Ryan Companies built two Target stores in Tucson, one in Flagstaff and another in Ahwatukee to begin its time in Arizona. Pat Ryan attended an Urban Land Institute conference and met Phoenix broker Bill Gosnell. Ryan told Gosnell to let him know if any build-to-suit project opportunities came up.
One of the first opportunities came when KB Toys requested proposals to build a 400,000 square foot distribution center. Strittmatter led the Ryan Companies’ pursuit of the project and they won it. After being awarded another project in Arizona, the National Computer Systems office building in Mesa, Pat Ryan felt the time was right to set up an office in Phoenix.
“We were on a flight home from Arizona and Pat asked me to move to Phoenix,” Strittmatter said. “Me and my family moved here in December of 1993.”
With Strittmatter at the helm, the Ryan Companies Southwest Region office opened in 1994.
“We had a small staff move down here from Minnesota and we started to gradually hire more local people,” Strittmatter said.
The timing of Ryan Companies’ move into Phoenix came right as the market was starting to regain some positive growth after suffering through a recession in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“Developers were limited due to the downturn,” Strittmatter said. “Since we opened in 1994, a lot of the developers had departed. We got in the que for build-to-suit proposals quickly because developers wanted more than one option to go to.”
Ryan Companies’ first high-profile project was The Dial Corporation headquarters in Scottsdale. That project was followed by the first of ten buildings that Ryan Companies developed at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe.
Since it established a foothold in the region, Ryan Companies has enjoyed steady growth, and even spun off two additional regional offices- the West Region, located in San Diego, and the Northwest Region, in Bellevue, Wash., were both established through the Southwest Region office.
Strittmatter remained at the helm of the Southwest Region through mid-2014, when Ryan veteran Rick Collins relocated from Minneapolis to assume leadership of the Southwest Region, and ultimately the West Division, including San Diego and Seattle Recently, Molly Ryan Carson become Market Leader of the Southwest Region.
The Southwest Region office has tripled in size since the turn of the century, growing from 61 employees in 2000 to 185 today.
“The biggest accomplishment generally is the list of relationships that we’ve built in the marketplace,” Strittmatter said. “Those relationships continue to provide us opportunities.”
Ryan Companies marquee project timeline
Here’s a look at some of the more substantial or impactful projects that Ryan Companies US, Inc. has worked on. Ryan Companies served multiple roles in these projects, from development, to design, to construction and more.
The Dial Corporation
Completed: July 1997
Type: Class A office
Size: 129,689 SF
Location: 15501 N. Dial Blvd., Scottsdale
Arizona State University Research Park
First building completed: July 1998
Final building completed: April 2017
Types: Healthcare, Class A office, data center, medical office building
Total size: 926,866 SF
Location: 8750 S. Science Dr., Tempe
One North Central
Completed: November 2001
Type: Class A office tower
Size: 460,000 SF
Location: One North Central Ave., Phoenix
3900 Camelback Center
Completed: December 2009
Type: Class A Office, LEED Gold Certified
Size: 185,000 SF
Location: 3900 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Musical Instrument Museum
Completed: December 2009
Size: 191,000 SF
Location: 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix
Maricopa County Court Tower
Completed: November 2011
Type: Public County Courthouse, LEED-NC Gold Certified
Size: 695,000 SF
Location: 101 W. Madison St., Phoenix
FBI Phoenix Division
Completed: January 2012
Type: Office, Public Sector, LEED-NC Gold Certified
Size: 210,202 SF
Location: 21711 N. 7th St., Phoenix
Hayden Ferry Lakeside, Phase III
Completed: September 2015
Type: Office, LEED Gold Certified
Size: 267,430 SF
Location: 40 E. Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe
Completed: February 2017
Size: 2,040,000 SF
Location: 300 E. Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe
Circa Central Avenue
Completed: December 2018
Size: 227 units
Location: 1505 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Generations at Pinnacle Peak
Completed: January 2019
Type: Senior Living
Size: 170,000 SF
Location: 23733 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Amazon AR Sort Fulfillment Center
Completed: May 2019
Size: 2,318,598 SF
Location: 6701 S. Kolb Rd., Tucson