Arizona Technology and Innovation: Tempe Named Google E-city

More from this show

Tempe has been named a Google E-city for having a strong online business community. Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will talk about the designation.

Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Arizona technology and innovation looks at why Tempe was recently named a Google e-city. Joining us now is Tempe mayor Mark Mitchell. Good to see.

Mark Mitchell: Good to see you, Ted.

Ted Simons: What is an e-city, what is this all about?

Mark Mitchell: We're the digital capital for the state of Arizona. We were very fortunate to receive this award, because of all the online businesses and how active our residents are regarding the web.

Ted Simons: Basically a Google city is a place, have you fast -- Lots of websites? Fast websites? Good interconnectivity?

Mark Mitchell: Yes, and the number of people who use them. If you this about it, our average age for the city is 28. And the web has been around 25 years. So pretty much hand in hand the majority of our residents have grown up using the web.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing most of that activity downtown, do you see it out at the research -- What parts of town?

Mark Mitchell: Across the city. Tempe has the highest concentration of tech-related companies anywhere in the valley.

Ted Simons: How does government support that, encourage that? Government here, business here, how do they meet?

Mark Mitchell: It's not rocket sciences, but businesses typically that do business online grow 40% faster than businesses that don't. Since we have the largest concentration of tech-related companies in our community, the quality of life amenities, we're a 20-minute city, I think that attracts certain types of businesses, and it doesn't hurt to have Arizona state University as well.

Ted Simons: Having the University must be a big bonus.

Mark Mitchell: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: In terms of attracting these folks and keeping them. And obviously the downtown area where the University is, but all over town.

Mark Mitchell: All over town. It's also the quality of life we provide for our residents. That does not only attract residents, but attracts companies to our community. We're the largest importer of jobs per capita than any city in the valley.

Ted Simons: I notice during the announcement it was mentioned you wanted to make sure every business embraces the web. How as a government do you do that?

Mark Mitchell: We reach out to our residents on the web, we have a phenomenal Facebook page, we have a great webpage, it's really geared towards residents. We have a mobile app, 3-1-1 to get residents connected regarding their neighborhoods, if there's a street light out, a garbage can that needs to be fixed, a pothole, or even give us positive reviews.

Ted Simons: Or otherwise.

Mark Mitchell: Or otherwise.

Ted Simons: You accepted the award at a mill Avenue T-shirt shop. Why?

Mark Mitchell: Well, because brand X T-shirts, they've done very well, their main business is on mill Avenue but the majority of the business is online. As I mentioned earlier, businesses that tend to be online tend to grow 40% faster than businesses that are not.

Ted Simons: That's an interesting question. You've got that T-shirt shop, and they're a bricks and mortar, but so much of their business is online. Is government ready for when so much business is online, you may lose bricks and mortar?

Mark Mitchell: I think you always want to have bricks and mortar. People like to have tangible aspect in terms of touch and feel. But a lot of times it's the combination of both. I think we have that. People also like to interact and walk up and down mill Avenue, and our strip centers that are neighborhood friendly with the right types of businesses they like to visit.

Ted Simons: There's no plan B, if everyone starts going to the web you still got an idea of getting those vacancies filled.

Mark Mitchell: Oh, yes. Right now we have the lowest vacancy rate for retail as well as class A office.

Ted Simons: And I want to ask you about something -- I can't get you out of here before that USA basketball, mill and University. When is that breaking ground?

Mark Mitchell: We're working very hard. We have a great partner with ASU, we're working with OMNi and USA place and we're hoping we break ground soon. It's a matter of them getting the final touches together and we can move toward to get that hotel conference center we so much need.

Ted Simons: End of the year, start of next year?

Mark Mitchell: Right now what we've been told, they're looking at toward the end of the year.

Ted Simons: What about the trolley?

Mark Mitchell: We're working on that as well. We have to partner with the feds, we have a local match in place, and it's a regional project. So eventually we'd love to connect to our friends to the east and the city of Mesa, we think it's going to be a huge economic boom, not only for our region, but for the city of Tempe as well and the businesses to help move people in and around downtown.

Ted Simons: Ask as far as the downtown area, that state farm complex, anyone driving on the 202 sees more cranes in one area -- How is that going?

Mark Mitchell: It's going fantastic. It's ahead of schedule, it's a beautiful looking building. And I think some residents have dubbed the new city bird in Tempe as the crane.

Ted Simons: Yes. And I also notice college Avenue north of University is like -- You wouldn't recognize it if you hadn't been there in a year.

Mark Mitchell: I remember when I was at ASU we had college street deli, a big place. And I grew up going to the newman center. And to see the transition of college street with the art annex with the postino's and soon to be snooze, a breakfast place, and the new school of construction there, and the Devil marketplace, a retail store for ASU. It's a great event space and it's only going to get better.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on being a Google city.

Mark Mitchell: Google e-city.

Ted Simons: Excuse me.

Mark Mitchell: Digital capital of the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons: All right. Good to see you, mayor.

Mark Mitchell: Good to see you.

Mark Mitchell:Mayor, Tempe;

A green monster with a goofy grin holds a large toothbrush. Text: Video Contest: How does your favorite monster brush its teeth?
Oct. 8

Digital Video Contest 2023

Hispanic Heritage Awards image
airs Sept. 29

Hispanic Heritage Awards

Tito Munoz conducting the Phoenix Symphony
aired Sept. 25

Opening Night: A Romantic Evening

Sports Fundamentals image

Athletic Coaching Essentials (ACE) Beginner Series

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: