Jobs! This is the favorite word in the English language to developers. Why? Jobs bring people--who, in turn, need services. Where do most people that live on the Upper West Side work? Many Upper West Siders work along the I-17 employment corridor. This stretch of freeway from Northern Ave. all the way up to Carefree Hwy. has 56,000 jobs clustered throughout. This is very important to both our local community as well as the Phoenix area as a whole.
Did you know that because of the I-17 employment corridor, Phoenix is known as “Wall Street West?” That’s right, behind #1 Houston & #2 Wall Street, Phoenix has the 3rd highest U.S financial services workforce in the country. And, it just so happens that the majority of these jobs are concentrated along the I-17 corridor. Because of this, it isn’t hard to see why companies such as PetSmart, American Express, Cox, USAA, Farmers Insurance, Discover, and Safeway/Albertson’s have all chosen the I-17 corridor to set up their regional operations.
San Antonio-based USAA recently opened a second campus along I-17 near Norterra. They are in the process of hiring 1,100 engineers/software developers to fill this new building because of the area’s well-educated workforce and the success of their huge office campus already operating at I-17 & Happy Valley. These new jobs are all high-paying with most salaries well over $100,000.
So, where do these new employees live, eat, and shop? They typically do so within a 30-minute drive of their job. This includes the entire Upper West Side and some surrounding areas. USAA knows this and is trying to capitalize on their prime real estate. That is why they teamed up with Sunbelt Holdings to develop a new residential neighborhood that surrounds their campus called “Union Park”. This upscale community (with homes from the mid $300,000s up to the $600,000s+) is destined to be the Desert Ridge of Northwest Phoenix. With upscale homes, a high daytime population, and easy access to freeways, this neighborhood is a developer’s dream. Because of this, USAA also has plans to develop a “main street” with upscale shopping and dining that will be right in the middle of the community. Upscale shops and restaurants will flock to the development because of the high-income jobs and daytime population already existing in the surrounding area.
When will the Upper West Side see this kind of development? The Upper West Side is already a force to be reckoned with. Did you know that according to “Phoenix Business Journal” zip codes 85383 and 85083 are the 7th and 8th wealthiest zip codes respectively in the entire valley? I am sure most of us living here are not surprised, but a lot of developers are. We have the power to let our voices be heard and to spread the word that UWS is the high income, well-educated, and increasingly dense area where all shops, restaurants, and employers should want to open and do business!
By: Bryan Mortensen
LRA Real Estate Group, LLC