By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2016 Issue
Businesses relocating to Arizona will find a low-cost tax structure, less regulation and a higher-education system focused on stocking talent pipelines. The state’s growth agenda includes tax and economic development incentives and programs to assist with job training, job creation, research and development, facilities construction and expansion, energy conservation and capital investment.
“We’ve consciously modeled our economic development tools, tax reform, regulatory reform and tort reform on best practices developed across the country,” says Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The state is a friendly place with a friendly business environment.”
Forecasts call for Arizona job growth to exceed 3 percent in 2014. With |an increasing number of technology, aerospace and defense, and bioscience companies making Arizona their home, science, engineering, mathematics and technology jobs are projected to number 166,000 by 2018.
The size and quality of the state’s labor market will meet the company’s needs for years to come. To meet the needs of an accelerating job market, Arizona offers a wide variety of skilled workers and a growing influx of talent.
National rankings place Arizona second in workforce quality and availability, and first in higher-education degree output. Among the state’s differentiators is an integrated approach to developing talent for employers in need of specialized skills. Arizona offers a comprehensive and cooperative job training and placement approach at the state and local level that aligns economic development, workforce development and education resources. In addition to “home-grown” talent, Arizona’s quality of life and rapidly growing employment market attract workers from around the country. In 2012, the state ranked third in terms of population migrating into the state from the other 49 states.
The only state immediately accessible to Mexico, Texas and California—three of the world’s largest economies—Arizona is ideally situated for export-oriented companies. Truck routes originating in the state can reach markets with upward of 65 million people within a day’s drive, while shipping access to markets around the world is only hours away via California’s coastal ports. The state fosters cross-border relationships through organizations such as the Arizona-Mexico Commission, a strategic partnership with Sonora, Mexico, to facilitate cross-border trade, business and networking.
Underscoring this commitment to export-oriented business is the nearly $500 million in recent infrastructure improvements to facilitate trade. Notable among these investments is a complete overhaul of Mariposa Port, making it the most modern land port along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Scheduled for completion later this year, the improvements will more than double Arizona’s capacity to move traffic and goods between the two countries.
Arizona imposes no franchise or business inventory taxes. Arizona’s corporate tax rate will shrink to 4.9 percent by 2017. Further, its commercial property tax rates will decline by an additional 10% by 2016, placing them among the lowest in the country.
THE SMART MOVE: PEORIA, AZ
Every business needs to start with an address, and more often companies are choosing to have a Peoria, AZ address. Peoria has always been known for its high quality of life, and now the city is attracting new investment and commercial development into its core business districts. A commitment to creating a solid business environment has allowed businesses to thrive and flourish. In addition, Peoria recently attracted two nationally recognized universities. Trine University and Huntington University, both from Indiana, opened Peoria locations with an eye toward meeting the workforce needs of local businesses.
Peoria has also committed to working with companies in targeted industry sectors that will be critical to the future of the city’s and region’s economy. The city of Peoria’s Economic Development Implementation Strategy has identified these industry sectors for attraction as they complement Peoria’s existing assets and potential for supporting businesses in that industry. The sectors which offer excellent potential for investment include:
Peoria is centrally located between six major regional hospitals and borders the largest medical school in Arizona, Midwestern University, with more than 3,000 students. The city has a workforce skilled in healthcare professions, with 19 percent of the Peoria workforce having healthcare education. Peoria created Arizona’s first medical device incubator, BioInspire, by partnering with BioAccel, a local bio industry commercialization organization. Similar to a typical business incubator, BioInspire offers first-class working space, lab space, technical business assistance and collaborative opportunities.
Peoria has office space, as well as established investment zones for commercial office development for premiere employers who want to take advantage of Peoria’s highly educated population in business and management professions. Peoria residents are educated in occupations that exceed national norms, including engineering, computer and mathematics and finance.
Peoria has recently attracted global and high-tech manufacturers, including AVIAGE SYSTEMS (China), Maxwell Technologies and GEPACK (Portugal). The city has tremendous potential to assist manufacturing companies worldwide looking to grow in a stable, talented Southwest U.S. location with access to existing buildings and shovel-ready sites along interstate freeways and major arterials. The Rovey Industrial Park, located in southern Peoria, offers 328 acres of prime industrial real estate in an area that is well developed with strong infrastructure and transportation corridors. The Park sits along the BNSF rail line into Phoenix and is adjacent to the Peoria Industrial Park, the Butler Water Reclamation Facility and the SRP Agua Fria Electric Generating Station.
Peoria hosts an annual, comprehensive business community forum highlighting Peoria’s investment opportunities, targeted industries, demographics and guidelines for any investor, developer or end-user considering an expansion or relocation to Peoria. This year’s first Invest PeoriaAZ Forum showcased many city-owned sites ready for development, including a 17-acre site adjacent to the Peoria Sports Complex, home to the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres spring training and player development facilities. Located in the heart of the P83 Entertainment District, Peoria is working with the Plaza Companies on the Peoria Innovation Campus at P83, which will convert the parking lot west of the Peoria Sports Complex into a prominent business center with 155,000 square feet of Class A office, 25,000 square feet of retail, and an onsite parking garage. This office complex will benefit a host of restaurants, dinner theatres and other entertainment uses in the P83 District. Another property featured at the investment forum is a 14-acre, city-owned property at the Loop 101/Peoria Avenue, referred to as the Peoria/Loop 101 Office Park.
Peoria’s Old Town District has been the heart and soul of the city since its foundation. The city has been focusing on a proactive revitalization effort to enhance the area to attract new business and people to the area. Peoria established the Commercial Revitalization Program as a way to assist eligible businesses who may need financial support to upgrade exterior facades, parking areas, pedestrian walkways, and other exterior improvements to their properties. If the approved for assistance, the city may provide up to 50 percent reimbursement to eligible private property owners to facilitate these improvements in the designated Program area. For additional information on the program, please visit the Resources section of the Invest Peoria AZ website.
The Vistancia Commercial Core is located at the center of the 7,100-acre master-planned Vistancia community. More than 500 acres of privately-owned/commercially zoned land, which is fully entitled and shovel ready with build-to-suit options for businesses, is available for development. The location of the Vistancia Commercial Core along the Loop 303 freeway offers access to an abundant skilled labor force and the Vistancia community provides a wide variety of housing options, from starter homes to executive-level housing.
Peoria is moving forward aggressively and strategically to develop its local economy to compete on a global scale. The community is increasingly recognized for a high-knowledge and technically skilled workforce. For information on sites available for industrial and commercial office development, visit the Invest Peoria AZ website.
EMBRACING THE HEAT IN MESA, AZ
Mesa, AZ is red-hot, and we’re not talking about the weather. The city has four active projects, with 2,300 new jobs committed and 475,000 square feet to be occupied.
Within the last year, Santander Consumer USA, National General Lender Services, American Traffic Solutions and Dexcom have made major investments in Mesa cumulatively totaling more than $160 million in capital, creating 2,300 new jobs and occupying more than 475,000 square feet in the next five years.
Boasting a population of nearly 500,000, Mesa, AZ is the 38th-largest city in the United States and the second largest in the Phoenix-Mesa metro area. Mesa encompasses 133 square miles (344 square kilometers) inside a 21-city region that has a population of 4.3 million people, and is projected to grow to 6 million by 2030. Mesa offers a strategic location with easy access to California, 2,200 acres of Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and excellent infrastructure. Considering these attributes, it’s no surprise that companies find Mesa a smart location for growing their business.
Mesa focuses on expanding and attracting industry sectors that have flourished, monikered as HEAT (Healthcare, Education, Aerospace/Aviation/ Defense, Technology and Tourism), chosen for their relevance in today’s, as well as tomorrow’s, economies.
The impact of the healthcare industry in Mesa is significant. There are more than 25 medical device-related companies currently in Mesa, including Ulthera and Auer Precision. Banner Health Systems employs more than 9,500 people throughout Mesa including at its “virtual hospital,” the largest state-of-the-art simulation center in the western U.S. used to train physicians and nurses. City of Mesa-owned land near Falcon Field Airport is being developed for the Falcon Tech Center, Arizona’s next-generation “tech park” for medical device and biotech companies.
One of the most compelling reasons businesses choose Mesa is the City’s multi-freeway access to a highly qualified workforce of more than one million workers. Mesa’s workforce will continue to impress due to several excellent educational providers. Over 40,000 students attend the 13 higher education institutions within the City.
Mesa has a strong cluster of aerospace/aviation, defense, advanced manufacturing and software companies, with more than 100 businesses employing 10,000 people adjacent to Falcon Field Airport in northeast Mesa. The Boeing Company, MD Helicopters, Nammo Talley, Special Devices Inc. and Orbital ATK are just a few of the world-class companies that continue to grow in Mesa.
In addition to Mesa’s general aviation airport, Mesa’s commercial airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (PMGA), is a prime development opportunity, offering Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and Military Reuse Zone (MRZ) programs. PMGA’s Allegiant Air flies to 38 popular destinations, and has seen a seven percent increase in passengers since 2015. Unusual for airports in particular, PMGA offers 1,000 acres of vacant land, much of which is reserved for a future additional terminal, but 350 acres are envisioned for Gateway Aerospace Park, a future hub for aviation, advanced manufacturing and other industrial companies. The airport has released an RFP seeking a qualified developer to master plan the site and eventually attract companies to neighbor Cessna, Embraer and Able Engineering.
Companies including Apple, FUJIFILM, Infineon and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. are part of the growing technology sector in Mesa. The 1,000-acre Elliot Road Technology Corridor offers freeway access, shovel-ready land and infrastructure (including dark fiber and large, redundant power capacity) as well as a streamlined entitlement process.