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Phoenix Suns owner to build $100M downtown office campus and Mercury practice facility

Phoenix Suns owner to build $100M downtown office campus and Mercury practice facility

The Phoenix Suns and team owner Mat Ishbia announced plans Thursday to build a new office headquarters in Phoenix and a state-of-the-art practice facility for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

The project will be built in downtown Phoenix’s warehouse district, just south of Footprint Center, the home arena for the two teams. Together, the offices and practice facility will occupy 123,000 square feet and the project is expected to cost north of $100 million.

The project will be located in an existing building that will be renovated and expanded. The plan is to have it finished in the spring of 2024 so the Mercury can use the facility before the start of the 2024 season.

The Suns, through several different Delaware-based limited liability companies, acquired three separate parcels in the Warehouse District earlier this month, for a combined price of $38.693 million, according to real estate database company Vizzda. The total amount of land acquired by the team was 7.31 acres.

All three properties are on the south side of Lincoln Street near the intersection of Fourth Street. One of the properties is the Lincoln Union building, which is a former warehouse that was renovated into an office space.

Ishbia sees the investment as a commitment to the community and to the team’s workplace culture.

“We are working every day to make the Phoenix Suns and Mercury a worldclass organization on and off the floor,” Ishbia said in a statement. “You create great culture by investing in people. A basketball franchise is so much more than a normal business, it is a catalyst for change. I am so excited to be making an investment that builds on our vision for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury to continue investing in our players, team members, fans and community.”

The Suns organization worked with Transwestern’s Sports & Entertainment Advisory Group with the real estate transaction. Houston-based Transwestern will also assist in the design, construction and fit-out process.

Suns, Mercury offices will have plenty of amenities

At approximately 65,000 square feet, the office complex, home for both Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury employees — about 400 people — will be one of the largest developments for a professional sports organization in the country.

“When you add a new headquarters like this, it speaks volumes of how much you care about your team members and where they show up every day and love where they work,” Josh Bartelstein, the CEO of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, told the Business Journal. “This is going to be the best organization to work for in professional sports – that’s what our goal is.”

It will have an open work environment and several employee-focused amenities, following the trend in projects that want to lure employees back to the office these days. These include indoor and outdoor basketball courts, an arcade, pickleball court, putting green, workout facility and a showcase kitchen stocked with complimentary beverages and snacks.

The facility will also include a Suns and Mercury fan store and a visual presentation of the Suns and Mercury’s Ring of Honor.

The Sports Business Journal reported that the overall development mirrors Ishbia’s more ambitious United Wholesale Mortgage complex in Pontiac, Michigan, which has grown to 1.5 million square feet. At UWM, Ishbia calls his 7,000-plus employees “team members’’ and has littered that 150-acre HQ with a hair salon, doctor’s office and indoor basketball court.

Mercury practice facility

The Mercury currently practice and work out in the facility the Suns and Mercury built at 44th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood. Bartelstein said ownership and management wants to let the Mercury have its own space.

“The Mercury already have a really nice facility,” Bartelstein said. “But how do you make it the best of the best? You give each team their own.”

The new Mercury practice facility will be 58,000 square feet and will include two dedicated practice courts with 10 baskets, fitness room, hot and cold pools and underwater treadmills, a player and family lounge, film room, and an expansive locker room. There will also be a kitchen with a dedicated chef for the players.

The practice facility will be open to players and coaches 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bartelstein said the practice facility will feature state-of-the-art equipment and technology similar to what is in the current facility.

What happens to current team offices

The Suns’ management offices are inside Footprint Center. Bartelstein said the plan is to turn the 50,000 feet of office space there into some sort of fan experience.

“That could be a club, that could be a kid zone, it could be a restaurant. We’re going to sit down and sharpen our pencil and figure out what makes the most sense for how to impact fans,” Bartelstein said.

The Suns will start working on what to do with the office space in upper levels of Footprint Center after the new offices have been completed.

While the entire project requires a big outlay of cash, Bartelstein echoed a sentiment Ishbia shared earlier this week at the Suns’ media day – money isn’t an issue.

“It’s not about money. It’s not about the investment as far as the return, it’s about investing and doing things the right way for your people, and the payoff will be tenfold down the line as far as how much they love working for our organization,” Bartelstein said.

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