Chandler's efforts to diversify its economic base is coming to fruition as crews complete two buildings that will house 2,000 Wells Fargo employees by the end of the year.
The banking giant will soon occupy 400,000 square feet of space at Ocotillo Corporate Center, a 62.5-acre site at the northwest corner of Price and Queen Creek roads, just south of the San Tan Freeway.
At an estimated cost of $75 million, the two buildings mark the beginning of Wells Fargo's investment in the center that, once fully built, could provide more than one million square feet of office space for about 7,000 company employees.
"The size and scale of this was significant. There aren't too many of those that happen every day in our community," said Garrett Newland, Chandler's economic development director.
The company's arrival is important because it adds to Chandler's blend of corporate residents, including hi-tech firms such as Motorola, Intel and Microchip.
"We are well known for that and we have a lot of good jobs in that hi-tech area. But that's also a double-edged sword. When that market sector is affected by the economy, we feel it," Newland said.
"One of our objectives is to diversify and so the arrival of major employers like Wells Fargo helps us do that and provides high-quality jobs," Newland said.
Newland said Wells Fargo located in the Price Road corridor, one of Chandler's five key commercial areas and called it "the premiere employment corridor in the Valley, if not in the Southwest."
"We worked very hard in working with Wells Fargo's Real Estate Group to help them find the right location. They looked at a number of sites across the Valley and even in other markets," Newland said.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Marjorie Rice said bank officials chose the location because of "transportation access, convenience and the ability to expand on the site to meet future possible needs."
Rice said that construction crews are now installing landscaping, fountain stonework and the electrical, plumbing and air conditioning systems in one building while finishing the exterior of the second building.
Although an exact move-in date hasn't been determined, the Price Road location will serve as a central operations hub where workers will conduct a variety of internal banking processes. Immediate plans do not include a Wells Fargo retail bank open to the public.
Although the bank will contribute to city receipts by paying property taxes, Newland pointed out that with average salaries of between $30,000 and $40,000, workers will also support other Chandler businesses, as employees seek out new homes, cars and services, such as restaurants and dry cleaners.
In anticipation of the center's opening, the intersection of Price and Queen Creek roads will be improved this summer, said Jim Phipps, Chandler's spokesman.
Plans call for upgraded street lighting, a dedicated turn lane into the corporate center and improved left-hand turn lanes for traffic moving between the two main roads, Phipps said.
Once Wells Fargo workers arrive, the newly-installed traffic signal at the center's entrance will also be activated, Phipps said.