Tag Archives: Tucson Electric Power

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Fortis boosts power with Acquisition of UNS Energy

Fortis Inc. completed its acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation, adding UNS Energy subsidiaries Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES) to its growing international family of electric and gas utility companies.

TEP and UES will remain headquartered in Tucson under local control with current management and staffing levels and no planned changes to existing operations. Under the terms of a written order issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on Aug. 12, both companies will have enhanced financial strength and other benefits as part of Fortis, while their Arizona customers will receive $30 million in bill credits over the next five years.

“Joining the Fortis family will generate benefits for our company, our customers and the communities we serve,” said David Hutchens, President and CEO of UNS Energy, TEP and UES. “While this transaction opens a new chapter in our company’s history, our story remains the same. We will continue working every day to provide the safe, reliable and affordable service our customers have come to expect.”

With the $4.5 billion acquisition, which includes the assumption of $2 billion in debt, UNS Energy becomes the second largest subsidiary of Fortis and expands that company’s customer base to more than 3 million. Fortis is Canada’s largest investor-owned electric and gas distribution holding company, with regulated utility holdings in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

“TEP and UES are well-run companies whose employees are committed to serving their customers and communities,” said Fortis President Barry Perry, who will succeed H. Stanley Marshall as the company’s CEO effective December 31, 2014. “We welcome both companies to the Fortis team and look forward to supporting their continued success in serving their customers’ energy needs.”

Local, Independent Board Majority

The UNS Energy Board of Directors was reconstituted today as a result of the acquisition. In addition to Perry and John C. Walker, Fortis’ Executive Vice President of Western Canadian Operations, the board’s nine members include Hutchens and six other longtime Arizona residents who will continue on as independent directors from the previous UNS Energy Board:

• Lawrence J. Aldrich, Chairman and Executive Director of the Arizona Business Coalition on Health.
• Robert A. Elliott, President and Owner, Elliott Accounting.
• Louise L. Francesconi, former President of Raytheon Missile Systems.
• Ramiro G. Peru, former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Phelps Dodge Corporation.
• Gregory A. Pivirotto, former CEO and Director of University Medical Center.
• Joaquin Ruiz, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Science, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

UNS Energy remains the parent company of TEP and UES and will continue to oversee their local operations. UNS Energy’s stock will not trade on the New York Stock Exchange after today. Shareholders will be notified by transfer agency Computershare with instructions on how to redeem their shares.

Power Outage Map

UNS Shareholders Approve Acquisition by Fortis

Shareholders of UNS Energy Corporation voted overwhelmingly today to approve the proposed acquisition of the company by a subsidiary of Fortis Inc.

The votes were tabulated at today’s special meeting for shareholders at UNS Energy’s Corporate Headquarters in Tucson. Approximately 97 percent of the ballots cast supported the company’s acquisition by Fortis, the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility company in Canada.

“Today’s vote is a positive step toward a new partnership that will provide benefits for shareholders, customers, employees and the communities we serve. Joining Fortis will provide additional financial strength to help us maintain safe, reliable service throughout Arizona,” said Board Chair and CEO Paul J. Bonavia.

The merger agreement provides that Fortis will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of UNS Energy for $60.25 per share in cash. The $4.3 billion transaction, which includes the assumption of approximately $1.8 billion in debt, would provide additional capital and new resources for UNS Energy’s subsidiaries, including Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES). Both companies will remain headquartered in Tucson under local control with current management and staffing levels and no planned changes to existing operations or rates.

Joining the Fortis family of companies would improve UNS Energy’s access to capital to fund the ongoing diversification of its generating fleet as well as investment in other infrastructure improvements. Upon closing, Fortis will inject $200 million of equity into UNS Energy.

The merger is subject to the approval of regulators, including the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended; and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. UNS Energy anticipates the transaction will be finalized by the end of 2014.

clear energy systems coming to tempe

TEP Recognizes Energy Efficiency Partnerships

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has recognized customers and other community partners with TEP BrightEE Awards for energy savings achieved through the company’s successful energy efficiency (EE) programs.

The inaugural TEP BrightEE Awards were presented today to local nonprofit organizations, school districts, small businesses and homebuilders. Several BrightEE (pronounced ‘brighty’) recipients are customers who reduced their energy use and lowered their monthly electric bills by participating in TEP’s customer-funded EE programs.

“Energy efficiency programs give us a great opportunity to work directly with our customers in developing an important, low-cost energy resource,” said TEP President and Chief Operating Officer David G. Hutchens. “These EE partnerships produce savings for our customers, benefits for our environment, and help us to continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable service to the community.”

TEP’s EE programs provide incentives for customers to invest in high efficiency technologies such as compact fluorescent lighting, pumps, motors and HVAC equipment. Other programs offer incentives for builders to design and construct residential and commercial buildings based on EE construction standards.

The programs help TEP work toward achieving the goals in Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard. The standard requires electric utilities to increase energy savings each year through customer-funded EE programs until the cumulative usage reduction reaches 22 percent by 2020.

EE programs, which cost less than building new power plants, help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, resulting in reduced air emissions and water usage. TEP’s EE programs have already produced significant benefits. The TEP EE program measures enacted in 2013 alone will produce energy savings exceeding 168,000 megawatt hours – enough energy to power more than 14,000 Tucson homes for a year.

Here is the list of BrightEE categories and winners selected by TEP’s EE team:

  • Large Business – Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital: St. Mary’s most notable projects include retrofitting more than 20,000 florescent T12 tube lamp fixtures with more efficient lamps and thousands of electronic ballasts. The hospital also installed variable speed drives, which can raise or lower motor speeds used in HVAC and other systems. Installation of an automated energy management system is scheduled to be completed this summer.
  • Small Business – Vroom Engineering: This local engineering firm participated in the Small Business program to replace more than one hundred 1,000-Watt, metal halide light fixtures with energy efficient high bay fluorescent fixtures.
  • Contractor – Inline Electrical Resources: Inline was the first applicant to register as a contractor for TEP’s Small Business program. Since then, Inline has completed more than 200 energy efficiency projects.
  • Schools – Sunnyside Unified School District: Sunnyside has upgraded classroom lighting and mechanical equipment at the majority of its schools and several support facilities. In 2013, the company gave 17 EE classroom presentations and distributed more than 450 energy efficiency kits for Sunnyside students to use at home through TEP’s Outreach Program. Desert View High School also participates in TEP’s Direct Load Control program.
  • Schools – Marana Unified School District: Marana has upgraded lighting and HVAC equipment in several schools by combining TEP incentives with federal funding available through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More than two dozen EE classroom presentations were given in 2013 alone, and TEP has distributed more than 550 EE kits to students.
  • Non-Profit – The Primavera Foundation: In 2013, Primavera completed construction of a new energy-efficient, 12-unit family complex that was built in South Tucson using sustainable principles. The project is designed to meet LEED and Net-Zero Energy Building standards through a mix of 2- and 3-bedroom patio units that are ADA compliant. (Note: This nonprofit organization, which administers affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization programs, is a past recipient of TEP’s Grants That Make a Difference program, which is funded with shareholder dollars.)
  • Homebuilder – Meritage Homes: Meritage was the first national builder to construct every home using standards that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® requirements. Meritage, which participates in TEP’s New Construction program, builds homes that are twice as energy efficient as a typical U.S. home of the same size.
  • Lifetime Contribution to Residential Energy Efficiency – John Wesley Miller: Miller, a national leader in energy conservation and green building practices, has received numerous industry honors and awards for energy conservation and building quality. He has consulted with Pima County to promote a program for energy-efficient homes and the use of solar energy, and with the University of Arizona’s Environmental Research Laboratory in developing new energy-saving products and technologies. Miller is one of four builders selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop highly-efficient “zero-energy use” homes. The second such home built by Miller costs an average of about $300 annually to heat and cool.
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Involta to Open New Data Center in Tucson

 

Involta is holding a grand opening next week to celebrate its newest data center, this one at 1215 E. Pennsylvania St. in Tucson.

Involta’s facility in Tucson will be a concurrently maintainable, multi-tenant data center. This 38,000+ SF facility will provide businesses and organizations with secure data storage in a cutting-edge, high-tech environment.

“The Tucson data center will present significant advantages for businesses and organizations in the region,” said Bruce Lehrman, Involta CEO. “Building and maintaining a separate, stand-alone data center is extremely costly. By colocating with other tenants, organizations can realize the advantages of a first-class data center while actually reducing operating costs. Use of this data center will allow business leaders to focus on their core businesses rather than complex infrastructure and facility issues.”

Involta has invested nearly $10M in facility and communications infrastructure to enable the success of the data center.

“This project is a great example of private sector investment in Tucson,” said Dave Hutchens, President of Tucson Electric Power. “Involta’s investment revitalizes an existing facility, adds high-paying job opportunities and enhances our community’s network connectivity and technology infrastructure.”

TEP was a critical partner in bringing the Involta project from vision to reality.

“TEP has supported our project at every step, from the executive level to engineering to customer account services,” Lehrman said.  “TEP’s partnership, in turn, generated enthusiasm for our project with Tucson’s economic development leadership.  It’s been a great experience getting to know the business leaders of this community.”

In addition to Tucson, Involta has data centers in Iowa, Ohio, Idaho and Minnesota.

 

srp installs solar energy systems

Energy Consortium’s Roadmap puts state of path to build industry

Imagine Arizona as the energy hub of the Southwest — where major regional transmission lines tie into infrastructure in the state and serve a growing regional demand for energy. Arizona would be a place where an increasing percentage of jobs are related to the energy industry, whether in manufacturing, generation, transmission, energy efficiency, service or technology innovation. Many of these jobs would be higher-wage jobs requiring a skilled labor force fed by Arizona’s schools and universities. Arizona could be a hub of energy-sector jobs, with factories making equipment for the industry and power plants shipping electricity to neighboring states via new power lines, all contributing to a better economy.

That is the essence of the Arizona Energy Consortium’s Energy Roadmap, which the group hopes with be a catalyst for the state’s energy industry in the same way Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap helped the state increase bioscience jobs by 41 percent and helped increase the number of bioscience establishments by 27 percent during its 10-year plan.

“It was important to create this document to give the energy industry a unified voice and direction,” said said Michelle De Blasi, co-chair of the AEC and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “The energy industry is going to be here forever. We are always going to need energy. So the Roadmap was designed to make the industry better for everyone — consumers, developers, legislators. So it was critical that we get it right.”

This is the vision the Roadmap hopes to realize over the next decade: Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.

Once that vision is realized, De Blasi said the state can expect to reap these benefits:
• Enhanced job creation and higher-wage jobs within Arizona
• Increased state economic revenue
• Enhanced energy export potential
• Heightened energy self-sufficiency and national and state security
• Increased transmission reliability
• Continued low cost energy

“This Roadmap is going to help Arizona be looked at differently from outside its borders,” said Chris Davey, co-chair with De Blasi of the AEC and president of EnviroMission, which is developing a solar tower in Western Arizona. “The Roadmap will create a sense of certainty, which appeals to the finance community. So when they are looking to invest, that certainty creates a more attractive environment for developers and investors.”

Davey and De Blasi said they will be rolling out the Roadmap this year, presenting it to groups throughout the state. For more information on the Roadmap, visit aztechcouncil.org.

ROADMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
Arizona Public Service
Bridge Strategy Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
City of Mesa, the Office of the Mayor
Cleantech Open
Dircks
DIRTT
DMB Associates
Energy Services Coalition
EnviroMission
Faithful+Gould
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greenberg Traurig
The Green Chamber – Greater Phoenix
Golder Associates
Hensel Phelps
Ikoloji
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
J.D. Porter & Associates
Kolbe Connect
Matthew McDonnell
Ormond Group, LLC
RG Schmelzer, Inc.
Salt River Project
Stream Energy
Tucson Electric Power
Valley Forward
Valley Partnership

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Duke Energy Acquires Solar Power Project at UA's Tech Park

 

Duke Energy has acquired a commercial solar power project located within the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) in an area dedicated to solar energy.

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, purchased the 6-megawatt (MW) Gato Montes Solar Power Project from AstroSol Inc. The project is expected to achieve commercial operation within the next week.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) will buy all of the electricity from the project under a 20-year agreement.

“Gato Montes is our fifth solar power project in Arizona in the past two years,” said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. “In fact, we’ll have 37 MW of solar energy in production in Arizona by the end of the year, representing more than half of the 67 MW in our growing portfolio of solar projects nationwide.”

The solar photovoltaic thin-film, amorphous silicon technology used in the Gato Montes project is a first in the Duke Energy Renewables fleet. It is also unique at the UA Tech Park, where various solar projects are being tested under identical operating conditions to evaluate the most beneficial technology for solar energy production in the Southwest.

“The Gato Montes installation is an excellent example of cutting-edge technology,” said Bruce A. Wright, UA associate vice president for university research parks. “We are proud of our partnership with this project as it complements the mix of solar technology showcased at the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone.”

Construction on the 38.5-acre parcel of land in the UA Tech Park began in December 2011 by vis-solis LLC, the U.S. subsidiary of Solmotion. AstroSol Inc. received certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and received financial approval for a $12.3M loan from the North American Development Bank to construct the project.

The Gato Montes Solar Power Project consists of 48,000 PV panels and is Duke Energy Renewables’ 12th wholly owned commercial solar project in the U.S.

solar power

SOLON Receives 1.15MW Solar Power Contract In Tucson

SOLON Corporation, one of the largest providers of turnkey solar power plants and photovoltaic (PV) products in the U.S., today announced it has contracted with the Tanque Verde Unified School District (TVUSD) to build 1.15-megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) systems in Tucson.

The total system capacity for the TVUSD project, 1.15 megawatts (MW), is spread over 4 campuses of the Tanque Verde High School and Elementary School, the Emily Gray Junior High School and the Agua Caliente Elementary School. These systems will be a combination of shade structures and rooftop systems, and the outputs will offset a large portion of the daytime energy requirements of each campus.

SOLON will engineer, design, construct, commission and maintain the operation of the systems. SOLON will provide the energy produced by these systems to TVUSD through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). Under this form of ownership, TVUSD will be responsible only for purchasing the solar electricity that the systems produce, and will enable the District to reduce its operating expenses by saving money on its utility bills with no upfront costs required. As utility rates continue to rise over the next 25 years, TVUSD will enjoy a low fixed rate for this electricity, and the campus’ students, staff and guests will benefit from the shade provided by the structures. This program is helped made possible by the rebates provided by the local utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

“We are very pleased that our district will benefit in many ways from the installation of solar energy systems,” said Claire Place, member of the TVUSD Governing Board. “The idea to implement a solar energy project as part of TEP’s renewable energy rebate program began with community input, and that initiative will positively impact our district and schools for many years to come. The solar installations will bring cost savings, campus improvements and educational opportunities to our students, staff and community. As the solar power provider selected for this project, SOLON has been very responsive to our district needs and specifications. We look forward to our continuing partnership with them as we move through the installation and integration phases of this project.”

“SOLON has become a leading provider for solar solutions to the K-12 school districts in Arizona by listening to our customers’ needs,” said Robert Wanless, Director of Business Development for SOLON Corporation. “Understanding the unique requirements of a school is essential to delivering a complete solution that will work for not only their energy needs, but also will provide the optimal financing solution to maximize cost savings. SOLON has enjoyed working with TVUSD to ensure the systems have been designed to be the most functional for each campus.”

These systems will be completed and fully operational later this year and early 2013.

For more information on SOLON Corporation and its solar power plant contract with TVUSD, visit SOLON’s website at solon.com.

renewable energy projects

REIF Awards $1.3 Million For AZ Renewable Energy Projects

The agencies that oversee the Arizona Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) have awarded eight Native American organizations with $1.3 million to build renewable energy systems in their communities. The renewable energy projects include wind and solar facilities for schools in Leupp and Kayenta, solar power for an assisted-living facility in Moenkopi and solar panels for a housing project in Peach Springs.

REIF is managed by Tempe-based Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power and the Grand Canyon Trust. REIF was provided with $5 million in funds after the expansion of the Springerville Generating Station in 2009 to support projects that reduce pollution and benefit Native American communities across Arizona and in northwestern New Mexico. With the latest grant awards, REIF has now distributed more than $2.2 million for various community wind and solar projects.

“We received a number of extraordinary applications seeking an opportunity to create renewable energy projects that support opportunities for sustainable economic development,” said Roger Clark, program director for the Grand Canyon Trust. “In the end, we selected eight well-planned proposals from organizations that provide essential services to their communities.”

“Investing in renewable energy projects is not without its challenges for smaller businesses and non-profit organizations in Indian communities,” said Lori Singleton, SRP director of emerging customer programs. “REIF helps these agencies achieve their goal to reduce energy costs by using sustainable energy systems.”

The eight proposals to receive the latest awards from REIF were selected based on a number of criteria, such as their ability to generate renewable energy, cost effectiveness and the ability for the project to be completed.

“We look forward to the launch of these exciting projects from this round of awards, including a number of projects that will support renewable energy education opportunities in tribal communities,” said Jim Arwood, a member of the REIF board.

The Grand Canyon Trust is a leading regional conservation organization with offices across the Colorado Plateau.

Salt River Project is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving more than 950,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Tucson Electric Power, a subsidiary of UNS Energy, provides safe, reliable service to more than 404,000 customers in the Tucson metropolitan area.

Find out more about the organizations who received funds for renewable energy projects at Grand Canyon Trust. Visit Grand Canyon Trust’s website at grandcanyontrust.org.

Hoover Dam Construction, 1933-1936 - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Building Achievements Turned Arizona From Frontier Outpost To Thriving Haven

In 1912, when it became the nation’s 48th state, Arizona was a challenging place to live. It was sparsely populated with small communities scattered hither and yon. Travel between towns was grueling. The lower desert was unbearably hot in the summer, and water was scarce and unreliable.

Arizona would have had a dim future if it hadn’t engineered a reliable water supply, says Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian. In 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, Phoenix was an agricultural community that suffered through wild swings between drought and a flooding Salt River, Trimble says. Farmers and ranchers banded together as the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association to lobby for federal funding for the legislation’s first water reclamation project — construction of Roosevelt Dam northeast of Phoenix to tame the Salt and store water in Roosevelt Lake for future use.

This was the beginning of what would become Salt River Project (SRP), one of Arizona’s major utilities, and Trimble pegs the dedication of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 as the first step toward a modern Arizona. Today, SRP operates seven dams on the Salt and Verde rivers and delivers more than 1 million acre feet of water annually to Central Arizona.

But as Phoenix became increasingly urbanized, SRP’s 13,000-square-mile watershed couldn’t keep up with demand, and Arizona’s most populated areas were drawing more water out of the ground than was being replenished. As early as 1946, Arizonans began to hear about the need for delivery of Colorado River water to the Phoenix and Tucson population centers via a 336-mile canal called the Central Arizona Project. Construction of the CAP began in 1973 at Lake Havasu, and 20 years and $4 billion later, it was completed south of Tucson. The CAP delivers an average 1.5 million acre-feet of water annually to municipal, agricultural and Native American users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, where 80 percent of Arizonans live today.

“Without the CAP, we wouldn’t have the population we have today,” says Pam Pickard, president of the CAP board of directors. “We wouldn’t have our economic base. We wouldn’t have the industry we have.”

But the CAP wouldn’t have been possible without another milestone that occurred nearly 60 years earlier — Hoover Dam and its reservoir, Lake Mead, 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam, constructed between 1933 and 1936, tamed the Colorado, which Trimble says was even more erratic than the Salt. The dam created reliable water supplies for Arizona’s Colorado River Valley and, eventually, Central and Southern Arizona via the CAP.

Electricity

Electrical power generation in Arizona significantly preceded statehood and provided the “juice” for future development. Another major utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), traces its roots to 1886 in Phoenix. Electricity also came to Tucson in the 1880s, but the forerunner of today’s Tucson Electric Power (TEP) didn’t come about until 1892. SRP began delivering power to an expanding customer base in the 1920s, and created the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District in 1937 to operate the utility’s power generation and distribution system.

Statistics from these utilities bear witness to Arizona’s escalating hunger for electricity. TEP had 300 customers in 1903. That grew to 16,000 in 1932; 112,600 in 1970; and more than 400,000 today. TEP generating capacity jumped from 648,000 kilowatts in 1970 to 2,229 megawatts today.

Mergers led to the creation of APS in 1952. At that time, APS served 114,000 power customers with a 324-megawatt capacity. Today, APS serves 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties with a 6,293-megawatt capability. APS also helped bring nuclear power generation to Arizona. APS operates and owns 29.1 percent of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station located about 50 miles west of Phoenix. The largest nuclear power plant in the U.S., Palo Verde’s three units are capable of producing nearly 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

SRP’s electricity customer base grew to 7,684 in 1940; 169,773 in 1970; and 942,024 by the end of 2010. Another measuring rod — peak power demand — reached an all-time high at SRP in 2006 at 6,590 megawatts.

War, Manufacturing and Refrigeration

According to Trimble, the real turning point for Arizona industry came about in less than a decade during the mid-20th century. After America’s entry into World War II in December 1941, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and Williams Air Force Base in Mesa became major training facilities for war pilots. Manufacturing for the war also contributed to Arizona’s economy, which continued to grow, Trimble says.

Then two critical milestones occurred closely together, say Trimble and another close observer of Arizona’s history, Grady Gammage Jr.

“There was a lot of home construction in Arizona after the war,” Trimble says. “GIs were moving here to start a new life. Many of them had trained in Arizona and liked the weather.”

Except perhaps for those summer temperatures, and they became less of a problem when affordable air conditioning became available in 1950, Trimble says.

Trimble points to 1950 as the year Arizona moved from a pioneer outpost to a modern state, thanks to refrigeration and a growing population that embraced it. Gammage, who is author of “Phoenix in Perspective: Reflections On Developing the Desert,” says window refrigeration units first appeared in Arizona in 1948. Two years later, Arizona led the nation in the number of window air conditioning units sold. By 1960, there was more central air conditioning in Arizona homes than window units, Gammage says.

“Refrigeration did a couple of things,” Gammage notes. “First, it was one of the critical building blocks that allowed people to move here. Second, it transformed Arizonans’ lifestyles.”

Master-Planned Communities

Arizona is home to countless master-planned residential communities, but the first one — Maryvale — opened in 1955 in West Phoenix as the post-war years exerted their influence. Its developer, John F. Long, wanted to plan and build a community where young people could buy an affordable home, raise a family and work, all in the same area. He named the development after his wife, Mary, and its influence is felt to this day.

Maryvale Billboard, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: John F. Long Properties

“Because Maryvale was a master-planned community and because John did affordable housing, the master plan included a lot of parks, school sites and shopping areas,” says Jim Miller, director of real estate for John F. Long Properties. “It really was where people could live and work. If you lived in Maryvale, you weren’t more than three-quarters of a mile from a park or school. That forced a lot of other builders to adopt the same type of philosophy.”

The first homes sold for as little as $7,400, with a $52-a-month mortgage. The first week the models went on the market, 24,000 people stopped by to take a look. Long built 24,000 homes in Maryvale and by the mid-1990s, he and other developers had mostly finished the community.

Retirement Communities

A year before Maryvale opened, Ben Schleifer introduced a different lifestyle to an older demographic. In 1954, Schleifer opened Youngtown in West Phoenix, the first age-restricted retirement community in the nation, according to research by Melanie Sturgeon, director of the state’s History and Archives Division. No one younger than 50 could live there. By 1963, Youngtown had 1,700 residents and Arizona was on its way to becoming a retirement mecca.

But it was builder Del E. Webb and his construction companies that firmly established the concept of active, age-restricted adult retirement in Arizona with the opening of Sun City on Jan. 1, 1960, next to Youngtown and along Grand Avenue. According to Sturgeon’s research and a magazine observing Sun City’s 50th anniversary, about 100,000 people showed up the first three days to see the golf course, recreation center, swimming pool, shopping center and five model homes. Traffic was backed up for miles. The first homes sold for between $8,500 and $11,750. Sun City had 7,500 residents by 1964 and 42,000 by 1977, the same year Webb decided the community was big enough and he began construction on Sun City West.
Today, Arizona boasts many retirement communities.

Transportation

Two milestones that occurred decades apart cemented Phoenix’s future as Arizona’s population and economic hub.
In 1935, the city bought Sky Harbor International Airport for $100,000. Today, that investment is responsible for a $90 million daily economic impact. Sky Harbor also helped Central Arizona thrive.

Construction Interstate 17, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Photo: Arizona Department of Transportation

“As much as anywhere in the U.S., Phoenix is a creature of good air connections,” Gammage says. “There is no good rail service (in Arizona). There are no real transportation corridors. Sky Harbor has had a huge impact.”

The other milestone occurred 50 years later when the Maricopa Association of Governments approved a $6.5 billion regional freeway plan for Phoenix and voters approved a 20-year, one-half cent sales tax to fund it. By 2008, the Arizona Department of Transportation had completed the construction and Phoenix boasted 137 miles of loop freeways that linked the metro area.
The loop freeways have had a significant impact on shaping Phoenix and, ultimately, Arizona, says Dennis Smith, MAG executive director.

“The loop freeways resulted in a distribution of job centers around the Valley,” Smith says. “That allows every part of the Valley to achieve its dream and have employment closer to where the homes are. That distributes the wealth throughout the Valley.”

Smith says the freeways also extended the Valley’s reach to Yavapai, Pinal and Pima counties, creating a megapolitan area known as the Sun Corridor.

 

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011