City Ideas That Work

Article excerpt

Glendale, Ariz. Offers Innovative Economic Development Program to Attract New Business - It's SIMPLE June 23, 1992.

How does a city attract new business and industry when there is a limited inventory of buildings to house their operations?

In Glendale, Ariz., the answer is "SIMPLE."

The acronym stands for Strategic Industrial Master Plan and Landscape Enterprise, and is the brainchild of city officials working hand-in-hand with private-sector developers, architects and contractors.

"Our goal to eliminate as much red tape and expense as possible in the planning and future construction of a versatile, prototype industrial building," said Economic Development Director Jim Devine. "The building is adaptable to office, distribution and manufacturing uses."

"We believe this is the first program of its type anywhere," said Mayor Quentin Tolby. "We know it's the first in Arizona."

How does SIMPLE work?

A project team consisting of the city's Community Development staff, three development firms who have industrial parks in Glendale, an architectural and engineering firm and a general contractor basically built a spec building on paper, including preliminary site plans, landscaping and elevations, and ran it through all the required city approval processes. The result: a ready-for-certification, site specific building that can be built in any one of three business parks in Glendale.

The spec building area is 50,000 square feet, expandable to 80,000 square feet, with 20 percent of the space devoted to office use and 80 percent to plant operations. The plans can be adapted for a smaller or larger building and can be conformed to either a single or two-story.

Glendale's spec-building program can compete on both a cost and time basis with retrofitting existing space, Devine said. "It also represents a significant savings of time and money over the conventional process of designing and building a new facility."

According to calculations by the project team, companies taking advantage of the SIMPLE program can save up to 11 weeks of design, approval and construction time and up to 75 percent of planning costs.

Furthermore, companies using the SIMPLE plans also can save up to 65 percent of the time and money required to prepare financing exhibits and up to 15 percent of their architectural and engineering fees. …