Phoenix lobbied hard to snag soapmaker Dial Corp.’s new headquarters, but Scottsdale’s cachet won the day. Dial said Friday it has staked out space at One Scottsdale, local developer DMB’s planned residential, retail and office project north of Loop 101 on the east side of Scottsdale Road.
The company plans to build its corporate offices and Center for Innovation, Dial’s research and development facility, in the upscale masterplanned commercial development just three miles north of its current Scottsdale Airpark quarters.
The land deal is expected to close in about two months. Neither Dial nor DMB would disclose the price.
Dial hopes to break ground in the fall and move into its new quarters in mid-2008, CEO Brad Casper said.
Dial plans to build a single multistory structure with 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of office and research space — enough to house its 700 local employees and their labs and still have room for a 20 percent to 30 percent expansion in staff, Casper said.
The company also needs room for building additions to accommodate another expansion of more than 20 percent, he said.
The building design depended on the site selected, so it has not been completed yet, Casper said. The actual size of the campus, height of the building and cost of construction won’t be available for several months, he said.
Dial established its headquarters in the Scottsdale Airpark 10 years ago when the company split along its product lines — financial services became Viad and consumer products claimed the corporate name Dial. The new Dial operation moved to property adjacent to its research labs, which had been in Scottsdale since 1976.
The research facility will get the heave-ho in 2008 when its long-term lease is up, so landowners can build a shopping center on the property. That sparked the need for a new home.
Casper narrowed the options to north Scottsdale and northeast Phoenix, where most employees live.
Phoenix quickly rezoned 25 acres in its bustling Desert Ridge area just weeks ago to make sure that property was ready to build without delay.
The economics of both sites was about the same, said John Wyss, managing principal of The Staubach Company’s Phoenix office. Wyss has been piloting Dial’s site search for more than a year.
Incentives were not an issue, Wyss said. Casper did not ask for — or get — any, he said.
But Dial’s scientists, executives and marketing staff were more likely to live in Scottsdale than Phoenix, he said.
Casper said it was a close decision.
“In the end it came down to our perception about the best place for our employees, and the type of environment we wanted,” Casper said. “The quality of life was a little higher in north Scottsdale. It was the vision for One Scottsdale that stood out.”
One Scottsdale is pegged to include up to 1.2 million square feet of executive office space, 600,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 400 resort-class hotel rooms, and 1,100 high-end homes or condos, said Irene Carroll, DMB vice president and general manager of the project.
The development stepped up plans to meet Dial’s timetable, Carroll said. The project wasn’t expected to start construction until 2007.
“And we hadn’t anticipated any office component to be first in the ground,” she said. “We’re very excited about Dial choosing One Scottsdale and making the first financial commitment to the project.”
Carroll said DMB has several other interested companies at the table, and Dial’s stamp of approval likely will cause the phone to start ringing even more.
Scottsdale economic development director David Roderique said Dial’s choice reinforces the transition of north Scottsdale’s business cluster from industrial to executive offices.
“We’re thrilled to keep them,” he said.
Dial, which logged sales of about $1.5 billion last year, up from $1.3 billion a year earlier, could add another $1 billion in annual sales by 2010, Casper said.
“We continue to work aggressively to grow our business,” he said. “We’ve built in a healthy expansion option.”
The company is always seeking acquisitions, such as the purchase of Right Guard completed earlier this year, that would boost business and the employee base, he said.
Dial serves as parent company Henkel’s “gateway to North America,” Casper said, and the OK to build a new headquarters proves the German company is digging deep roots in Scottsdale soil.
“This is a major investment by Henkel and a strong testament to their commitment to North America in general and Dial Corp. in particular,” Casper said.