ST. GEORGE — Isaac Barlow drew sidelong glances when he told people that the Tech Ridge development would eventually house 1 million square feet of office space. Understandable. At the time, there was only 1 million square feet of office space in all of St. George. Yet he was confident. He had a vision.
“Our vision has been the same from the beginning,” said Barlow, managing partner at Tech Ridge LLC. “We want to create a place where people want to live, work and play. That’s what will bring people here. That’s what will keep people here.”
Four years into the project, which could take up to 20 years, Barlow and company are doing better than even they expected. They’re on the verge of completing the first office building on top of Tech Ridge, which will house PrinterLogic, a St. George-based software company that boasts of providing serverless printing infrastructure.
The building, which is expected to open by the end of the month, has an in-office basketball court and a pickleball court, among other amenities that seem like what you’d expect to find at a resort.
“We want Tech Ridge to be the best destination spot in St. George,” Barlow said. “This way, we can recruit and retain top tier talent.”
And Barlow knows what he’s talking about: He’s also the CEO at busybusy, which offers a mobile app that automates labor and cost management.
“When you go after top talent, you’ve got to consider their personal situations,” Barlow said. “Let’s say a company offers a job to someone. If that person has kids, they’re wondering, ‘What happens if I uproot my family and that job doesn’t work out? What then?’ Now, if there are multiple companies in the area, that person has more opportunities available in case one doesn’t work out.”
Between the PrinterLogic, SkyView and InterGalactic buildings, Tech Ridge will have 260,000 square feet of office space in a relatively short period of time, but Barlow said the project is about quality as much as quantity.
“We’ve got a really unique opportunity here,” he said. “We started with a blank slate, which was the old St. George Airport. Because of that, we’ve been able to master plan this whole project. We’ve been very deliberate with every choice, right down to parking.”
Parking has been one of Tech Ridge’s primary challenges. Tech Ridge’s goal, according to Barlow, is to have no surface level parking. Because of that, they’re burying the parking lots beneath the buildings.
“We’re trying to create a pedestrian community here,” he said.
Barlow expressed dissatisfaction with other office parks where you have to cross a “sea of cars” to get anywhere. For Tech Ridge, walkability and accessibility are key. With up to 200 companies eventually calling Tech Ridge home, Barlow sees rich possibilities for collaboration and cross-pollination among diverse disciplines.
“You’ll see programmers from different companies sitting at the table, discussing how they solve problems,” he said. “This leads to new solutions faster, so these companies can become even more innovative.”
While Tech Ridge endeavors to emulate certain aspects of Silicon Valley, Barlow said he believes there’s really no precedent for the St. George project in the U.S.
“When finished, we’ll have roughly 5,000 employees working on Tech Ridge,” he said. “We’re working on building a sky-lift and a zipline. There’s a 5k run that you can do around the perimeter of the mesa. And it’s all open to the public. We want to create an experience that makes people want to be here — and stay here.”
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