Financial tech company Upgrade coming to downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX - The Phoenix office of JLL has completed a new, 38,000-square-foot lease that will relocate FinTech company Upgrade Inc. from San Francisco into two floors at Renaissance Center I in downtown Phoenix. The move is the latest example of a Silicon Valley company expanding its essential business functions in Phoenix instead of taking more space in the Bay Area.
Upgrade – a new consumer credit platform that combines marketplace lending with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit – is in the process of hiring 100 customer service, credit operations and collections professionals in Phoenix, and expects to add an additional 200 employees by the end of 2018.
“Downtown Phoenix offered everything we were looking for in a new office location, both for our company and our employees,” said Renaud Laplanche, Upgrade Co-founder and CEO. “It is at the center of a dynamic business environment, is convenient to workforce living throughout the Valley and is surrounded by amenities, including a light rail stop right at the building. This is going to help us recruit talent who want to work in a fast-growing company that also cares about offering a great work environment.”
Executive Vice President Ryan Bartos from the JLL Phoenix office, along with Managing Director Travis James and Vice President Matt Aljets from the JLL San Francisco office, represented Upgrade in its site selection and lease negotiations.
“We’ve reached a point where there are more than 70,000 jobs within one mile of downtown,” said Bartos. “That makes it an extremely attractive destination for a company.” He adds that Tempe is an equally dynamic location, but with an approximate 5 percent vacancy rate, finding the amount of space a company like Upgrade needs is challenging and expensive. He says that Old Town Scottsdale has large blocks of space as well, but its lease rates are also still high.
“A company saves 15 percent to 30 percent locating in downtown Phoenix,” said Bartos. “Along with that savings, they gain a location where there are significant amenities available within a short walk and access to great talent.”
“Phoenix is rapidly becoming a recognized destination for tech companies looking to expand operations,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Upgrade is a significant addition to our Downtown tech hub – a Silicon Valley-based online lender that will add 300 employees to the thriving innovation culture that is growing in our high rise-office space and historic warehouses.”
"After a competitive process, I'm pleased that Upgrade has selected Arizona to scale their operation," said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. "Upgrade’s arrival is a significant addition to Arizona’s already thriving advanced business services sector, and further evidence of the fact that Arizona’s value
proposition continues to resonate with companies seeking a location to scale their success rapidly."
Upgrade is the fourth major technology company—the third from San Francisco—to make a Phoenix expansion. A major consideration for Upgrade is the $50 million in renovations underway by new Renaissance owners Cypress Office Properties and Oaktree Capital Management.
“We are repositioning Renaissance Square to be Phoenix’s premier office towers,” said Mark Wayne, Principal with Cypress Office Properties. “The modernization of the lobbies and the addition of indoor-outdoor collaborative meeting space outside tenants’ offices is what companies want today.”
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About Upgrade

Upgrade is a new consumer credit platform that combines a marketplace lending approach with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit. Upgrade is based in San Francisco, California with offices in Phoenix, Arizona and employs over 70 team members. Upgrade does not facilitate loans to residents of Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts and West Virginia. More information is available at: http://www.upgrade.com.

About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. In 2016, JLL had revenue of $6.8 billion and fee revenue of $5.8 billion and, on behalf of clients, managed 4.4 billion
square feet, or 409 million square meters, and completed sales acquisitions and finance transactions of approximately $136 billion. At year-end 2016, JLL had nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 77,000. As of December 31, 2016, LaSalle Investment Management has $60.1 billion of real estate under asset management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated.
In Phoenix, JLL is a market leader employing more than 560 of the region’s most recognized industry experts offering office, industrial and retail brokerage, tenant representation, facility and investment management, capital markets, multifamily investments and development services. In 2016, the Phoenix team completed 34 million square
feet in lease and sale transactions valued at $1.5 billion, directed $105 million in project management and currently
manages a 25.2 million-square-foot portfolio. For more news, videos and research resources on JLL, please visit www.jll.com or www.jll.com/phoenix.

Contact: Stacey Hershauer
Phone: +1 480 600 0195
Email: stacey@focusaz.com