Emily Gersema – Apr. 27, 2011
The Arizona Republic

The growing for-profit Phoenix School of Law is moving downtown this year into bigger digs at the Tower at One North Central near Washington Street, providing more potential customers for downtown businesses and creating new jobs.

The school, owned by InfiLaw System, has been growing since it was founded in 2004. It is now in a building at 4041 N. Central Ave., near Indian School Road. Its downtown lease, which starts Aug. 1, doubles its space for new students and employees.

The school’s current enrollment of about 700 students will increase by 350 new students for the school year that begins in August, said Scott Thompson, CEO and president of Phoenix School of Law.

Thompson said that with the continued increase in students and the addition of new certificate programs and specializations, the school will need to hire more people, adding to its current 100 faculty and staff members.

“I would probably say in the neighborhood of about 40 jobs in the next four years” will be added, Thompson said.

Colliers International negotiated the lease on behalf of Mitsubishi Estate New York. Colliers officials said the law school is renting 205,130 square feet of space, filling eight floors of the 20-story building.

The school has filled about 93,000 square feet of space at its current home, said Jay Hoselton, the Cushman & Wakefield real-estate representative who has assisted the school with moves since it opened.

Hoselton said the school had been searching for two years for new property to rent or buy that would accommodate its students and employees and allow for expansion.

The school’s search narrowed to downtown about six months ago for “the light rail, the downtown amenities, housing, central location, the courts, and the law firms,” he said.

Marty Shultz, chairman of the Phoenix Community Alliance, said the school’s shift downtown is the latest of a series of moves by law firms and other related businesses that have filled offices close to Maricopa County Superior Court and Phoenix Municipal Court.

Also, “if you look around downtown, you see a number of old houses and small buildings that are also now being inhabited by smaller law firms that specialize in land use,” Shultz said. “This is a wonderful concentration, a critical mass.”

Shultz is among several community leaders and businessmen who have been trying to draw more businesses to the downtown area.

Arizona State University plans to build a law school downtown, and is raising money for the project.