Women Break Ground in Commercial Development

by RaeAnne Marsh 

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Lynne King Smith’s development in Gilbert, Building 313, has evolved into an opportunity to raise the profile on women as business leaders. The 15,602-square-foot, three-story, mixed-use, owner-occupied project that broke ground last month was initiated when King Smith, looking for office space she could purchase for her businesses TicketForce, a ticketing service for venues of all sizes, and Thrive, a women’s co-working space, saw the vacant lot in Gilbert’s Heritage District.

Earlier plans to be part of a live-work-play project that would have allowed her to own her office space lost appeal when that changed to a rental arrangement. Approaching the challenge with the same positive determination with which she had founded TicketForce, she decided to become her own developer, and partnered with Lorraine Bergman, CEO of Caliente Construction, as the project’s general contractor. “That was the unusual piece that put me over the top with saying there’s a lot going on here and I think it’s just a matter of pointing it out,” King Smith says, noting that women developers and women in construction are rare. She has since brought in Dina Rosas of D Rosas Interior Architecture Design Group as designer of her new offices. “What I’m hoping to see and help to open up is women to see themselves in a leadership role.”

King Smith says she had no problems getting a loan for the project — it’s an SBA loan, and, she says, “The government loves the minority factor.” But she relates that, over the course of the project, she has encountered some bias in others not taking her seriously that seems to stem from their not understanding her vision for and design of interior spaces.

TicketForce will occupy approximately 45,000 square feet in the new building, nearly doubling its current 25,000 square feet. The office will include shared workspaces, a broadcast room and a relaxation room where employees can go to decompress or take a nap to refresh themselves. Citing Ariana Huffington as a proponent of this, King Smith also believes that employees who are overworking are not really productive. The most unique element in the TicketForce office will be a circular conference room and the resulting curved walkways around it — all of which creates an atmosphere deemed more feminine than the usual boxy, geometric office arrangement.

Anticipated move-in for TicketForce and Thrive is first quarter of next year. King Smith is seeking an Arizona-based brewery or farm-to-table restaurant for the building’s restaurant space and rooftop bar.

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