Phoenix on shortlist of Uber’s next expansion location

Uber is eyeballing the Valley of the Sun in its search for a new project that could bring thousands of jobs to the area as well as a new 400,000-square foot building. Uber is pitting Phoenix and Dallas, Texas, against each other in its narrowing-down of options, but with Uber’s presence and experience already in Phoenix chances are you’ll see a “Help Wanted” sign for future Uber employees.

Uber will be on the hunt for salespeople, executives, and developers at its new site. The office would build on Uber’s businesses, including Uber Eats and Uber Air, the self-flying helicopter taxi service. 

And with all this expansion (we probably won’t see Uber copters for a few years, but still) Uber is naturally growing out of its current home in San Francisco and is on the hunt for an expanded campus, a satellite location to dream up the modes of transportation of tomorrow. That’s where Phoenix comes into play.

“We’ve done so much in the last 10 years to be attractive to places like Uber,” says Steve Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, weighing in on the potential for more tech growth in the state. “We have very competitive corporate taxes and a regulatory environment that’s very pro-business.”

Uber’s San Francisco base is seeing an expansion of its own, working on a new headquarters building that tops one million square feet slated for a 2020 opening. At the end of last year, Uber clocked in more than 22,000 employees. 

Uber already has about 120,000 square feet of operations space in Phoenix, making it the biggest tech real estate lease in Phoenix in 2018. The plan is to make a final decision by the end of August as to where they’ll set up shop.

“Our weather is better, first of all. And we have a very high standard of living as well as a low cost of living, compared to Dallas, for instance. If Uber moves here it will have to attract a workforce, so those things will help that. The more amenities you have, the more access to talent you have,” said Zylstra. 

Last year, Uber announced a partnership with Arizona State University that would allow its drivers and their families to receive free tuition to the college. Those taking advantage of the program can earn an undergraduate degree through ASU Online courses or take non-degree courses through the Continuing and Professional Education program that has seen a healthy rise.

Nick Esquer

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