Tag Archives: Mesa

boardroom

Anthony Spano named president of DeVry in Phoenix

Anthony SpanoDeVry University recently announced the appointment of Anthony Spano as president of the Phoenix campus in Arizona. Spano will provide executive leadership at the university’s Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa locations (collectively known as the Phoenix metro).

Spano has more than 24 years of academic leadership experience and has served as the campus director of DeVry University’s campus in Oklahoma City since 2008.

“Anthony has demonstrated a propensity for leadership and has shown a focus on student needs since he joined DeVry University,” said Shelly C. DuBois, group vice president of DeVry University. “His strong rapport with students has helped many make the dream of college education a reality. Anthony’s personal knowledge and understanding of DeVry University’s mission and goals will be integral to leading the Phoenix area campuses as the new president.”

Spano began his career as a financial aid director at Oklahoma Junior College in Oklahoma City. Most recently, he served as the interim president of DeVry University’s Phoenix metro. Spano is a member of the Oklahoma, Southwest and National Associations of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which provide professional development for financial aid administrators and advocate for public policies that increase student access and success.

“During my time as campus director for the Oklahoma City campus, I had the privilege of meeting many students and administrators who exemplify the diverse success stories DeVry University has come to represent,” Spano said. “I look forward to making Phoenix my permanent home and deepening my relationships with DeVry University and the local community.”

Spano earned both his bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in adult education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

For more information about DeVry University, visit devry.edu.

football

Experts: Central sports commission would boost Arizona

The 2015 Super Bowl kicked off an unprecedented run for the Phoenix metro area as the host of mega-sporting events. But if the Valley is going to continue to lure Super Bowls, NCAA championship football games and Final Fours, leaders in the sports community say the current system needs to be improved.

“We’re playing with a bow and arrow and everybody else is playing with a howitzer,” said Jon Schmieder, founder and CEO of the Huddle Up Group that is based in Phoenix and consults with sports commissions across the country.

The howitzer belongs to cities like Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Miami that have deep pockets and one central sports commission with full-time staffers.

Phoenix, in conjunction with Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa, won bids for high-profile collegiate and professional events without the benefit of a unified sports commission to spearhead the effort. The successful bids were the results of hard work by dozens of people around the city, none of whom work together under one roof on a regular basis.

Phoenix might be in danger of falling behind other cities if it doesn’t update the system used to organize these events.

‘Herculean task’

In 2016, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. One year later, the Men’s Final Four rolls into the Valley.

These rotating events complement the annual large-scale sporting events that call the Greater Phoenix area home. For more than 40 years, college football pageantry has descended on the Valley with the Fiesta Bowl and, more recently, the Cactus Bowl. Phoenix International Raceway hosts two NASCAR races every year. The Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale is arguably the most raucous and fan-friendly tournament on the PGA Tour.

And the city hosted two Super Bowls in seven years.

When the pieces fit together, the picture seems clear: Phoenix has carved out a place among the major host cities of the nation’s biggest sporting events.

The question now becomes: Can the metro area maintain its hot streak?

David Rousseau, president of the Salt River Project and chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, worries the current system of assembling a different committee each time a new event comes to town could hinder future attempts to secure and produce the events.

“That (system), at some point, is going to start to be this frayed, fragmented effort,” he said. “I think there’s some value in just continuing to improve upon and refine that effort and you can only do that if you have that one platform model as opposed to startup efforts every time a new bid opportunity comes by.”

Only one person served on both the 2008 and 2015 Super Bowl host committees. Several members of the 2015 committee have transitioned to the Arizona Organizing Committee that will produce the college football championship game. But the majority of the Super Bowl host committee members have taken other jobs and gone their separate ways.

Each loss means some institutional knowledge gained from valuable experience is siphoned off, but the lack of overall consistency in personnel from committee to committee doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in the quality of the event.

By all accounts, the 2015 Super Bowl was a major success for the Valley. Rousseau hopes the economic impact report being produced by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business will show numbers that equal or exceed the half-billion dollars of direct-spend money he said was captured around the 2008 game.

“We’ve never been better in terms of customer satisfaction than we are right now but we don’t have a staff to go ahead and go forward and secure that commitment for future bids,” Rousseau said.

Tom Sadler, president of the Arizona Organizing Committee, shined a positive light on the current model but also acknowledged there might be a better way to operate.

“I wouldn’t say it puts us at a disadvantage when we are bidding head to head … because at the end of the day we’ll rise to the occasion,” he said. “Could it be more efficient to have an overarching commission overseeing this so we’re not reinventing the wheel every year? The answer is yes.”

Sadler is a busy man in the landscape of mega-events en route to the Valley. As president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, he is the head of the group that oversees the operation of University of Phoenix Stadium. He was also co-bid chair for the Final Four.

“I would like to see an organization that would respond to not just the big three mega events – Super Bowl, college champ, Final Four – but soccer events, entertainment events, to be an agency that’s nimble enough to be on the leading edge of competition with these other cities,” Sadler said.

Cities that perennially host major sporting events in the country are the competition: Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis. The New York Super Bowl opened the door for so-calledcold-weather cities to host the game.

Minneapolis was awarded the game in 2018, to be played in a new domed stadium.

Those cities, as well as many others in the rotation for at least one of the big events, have one central sports commission to oversee the recruitment and coordination of events of all sizes. The size and scope of the commission varies from city to city.

Individual committees can be formed on an as-needed basis or the commission itself can double as the host committee, as is the case with the Dallas Sports Commission.

“The sports commission is the local organizing committee (for the 2017 Women’s Final Four),” said Larry Kelly, communications and marketing manager for the Dallas Sports Commission. “It varies event to event but on all the collegiate and amateur events that we bring in, we’re the local organizing committee. And then on the major professional events, depending on the event, there will be a larger committee involved.”

The oldest sports commission in the country is the Indianapolis Sports Corp. Founded in 1979, its website lists close to 30 full-time employees who run departments like business development, finance and events.

Miami’s sports commission is one of the smallest, though the city is obviously a prime destination. The staff is comprised of only two people but the commission’s large board of directors, which includes ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard, helps bring in all types of events.

“We have a very wide array of board members so that helps bridge a lot of the gaps and helps bring everyone together,” said Miami-Dade Sports Commission Associate Executive Director Mathew Ratner.

Despite the size and duties of a specific commission, the NFL requires each host city to form a new stand-alone committee to oversee the production of a Super Bowl. Even with an all-hands-on-deck mentality, the effort required for success is enormous.

“It is a herculean task put together an effective bid,” Sadler said. “It’s beyond herculean to execute these events when they come out.”

State fund

Two themes run through the discussion when the word “fundraising” comes up among metro-area leaders of the sports community: Arizona could benefit from a state fund for mega-events similar to the one used in Texas. Fundraising on an event-by-event basis is not a sustainable model for the future if Phoenix wants to remain competitive with other markets.

“Our fundraising focus was on largely (the) business community and I think we probably raised on the order of 70 percent of our dollars of the $30 million that it took to host the game from our business community,” Rousseau said.

With three mega-events landing in the Valley in consecutive years, the concern is each host committee must try to raise money from the same small pool of potential donors.

“We just can’t year in and year out count on the support from the private sector,” Sadler said. “I think it’s possible to do it for a few years in the short run, but year after year would be very difficult, and that’s why we need the state’s help.”

Texas has adjusted and amended its model over the years, but the concept has remained the same. If an event hosted in the state can prove a certain level of revenue was generated during its run, the state will reimburse the host committee for a percentage of its operating budget on par with the money earned.

The host committee can then pass some of those savings on to the rights holder of the event to hopefully ensure the event returns in the future and also roll some of the money over to pursue subsequent events.

Said Kelly: “The Texas Major Event Trust Fund program has been a tremendous success story for the city of Dallas and its ability to attract and retain major sporting events and certain citywide conventions to the state of Texas, and to Dallas.”

Texas has $50 million authorized for the fund for the 2015 fiscal year.

While many sports leaders in Phoenix agree a state fund would be beneficial, if not necessary, they also agree the $50 million figure is probably too high for Arizona.

“I frankly think that’s too rich of a model,” Rousseau said.

The exact dollar amount feasible in Arizona is debatable, but attempts to create such a fund have already begun.

In 2014, former state Rep. Tom Forese, R-Gilbert, introduced a bill that would have created a $10 million fund, though he and others were quick to say the fund must be carefully regulated.

“It’s a very competitive environment when you’re chasing opportunities like this, so you want to give the state every competitive advantage and yet you don’t want to be throwing money blindly at anything,” said Forese, now a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “So the model that we had was a revolving fund, and it was a fund that could be used in order to provide that competitive edge and then be reimbursed by the proceeds of the event.”

The bill did not make it through the Legislature, but Sadler, who helped promote the bill, hopes to keep the issue alive.

“Given the state’s current economic status, it wasn’t a great time to enter into that conversation, but we’re going to keep it on the front burner and see if we can get something enacted,” he said.

The challenges of raising money in the Valley can be daunting, and proponents of the fund say it would help ease the burden on both the host committees and local businesses.

The Phoenix metro area is home to only four Fortune 500 companies, according to the 2014 list compiled by Fortune magazine. By comparison, Dallas and Minneapolis both have 18 and Atlanta has 16.

Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix, has the unique experience of having worked with the Texas fund during his 14 years at the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and 14 years at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has overseen Visit Phoenix for 13 years and sees the need for some kind of state fund for events.

“Those states that enjoy mega-event funding have clearly placed us at a disadvantage. It’s no longer just that our good weather is going to bring mega events here. It has to be an organized, consistent, well-funded effort that is a great business model, that is inclusive and aware, and abides by the sunshine (law) of open government.”

Questions without answers

The reason for a central sports commission, which would recruit and coordinate major sporting events in the Valley, seem plentiful. However, the idea is rife with questions.

Alan Young, COO of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, which primarily organizes youth and amateur events, sees several outstanding issues that would need to be addressed.

“I think the main question to ask is, what do the citizens believe?” he said. “What is the overall concept of this? Is building stadiums a drain on the economic impact of the community or is it a positive, is it a plus? Investing in these events – is it a drain on the citizens, the taxation, or is it a good investment? Is it a good business decision or not?”

Despite numerous questions, Young is in favor of a unified sports commission and a state fund.

“I certainly believe and our commission believes it’s a great business decision to invest in these types of events but getting the Legislature, getting the citizens, to buy into this has always been a difficult task,” he said.

Steve Moore speculated about the uses of a potential state fund for event production.

“Is this (state fund) something you’d use for a national political convention?” he asked. “That’s a partisan event. Would you use that for it? Is there an answer to that? That’s not a sports commission issue, but it’s a mega-event issue.”

Tom Sadler raised the issue of the year-round responsibilities of the prospective commission.

“What does this commission do between bids and between executing these bids?”
Opinions and theories are abundant in the sports community, and the discussion is ongoing. The goal, though, is the same for all.

“When we have these national sporting events … they’re massive economic drivers and so it’s much more than just sports,” said Commissioner Forese. “This is a way to put Arizona’s best foot forward, and also it’s a way to have people come and take a look at Arizona and consider moving here or moving their business here.”

Off-road truck design firm leases 62KSF in Mesa

A Mesa-based off-road truck and SUV design and parts manufacturing company has signed for a 3-plus year lease at 308 S. Extension Rd. in Mesa. The property is comprised of a 44,004 SF and a 22,706 SF building.

Matt McDougall and Matt Fredrick, Principals with Lee & Associates represented both sides of the transaction. The lessor is Presson Corp. of Phoenix. The lessee, Addictive Desert Designs is expanding into this space from their current 40,000 SF Mesa location.

Addictive Desert Designs manufacturers and designs aftermarket products for offroad enthusiasts. They produce products for Truck, SUV and Jeeps.

The connected buildings feature 6 grade level and four truckwell doors and has a large fenced yard.

Autoline Industries announces site acquisition for new manufacturing facility

Autoline Industries, LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of high performance aftermarket automotive parts, announced plans for a new 70,000 square foot manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters at the northeast corner of Broadway Road and Country Club Drive in Mesa, Arizona. 

“After carefully evaluating a number of prospective locations, Autoline Industries elected to purchase the site which offered a unique opportunity to triple the size of their facility in order to keep up with the growing global demand for their product line.  The new facility will allow Autoline Industries to migrate the manufacturing process from Asia, back to the United States; specifically to the City of Mesa.  The benefits of this transition include increased quality control with a highly skilled American workforce, lower transportation costs, faster delivery to vendors, and greater flexibility to develop new products to stay at the leading edge of their field in the high performance auto parts industry,” said Gabe Ortega with NAI Horizon, the real estate broker who represented Autoline Industries in the property acquisition. The property, located at 254 W Broadway, sits on ±4.15 acres and boasts over 1,000 feet of frontage on Broadway.

In addition to boosting Autoline Industries’ manufacturing and distribution efficiency, the new facility will also benefit the surrounding community.  Autoline Industries is projected to grow its workforce to nine times its current size, adding skilled labor positions such as product development engineers, CNC machinists, and CNC machine programmers; as well as additional positions in shipping and receiving.  Autoline Industries recognized the talented workforce in the surrounding area with the many aerospace contractors and tech firms that are headquartered in Mesa, and will look to that caliber of talent to take the company to the next level.  The local City of Mesa government officials recognized the long term employment opportunity and were instrumental in assisting Autoline Industries throughout the acquisition process. 

The building was originally built in the 1930’s and received a number of additions in the 70’s and 90’s, while operating as a citrus packing plant by Sunkist / Mesa Citrus Growers (cooperative).  In 2010 the citrus packing plant shut down and the building has remained vacant ever since.  The citrus packing plant building once stood for the economic vitality that the native citrus fruit brought to the area for the past 75 years.  After the renovation to convert the building to a state of the art manufacturing facility is complete, the 70,000 square foot property will symbolize the economic vitality of the downtown Mesa community for the next 75 years. “Mesa has what global companies like Autoline Industries need to expand their businesses,” Mayor John Giles said. “We are always excited to help growing companies bring their manufacturing and jobs back to the United States. Autoline Industries will be a great addition to the area and I wish them the best of success.”

Autoline Industries has engaged local architect and creative dynamo, Jack Debartolo for the multi-million dollar renovation of the property.  Autoline Industries intends to retain the historical character of the building, with the exterior to be renewed and revitalized upon completion.  The interior will undergo a significant renovation to handle the high tech machinery that will be utilized in the manufacturing of their parts.  Construction on the facility is slated to start in April.

Matt Likens - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

$600M sale of Ulthera named Deal of the Year for 2014

The $600 million purchase of Mesa-based Ulthera, Inc. by German company Merz Pharma was selected as the 2014 Deal of the Year Award by the Association for Corporate Growth-Arizona Chapter.

The “Deal of the Year” is an award given by the Arizona Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to recognize a company or private equity firm for their accomplishments regarding a merger, acquisition or capital market transaction.  The award recognizes a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 million and $750 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2014.

The Deal of the Year Award was given Tuesday night at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. Vonage’s purchase of Scottsdale-based Telesphere Networks in a $114 million transaction was the runner-up for the award.

“This is an example of a merger and acquisition that was truly a win for the companies involved and for Arizona’s economy,” said Sanat Patel, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “We congratulate the team behind the Ulthera purchase for their hard work in creating a transaction that has helped an Arizona company expand its global presence.”

Ulthera, Inc. is a venture capital-funded start-up company that was established in Mesa in January, 2004. Ulthera has developed a focused ultrasound approach to creating reliable and significant firming, tightening and lifting of facial skin tissue in one-hour non-invasive procedures.

Matt Likens, President & CEO with Ulthera, said that the transaction has strengthened Ulthera’s position in the marketplace significantly.

“Ulthera represents the only medical device within the Merz Pharma product portfolio,” Likens said. “Since the deal closed six months ago, our presence in Mesa has continued to expand. We are now positioned as the medical device center of innovation and excellence for Merz Pharma globally.”

The award criteria for the Deal of the Year included:

·       Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment

·       Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business

·       Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona

·       Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction

·       At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global association for professionals involved in corporate growth, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions. Today ACG stands at more than 14,000 members from corporations, private equity, finance, and professional service firms representing Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, FTSE 100, and mid-market companies in 56 chapters in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Arizona chapter of ACG includes representatives from corporate investment and private equity groups, financiers, venture capitalists and supporting consultant services. For more information, visit www.acg.org/arizona.

167585360

ACG names finalists for ‘Deal of the Year’

Three finalists have been named for an award recognizing the most significant mergers and acquisitions transactions in Arizona.

The “Deal of the Year” is an award given by the Arizona Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) to recognize a company or private equity firm for their accomplishments regarding a merger, acquisition or capital market transaction.  The award will recognize a deal/transaction in the Arizona marketplace involving established businesses with between $10 million and $750 million of revenue that closed in calendar year 2014.

The three finalists for the award are:

• Vonage’s purchase of Scottsdale-based Telesphere Networks in a $114 million transaction. 

• Merz Pharma’s purchase of Mesa-based Ulthera, Inc. in a $600 million transaction. 

• Evergreen Pacific Partners’ purchase of Phoenix-based Vantage Mobility in a transaction valued between $50 million and $100 million (exact amount not disclosed for confidentiality reasons).

The Deal of the Year Award will be given out on March 10 at a dinner at the Arizona Biltmore. The ACG signature event begins with a networking session at 5 p.m. and culminates with the award presentation starting at 6:45 p.m.

“The three transactions nominated for Deal of the Year are ones that helped drive Arizona’s economy in 2014,” said Sanat Patel, Board President for ACG-Arizona. “These transactions have a profound effect on our economy, and this award is a recognition of the individuals and companies that were involved in helping move our state and our region forward.”

 

The award criteria are:

·       Deal-making that either created or demonstrates a real potential for substantial return on investment

·       Deal-making that evidences the unlocking of value and/or contribution to the strategic development of the business

·       Deal-making that produces a wider business impact, such as the development of new markets, products, services and/or technologies and the creation or retention of quality employment opportunities in Arizona

·       Deal-making that reflects a high level of professional expertise in the design of the transaction and tested creativity and deal-making skills in completing the transaction

·       At least one company involved in the transaction must be headquartered or have a majority of its operations in Arizona

Tickets for the March 10 event are available for $135 for ACG members and $155 for ACG non-members if purchased by midnight on March 3, and $155 for members and $175 for non-members after the 3rd. They may be purchased by visiting www.acg.org/arizona or calling 602-448-3981 or e-mailing acgarizona@acg.org

Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is a global association for professionals involved in corporate growth, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions. Today ACG stands at more than 14,000 members from corporations, private equity, finance, and professional service firms representing Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, FTSE 100, and mid-market companies in 56 chapters in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Arizona chapter of ACG includes representatives from corporate investment and private equity groups, financiers, venture capitalists and supporting consultant services. For more information, visit www.acg.org/arizona

volunteer

Wells Fargo awards paid volunteer leave

Hamp, Ian 2014Wells Fargo Community Affairs Representative Iain Hamp of Mesa has been awarded a Volunteer Leave Award from Wells Fargo, and will receive his full pay while volunteering at Phoenix Community ToolBank.  Volunteer Leave Awards are presented to selected Wells Fargo team members, enabling them to take up to three months of paid leave to focus on a community-based volunteer project of their choice.  Hamp is one of 11 Wells Fargo team members across the country to receive an award so far in 2015.  He will begin his five week long project at Phoenix Community ToolBank on March 2.

The Phoenix Community ToolBank stewards an inventory of tools for lending to charitable organizations to increase the impact of their mission-related efforts in the community. The organization also provides the staging area for all of the equipment and coordinates efforts with the nonprofits. Hamp witnessed first-hand the power of a local market ToolBank while in Charlotte, N.C. in June 2011. When he returned to Phoenix, he called ToolBank USA to begin the process of bringing a ToolBank to the Phoenix area.

“Every day, Wells Fargo team members like Iain are out in our communities making a difference in the lives of others,” said Pamela Conboy, Lead Region President for Wells Fargo in Arizona.  “Each year thousands of our team members volunteer their time and talent in communities across the country, helping thousands of individuals, families, and nonprofit groups. Our Volunteer Leave Program is one way that we honor this community involvement, and recognize our most exceptional team member volunteers.”

Wells Fargo’s Volunteer Leave Program was established in 1976 and is open to team members who have been with the company for five years among other criteria. Winners are chosen annually based on their personal commitment to the organization, their proposed project, and the potential impact that their project goals will have on addressing a specific social issue. In addition to being paid their full salary during the volunteer leave, recipients also receive full benefits as well.

Wells Fargo encourages team members to get involved in the communities where they live and work. More than 50,000 team members volunteer annually on projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds, restoring parks and public land, helping to collect and sort food to be provided to the homeless or those with low incomes, and delivering financial education to individuals and families using Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program.

Special Devices Inc. buys 20 acres for manufacturing facility

DTZ announced that Mesa-based Special Devices, Incorporated (SDI) purchased ±19.59-acres at Greenfield Road and Loop 202 for $5.5 million. The company purchased the land for a build-to-suit facility to meet its expansion needs for its air bag components division.

DTZ Vice President Kent Hanson represented the seller, RD Greenfield, LLC, during the transaction. The buyers represented themselves.

The land is located just south of the Loop 202 at Greenfield Road. The company has proposed multiple buildings, including a ±64,000 square foot assembly area for Phase One, which it hopes to break ground on in 2016. SDI produces high reliability pyrotechnic products and energetic devices for both external customers and divisions of the Daicel Group.

Country Inn & Suites Mesa brings $10.9M

Marcus & Millichap announced the sale of the Country Inn & Suites Mesa, a 126-unit, interior corridor, mid-rise hotel in Mesa, Ariz. The $10,910,000 sales price equates to $86,500 per room and represents more than 98 percent of the list price.

The property is located at the crossroads of U.S. Route 60 and East Superstition Springs Boulevard, five miles west of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and 22 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Gordon Allred, first vice president investments in Marcus & Millichap’s Ontario, Calif. office, David Greenberg, vice president investments in Fort Lauderdale, and James Meng, an associate agent in the firm’s Phoenix office, represented the seller, Suites of Arizona, and the buyer, KCS Investment.

“This hospitality investment real estate asset is Carlson’s Country Inn & Suites best performer in Arizona,” says Allred. “We marketed the asset through our national platform of hospitality property investment specialists and a Seattle-based investor in a 1031 exchange recognized the value of owning in the growing Mesa, Ariz. market.”

“This is another great example of the power of the firm’s collaborative platform,” adds Gregory A. LaBerge, national director of the firm’s National Hospitality Group.  “Sourcing out-of-area 1031-exchange capital created maximum results for both parties. The sales price met the seller’s expectations and the buyer acquired an asset that suits its strategic growth plan.”

The Country Inn & Suites Mesa was constructed in 1998 and is located at 6650 East Superstition Springs Blvd. in Mesa, less than a mile from the Superstition Springs Center shopping mall, which includes more than 150 stores and restaurants, a double-decker carousel, an indoor children’s play area, a multiplex movie theater and an outdoor amphitheater. Other nearby companies and local attractions include The Boeing Co., Arizona School of Health Sciences, Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus, Big League Dreams Park, Falcon Field, Golfland Sunsplash amusement park, Gold Field Ghost Town, Canyon Lake and Hohokam Stadium, the longtime baseball spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs.

ade statewide data system

Apple plans $2B expansion in Arizona, Ducey says

Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that Apple will be expanding in Arizona, with a $2 billion investment in Mesa on a command center for the company’s global networks — representing one of the company’s largest investments in history.

Apple said it will invest $2 billion over 10 years to open a data center in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa that will be the company’s fifth in the U.S. and serve as a control facility for its global networks.

The announcement comes four months after an earlier Apple plan for the 1.3 million-square-foot facility it bought in 2013 failed. The tech giant had a deal with Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Advanced to use the plant to make sapphire glass for its products, but the company declared bankruptcy in October after production issues developed. GT openly accused Apple of using a “classic bait-and-switch strategy” with a deal that he called “massively one-sided.”

After the GT failure, Apple said it would work to find another use for the plant. It also has been working to help more than 600 GT employees who lost their jobs.

“This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.,” Apple said in a statement. “Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm.”

An Apple spokesman said construction on the new data center should start late next year, if not earlier. GT is storing advanced furnaces it planned to use in its Apple venture at the plant while the furnaces are being liquidated, delaying the immediate use of the plant.

Apple company expects 150 permanent workers at the site, in addition to construction crews and contractors.

Apple also has committed to building and financing 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, enough to power more than 14,500 homes.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who took office last month, said the quick work to seal the deal with Apple showed that Arizona is the best state in the country to work and do business and works quickly to makes deals happen.

“Apple is exactly the kind of high-tech innovative company we want in the state of Arizona and we showed them that Arizona is the place to be,” Ducey said.

He declined to say what additional incentives Apple was offered beyond a large package offered by previous Gov. Jan Brewer in 2013 and a $5 million tax credit for building solar generation the Legislature passed last year.

Ducey was joined at a press conference announcing the deal by Republican House and Senate leaders, who touted the agreement.

Minority Democrats who watched the press conference said they worried that Ducey’s proposed cuts to schools, universities and the state commerce authority’s incentive funds may hamper efforts to attract business.

“Economic development isn’t just having a low-tax climate,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “Economic development means you have the people who are trained properly to actually be able to do the jobs that you’re encouraging companies to come here and take advantage of.”

GT’s October bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory marked a surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.

Then-Gov. Brewer had hailed Apple’s decision to open the plant in Mesa in November 2013, calling it a sign that the Arizona’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate were paying off. The state has cut business taxes and created several incentives designed to lure new manufacturing businesses in the past several years.

Apple’s data centers provide the computer muscle for the company’s iCloud, ITunes, Siri and other products.

 

 

liquor

Boulders brings craft beer to Fiesta District

Downtown Mesa and its rejuvenated Fiesta District joins Arizona’s growing craft beer community with the grand opening of Boulders on Southern.

The celebration of the neighborhood craft beer bar and restaurant is Thursday, February 5 at 4pm and will include an official ribbon cutting with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, along with food and drink specials.

Located at 1010 W. Southern on the Northeast corner of Alma School and Southern, the pub and restaurant is the third craft beer bar concept from owner Erick Geyrol. It’s named for Geryol’s love of rock climbing and the outdoors. It features 20 rotating taps, 20 bottled beers and the same popular menu as the original Boulders on Broadway in Tempe.

General Manager Justin Bucknell playful refers to the Southern location as “Boulders 2.0.”

“We’ve got all the elements of Boulders – the wood walls and tables, the climbing photos, the outdoor feel and of course all the beer and food people love. But it also takes advantage of the openness and natural lighting of the space itself,” he says. “It’s just a great, comfortable place to hang out with your friends and family.”

Boulders is known for its outstanding selection of craft beers from Arizona and beyond, and Bucknell looks forward to bringing knowledge of craft beers to the Mesa community.

“We love sharing what we know of beer with our customers and we are especially excited to being a place for Mesa to discover new beers,” he says. “There are so many styles out there that expand on the taste and flavors of mass produced beers that we think our new guests will really enjoy.”

The Boulders menu of pizzas, burgers and pub foods with a special take also follows to the new location. The Moose Drool Burger for example, is made with the brown ale of the same name from Big Sky Brewing and topped with spicy jalapeño cream cheese and crispy onion strings.The California Carver Specialty Pizza comes with oven roasted turkey breast, pepper jack and mozzarella cheeses then topped with pico de gallo, avocado and onion strings after it’s baked.
Bucknell emphasizes that there are also choices for vegetarians like the Pesto Sandwich, Quesadillas, and Fish Tacos.

All of Boulders specials are available at Boulders on Southern as well, including $6 Saturdays where all burgers and sandwiches are only $6 and drinks are at happy hour prices all day.

Boulders on Southern is part of Mesa’s renovated Fiesta District that surrounds the Fiesta Mall, Mesa Community College and Banner Desert Hospital. Boulders brings 24 new jobs to the area. Bucknell says that as they location gains popularity in the coming months, they hope to hire an additional 3-5 more servers and 2 cooks.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening take place on Thursday, February 5 at 4pm and is open to the public. Find Boulders on Southern at 1010 W. Southern Avenue, Mesa, Arizona or online at bouldersonsouthern.com. It is open daily from 11 am – 2 am.

The area developer of Orangetheory Fitness and her husband decided to give back by taking a trip led by Return Hope International and opening a water well in the slums of Africa. Photo by Robin Sendele, AZ Big Media

Renner’s hustle pays off with Orangetheory

Looking back at her college bio, Becky Renner recollects writing, “I want to run a fitness facility with my husband.” Renner’s enthusiasm for the world of fitness gave her the determination needed to reach her dream career as an area developer of Orangetheory Fitness.

Renner married her college sweetheart, Travis Renner, and had four children. Travis worked in sales at a local gym and Renner owned a daycare service as she raised her children, but the couple wanted more.

In 2012, Renner founded a fitness studio based on group personal training and she made the decision to buy the Arizona area of Orangetheory Fitness. At first, business was slow and the process was stalled until her first location at Dana Park in Mesa was opened.

“We had literally, absolutely nothing in the beginning of this,” she said. “We had four kids, no job, no money, and making maybe $400 a month. We had nothing. What I learned was you just have to keep working, even when you know two years down the road there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Renner’s hardwork and commitment kicked into high gear as she and her husband sold all 24 Orangetheory licenses within six months.

“As area developers, we find people who want to invest and start their own Orangetheory Fitness studios (in Arizona),” she said. “You take the concept and you open it up.”

By the end of 2014, Renner had overseen the opening of 14 locations in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Leawood, Kansas.

“Our goal is to really help people lose weight, get in shape, enjoy their workouts, and hopefully fight obesity,” Renner said. “Highest on my priority list are the things I love. I love fitness, I love my family, and I love being an owner and being in the business world.”

Stapley-Corp-Center-32

Big Deals: Office, June 2014 – July 2014

azre_big_dealsThere’s no such thing as a “small” deal in this industry, coming out of a recession. However, it’s the big deals, and the brokers who make them, that make the market an interesting one to watch. In every issue, AZRE publishes the top five notable sales and leases for a period of 60 days (one month out from publication) based on research compiled by Cassidy Turley and Colliers International with CoStar.

Top 5 Notable Leases and Sales (June 1, 2014 to July 31, 2014) Source: Cassidy Turley Research Department, Colliers International and CoStar.

Office Sales

1. Stapley Corporate Center, Mesa
180,083 SF; $32.5M
Buyer: Buchanan Street Partners
Seller: DESCO Southwest
Listing BrokerS: Chris Toci and Chad Littell, Cushman & Wakefield
BUYING BrokerS: Mark Gustin, JLL

2. 92 Mountain View, Scottsdale
115,200 SF; $24.1M
Buyer: Equus Capital Partners, LTD
Seller: Teachers Retirement System of Illinois
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

3. Scottsdale Gateway I, Scottsdale
106,931 SF; $20M
Buyer: Equus Capital Partners, LTD
Seller: Teachers Retirement System of Illinois
Listing Brokerage: CBRE

4. Chandler Corporate Center, Chandler
67,561 SF; $13,914,000
Buyer: Palisades Capital Realty Advisors
Seller: Held Properties
Listing Brokerage: JLL

5. Zanjero Falls, Glendale
147,405 SF; $9.1M
Buyer: Select Healthcare Solutions
Seller: Pacific Coast Capital Partners
Listing Brokerage: Cassidy Turley

Office Leases

Rivulon, Gilbert

Rivulon, Gilbert


1. Rivulon, Gilbert
150KSF
Landlord: Nationwide Realty Investors
Tenant: Isagenix International LLC
Landlord Brokers: Fred Darche and John Cerchiai, Lee & Associates
Tenant Brokers: Pat Williams and Andrew Medley, JLL

2. ASU Research Park, Tempe
110KSF
Landlord: Arizona State University
Tenant: Amkor
Landlord BrokerAGE: Cassidy Turley

3. City North, Phoenix
77,391 SF
Landlord: ScanlanKemperBard Companies
Tenant: Sprouts Farmers Market
Landlord BrokerAGE: JLL
TENANT BrokerAGE: Cresa

4. First Chandler Business Park, Chandler
70KSF
Landlord: MJA Investments
Tenant: Crown Castle
Landlord BrokerAGE: Lee & Associates
TENANT BrokerAGE: Colliers International

5. Black Canyon Tower, Phoenix
33,373 SF
Landlord: The Koll Company
Tenant: Homesite
Landlord BrokerAGE: Colliers International
TENANT BrokerAGE: JLL

T Mobile IPhone

Deal between Apple, glass maker will stay secret

Apple Inc. has reached a deal with a synthetic sapphire glass maker that will allow details of contracts between the companies and the business problems that led GT Advanced Technologies to a financial crisis to remain secret.

A Tuesday filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire shows a settlement that will allow sealed documents filed by GT’s chief operating officer and Apple last week to be withdrawn and all copies destroyed.

Apple hasn’t commented beyond saying it was surprised by the bankruptcy filings and was working to retain jobs at the plant.

GT is shutting down a new sapphire plant in Mesa and laying off 724 workers.

Apple advanced GT $429 million to outfit the plant under a contract announced last November.

iphone

iPhone glass manufacturer wants to close Mesa plant

A manufacturer of sapphire glass that Apple Inc. uses in iPhones told a bankruptcy court Friday that it wants to shut down a Mesa factory that was once touted as a big job creator for Arizona.

GT Advanced Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. In a bankruptcy court filing Friday, the company outlined its plans to wind down operations at the Mesa factory by the end of the year along with a second facility in Salem, Massachusetts — a move that would leave hundreds of people out of work.

“This drastic step is necessitated by GTAT’s liquidity crisis and the ongoing cash burn from its operations at these locations,” the company said in a court filing.

The request to wind down operations at the locations is contingent on the court’s approval. GT Advanced Technologies’ stock was down about 35 percent Friday, trading at 84 cents. The stock’s 52-week high is $20.54.

The bankruptcy and ensuing effort to shut down the factory mark surprising turn after state, local and business leaders previously bragged that the plant would be a major boost to the Arizona economy.

Gov. Jan Brewer had hailed Apple’s decision to open the plant in Mesa, calling it a sign that the Arizona’s efforts to provide a pro-business climate were paying off. The state has cut business taxes and created several incentives designed to lure new manufacturing businesses in the past several years.

At full production the companies expected 700 workers to run the plant.

Now, GT wants to begin winding down operations. In a statement, GT said it realizes the difficulties caused by a plant closing but needs to make the right financial decisions following the bankruptcy action.

“While we continue to explore all options with regards to our Mesa and Salem facilities, we recognize and regret the impact that the actions outlined in our bankruptcy court filings of this morning may have on valued GT employees,” the company said.

Melissa Ethridge

Etheridge’s U.S. tour includes stop in Mesa

Academy Award® and Grammy® winning artist Melissa Etheridge will take the stage for the Melissa Etheridge: This Is M.E. U.S. tour to perform songs from her new album, This is M.E., which is being released by ME Records on September 30. She will also be singing some of her greatest hits like “Come to My Window”, “I’m The Only One” and “I Want to Come Over”. The tour will include a performance in Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.

“I am so thrilled to be playing the new songs from This Is M.E. along with the hits on this tour,” said Melissa. She continues, “Be prepared for a high voltage show with nonstop energy.”

Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics and riveting stage presence, Melissa will share personal stories about her remarkable journey through life and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs. Etheridge loves to tell stories through her music; she included old home movies, career highlights and memorabilia in her video for “Take My Number,” the first single off of This Is M.E. Click the following link to watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX5UO4lYsxA.

The Melissa Etheridge: This Is M.E. tour kicks off at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT, on November 2 and continues through December where she wraps up at home in Los Angeles. Alexander Cardinale will be the opening act.

Tickets for the Mesa Arts Center date go on sale to the general public on Saturday, September 27 at 10 a.m., and will be available through the Mesa Arts Center Box Office at MesaArtsCenter.com or by calling 480-644-6500.

Last-Comic-Standing

Last Comic Standing comes to Mesa Arts Center

America’s favorite summer comedy and NBC’s top-rated television comedy competition show, Last Comic Standing, is launching a live tour, Last Coming Standing Live, on Tuesday, September 16. The tour arrives at Mesa Arts Center on September 16 for a 7:30 p.m. performance in the Ikeda Theater.  Last Coming Standing Live, will feature Season 8’s winner as well as the top four finalists in live performances locally as well as more than 49 other cities throughout the U.S.

Last Comic Standing began with the top 100 comics in the country, who were chosen to audition by invitation only.  The five chosen by judges Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters as the funniest and going on tour are Nikki Carr, Rocky Laporte, Joe Machi, Rod Man and Lachlan Patterson.

Tickets are on sale now as well as a limited number of VIP Packages will be available, including premium seats, meet & greet opportunities, autographed merchandise and more.

Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street in downtown Mesa. Tickets are available through the Mesa Arts Center Box Office at MesaArtsCenter.com or by calling 480-644-6500.

Final Rendering

Ronald McDonald House Completes $2.1M Capital Campaign

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix has completed a two-year, $2.1 million fund-raising campaign to cover all construction, furnishing and decorating expenses for the Valley’s third Ronald McDonald House and the first in the East Valley.

Renovation has begun on the 12,600 square foot former health care facility on the campus of Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, which is expected to open in November. The 248-bed Cardon Children’s Medical Center is operated by Banner Health.

The new facility will feature 16 bedrooms, including 2 apartments with kitchens for families with children with suppressed immune systems; a community kitchen, living and dining room; play area for children and outdoor area for adults and children. When completed, and in combination with the other two Ronald McDonald Houses, up to 79 families will have a home-away-from home every night. The new House will provide 5,840 nights a year.

“We now know it’s possible to be relieved and thrilled at the same time,” said Executive Director Nancy Roach, who has been at the helm of the organization for 14 years and has overseen fundraising and construction of two of the three Ronald McDonald Houses in the Valley. “Being able to serve families in the East Valley has been a longtime goal of ours. The community fully understood that by helping to fund this project, they ensure that families traveling to Cardon Children’s Medical Center can stay close to their children.”

The original Ronald McDonald House is located at 501 E. Roanoke Ave. A second House opened in 2008 on the campus of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The $2.1 million was secured primarily through private donations from individuals, foundations, corporate supporters and Valley-based McDonald’s owner/operators, who have committed to provide up to $150,000 of required operating expenses for the first three years. The Ronald McDonald House does not receive direct funding from the McDonald’s Corporation, but is generously supported by McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators in Central and Northern Arizona.

Among the largest donors to the project are the Gila River Indian Community, The Kemper Marley Foundation, The Halle Family Foundation, SRP, The Thunderbirds, Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and other generous community donors.

Plans for opening celebrations are underway and details will be announced later this summer.

HKS Architects of Phoenix designed the new house. UEB Builders is the general contractor.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix, visit www.rmhcphoenix.com. For more information about Cardon Children’s Medical Center, visit www.bannerhealth.com/CardonChildrens.

Matt Likens - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Merz acquires Mesa-based medical company Ulthera

Merz and Ulthera, Inc. today announced that they have entered a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which Merz will acquire global medical device company Ulthera, a deal which will accelerate Merz’s growth in the aesthetics area and expand the company’s portfolio of treatment options in facial aesthetics.

Merz and Ulthera have entered a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Merz will acquire Ulthera, Inc, a global medical device company focused on developing and commercializing technologies for aesthetic and medical applications using its therapeutic ultrasound platform technology. Valued at up to $600 million in upfront cash and milestone payments, the acquisition is the largest in Merz’s history.

“This acquisition represents an important strategic milestone for Merz,” said Philip Burchard, CEO of Merz Pharma Group, which has affiliates in 18 countries around the world. “We have a vision to be the most innovative company in aesthetics, and expanding into the rapidly growing field of energy devices will position us for long-term success in this area. The addition of Ulthera’s energy device technology complements and expands our global presence in the aesthetics space.”

Founded in 2004, Ulthera is a leader in non-surgical lifting and tightening treatments. Using therapeutic ultrasound technology, the Ulthera® System is the first and only ultrasound platform device to receive FDA clearance for lifting skin on the eyebrow, the neck and under the chin. Ulthera expects sales of more than $100 million in 2014.

“The aesthetic lift indication differentiates Ulthera from every other energy device available in the market today,” said Bill Humphries, President and CEO of Merz North America, Inc. “It is truly innovative technology, and we expect to leverage our in-house clinical expertise to develop further aesthetic and medical applications and bring them to the international marketplace.”

Merz and Ulthera have a shared mission: to bring innovations to market that meet the needs of physicians and improve the well-being of patients. This shared long-term vision provides a solid foundation for the combined company. “Joining with a like-minded, growing global healthcare company is a major milestone in the life of our company,” said Ulthera CEO Matt Likens. “Through our collaboration with Merz, we hope to introduce the Ulthera® System to new customers and markets around the world.”

“Building on this important new partnership, Merz will continue to seek innovative M&A and licensing opportunities on a global scale,” said Hans-Jörg Bergler, Head of Corporate Development for Merz Pharma Group.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.

electricity

East Valley Energized by New SRP Line

A major new transmission project that will bring additional electricity and increased reliability to the Valley is now fully energized.

The final phase of the Palo Verde-Southeast Valley-Browning (PV-SEV) 500-kilovolt (kV) project was placed into service for the first time this month. This marked a major milestone for SRP, as it was the last segment of a new 150-mile transmission line that runs from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant area near Tonopah to the Browning Substation located in east Mesa.

“We are glad that after 14 years this project is in service,” said John Underhill, SRP’s senior director of System Operations. “The entire East Valley will benefit. This new transmission line, which originates in the West Valley, will now bring that power all the way around to the east. This provides us with another power source into that area, where little or no generating plants are being built east of the Santan Generating Station.”

Prior to the PV-SEV line, SRP depended on a single 500kV transmission line to bring energy from the Palo Verde energy hub to the East Valley. The final line segment, which spans 100 miles, is the last component of the PV-SEV 500-kV project that began construction in 2006, after six years of planning and approvals.

The project resulted from a study by SRP and other Arizona electric utilities, and approval by the Arizona Corporation Commission, showing a need for increased transmission capacity to meet increasing energy demands created by business and residential growth in central Arizona and Tucson. The study concluded that energy deliveries in central Arizona required a new transmission line and other equipment additions, significant upgrades to existing equipment, and the project overall would increase system reliability.

“Years of planning and hard work by many entities, including SRP employees and contract personnel, resulted in a quality project that will serve the needs of the customers for many years to come,” said Dan Hawkins, senior project manager of Major Transmission Projects for SRP.

The project has included the building of five large substations — Pinal West, Duke, Pinal Central, Abel and Dinosaur — and additions to the existing Hassayampa and Browning substations. Also as part of the project, two 500/230-kV transformers at Pinal Central and one 500/230-kV transformer at Duke, located in Pinal County, were energized May 30 and June 12, respectively. The PW-SEV-BOB Project will serve customers in Pinal, Pima and Maricopa counties.

“The design and building of the 150-mile system is really remarkable,” added Underhill. “I received a firsthand aerial view as our staff inspected the line in a helicopter. It’s impressive how we were able to build the line to blend in with the landscape.”

Partners in the transmission project include SRP (project manager), Tucson Electric Power Co., Electrical District #2, Electrical District #3, Electrical District #4, Western Area Power Administration and the Southwest Transmission Cooperative Inc.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers.

Pieceful Solutions hires new COO

Mesa-based Pieceful Solutions, the first and fastest-growing K-12 school in Arizona for children with autism spectrum disorders, hired Robin Rollando as its Chief Operating Officer.

Robin Rollando

Robin Rollando

In her new role at Pieceful Solutions, Rollando will oversee business development, human resources, marketing, finance, information technology and overall business operations, among other duties.

Rollando is an operations veteran, having spent more than two decades helping businesses achieve substantial revenue growth in highly-competitive markets with companies such as Ambath/Rebath and Patterson Sports Ventures, LLC.

Rollando is a graduate of Arizona State University and resides in Ahwatukee. She is the proud mother of a child with autism, who was diagnosed at the age of two. Today he is now a successful young adult with a full-time job, drives and attends a community college.

Rob Martensen Transaction

Colliers completes $5.8M sale of flex industrial buildings

Colliers International in Greater Phoenix recently completed the sale of three showroom/flex industrial buildings in Mesa, Ariz. for $5.8 million, or $61.03 a square foot.

Rob Martensen, Colliers International

Rob Martensen, Colliers International

Tucson-based Holualoa Companies purchased the buildings, located at the Superstition Springs Commerce Center, from AEW Capital Management of Boston, Mass.

Rob Martensen, SIOR, CCIM, vice president of Colliers, served as the broker for the buyer and seller. Martensen is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) and is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) of the Commercial Real Estate Institute. Martensen specializes in industrial sales, leasing and land development.

The buildings, encompassing 95,035 square feet, were constructed in 2001.

“Holualoa hopes to capitalize on the recovering industrial market, specifically in the residential housing construction arena. There are few spaces available in close proximity to the new Eastmark community. Superstition Springs Commerce Center can accommodate contractors and suppliers of home-related products to supply this growing area,” Martensen said.

Flancer's Mesa

Flancer’s Café & Pizzeria serves prickly pear perfection

Flancers, Prickly Pear ChickenFlancer’s Café & Pizzeria has two locations in Gilbert and Mesa. The restaurant features salads, sandwiches and pizzas with unique flare. However, Flancer’s has become a local favorite because of its use of the prickly pear.

How did the prickly pear become a favorite among diners? Owner Jeff Flancer explains that the prickly pear items started 12 years ago with an order of prickly pear syrup for a catering job. The restaurant then needed to use the rest of the syrup after the event, so it ran a special on a prickly pear chicken sandwich. Now, the sandwich is the second most popular item on the menu.

The prickly pear items have extended from the popular sandwich to include a prickly pear caesar chicken salad and the Flancer’s spiked prickly pear lemonade. The restaurant also has made some desserts with prickly pear whipped cream and flavoring.

Flancer explains that the local customers love the prickly pear items and it brings a lot of repeat business. Some people get scared to try the different items, and sometimes even think it is undercooked because of its pink color, but overall the dish is a Flancers, Spiked Lemonadesuccess. They have entered the prickly pear sandwich into several competitions and even won a New Times contest with the best use of prickly pear.

Flancer’s also makes its own bread and green chile mayonnaise that customers love. The sweet and spicy creates a beautiful blend.

The restaurant participates in the community through charity work such as its annual pizza eating contest. It has raised $30,000 through its charity events and help of customers and sponsors.

Ultimately, Flancer says, that his restaurant is serious about the food yet has fun every day.

phoenix

GPEC Earns Economic Development honor

Cited as one of the Best to Invest Top U.S. Groups of 2013, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has once again made Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking for top U.S. Economic Development Groups.

“This recognition is a reflection of our elected and business leaders working together to promote Greater Phoenix and Arizona as business friendly,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The Arizona Competitiveness Package of 2011 and subsequent economic development policies have dramatically shifted our market’s competitive position towards advanced manufacturing and other high-tech industries.”

The ranking took into account four objective categories: new jobs, new jobs per 10,000 residents, new investment amount and new investment per 10,000 residents. “This year’s Best to Invest Top Groups in the U.S. all demonstrated an ability to reach new markets while reaping significant reinvestments from their existing industries,” said Ron Starner, general manager and executive vice president of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine.

The magazine also features a ranking for top North American deals of 2013, highlighting the Apple, Inc. locate to Mesa, Ariz. The collaboration included a partnership between GPEC, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the city of Mesa, DMB Associates, Maricopa County, and Salt River Project.

Several factors contributed to determining the Top Deals of 2013, including: level of capital investment, degree of high-wage jobs, creativity in negotiations and incentives, regional economic impact, competition for the project and speed to market. “Trends among this elite group of projects include a penchant for free trade zones and an awareness that sometimes facility reuse is as good as brand new,” said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection.

Broome credits the successful consummation of the project to “years of work on infrastructure, permitting, and crafting performance-based incentives.” He also cited the ability to offer a “turnkey real estate option” as a key factor in sealing the deal.