From Warehouse District to Tech Hub

by RaeAnne Marsh

WebHubPutting the most cutting-edge industry in some of the Valley’s oldest buildings — some of the brick structures dating back to the 1800s — Phoenix’s Warehouse District is being viewed as a potential tech hub. Brad Jannenga, CEO of WebPT, says he realized the area’s tremendous potential as his company moved up from 5,000 to 10,000 to 15,000 to its current 30,000 square feet. “The area has amazing buildings with a lot of character, walking distance to Downtown Phoenix, and rents that are incredibly cheap.”

Crediting local real estate developers Michael Levine and Cowley Companies CEO Michael Cowley for pioneering efforts to preserve the historic neighborhood, Jannenga is involved in restoring a 123,000-square-foot space that once housed a grocery store. He plans to develop about half of it for his company and the other half for a tech co-working space for 100-200 tech companies, and have it ready for tenants by the end of 2015. He’s found the City of Phoenix to be “hugely cooperative.” Its support has included improvements in sidewalks, street lighting and increased street parking.

Jannenga, who grew up here, says he moved to California because he believed that was where all the tech jobs were. Since starting WebPT here in 2008, he says he’s found the tech talent is here, in individual islands like Gangplank and SkySong. “It’s not that they weren’t here, but they weren’t connected.”

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