Scottsdale-based Dial Corp., just weeks away from finalizing a place to build its new world headquarters, will stay in the north East Valley, barring any last-minute barriers to a deal.
“We have one excellent option in Phoenix and one excellent option in Scottsdale,” said CEO Brad Casper.
But despite fervent wooing by Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Scottsdale leaders, Dial will not kickstart the south Scottsdale technology park SkySong by building there.
Casper said the company wants to keep its new base close to employees’ homes, and they mostly live in the posher areas of the north East Valley.
He confirmed that the Desert Ridge area of Phoenix is one of the two possible sites and “this general area” of north Scottsdale — near Dial’s current offices — is the second.
The decision won’t depend on which city dangles the best incentives.
“I’m not asking for any,” Casper said. “Sewers won’t be a determination.”
But like the mid-1990s battle to win Mayo Clinic’s first builtfrom-scratch hospital, which eventually opted to build in Desert Ridge, an easy slide through city zoning will be a key factor in final site selection, he said.
Scottsdale has been aggressive in pushing its benefits.
“We want to do our best to keep any major employer in Scottsdale,” said David Roderique, Scottsdale’s economic development director. “There won’t be any significant economic impact, but there is prestige in having a large corporate headquarters here. At least they are clearly staying in the general area. Ten years ago (when Dial moved from downtown Phoenix after splitting from Viad) it was between Scottsdale, Cincinnati and St. Louis.”
Dial has to move its research facility by mid-2008 because its lease is up and landowners want to build a shopping center on the property.
For its new headquarters, Dial plans to build 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of office and research space — enough to house its 650 local employees and their labs and still have room for a 20 percent to 30 percent expansion in staff, Casper said.
Dial’s campus also must save room for additional building to accommodate another 20-plus percent expansion, he said.
The company, which logged sales of about $1.5 billion last year, up from $1.3 billion a year earlier, plans to add another $1 billion in annual sales by 2010, Casper said.
That’s despite the recent sale of its profitable Armour meat division.
A previous purchase of Gillette brand deodorants, including superstar Right Guard, will help, Casper said.
The two transactions reflect Dial’s new focus to boost its core businesses. “The food didn’t fit this portfolio,” Casper said.
Dial also is focusing on consumer wants, rather than just making products and trying to convince consumers to buy them.
A new line of Dial for Men products, because “baby boomer men perceive they need different soaps,” is an example, Casper said.
The company also is working on developing partnerships with its 16 largest customers — supermarkets and discounters such as Wal-Mart. They account for 70 percent of Dial’s sales, Casper said.