Grand Canyon University (GCU) was rapidly outgrowing its existing Phoenix campus in 2012 and wanted to significantly grow their ground campus enrollment from 1,100 students to over 25,000. GCU looked to Todd Noel for not only strategic real estate advice, but to also consider their key business concerns including brand positioning, culture and cost containment.
After fully assessing and analyzing 17 different submarkets in the Southwestern U.S. to acquire and develop their new satellite campus, it was decided that the best way to proceed would be to expand the campus in its existing location. In order to complete such an enormous undertaking, it would be necessary to assemble more than 300 acres of land to add to GCU’s existing 89-acre Phoenix campus.
The multi-year, multi-faceted approach to assemble more than 821 individually-owned properties is one of the largest infill urban assemblages in the United States and the largest by a single entity corporation. As a private, for-profit institution, GCU is required to approach every single parcel owner to negotiate a “fair market” transaction, as opposed to public institutions that could utilize eminent domain proceedings.
Due to Todd’s hard work, in less than two years his thoughtful and strategic approach to the assemblage has resulted in acquiring more than 75% of the required land at less than 50% of the budgeted value. The assemblage has allowed the client to invest $800 million in the construction of state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls, student housing and athletic facilities.
This project has also had a positive impact on the community. GCU’s expansion is helping to drive over $1 billion into Arizona’s state economy each year, according to a recent economic impact analysis provided by economists Elliot D. Pollack & Co. GCU directly supports an average of 6,700 jobs each year and indirectly supports another 3,700. Elliot Pollack estimates the 10-year value of the company’s expansion and operations at $11.1 billion between 2010 and 2019.