For office tenants able to think outside of the big box, Arizona’s lingering retail vacancies can equate to major opportunity. Such is the case with the recently completed renovation of the Tucson Galleria – a $16.4 million effort led by the Phoenix office of JLL that transformed a long-vacant retail mall into a cutting-edge Western region customer support center for Comcast Cable.
“Comcast was looking for a well-located building with a great selection of nearby restaurants and amenities, and a strong public transportation network for its employees,” said Derek Ruterman, Vice President for JLL’s Project Development Services (PDS) group in Phoenix, and manager of the Comcast renovation. “They were able to look beyond this building’s label as ‘retail’ space to see that the property checked all of their boxes as a superior location for a new regional support center.”
Located at 4690 N. Oracle Road in Tucson, the 165,000-square-foot Comcast facility was originally built in the mid 1980s, initially serving as a multi-tenant retail mall and, later, as an American Home Furnishings store. The furniture retailer vacated the space several years ago, leaving the space empty until Comcast selected the building for its new support center.
Through a JLL-directed redesign, this former mall now operates as a flexible and creative corporate environment that is solely occupied by Comcast. Approximately 1,200 employees work at the site, providing IT, call center and social media services.
Features of the new service center include:
- Three floors totalling 165,000 square feet and a covered parking garage with 1,050 spaces.
- Creative, flexible indoor spaces that incorporate the building’s original elevator, escalators and central atrium, providing a uniquely open feel and strong connectivity between workspaces.
- Custom, structurally supported steel light rings with suspended LED’s that span the atrium and create brightly lit atmospheres in spaces without any windows.
- State-of-the-art video conference rooms, training rooms and large meeting rooms.
- On-site amenities designed to attract and retain young Millennial employees, such as a large outdoor patio space, a fitness facility with locker rooms and gaming spaces on each floor. Micro Markets are also incorporated on each floor, providing fresh food selections brought in daily for employees.
- A former movie theatre that has been re-purposed to support meeting and break room requirements.
“This building has a central atrium unlike anything you’ll find in a typical office building and that creates a uniquely bright and airy work environment,” said Ruterman. “We continued that open approach throughout the project, blending exposed ceilings, floating acoustic panels and suspended linear LED lighting that pulls the eye up toward this building’s great ceiling features.”
“The Comcast project is a testament to what can be accomplished when the right team, the right tenant and a shared creative vision come together,” added David Rosato, Senior Vice President and head of JLL’s Phoenix PDS group.
The former mall building was chosen by Comcast for its abundance of nearby amenities (including the Tucson Mall), its large bilingual customer service labor pool and the convenience of the Mountain Time Zone. The facility brings approximately 1,200 new jobs to Tucson, making Comcast one of Southern Arizona’s top 40 employers and representing a $385 million economic impact for the region. At least 15 percent of Comcast’s new positions are being filled by reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners.
Construction on the Comcast project began in August 2015 and completed in the the spring of 2016. The landlord is The Tanager Company, LLC. The project architect was Acquilano Leslie, Inc. The builder was Jokake Construction.