Words From Mark Mitchell, Mayor of Tempe
July 7, 2017
Mayor of Tempe, Mark Mitchell
Tempe is often described as a vibrant and progressive college town that is always on the move. While Tempe and our hometown university, Arizona State, have an innovative partnership, we have become much more than a college town. Top employers of all sizes continue to choose Tempe. Our investments in transportation, recreational amenities, and programs and services for residents and businesses alike make Tempe an asset to attracting the best talent. Since I was elected Mayor in 2012, Tempe has announced the addition of more than 28,000 jobs with thousands more to come this year.
With our active downtown right off the Tempe Town Lake, we arguably are the most coveted commercial office space in Arizona with a vacancy rate in downtown of below 4 percent. Our downtown is known throughout the state as a funky and fun destination with an urban feel. A mixture of modern glass and steel high rises next to ‘ma and pop’ shops and nationally-registered historic buildings lends to its charm.
Just north of our downtown is Tempe Town Lake, which continues to remain the second mostvisited attraction in Arizona with only the Grand Canyon surpassing it. More than 40,000 people work within a mile of Tempe Town Lake and that number is growing with employers such as State Farm, Lifelock, Fidelity National Title and more. Nearly 60 acres just northwest of the Town Lake are currently under construction – when completed the area will be made up over 3 million square feet of mixed-use space.
Increased density and quality redevelopment are vital to Tempe’s future. We are currently working in partnership with Arizona State University as we look to develop on more than 300 acres of land. This major development is called the Novus Innovation Corridor in the heart of our downtown.
Our Apache Boulevard Corridor, with its easy light rail access, is also prime for dense, urban development.
When we plan for our future, we know that we need to plan for investing in people not just in infrastructure and buildings. That’s why we have been working on a plan to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs by supporting creative, innovative people and business. Last year, Tempe opened our co-working space at the Business, Resource & Innovation Center or the “BRiC” in the Tempe Public Library. The BRiC is already producing new ideas and launching innovative companies. Our fashion incubator, FABRIC, has spurred growth for more than 120 fashion labels in the last year. Some of these designers sell their products on Etsy and others you may find in brick and mortar retailers. The facility has also given opportunities to professional and emerging designers, models, stylists, videographers and fashion photographers.
Tempe is in a fortunate position: we have laid the groundwork to draw state-of-the-art companies to our community. A number of financial services and technology companies have located along the lakefront in some of the most valuable Class A commercial office space in the state. New companies like Carvana, with their car vending machine, chose Tempe as their home. In addition, Galtronics is creating the next generation of antennas while Kinetx is working with satellites to change technology as we know it. The many innovative companies developing their businesses in our city is a testament to the value of Tempe and its bold and tech-savvy atmosphere – worth the investment for success.
The Tempe workforce, especially millennials and tech workers, increasingly prefer alternative means of transportation for the convenience, the sustainability and the opportunity to be more active. Tempe’s transportation system includes over 175 miles of paths, neighborhood circulator shuttles to help our residents get that last mile home, express bus routes and light rail. Just this year, we received federal funding for our Tempe streetcar project, which is a three mile route right in the heart of our downtown. This project is currently at the beginning stages of development and will have phased in construction until it opens in 2020.
Our city continues to be a desired destination for special events such as Ironman Arizona, Rock and Roll Marathon and other lakeside special events like our famous Fourth of July celebration and the Aloha Fest. There’s something new and different every weekend for folks living in and around Tempe.
Tempe’s diversity, welcoming atmosphere and compassion for all is what makes it a great choice for an incredible career and quality of life.