Tag Archives: Peoria


159 films selected for Sedona Film Festival

The 26 film screeners who reviewed nearly 1,000 films for the 19th annual Sedona International Film Festival, Feb. 23 to March 3, have selected the final 159 for the week-long event.

Films this year in the documentary, feature and short film categories cover a range of subjects from Last Will. & Testament about William Shakespeare to Avenue Rats Lost Downtown, a documentary about homeless kids in Seattle to A Virus Called Fear which focuses on how fear controls us to even a short list of films for fans of the macabre.

“People who come to the Festival with an independent film spirit and expectation will be very pleased,” said Sagan Lewis, who chairs the selection committee.  “Every film we’ve chosen has a special quality about it, whether it’s in the message, the theme, cinematography, acting or directing, we believe it will be obvious why the film was chosen.”

Among the changes this year is a larger number of short films that the committee matched up with the larger and longer films.

“There were many short films that we felt were important to show,” Lewis explained.  “We try to match the short films thematically with the larger films and this year we had a great number that afforded us that opportunity.  There were dozens of films that were perfect matches.”

The lineup also includes a number of films with Arizona connections, among them five films from the Sedona Film School (formerly the Zaki Gordon Institute) ranging from Avenue Rats Lost Downtown to the comedy Dinner with Alex and Kate to Dead West about zombies and cowboys.

Other Arizona connections include Orchestrating Community, a film about the Flagstaff City Orchestra and Vectors of Autism, the fascinating story of a Cornville resident Laura Nagle’s 57-year journey with Asperger’s Syndrome.

In between is a Family Series of movies including the Disney classic, Mary Poppins; an Australian award-winning film, Red Dog, a true story; and even Bones Brigade, “the best movie ever made about skateboarding,” Lewis said.  Mary Poppins’ choreographer Dee Dee Wood will be in Sedona for the film and to make presentations to schools in the community.

British actress Joan Collins, perhaps best known as Alexis Carrington in the popular 1980s television show Dynasty, Collins’ career spans more than 60 years in film, television and stage.  She made her Hollywood debut in Howard Hawks’ Land of the Pharaohs in 1955 and appeared in Island in the Sun in 1957.

Collins has selected Rally Round the Flag, Boys! with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and Decadence for screening.

Festival passes and ticket packages are now available online at www.sedonafilmfestival.org. Films will run all day beginning Tuesday, Feb. 26 on four screens at Sedona Harkins 6, 2081 W. State Route 89A; the Mary D. Fisher Theater, 2030 W. State Route 89A, and the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.

Workshops and panel discussions featuring a wide range of topics for filmmakers and film lovers organized by Academy Award-winning producer and Sedona Film Festival board member Kathleen Glynn (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 911) include Screenwriting, Young Filmmakers – Getting Started, Art Into Activism and Women in Film.   Roundtables also will be conducted on topics including producing, directing, financing and marketing independent films as well as on sustainability and the roles of filmmakers and artists in social change and activism.

The full list of presenters and panelists will be announced in late January. Workshops and panel discussions are free and open to the public.

The Festival’s schedule of special events includes an opening-night concert (Saturday, Feb. 23) with 3-time Grammy winner Keb Mo at the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School; the kick-off to the Sedona Green Series and World Cinema Series (Sunday, Feb. 24) and Oscars on the Rocks (Feb. 24), a live viewing of the Academy Awards ceremony from Hollywood; the Premiere Night Party at Reds (Tuesday, Feb. 26) at the Sedona Rouge; the Sedona Green Sustainable Roundtable (Saturday, March 2) and the premiere of “Awakening World” with special guest honoree Marianne Williamson (Friday, March 1) at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, and the Awards Celebration Brunch (Sunday, March 3) at the Poco Diablo Resort.

Priority Platinum and Gold Passes and 10 and 20-ticket packages are on sale.  Priority Pass holders are the first to be able to select tickets to the individual films as well as other benefits including being first to be admitted into the theater for screenings.

Platinum All-Access Passes are $900; Gold Priority Passes are $475; 20-ticket packages are $200, and 10-ticket packages are $100. Full-time students can get the 10-ticket package for $80.

Priority Pass holders will be able to select the films they want to see beginning at 10 a.m. on Feb. 4.  10 and 20-ticket pass holders can select films beginning at 10 a.m. on Feb. 11.  Individual film tickets go on sale to the general public on Feb. 18, 10 a.m.

Sedona International Film Festival memberships also are available beginning at $65 for a basic membership.  Family memberships for up to four family members living in the same household are $130. Additional membership packages include Cinematographer ($275), Screenwriter ($550), Producer ($1,200), Auteur Society ($5,000) and Legacy ($10,000).  Benefits are commensurate with membership-fee levels.  Full information is available on the website.

Packages, other than for full-time students, can be purchased online at www.sedonafilmfestival.org or through the Festival Box office at (928) 282-1177.  Student packages must be purchased through the Box Office and student ID’s are required.

For more information, visit www.sedonafilmfestival.org.



5 Broken Cameras,

The Announcement,

Ave Rats Lost Downtown,

Awakening World,

Benny the Barber,

Beyond This Place,

Bidder 70,

Big Boys Gone Bananas!,

Bones Brigade,

Breathe Life,

A Brotherhood Reforged,

Carbon Nation,

Chasing Ice,

Child of Giants: My Journey with Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange,

Code of the West,

The Color of Moonlight,

Death By China 2.0,

DESERT DREAMS: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert,

Do You Really Want to Know?,

Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey,


Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story,

The Flat,

Forgotten Fur,

Go Ganges!,

The Highest Cost,

How to Survive a Plague,

HOZHO The Beauty Way,

The Imposter,

The Invisible War,

Journey to Planet X,

The Kings of BBQ Barbecue Kuwait,

Last Will. & Testament,

Mayan Blue,

Meet the Fokkens,

Missing Home,

Mission of Mermaids,

My Father and The Man In Black,

One Life,

Orchestrating Community,

PAD YATRA: A Green Odyssey,

Paul Williams: Still Alive,

Running Wild:  The Life of Dayton O. Hyde,

Sacred Journey of the Heart,


The Shift of the Ages,


Stolen Seas,

Streams of Consequence,

Sweet Dreams,


Trash Dance,

Trial By Fire: Lives Re-Forged,

Vectors of Autism: About Laura Nagle,

A Virus Called Fear,

We’re Different, My Baby,

Who Cares About Kelsey?,

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines,

The World Before Her,

World Circus.

Feature Films

3 Days of Normal,


Any Day Now,

Anyone Out There,



A Bottle in the Gaza Sea,

Chinese Take Away,


Comes A Bright Day,

Common People,



The Discoverers,

Downtown Express,

Eliot and Me,

Fanie Fourie’s Lobola,

The Girl,

Hank and Asha,

Hello! How Are You?,

The Hunt,

It’s Not You, It’s Me,

King of Devil’s Island,

Least Among Saints,


Liberal Arts,


Mary Poppins,

Missed Connections,

No God, No Master,

One Small Hitch,


Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!,

Red Dog,

Rust and Bone,


Shouting Secrets,

Shun Li and the Poet,

Stand Off,

Teddy Bear,

Upside Down,

Valley of Saints,

Violeta Went To Heaven,

The Woman in the Fifth.

Short Films


And The Sky Will Never Be The Same Again,

Any Moment Now,

Arthur and the Bunnies,



The Balibo Night,

Bardo Light,

The Batting Cage,

A Better Place Than This,




Check Out,

The Color of Christmas,

The Dance,

Dead West,

A Dinner With Alex and Kate,

The End of the World,


Falling Up,

The Future,

Green Acres,

Happy Birthday

Happy Voodoo,

A House, A Home,

The Invention (El Invento),

It’s Really That Simple,

Karen Returns Something to Scott,

The Lake (El Lago),

The Lesson,

Light Me Up,

Like Father,


Little Dad,

No Habla,

(notes on) Biology,

Of Teaching Killer Whales Compassion,

Old Angel,






Remember To Breathe,


Song of the Spindle,


Summer Bummer,


The Things My Father Never Taught Me,

A Thousand Empty Glasses,

To The Last Drop,

Wolf Dog Tales,

The Worst Day Ever.


Shea Homes opens second luxury home community in Peoria

Shea Homes Arizona is off and running in 2013 and has opened its first new community of the year in Peoria. Vista Montaña II is a gated luxury home community located at 77th Avenue and Happy Valley Road that features 43 one acre plus lots.

The community is an expansion of the original Vista Montaña community which opened late April of 2012 and only has 13 lots left. Both communities offer the same ranch style homes, pricing, and luxury offerings such as optional basements, RV garages, and pool cabanas. The community will open in two phases; the first phase of 23 lots opened last Friday, Jan. 11 and the next phase of 20 lots is set to open at the end of the year.

The community boasts six new floor plans in which in-depth market research and customer feedback were incorporated into every detail. Homes will be sold from the existing Vista Montaña sales office and model homes. Some of the most exciting features include:

· Spacious bedrooms, 10’ ceilings, and various flexible spaces for a “custom” feel
· Large kitchens with expansive islands
· Oversized 3-car, side-entry garages
· Optional RV garages, basements, cabanas, and ramadas

Homes range between 3,091 to over 4,400 square feet and prices start from the $420,000’s. The homes are built using the new Energy Star 3.0 rating, carry the Environments for Living designation and have solar options available.

“The original Vista Montaña community was a different endeavor for us and launching luxury homes in a down real estate market was risky,” said Shea Homes Arizona VP of Sales and Marketing Ken Peterson. “But we felt there was a niche for this product and we have been thrilled at the response.  We are over 50% sold out in only nine months with an average home price of more than $600,000. We anticipate this second community doing equally as well.”

For more information about Vista Montaña II or other Shea Homes’ communities across the Valley, call 1-866-696-7432 or visit www.sheahomes.com/newhomes/phoenix.


It takes fuel to win tech race

Many of us can relate to thinking of Arizona’s economy as an automobile race. To win, you need a smooth race course, a fast car, a winning driver and high-powered fuel.
Carrying that analogy into Arizona’s technology sector, it’s clear that a lot of resources have been invested and progress has been made in building a world-class race course.  We’ve made tremendous strides in creating a business climate and technology environment for facilitating both private and public sector support to address the needs of Arizona’s technology businesses.

The Arizona Technology Council has worked collaboratively with many different technology champions to build this course. Technology issues are supported by the Governor’s office, the state’s legislature, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and more.

Technology incubators and shared space facilities such as Gangplank in Chandler, Avondale and Tucson; Hackspace and Venture Catalyst at ASU’s SkySong in Scottsdale; BioInspire in Peoria; Innovation Incubator in Chandler; AzCI in Tucson; and AZ Disruptors in Scottsdale are making sure that today’s innovators are being given the right support, tools and environment to create the next big thing.

Collectively, our wins have included the passage of a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation, the creation of the first statewide Arizona SciTech Festival and the birth of the Arizona Innovation Institute, to name a few.
Arizona’s technology industry also has great race cars. These are the technologies and intellectual property that create wealth and jobs driven by both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs.  Companies such as Intel, Microchip Technologies, Freescale, ON Semiconductor and Avnet can all be found here.  Nearly all of the largest aerospace and defense prime contractors in the nation are located in Arizona, including Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

The state’s entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in companies such as WebPT, Infusionsoft, Axosoft, iLinc and Go Daddy that were founded in Arizona along with the many innovators that are coming to the table every day with new ideas rich in technology.

These companies large and small are driven by some of the greatest race car drivers the nation has produced.

But when it comes to fuel, Arizona’s economy has always been running close to empty. We lack the vital capital needed to win the race. Having access to angel investors, venture capital and private equity as well as debt instruments is critical to Arizona’s success.
The situation has not been improving on the equity side of the fuel equation. To offer some relief, the Arizona Technology Council is proposing legislation that would create a system of contingent tax credits to incentivize both in-state and out-of-state investors to capitalize Arizona companies.  This program, called the Arizona Fund of Funds, would allow the state to offer $100 million in tax incentives to minimize the risk for those seeking to invest in high-growth companies.  The state government’s role would be to serve as a guarantor through these contingent tax credits in case the investments don’t yield the projected results.  Expect more information on this important piece of legislation as it advances.

On the debt side of the fuel equation, there are encouraging signs that the worst of the credit crunch may be over. Early-stage companies need access to debt instruments, or loans. Capital is needed for equipment and expansion. A line of credit can help early-stage companies through ongoing cash-flow issues. But loan activity is still modest in Arizona for small companies. It remains heavily weighted toward the strongest corporate and consumer borrowers.

Capital goes hand in hand with innovation, high-paying jobs and cutting-edge technology, products and services. Before Arizona’s economy can win the race, we will need to become more self-sufficient at providing the fuel necessary to be a winner.

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.


BioAccel Adds Stimwave Technologies To Incubator

BioAccel and the City of Peoria announced that BioInspire has accepted a sixth company, Arizona based medical device startup Stimwave Technologies, Inc., into the medical device incubator facility in Peoria,.

Stimwave Technologies has received a $300,000 investment from BioAccel’s New Venture Development Program and will be a resident of the new incubator facility in Peoria, where it will utilize BioInspire’s exceptional laboratory spaces and advisory services.

Stimwave Technologies is a medical device company that develops that has developed  novel wirelessly powered microimplantable stimulators for the neuromodulation field for pain relief.  The company’s first novel device is a microstimulator placed through a needleless implantable device designed for patients suffering from chronic back and leg pain. Currently only wired solutions are available. The new device is 99% smaller in volume that the next smallest commercially available wired product on the market, and takes 75% less time for the clinician to place.

BioInspire, managed by BioAccel in partnership with the City of Peoria, is designed to foster and facilitate the development of medical device companies and to stimulate the development of products and spin-off companies in Peoria based on research conducted at other academic, public and private institutions.

“We are extremely pleased to be welcomed into the Bioinspire incubator to continue to apply our innovative technology to research new indications and support our transition to commercialization for our pain relief product,” said Laura Tyler Perryman, Founder and CEO of Stimwave. “Our commitment to superior patient care is unparalleled, and our goals are aligned with BioAccel to achieve the vision and purpose of BioInspire,” she said.

“The goal is to create knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that will drive and accelerate local economic development as well as bring novel medical devices more efficiently through the commercialization process,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “Stimwave is the kind of company that will drive job creation and growth through their scalable business plans and the products derived from their innovative research and accelerated commercialization.

“BioAccel is proud to be able to provide critical support for that effort through BioInspire, by providing funding, flexible office and lab space, business and regulator advisory services and expert mentoring critical to early stage companies.”

BioInspire’s Director Tom Rainey said that adding another company to the incubator space is a great sign of early success.

“We’re very excited to add a sixth company to the BioInspire family,” he said. “Considering that the incubator only opened in September, we are pleased with the number and quality of companies that have located within our space. It shows that BioInspire is achieving the goal of bringing growth and innovation to Peoria through these important medical device companies.”

Scott Whyte, City of Peoria Economic Development Services Director, said he is pleased with the success of BioInspire and glad to see more companies taking advantage of its resources.

“We’re delighted to welcome Stimwave to Peoria, and to see the BioInspire initiative take flight,” Whyte said. “As the client companies at BioInspire grow and graduate from the incubator program we are prepared to support their move into other commercial space within Peoria,” Whyte said. “This will serve as a significant economic engine for our local and regional economy, planting the seeds for future growth.”


Indiana university to open campus in Peoria

A small private university in Indiana plans to open a branch campus in Arizona and offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering.

Angola-based Trine University expects to have its first sit-down classes at its new campus in the west Phoenix suburb of Peoria early next year. The university is already enrolling students for online classes.

Trine is locating its offices in a 17,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Western International University. Other course offerings are expected.

Trine said in Wednesday’s announcement that it expects to have nearly 200 students at the Peoria campus during the spring 2013 semester and could have more than 1,200 students by its third year.

Thunderbird Crossing

CBRE Completes $14.03M Sale Of Thunderbird Crossing

CBRE completed the $14.03M sale of Thunderbird Crossing, a 79,789 SF neighborhood retail center at the SWC of 83rd Ave. and Thunderbird Rd. in Peoria.

Cam Stanton, Andrew Fosberg and Steve Fernandez of CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the sellers, C&D Thunderbird LLC and K&Y T-Bird & 83rd Shops LLC of Los Gatos, Calif., and structured the sale. The buyer, HAM Maricopa of Phoenix, purchased the property as part of a 1031 exchange.

“Originally only the shop space at Thunderbird Crossing was offered for sale. However, once the anchors were added to the deal, interest peaked and we made a quick sale,” said Stanton. “Investors always prefer retail centers that include the major tenants.”

Built in 2004, Thunderbird Crossing has 24,143 SF of shop space and 55,646 SF of anchor space that is occupied by a Sprouts Farmers Market and a 99¢ Only discount store.

Cactus League - Spring Training is Back

Cactus League Baseball Is Back In Arizona

February in Arizona means two things – gorgeous weather and spring training baseball.

What initially began as minor league exhibition game in the early 1900’s has evolved into Major League Baseball’s conglomerate of Spring Training stadiums within the Phoenix area.  A long-­standing tradition for the Grand Canyon State, MLB’s Spring Training begins again later this month as the Cactus League kicks off its 65th season in Arizona.

Salt River Fields, Colorado Rockies - Image Provided by Flickr

As spring reveals itself, so do players from a four‐month baseball hiatus. More than 15 teams will compete within the coming months in 10 local fields — drawing over 1.5 million spectators, according to a 2009 study of the games.

2011 has the same expectation of past years and brings out potential  collegiate and minor league players the opportunity to showcase their skills, in hopes of generating talk around Major League management for upward promotion to the “big leagues.”

RBI’s, home runs, batting average, chin music and injury reports reenter the vocabulary of sports talk radio hosts and give vitality back to baseball geeks nation.

With several stadium locations throughout the Phoenix area, it’s easy to catch at least one of these 15 teams at a fraction of regular season ticket prices. With lawn seating available from $5, it’s a perfect excuse to call in sick from work and plan a family picnic in Arizona’s weather.

Diamondback News

Coming off a dismal 65 – 97 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2011 with hopes to compete with NL West rivals, 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants.

Recent management addition and legendary Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson has full control of the team this year and brings a sense of urgency to the Diamondbacks office.

Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman - Image Provided by Flickr

Flashback to 1988; the Dodgers won their fifth title in the City of Angels and have yet to repeat since as the Dodgers later went on to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in the series. Gibson and the 1988 Dodger team were underdogs to say the least, disproving the expectation of failure.

Professional sports, now more than ever, demands pure physicality in a 162 game season.

Since the D-Backs World Series run in 2001, D-Back fans have been subjected to playing and management decisions far below par. It takes as much a mental toll as a physical one — and Gibson encapsulates experience in both. Gibson’s presence in Diamondback management will hopefully spark the same inspiration as it did in 1988.

Everyone begins the season undefeated and has the ability to prove sports analysts and naysayers wrong. Near rock bottom at all-statistical production, the D‐Backs need inspiration and who better to give it to them than manager Kirk  “Gibby” Gibson. Let’s hope Gibson can effectively command his troops  — or at least clean off the shame of 2010.

For more tickets and schedule information on Spring Training in the Valley, visit cactusleague.com

Food, Wine and Art: Sonoma Showcase Festival

Food, Wine And Art: Sonoma Showcase Festival

Two days full of wine, art, food and jazz await you at the Sonoma Showcase Festival. Vistancia is hosting the festival Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fun kicks off Saturday with a performance by jazz star Scott Cossu. Other Jazz musicians playing throughout the weekend are Marc Antonie, Eric Darius, Dulce Vas, Sans Moi, Johnny Rawls, Sillan & Young, Euge Groove, and Nicole Pesce.

While listening to smooth jazz you can sample smooth wines. Wineries from all over the Sonoma area will be hosting wine tastings. Along with sampling the wine, you can chat with the winemakers themselves! They will be on hand if you have any questions about the wine, or how it is produced. If you find that a certain wine tickles your taste buds, you can purchase it right on the spot!

Wine isn’t the only highlight of this festival; several local, celebrity and Sonoma-based chefs will show off their delectable cuisine.

Duskie Estes, a competitor from the Food Network’s The Next Food Network Challenge will be there along with Scott Tompkins and Eddie Matney. They will each be giving a presentation and demonstration on how to prepare their signature dishes.

Finally, if wonderful food, music, and wine isn’t enough, more than 100 vendors will be present, selling everything from wine accessories, to jewelry, to kitchen cutlery, to in-home spa treatments. You will definitely be able to find something that sparks your interest.

    If You Go:
    General admission tickets are $27.50 per day or $49.50 for the weekend.
    General admission and wine tasting is $49.50 each day or $88 for the weekend.
    Vistancia is located north of Happy Valley Road and west of Lake Pleasant Parkway in Peoria, Ariz.

Arizona Urban Fishing Progam

Arizona Urban Lakes

There are currently 20 Arizona Urban Lakes

If you have had a good or bad experience at one of the Arizona Urban Lakes, please comment and let us know about your experience.

Desert Breeze Lake

Desert Breeze Park
660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. East
Chandler AZ 85226
Open: 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Size: 4 acres
Maximum depth 12 feet

Daily Bag & Possession Limits:

4 catfish
4 trout
2 bass (13 inch minimum)
10 sunfish
1 white amur (30 inch minimum)
Statewide limits apply to all other species

Veterans Oasis Lake

Veterans Oasis Park
4050 E. Chandler Heights Road
Chandler AZ 85249
Open: 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Size: 5 acres
Maximum depth: 14 feet

Daily Bag & Possession Limits:

4 catfish
4 trout
2 bass (13 inch minimum)
10 sunfish
1 white amur (30 inch minimum)
Statewide limits apply to all other species

Arizona Urban Lakes - Veterans Oasis

Water Ranch Lake

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
2757 E. Guadalupe Road
Gilbert AZ 85234
Open: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Size: 5 acres
Maximum depth: 15 feet
No fishing from bridge

Daily Bag & Possession Limits:

4 catfish
4 trout
2 bass (13 inch minimum)
10 sunfish
1 white amur (30 inch minimum)
Statewide limits apply to all other species

Arizona Urban Lakes - Water Ranch

Red Mountain Lake

Red Mountain Park
7745 E. Brown Road
Mesa AZ 85207
Open: Sunrise to 10 p.m.
Size: 8 acres
Maximum depth: 17 feet

Daily Bag & Possession Limits:

4 catfish
4 trout
2 bass (13 inch minimum)
10 sunfish
1 white amur (30 inch minimum)
Statewide limits apply to all other species

Arizona Urban Lakes - Red Mountain

Riverview Lake

Riverview Park
2100 W 8th St
Mesa AZ 85201
Sunrise to 10:00 p.m.
3 acres. Maximum depth 16 feet

Daily Bag & Possession Limits:

4 catfish
4 trout
2 bass (13 inch minimum)
10 sunfish
1 white amur (30 inch minimum)

Statewide limits apply to all other species

Arizona Urban Lakes - Riverview

Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

The Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone Opens Up Business Possibilities In The West Valley

At a time when the West Valley could use an economic boost, officials have put the finishing touches on the proposed Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone. Under the administration of WESTMARC, an acronym for Western Maricopa Coalition, this new Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is seen as a welcome economic development tool that will spawn jobs and millions of dollars in new investment.

Participating cities are Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Goodyear, Peoria and Surprise. Initially, four sites in three of the cities have applied for FTZ status: two in Goodyear at Interstate 10 and Loop 303, one in Surprise near Bell Road, and one west of Buckeye in an unincorporated area. The Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone is actually a series of trade zones, with each city acting independently but represented by WESTMARC.

Federal approval of WESTMARC’s application of the overall trade zone by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security is expected before the end of the year. Launched in 1934, the federal Foreign Trade Zone program provides for reduced or eliminated federal taxes and fees in connection with imports and exports. For customs purposes, an FTZ is considered outside the United States.

Consultant Curtis Spencer, president of Houston-based IMS Worldwide, says there has been quite a bit of interest in West Valley sites from brokers looking for build-to-suit opportunities, particularly for solar and other manufacturers.

Spencer says developers generally pay the initial fee of about $50,000 to be in the FTZ depending on proposed use. Companies locating in an FTZ also pay an annual fee, but Spencer estimates the savings to a company can range from $300,000 to $1 million a year.

A typical business in an FTZ pays wages 7 percent to 8 percent more than a similar company not involved in exporting and importing, and employs 10 percent to 20 percent more workers, Spencer says.

“Foreign Trade Zone activities now exceed the statistical equivalent of imports and exports carried by truck into and out of Canada and Mexico,” Spencer says. “It’s a significant portion of our economy.”

A company in the West Valley area that decides to seek FTZ status puts in an application that will go through WESTMARC, which holds the federal permit, and on to the federal Foreign Trade Zone board. Zones are not limited to the four that have been selected. Likely candidate businesses for an FTZ range from high-tech manufacturers to distributors.

“It should give a major boost in investment and job creation,” Spencer says. “In the next 10 years we should have added hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of new investment.”

Basically, FTZs speed up the supply chain, reduce importing costs and provide better security, Spencer says.

“It’s faster, cheaper and better,” he adds.

Regarding security, companies that have been certified for FTZ status by federal authorities undergo extreme scrutiny, and therefore are not likely to be dealing with unfriendly countries or terrorist organizations. Concern over the importation of contraband has heightened since the attacks of 9/11.

Harry Paxton, economic development director for the city of Goodyear, says participating cities can use the FTZ as a marketing tool.

“It says that these communities are ready to accept businesses involved in international commerce,” he says.

Goodyear, which was among the first to express an interest in establishing an FTZ three years ago, hopes to fill some existing buildings by offering significant property tax breaks. Personal and real property taxes in an Arizona FTZ are cut by 75 percent.

But the perception that such tax reductions will have a negative impact on a city is incorrect, Paxton says. The assessed valuation of an activated FTZ reduces to 5 percent from 20 percent, but still generates additional revenue when compared to agricultural-use sites that collect $300 per 10 acres. What’s more, Paxton says, the FTZ becomes a catalyst for other development not requiring FTZ tax benefits, resulting in a full tax rate on those businesses.

“It’s a win-win,” he says. “It helps us become more competitive.”

Mitch Rosen, director of office and industrial development for SunCor Development Company, says his company owns 250 acres that will be part of the FTZ.

“The reason we’re interested is that we believe it to be an exceptional tool to stimulate the economic development of the West Valley,” he says. “It’s a good way to stimulate quality employment and it creates a competitive advantage for Arizona and the West Valley. It encourages businesses throughout the country to elect to locate in the West Valley.”

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, expects FTZs to spring up throughout the sprawling West Valley as cities become more aware of the benefits.

“We are thrilled,” he says, “to help bring this economic development tool to our West Valley communities that will assist them, especially at a time like this.”

www.imsw.com | www.suncoraz.com | www.ci.goodyear.az.us

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010