As president, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Companies, Sharon Harper, CRE, oversees all facets of company operations, including the ownership, development, leasing or management of more than five million square feet of Arizona’s medical office properties, senior living facilities and leading bioscience and biotechnology centers.
Her forward-thinking commitment to commercial real estate has helped Plaza Companies emerge as one of the premier real estate firms in the Southwest, earning numerous awards and designations under her leadership like AZ Business magazine’s Most Admired Companies Award, 2013, the International Development Council’s International Leadership Award, 2013, Large Developer of the Year by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and Medical Office Building of the Year in 2001, 2004 and 2008. Additionally, Plaza Companies was deemed an “Economic Engine” by Arizona Business Magazine in 2007, listed among the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” that same year, and listed among “Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, 2011” by Arizona Business Magazine.
With Harper at the helm, Plaza Companies has emerged as an industry leader in healthcare, biotechnology and biosciences and senior housing, with the company proving instrumental in setting a national standard of excellence in the ownership, development, management and leasing of award-winning facilities across all three sectors.
Harper’s hard work and tireless dedication have also helped make Plaza Companies an integral component of the local and national medical office communities. Its properties and projects have seen considerable successes, with the Plaza team playing an instrumental role in the development and management of numerous on and off-campus projects. Notable projects include the Banner Estrella Medical Center of Phoenix, a 147,000 square-foot medical facility considered the epicenter of cutting-edge healthcare in the West Valley, an upcoming second building on the Banner Estrella medical campus, Paradise Valley Medical Plaza and innumerable on and off campus projects.
Harper was also heavily influential in the widespread success of SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, of which Plaza Companies is master developer. The metro area landmark has received considerable national acclaim and has proved instrumental in attracting cutting-edge technology and innovation companies to the area as well as more than 1,500 jobs, and is considered among the premier economic engines in the Southwest. SkySong buildings 1 and 2 of the world-renowned, 42-acre mixed-use development offer a combined 300,000 square feet of leasable office space and are near full occupancy, while SkySong 3, the future home of ASU SkySong, boasts 450,000 square feet of leasable space in one of the region’s largest and most notable healthcare research and office facilities. SkySong 4, currently in the pre-leasing stage, will add another 145,000 square feet of office space to the facility, when complete, SkySong in its entirety will include 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use space for offices, retail facilities and amenities, and apartment residences.
One of the region’s most recognizable icons, SkySong has received considerable recognition for its efforts in green building and sustainability. SkySong’s buildings have received LEED Silver Certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council and an Energy Star Designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the project was also named “Best of NAIOP” by the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties-Arizona Chapter, in addition to receiving an Award of Merit from Valley Forward.
Harper and Plaza Companies have also played a key role in developing and managing many of Arizona’s premier senior living facilities, including Scottsdale’s Vi at Silverstone, the Gold Medal recipient at 2010’s Building of America (BOMA) Awards, its sister property, Vi at Grayhawk, which was listed among U.S. News and World Reports’ “America’s Best Nursing Homes” in 2011, and Tucson’s Splendido at Rancho Vistoso, which earned Gold, Silver and Innovation Awards from the National Society of Homebuilders in 2012.Plaza Companies is also the developer of Paradise Retirement Hawaii in Honolulu, a resort-style retirement community offering luxurious accommodations and plentiful amenities for seniors, and the company continues to assist with the development and management of numerous other senior living projects in and around Arizona’s Maricopa County.
Harper’s personal business achievements have earned considerable accolades as well. Named one of 2014’s “Most Influential Women in Commercial Real Estate” by AZRE magazine, she was also the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award for Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2013, and recently became a member of the Counselors of Real Estate. Harper was also listed among the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Real Estate” in 2012 by AZRE magazine and the “50 Most Influential Women, 2012” by Arizona Business Magazine, and appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Who’s Who of the Decade” in 2010, one year after earning its “Most Admired CEO” designation in 2009.
Harper’s commitments and appointments extend across Arizona and nationally. She sits on the Board of Directors for BioAccel, is a Trustee for the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and was a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Brophy College Preparatory School. She also serves as Vice Chair of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL) to the Board of Directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, the Scottsdale Executive and Business Forums and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), where she presently serves as Co-Chairman of the International Leadership Council.
Harper has also been named Honorary Commander of Luke Air Force Base, and was the recipient of the “Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2013, the Building New Futures Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 2008 and the Sandra Day and John O’Connor Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2007. She earned the Creighton University Alumni Achievement Citation in 2006. She was a Community Honoree for the Catholic Community Foundation in 2012, is a member of Charter 100 and the Governor’s Arizona Film and Television Commission, and a board member for the Maricopa County Arts Cultural Task Force and the Creighton University National Alumni Board. Harper also served as National Finance Chairman for Arizona Senator John McCain during both his 2000 and 2008 presidential runs, and is an accomplished public speaker with many national public speaking appearances to her credit.