Sunday, December 4, 2011

New SkySong leases increase occupancy to over 90 percent

SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, has announced three new leases, including one that will more than double the size of one of its largest tenants.

The three leases total about 20,000 square feet and will bring the south Scottsdale campus' occupancy to above 90 percent. Pre-leasing has begun on SkySong III, the next building to be constructed on the campus.

The 42-acre, mixed-use development is at the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads. It now has 93 tenants, including companies with either a direct or virtual presence, and student companies in the Edson student entrepreneur initiative. Its workforce totals 750.

"The creating of this magnet for great jobs and creating an example of the new industries that will be the foundation for the future of Arizona is very significant," said Sharon Harper,president and CEO of Plaza Companies, SkySong's developer in partnership with ASU and USAA Real Estate Co.

Current tenant Yodle signed a lease to expand its space by 12,000 square feet, to a total of 26,521 square feet. The company, a New York-based local online advertising firm, located an office at SkySong in early 2009. It has more than 100 workers at SkySong and will be nearly doubling that amount with the expansion.

"It's been a good market for us," said Michael Gordon, Yodle's chief financial officer. "We've grown multiple times there. We're fortunate to be a very dynamic, fast-growing company. We're hiring in all of our departments ... and we have found the Scottsdale labor pool to be very attractive."

Yodle plans to complete the expansion during the first quarter, and is hiring sales, client services and corporate personnel to occupy the additional space.

"The sales jobs we have are calling over the phone, so we could locate them anywhere," Gordon said. "The reason why we've been so excited about Scottsdale and why it's worked so well for us ... is we've had a lot of success in recruiting."

Also, the ASU Foundation has helped the company tap into the ASU community for recruitment, he said.

Two new companies have signed leases to locate at SkySong:

Pearson, an online learning company, has expanded its partnership with ASU and is leasing 5,000 square feet of new space.

WebFilings, a private firm that helps companies meet federal financial reporting requirements, is leasing 2,000 square feet with an additional 2,500 square feet for expansion. ASU President Michael Crow serves on the company's advisory board.

To date, SkySong has completed two, 150,000-square-foot buildings consisting of research and commercial space. Technology-based companies located there represent industries ranging from information technology to solar, as well as foreign direct investment to the Valley.

While pre-leasing has begun on the third phase, the development plan has not yet been finalized, Harper said. At build-out, SkySong is expected to encompass 1.2 million square feet.

"We have been in discussion for a long time with companies wanting to expand at SkySong, but if you look at Yodle, we won't be able to accommodate another quantum leap in the existing building(s), but there could be in a future building," she said. "We can accommodate a headquarters where a company occupies the total building, or build to suit for specific needs."

by Edward Gately The Arizona Republic Dec. 1, 2011 11:10 AM

New SkySong leases increase occupancy to over 90 percent

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