Garmin navigates toward new Chandler facility of its own; to add 141 jobs - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Garmin navigates toward new Chandler facility of its own; to add 141 jobs

GPS firm to build software engineering site

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Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013 6:04 am | Updated: 3:23 pm, Tue Jun 25, 2013.

Garmin has spent more than four years as a Chandler renter. Now, the company plans to build its own home and become a permanent resident.

The firm, which manufactures Global Positioning Satellite, or GPS, devices, will build a 60,000-square-foot facility at the Chandler Corporate Center — the location the company leases its current property — that will focus on software engineering. Garmin will invest $11 million in the project, which the company expects to open in the first half of 2014, and the new facility will add more than 141 software and development jobs over the next three years.

“These are the elite technology jobs, and employees in this industry can choose to live anywhere,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny in a press release. “You have to have an excellent community and sense of place in order to attract and retain companies like Garmin.”

The release states Garmin picked Chandler over several other states in a competitive process. Garmin corporate communication director Ted Gartner confirmed the company looked at cities across the country, but couldn’t specify the other entities involved.

He did, however, outline several reasons why the company decided to stay in Chandler after approximately four-and-a-half years in the city and 15 overall in Arizona. A major factor Gartner cited is the location, as he said it can be difficult to attract employees to the company’s headquarters in Olathe, Kan., especially people who used to a different climate like Arizona.

“We’re trying to go to the places where the engineering talent is,” he said.

That reason was echoed by Chandler economic development director Christine Mackay, who said the city’s proximity to schools like Arizona State University and the University of Arizona makes it attractive to employers like Garmin. Also mentioned by Gartner and Mackay was the location, with the latter emphasizing the proximity to the 101.

The benefits for Chandler, which Mackay said spent approximately a year working with Garmin to keep the company in the city, include the benefits, or ripple effect, it can have on other businesses that support Garmin like restaurants, as well as the continued ability to land technology-based companies.

“In our recruitment strategy, tech is or No. 1,” she said.

The decision to remain in Chandler also reflects the company’s commitment to the city, especially financially, as Gartner said the $11 million is “a big commitment” for the GPS producer. For the city, Mackay said the new facility will move Garmin from a temporary occupier to a full-fledged Chandler resident.

“It makes them a very permanent part of the community,” she said.

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