Chandler adds flexibility to Price Corridor planning - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Chandler adds flexibility to Price Corridor planning

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Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:30 am

A commissioned study late last year recommended Chandler loosen some of its stipulations on the Price Corridor in order to add flexibility.

The employment corridor, along South Price Road south of the interchange between Loops 101 and 202, is home to major national companies such as Intel, Boeing, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Under the city’s general plan, the corridor is reserved for high-tech manufacturing, corporate offices and “knowledge intensive employers.”

Companies that want to locate on the Price Corridor are expected to build on single-user lots of at least 15 acres.

The corridor area in the early ’80s was set aside for major employment. But business needs have changed, said Alan Maguire, president of the Maguire Co., who unveiled the study’s findings to the Chandler City Council in early November.

“Given these changes, it is appropriate for the city to review its policies for the Corridor ... some refinement of the land uses should be considered,” the Maguire Co. report states. “Changes in business development patterns have led other similar employment areas nationwide to alter their policies.”

The report specifically points to similar employment corridors in North Carolina, New Jersey and Texas that moved beyond large, single-user plots.

Companies may want to quickly increase or decrease their number of employees, or downsize without leaving the corridor. Chandler should maintain its objectives for the corridor, the report says, but look to be flexible for smaller projects or currently vacant buildings.

“There was nothing earthshakingly new to come out of the study,” Councilman Kevin Hartke said. “But the expansion and retraction capabilities for companies are very attractive.”

Any changes to the city’s general plan will take time to complete, Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said, but the city this year is looking to heed the study’s recommendations in considering new projects for the corridor.

“The business world has changed since we first began development on the Price Road employment corridor,” Tibshraeny said. “That’s why we decided to review our policies through the study and see where we were and where we want to go.”

Gerrit van Huisstede, Wells Fargo regional banking executive, appreciates Chandler looking to be more flexible within the corridor.

Wells Fargo opened a corporate office in the Price Corridor in 2004 and last month broke ground to double the size of its campus there.

“Chandler and the Price Corridor are part of our long-term planning,” van Huisstede said. “We envision having 1 million square feet of office space there eventually. That will happen in stages. We appreciate Chandler working with us through those stages.

“We do follow who moves into the corridor, so we’ll continue to do that.”

Other recommendations from the study include:

• Maintain the corridor’s reputation for “high value employment,” though some of the sought-after industries may need to be updated.

• Preserve the campus-like environment and the area’s aesthetics.

• Enhance the corridor’s aesthetics by establishing development standards.

“The corridor is a unified vision of the council 20-25 years in the works,” Tibshraeny said. “We’re very fortunate to have seen the success it’s had and we’re confident that success will continue for years to come.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or cgabel@evtrib.com.

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