With the opening of Loop 202—which serves as a direct connector between the east and west Valley—in late 2019, Chandler city officials realized there was a new “front door” into the city, Economic Development Director Micah Miranda said.

That new entrance is what officials are now designating as West Chandler—the city’s second largest employment corridor and home to high-tech companies such as Intel, Verizon, Avnet and others.

Nine 15-foot signs announcing to passersby they are in West Chandler are part of an economic development-driven initiative to brand the 7 square miles bordered by McClintock Road on the east, Loop 202 on the south, I-10 on the west and just north of Ray Road on the north. The signage cost just under $240,000, according to city records, and was approved and installed in November.

“The reason why we are embarking on this West Chandler branding campaign is to elevate the corridor for additional private sector investment,”Miranda said. “And to strengthen an already vibrant community. We really want to elevate its position in the Greater Phoenix area and mark it as one of the best destinations for tech investment.”

Miranda said the signage will also help lessen confusion about where people are driving—many having confused that segment of Chandler with neighboring Tempe or Ahwatukee.

“It’s not just an employment corridor; it’s a vibrant part of the Greater Chandler community,” Miranda said. “Each area of the city has its own feel to a certain extent, and each one of the employment centers is dynamic and has its own feel, and that’s something the city really wants to leverage. We want to let businesses and residents know that all areas of the community are important to us.”

What makes up West Chandler?

West Chandler constitutes one-third of the city’s overall employment square footage, Miranda said. With 636 businesses and 29,090 jobs—the majority of which are anchored in high-tech manufacturing—Miranda said the West Chandler employment corridor is crucial to the city.

The area is also home to 9,685 housing units and 23,183 residents, according to data from the city.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said West Chandler’s amenities give the area its own personality.

“Whether it’s amenities like restaurants or parks or activities or great businesses, we thought West Chandler could use some more attention from the city,” Hartke said. “So many new things are happening out there and are adding to the community. There are new developments, and it’s got great parks and premier pools.”

Much of West Chandler is already developed, according to the city, and it is one of the more mature parts of Chandler. A majority of the city’s growth and development has occurred in South Chandler and the Airpark Area in the past few years, Miranda said. A new 104,000-square-foot lease was signed by medical technology company Stryker in the first week of December, and several industrial buildings are under construction in the area as well.

As of November, 292,000 square feet of industrial space is under construction in West Chandler, and 77,000 square feet of office space has been constructed in the area in the last year, according to data from the city. The West Chandler region has an 8.3% retail vacancy rate.

Miranda said he is hoping the signage and branding drives some redevelopment and new investment in the area.

"We are looking for those redevelopment opportunities at those properties that have opportunities to improve or switch the type of occupancy within them,” Miranda said. “Changing from industrial to office or something like that. There are not a ton of opportunities for redevelopment primarily because the properties there are doing extremely well. Occupancy is very high. We don’t have a lot of vacancy in those properties. We have high traffic counts there; people want to be there.”

Miranda also highlighted that the expansion of Loop 202 to connect to the West Valley brings more opportunities for a commuting labor force.

“That Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway expands the labor force for West Chandler,” Miranda said. “There is really a great density of office starting to look at that area as well.”

Supporting business, the community

Miranda said another component of the branding effort is to bring more visibility to the retailers along the part of West Chandler that borders I-10 as the Arizona Department of Transportation works on a yearslong project to expand the Broadway Curve and surrounding area of I-10.

“We want to make sure people understand the value of shopping local during the construction,” Miranda said.

John Gleason is the owner of Bap and Chicken, a Korean fried chicken restaurant that opened in November in West Chandler. He said he kept searching the Phoenix area until he found the right spot. He ultimately found it near 54th Street and Ray Road.

“[Our other location] feels like a neighborhood spot, too,” Gleason said. “That’s why I was attracted to this part of Chandler. It doesn’t have to be crazy busy; you don’t have to have a lot of people for a restaurant to be successful. We want this location to be a neighborhood restaurant as well as a destination for people. I liked the warm and inviting atmosphere here in Chandler.”

Resident Kaija Godoy said she has lived in West Chandler for about a decade, and her husband has been there for more than 20 years. •“I saw the new signs and thought it was nice,” Godoy said.

“I thought it represented some investment happening in our part of town. There has been such a focus on renovation in downtown Chandler and then expansion of South Chandler. So when I saw the sign, it was nice to see the area being represented.”

Godoy said she loves the West Chandler area because everyone is friendly and, with proximity to three major freeways, it only takes about 20 minutes to get anywhere in the East Valley. Godoy said she and her husband were thinking of moving, but she said she could never leave the West Chandler area.

“Sometimes in this area, you can feel forgotten over here in this ZIP code,” she said. “We are just kind of sandwiched in there. I think the new signs will help people to know that when they are going to businesses or driving through, they are in Chandler.”