Tag Archives: WESTMARC

The Offices at Reems.

Sperry Van Ness Represents the Seller in a 16-Unit Office Condo Portfolio Sale in Surprise

Justin Horwitz, Nicole Ridberg and Neil Sherman of Sperry Van Ness, LLC, in Phoenix represented Pacific Western Bank in the sale of the Offices at Reems, a 16-unit office condo portfolio located at 15515-15571 N. Reems Road in Surprise, Ariz.
The bank-owned shell and built-out condo units sold for $1,350,000 or $56 per square foot and closed on August 27. The portfolio is approximately 24,101 SF.
“The transaction turned out to be a win-win for both the buyer and seller,” said Justin Horwitz. “This sale put the Offices at Reems back on track to being a vibrant and desirable office condo project in the West Valley.”
The buyer, Reems and Greenway, LLC, was represented by Steve Cook of Escee Properties.

rsz_wm_2012

WESTMARC Economic Development Summit Set For April 18; Michael Bidwill To Be Keynote Speaker

 

Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals and one of Arizona’s biggest champions for economic development, will be the keynote speaker April 18 as WESTMARC hosts its 2013 Economic Development Summit at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel, 9495 W. Coyote Blvd. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As president of Arizona’s NFL team, Bidwill has been a vital part of economic development initiatives and strategies for many years. He will share his thoughts on statewide and regional economic development and the direction of his investment in the West Valley.

Panel discussions will follow the theme, “Why the West Valley?” Learn from companies doing business and expanding in the West Valley in key industries, including:

>> Manufacturing: Bill Lawrie, Corporate Manager of Manufacturing Engineering – Sub-Zero;

>> Aerospace and Defense: Joe Marvin, President, Prime Solutions Group;

>> Healthcare: Jeff O’Malley, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center;

Also speaking will be Christine Clouse, Director of Development, Midwestern University.

Learn from experts in economic development and real estate the potential for the future of the West Valley and what we need to do to get there. Panelists will include:

Barry Broome, President & CEO; Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Nate Nathan, President and Designated Broker, Nathan & Associates; and Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.

Registration is available online at westmarc.org.

C-47

WESTMARC presenting special award to Luke Forward group

While WESTMARC is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the annual Best of the West Awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel, a special honor will also be a part of the festivities – recognizing the region’s successful efforts to land the new F-35 training center at Luke Air Force Base, the region’s most significant economic contributor.

At the anniversary event, WESTMARC will announce three West Valley award winners: Economic Engine Award, Quality of Life Enhancement Award and the Excellence in Innovation Award. The John F. Long Lifetime Achievement and WESTMARC Leadership awards will also be presented at the ceremony.

However, an important part of the evening will be dedicated to presenting a special 20th anniversary award honoring the Luke Forward community engagement campaign that worked diligently for more than three years to build regional and statewide community support and was pivotal in the recent efforts to secure the new F-35 training center at Luke Air Force Base.

A special honor will be given to the group, featuring Luke Forward Co-Chairs Elaine Scruggs and Charley Freericks, to show WESTMARC’s appreciation for the efforts to significantly enhance the image, lifestyle and economic development throughout the region.

“The Luke Forward award was designed as a distinct honor for Luke Forward’s successful efforts to make the F-35 mission at Luke Air Force base a reality,” said Michelle Rider, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “The Best of the West event is a perfect fit to honor this group that has made such a significant impact in the West Valley.”

The Best of the West reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and awards at 7 p.m. Cost to attend for WESTMARC members is $250 per person, $2,000 for a table of 10. For non-members, $275 per person, $2,250 for a table of 10.

The Economic Engine Award will recognize individuals and organizations which have created a significant economic impact in the region. Honorees for the Quality of Life Enhancement Award will recognize educational, community, arts and recreational programs, facilities or leaders enhancing the quality of life in the West Valley. The Excellence in Innovation Award will recognize individuals and organizations demonstrating an innovative concept or fulfilling a need that preserves the region’s assets and resources and create an economic benefit for West Valley residents.

Presenting Sponsor of Best of the West is Cox Communications. Other sponsors include Republic Media, Banner Health, DMB, APS, SCF Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, City of Peoria, City of Phoenix, SRP, Sun  Health, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo Bank Arizona and Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium.

Untitled

WESTMARC seeks ‘Best of the West’ nominations

WESTMARC is seeking nominations for its 20th anniversary Best of the West Awards ceremony scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel.

At the anniversary event, WESTMARC will announce three West Valley award winners: Economic Engine Award, Quality of Life Enhancement Award and the Excellence in Innovation Award. Nominations are due Wednesday, Sept.12, by 5 p.m. Nominations can be emailed to events@westmarc.org or mailed to WESTMARC’s Peoria office at 14100 N 83rd Avenue, Suite 150. The cost for each nomination is $25 for members and $50 for non-members. Nomination forms are available www.westmarc.org and require one to three high resolution images.

“The Best of the West Awards will recognize outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economy in the West Valley,” said Michelle Rider, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “With all the significant activity in the West Valley this past year, the challenging part will be narrowing our awards to only three winners.”

Nominations are sought from those individuals and organizations west of Interstate 17. The Economic Engine Award will recognize individuals and organizations which have created a significant economic impact in the region. Nominees will be judged on economic impact in proportion to the size of the nominee or to the population.

Potential nominees for the Quality of Life Enhancement Award will recognize educational, community, arts and recreational programs, facilities or leaders enhancing the quality of life in the West Valley.

The Excellence in Innovation Award will recognize individuals and organizations demonstrating an innovative concept or fulfilling a need that preserves the region’s assets and resources and create an economic benefit for West Valley residents.

A special 20th anniversary award will be presented at the ceremony to the Luke Forward community engagement campaign which was pivotal to the recent effort to secure the new F-35 training center at Luke Air Force Base. WESTMARC will also present the John F. Long Lifetime Achievement Award and the WESTMARC Leadership Award.

“A special thank you to our Presenting Partner, Cox Communications, and all of our sponsors for their continued generous support,” added Rider. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

SL-DigitalMagazine

Scottsdale Living Magazine – Winter 2012

Winter 2012 Issue

Health | Beauty | Lifestyle
Oh So Retro

Only in Arizona will you find people stocking up on sunblock and tanning by the pool — in April. And at the Hotel Valley Ho, it was evident during our swimsuit photo shoot in March, which couldn’t have arrived soon enough as the OH Pool was already swarming with guests.

And here we thought it was too soon to dedicate this side of the magazine to swimsuits.

This spring issue is all about prepping for the upcoming summer season by taking a step back into the past — decades back. During your swimsuit hunt, I’m betting you’ll be hit with a splash of neon, a ripple of ruffles and a wave of retro-themed suits. But which is for you? Don’t worry; we’ll cover that, too, and so much more.

Go for the Monroe or be bold with a Betty; retro is in, and it has never looked better.

Kristine Cannon,
Associate Editor

Home | Garden | Design
Remodeling Memories

Gossie SignatureMichael Gossie,
Managing Editor

Before I moved to Arizona, I owned an old home in Corning, N.Y., with a third floor that had become — over the course of the home’s 100-year history — a glorified attic. After I bought the house, the wasted space of that third floor bothered me. So I gutted it to give it a loft feel, installed a fireplace and bar, and turned it into a place where my friends gathered for Super Bowl parties, fight nights and epic poker games.

Memories from that third floor are what I remember most from that home.

Kristine Cannon’s story in this issue of Scottsdale Living about David and Brooke Ide’s transformation of a spare bedroom into a nursery reminded me about how a simple — or in my case, somewhat complicated — remodeling project can create space that will help your family and friends create memories.That is what turns a house into a home. Or, in my case, a money-making venture, because I ALWAYS won my friends’ money in our epic poker battles. How do you think I paid for the remodel?

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

West Valley Cities Are Looking Toward Foreign Trade Zone To Boost Their Local Economies

After three years of hard work and dedication, WESTMARC and West Valley city leaders finally saw their labor come to fruition with the formal granting of the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone (GMFTZ) in December.

The establishment of the Foreign Trade Zone began following the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934.

Most FTZs are applied for by a single city, but Harry Paxton, economic development director for the city of Goodyear, says the GMFTZ is one of only a few in the United States that was supported by a consortium of cities for an entire region. The application fees were paid by landowners of the properties in the region requesting FTZ status.

“It is vital to high-volume importers and exporters (foreign or domestic) operating the United States in reducing duty fees and speeding up the supply chain, allowing companies operating … to maintain competitiveness,” Paxton says.

The GMFTZ, he adds, “is a valuable tool that is useful in attracting and retaining businesses, and creating new job opportunities.”

Paxton is a member of the GMFTZ Advisory Council, which was formed so each city participating in the GMFTZ would have representation.

The cities in the West Valley that are participating in the FTZ are Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise and Wickenburg. WESTMARC became involved in the process after community leaders with Goodyear and Surprise approached the organization requesting its support.

The approval in December gave FTZ General Purpose Zone status to four sites:

AIRPORT GATEWAY AT GOODYEAR

This 230-acre site located from Van Buren Street south to Yuma Road, will have approximately three million square feet of industrial and work space. It is located in close proximity to Phoenix Goodyear Airport, which is constructing an additional 4,300-foot runway and a new entrance to the facility, which will be adjacent to the FTZ site.

SURPRISE POINTE BUSINESS PARK

Located on the southeast corner of Waddell and Litchfield roads, this 130-acre site has access to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Line, which will send goods to Los Angeles ports.

PALM VALLEY 303

Located north of Indian School Road along Loop 303, the site features 1,600 acres and has designated 235 acres for FTZ status. Development of the entire project will be phased over the next 20 years and is expected to feature 20 million square feet of office, retail, warehouse and industrial space.

10 WEST LOGISTICS CENTER

This 318-acre site is located on 339th Avenue and the I-10 in Buckeye, providing easy access to the freeway.

Several additional sites throughout the West Valley are under consideration for FTZ status, including the Goodyear Crossing Industrial Park, a 198-acre site at the northeast corner of MC 85 and Cotton Lane.

WESTMARC

The benefits to being in an FTZ, Paxton says, are numerous.

“Businesses in FTZs are treated as though they are outside U.S. Customs territory, and merchandise that is repacked, assembled, manufactured, displayed or placed in storage can be brought into the FTZ duty-free,” Paxton says. “Imports can be moved more quickly, without full Customs formalities. In addition, qualifying businesses located in a FTZ in Arizona are eligible for substantial reductions — currently 75 percent — on real and personal property taxes.”

Several large companies already have started construction or announced plans to start a location on the FTZ sites. A facility for appliance manufacturer Sub-Zero, based in Wisconsin, is under construction and will bring an estimated 380 jobs to Goodyear. In addition, the plastics manufacturing company Schoeller Arca Systems, based in the Netherlands, will hire an initial 45 employees for its new site in Goodyear.

Companies based in an FTZ, Paxton explains, must comply with regulations set by U.S. Customs officials. Communities benefit from these regulations as well, he says, due to the higher levels of security for imports.

Moving forward, Paxton says his goals for the GMFTZ revolve around helping not only the city of Goodyear, but also the entire West Valley.

“(I want to) ensure that each community that has a desire to participate has the best opportunity to succeed in helping existing employers expand and attract new employers to their respective communities, which will create new jobs for our citizens.”

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

new WESTMARC CEO

Despite WESTMARC CEO Change, WESTMARC Keeps Its Focus

WESTMARC CEO Change – When WESTMARC entered its 21st year this past January, an announcement was made that few members expected. Jack Lunsford, WESTMARC CEO for the past seven years, announced he would be stepping down for health reasons.

In addition to leading WESTMARC in its goals for 2011, the incoming chair, Candace Wiest, suddenly had a daunting task ahead of her — finding Lunsford’s replacement.

“Losing someone like Jack is always very difficult,” Wiest says. “He’s been a known commodity for a number of years and has accomplished a lot in the West Valley, and so you kind of look around and go, ‘Wow, what are we going to do now, especially when it’s so unexpected like this.’ ”

Wiest and her team didn’t have to look far for an interim CEO. John Bradley, who had served on WESTMARC’s board for a number of years, stepped up to the plate and has helped guide the organization as it continues its efforts in advocacy and public policy for the West Valley, all the while searching a permanent leader. Wiest says they have narrowed that list down to six candidates and hope to make an announcement soon.

“As you can imagine, people get very nervous in a dues-paying organization when you lose your CEO,” Wiest says. “John stepped into that role literally the day Jack left and he has helped grow membership and really stabilized the organization. He’s just done a great job.”

WESTMARC is committed to several key issues that impact the 15 communities it represents, including education, economic development, transportation, tourism, health care, Luke Air Force Base, and quality of life.

One aspect of WESTMARC that makes it unique, Wiest adds, is its 250 employer members that represent 70,000 jobs. This cross spectrum of industries involved in WESTMARC makes the group qualified, she says, to understand and respond appropriately to economic development in the West Valley.

“Every single focus is on economic development and a responsible method of public policy,” Wiest says. She explains that the organization will be identifying and focusing its efforts on four projects each year that affect economic development in the West Valley. One such project it will work on this year is the recent impact fees legislation. The law will cause Arizona cities to give up some of their powers in assessing fees on new developments.

“The fact of the matter is that cities that are built out, like Tempe and Scottsdale, will not be as impacted as West Valley cities that haven’t yet matured,” she says. “It’s going to really change the way we can be developed and our desirability, so (the West Valley) is going to be the most impacted.”

One of the challenges Wiest says the organization has encountered in recent years, especially in the down economy, is retaining its membership numbers. She says WESTMARC not only has met that challenge, but has surpassed it with a growth in membership this year. The key to overcoming this challenge, she says, is ensuring the membership is reaping rewarding benefits.

She points to a health care forum held in May as one of the most recent benefits for members.

Christine Clouse and Sharon Grambow, co-chairs of the health care committee for WESTMARC, recommended holding the forum. Health care’s status as one of the leading economic drivers in the state also was a key factor in planning the event. The forum benefited not only health care industry members, Wiest says, but also other industry members who may have been overwhelmed by recent legislation.

Wiest says the health care forum most likely will be among this year’s greatest achievements for the organization, as will be the continued success of the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone, which she explains will be a great economic development tool for the region for many years to come.

WESTMARC also was among the first organizations to issue a statement in support of keeping the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes hockey team in Glendale, which Wiest explains was a valuable move for its membership. She adds that the possibility of the team leaving the state would have had a negative impact on regional economic development.

“I think what we do is very unique,” Wiest says. “Our mission is really driven by the needs of our members.”

 

AZ TechCelerator - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Business Incubator AZ TechCelerator Works To Create Viable Companies In The West Valley

In an effort to boost its economy and shake its reputation as a bedroom community, the city of Surprise has launched AZ TechCelerator, a business incubator for budding entrepreneurs. The incubator offers well-below market rent, administrative support and access to experts who can help the entreprenuers “graduate” in three to five years, and thus bring their products and services to the marketplace.

The incubator comes in handy, especially in dire economic times. There are always entrepreneurs hoping to develop products or services. But in a slow economy, when people have been laid off and are unable to find gainful employment, Az TechCelerator gives those people an opportunity to test their ideas and innovations.

Of course, Surprise officials hope these startups will set up shop in their city once they emerge from AZ TechCelerator. A rule of thumb among business incubators is that 60 percent to 75 percent of these entrepreneurs do graduate, and about 75 percent of those will indeed remain in Surprise.

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, applauds Surprise’s effort.

“It’s an approach that our communities need to take as they seek and advance a knowledge-based economy,” he says. “I commend them for their innovation. We need more of these incubators. The high-paying jobs that come from spin-offs of these entrepreneurships is great.”

Mike Hoover, economic development coordinator for Surprise, gives the initial group of businesses high marks.

“They are exceeding our own expectations on quality and the amount of business going on in there, especially the anticipated growth and success of some of the businesses,” he says.

The AZ TechCelerator is located at 12425 W. Bell Road, in a four-building complex that formerly served as the Surprise City Hall. It totals nearly 60,000 square feet, which is four times the size of a typical incubator. Hoover says it can accommodate up to 15 businesses, depending on their size.

Three types of businesses are considered likely participants — those that deal in sustainability, such as solar technologies; life sciences and/or health care; and information technology.

One of the businesses in the incubator is MD 24, a medical service company that developed advanced software for home health care. It enables doctors to receive lab results, for example, while seeing patients in facilities that provide care for the elderly. Another company, Solar Jump AC, is developing more efficient cooling systems using solar thermal heat; and Athena Wireless Communications offers software for banking, telemedicine and other industries.

“These businesses are not yet commercially viable, needing assistance through a collegial supportive atmosphere that the city provides,” Hoover says.

In addition to offering space at a below-market rental rate, the city also provides an array of support services, including mail, copying and other administrative functions that each business needs.

The city’s most important service, Hoover says, is being able to link incubator businesses with various associations and support groups that can provide assistance with their specific needs.

“Whether they need help on putting together a marketing brochure, protecting intellectual property, or understanding how to put together a business plan for the company covering the next three to five years, they are able to get help,” Hoover says. “Anything that is identified inside of a strong and stable business, the city helps these businesses reach out to groups that can help them.”

Another way the city prepares businesses for graduation is by ratcheting up the low rents the longer the company remains in the incubator.

“It prepares them for the commercial world,” Hoover says. “There’s no sticker shock. At the end of their stay here, they are closer to commercial viability because they are paying closer to a commercial rent.”

Surprise started preparation work for the incubator in June 2009, began marketing it in September, and accepted its first tenants around the start of November.

One of the side benefits of the AZ TechCelerator is that it occupies the former City Hall complex that otherwise might have remained vacant. When the city moved to its new municipal facility at 8401 W. Monroe St., several hundred people left the old site on Bell Road.

“Restaurants and other businesses in the area were suffering,” Hoover says. “The choices were to leave that space dormant, or reprogram it into an economic engine. We turned a nonperforming asset into an economic starter.”

Surprise hopes to keep the expense of running the incubator as close to break-even as possible, supported by rent and common area fees, Hoover says.

“Our purpose is for business and job creation,” he says. “There are no retail projects inside. They are all some type of service or product development. They’re not competing with retail outlets on the outside.”

www.surpriseaz.com

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

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

West Valley Industry Turnover

WESTMARC Unveils The Results Of A Work Force Labor Market Study

What started as an initiative from the city of Surprise Economic Development Department quickly turned into an unprecedented work force study on the entire West Valley spearheaded by WESTMARC. The study came about through a collaboration of communities, corporations, government entities and educational institutions that contributed more than $150,000 to fund the report.

“West Valley communities have experienced tremendous growth since the 2000 Census. They were having difficulty addressing questions from business prospects concerning the size and skill levels of the regional work force,” says Surprise Economic Development Coordinator Megan Griego, who sits on WESTMARC’s economic development committee and was chair of the Workforce Labor Study of the West Valley. “The communities of the West Valley formed a consortium to better understand their region’s work force and to better promote its growth and development.”

Russ Ullinger, senior project manager of economic development for SRP, and WESTMARC co-chair and member of the economic development committee, adds that the concept for the study developed out of necessity.

“Numerous surveys and studies have identified work force as one of the most important assets when national site selection consultants consider different regions and locations for businesses,” he says.

“This is relevant in good economic times, as well as poor economic times. This study truly drills and provides specific labor information unique to the West Valley.”

Harry Paxton, economic development director for the city of Goodyear, who also acted as co-chair of the study, credits WESTMARC’s partnerships with the Maricopa Work Force Connection, as well as Maricopa Community College in the development and funding of the study. He also praises WESTMARC for bringing together work force professionals to get their input on what the study should entail.

In May 2008, WESTMARC enlisted California-based ERISS Corporation to prepare the comprehensive labor market analysis.

“That analysis involved a survey of all businesses in the West Valley with 20 or more employees — all such businesses were contracted and 1,100 completed the survey — and a detailed review of newly available government information,” Griego says.

The detailed data developed by the survey and the analysis of various government data sources is also available through www.usworks.com/westmarc, which presents the comprehensive information and data relevant to businesses, site selectors, economic development professionals, work force development professionals and educators into convenient and customizable reports.

The results of the study can now help the 15 West Valley communities represented in the report to identify their specific needs when it comes to work force issues, transportation and industry growth, and demand. For example, Glendale encompasses more than 6,000 firms, according to the report. Health care accounts for more than 12 percent of total employment in Glendale, which is higher than the Metro Phoenix area as a whole (9.1 percent), but is on par with other West Valley cities. The results also show that 19.6 percent of Glendale workers live and work in the city. The majority of other Glendale employees travel from Metro Phoenix (35.3 percent) and as many as 1.3 percent commute from Tucson.

In general, the study found there are more than 450,000 workers available to fill jobs for the right offer. In addition, there are growth and expansion opportunities in the industries of transportation, wholesale trade, traditional and non-store retail, as well as education. Regarding industry growth, health care leads the trend with a 6 percent growth rate. Construction and transportation/utilities follow closely with a 5 percent growth rate each, and retail in the West Valley has a 4 percent growth rate.

As part of the study, businesses were asked to rate their own work forces on a scale of one to seven, one representing the lowest productivity rating and seven the highest.Sixty-six percent of the area’s employers ranked their employees in one of the two highest categories.

Absenteeism is also a non-issue when it comes to West Valley workers as a whole. The majority of employers, 63 percent, reported that absenteeism is “not a significant problem” at their firms, and when absences do occur, 61 percent of employers reported that the cause is a legitimate illness with childcare.
Jack Lunsford, WESTMARC’s president and CEO, says ERISS Corporation did an excellent job with the study and the results have given them a course of action.



“We found that we have in the West Valley, even in this economy, a very large and qualified labor supply, and we still have some industries that are currently growing and that anticipate growth,” he says, adding that results also show West Valley communities need to implement a live/work/play strategy to avoid the problems with transportation issues.

Landis Elliott, business development director for House of Elliott, says the benefits of the study are numerous. “The study is a tool that the West Valley cities can use while working with potential locates to validate the high-quality employees we have in this region,” she says.

Mr.WestValley

John F. Long Didn’t Just Build Houses In The West Valley, He Also Built A Community

About the only person who would disagree about calling the late John F. Long the father of the West Valley would be John F. Long. For more than 60 years, the man described by friends and colleagues as quiet and unassuming, held the vision that transformed the West Valley from fields to thousands of homes for soldiers returning from World War II to emerging cities.

The legacy of John F. Long will live forever,” says Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Unlike footprints in the beach sand, which are eventually washed away, John’s are cast in concrete. And that doesn’t just mean buildings. He left us foresight and philanthropy, all with humility and without fanfare, simply because he loved the area, he loved people, and he wanted to make the West Valley a great place for families to live.”

Long died in February at the age of 87, but his legacy in the West Valley — indeed the entire Valley — will live on, not just in the communities he built, but also in the people whose lives he touched.

“His vision and reality of building a master-planned community is certainly important,” says his son, Jacob Long, who is chief operating officer for the company his father founded, John F. Long Properties. “Not only was he providing an affordable place to live for so many, he was also providing jobs for so many people. A lot of those people not only stayed here, but they are an integral part of helping the West Valley grow as business and community leaders. At least once a week I meet someone who says, ‘Because of your father, my family or I was able to buy a solid home at a great price. It helped me build equity.’ ”

A Phoenix native, John Long got his start in the building industry with a G.I. loan, his own hammer and other tools he borrowed from his stepfather. He first set out to build a home for his new wife, Mary. Instead, he ended up selling the home for twice what it cost to build.

By 1954, John Long was thinking big. He set out not only to build a collection of tract homes in one area, but also to create a community with schools, churches, hospitals, shopping centers and parks. Long created the state’s first master-planned community and named it Maryvale, after his wife.

By applying mass production techniques to homebuilding, Long was able to offer a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a swimming pool for less than $10,000. Houses began selling at a rate of 100 per week, and John F. Long Properties was born.

Despite his success, Long never forgot who he was building the homes for, says Diane McCarthy, director of business partnerships and legislative affairs for West-MEC. For example, when Long first began constructing homes, he realized the VA loans didn’t cover such essentials as refrigerators and stoves. So Long trekked to Washington, D.C., and went before Congress to change the scope of the VA loans.

“He didn’t do it to make money. Making money was a sidebar to what he was doing,” McCarthy says. “He wanted to build communities. He knew with all those returning servicemen after World War II who had served out here either at Williams or Luke, he knew they were going to come West and he wanted an affordable place for them to live.”

Already hailed as an innovator for his assembly line methods of homebuilding, Long adopted sustainable methods years before it became popular. In 1988, John F. Long Homes was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop, construct and test a demonstration model home featuring roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cells. His Solar One became the world’s first solar subdivision. The 24-home subdivision in Glendale has almost all of its power needs met by ground-mounted photovoltaic cells.

“I think John was probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs and innovators, at least in the housing end, in water conservation, in just general development,” says Rep. John Nelson, (R-Phoenix). “He was a step ahead of everybody in those areas.”

John F. LongFor Long, finding new ways to build homes was just one part of his vision. He was interested in building a community; more specifically, he wanted the West Valley to be a place where people lived and worked. Rather than resent the fact that the West Valley was perpetually in the East Valley’s shadow, Long took the East Valley model and used it to reshape the West Valley. To that end, WESTMARC was born

“WESTMARC wouldn’t have happened without him. It’s just that simple,” says McCarthy, who first met Long in 1992, when she became the first director of WESTMARC. “He provided a lot of the seed money for us to get started, and in addition to the money, he talked to a lot of people. When you’re starting up an organization like that, you don’t have a lot of credibility because you don’t have a track record. He was willing to talk to other people and say, ‘Look, I really believe in what this organization can do and we have to give it a chance. And we all have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get involved and help make a lot of these things happen.’ ”

Making things happen was a John Long specialty. He was always quick to donate money, land or services to make sure his beloved West Valley would continue to grow and be a place where people could raise families and build communities. A very small portion of what he gave includes the labor and material to fill potholes on 550 miles of West Phoenix streets; building and donating 21 townhouses to the city’s Affordable Housing Program; and when the Milwaukee Brewers were looking for a new Spring Training home, donating 60 acres of land for the Maryvale Baseball Park – as well as lending the city $10 million for construction.

Besides giving out of his own pocket, Long made sure others with the wherewithal gave as well.

“Dad was born and raised in Phoenix,” Jacob Long says. “This makes a huge difference. You have that sense of ownership and pride. He always was looking for ways to help others help themselves, who in turn might have the same feelings and be inspired. That is how true communities flourish.”

John Long had a standing challenge to other developers who built in the West Valley, Nelson says.

“He’d say, ‘I’ll do this if you do that,’ ” Nelson adds. “If you took a look at the developers who took a project on the West Side, they always had that challenge with John to put a project in pace that had benefits for those who lived there.”

McCarthy recalls a time when the library and senior center just north of Indian School Road and 51st Avenue badly needed repairs. Long made sure money for the upgrades was included in a bond measure. The measure succeeded, but when he found out the renovations weren’t scheduled until years later, Long took matters into his own hands.

“He went to the city and said, ‘Here’s the check for $10 million. Get it done sooner and pay me when the bond proceeds come in,’ ” McCarthy says. “So that beautiful, beautiful library and senior center he lived to see done.”

Exactly how much Long gave to the community is not exactly known, as most of his work was done behind the scenes and with no fanfare.

“Both parents instilled in us the need to be aware of someone who truly needs help and is experiencing a tough time through no fault of their own,” Jacob Long says. “One such person, a teenager, experienced a very bad athletic accident. He was confined to a wheelchair and his parents didn’t have the resources to modify their home. Dad read about this in the newspaper and he contacted the family and offered to remodel their home to accommodate the son’s special needs. This way he could be with his family. No one asked (my Dad) to do this.”

His philanthropy was not a recent development. In fact, he established the John F. Long Foundation, a nonprofit group supporting local charities, schools, education events and general community needs, in 1959. Long was generous in the extreme, but he was still a businessman and he would fight to protect his interests and those of the community he loved.

“He had a heart of gold and was tough as nails when he had to be,” Nelson says. “John sued the living daylights out of the city of Phoenix (in 1986) because they sold water to Palo Verde (Nuclear Generating Station). That was another side of John; he was not afraid to fight. If he felt he was right, he’d drag you to court. He didn’t care who you were.”

In 2000, WESTMARC created a lifetime achievement award and named it after Long. Despite all of his years working for the West Valley, the honor came as a surprise to him, McCarthy says.

“We told him we named it after him and I had never seen him speechless up to that point,” she says. “He was so thrilled at that. And then every year, I would take a couple of names to him and ask him, ‘Who do you think should get it?’ And he’d pick out the one and say, ‘That’s the one.’

“He never, ever flaunted anything. He was the most humble person. He would walk into a room and quietly sit down and unless you knew John Long, you wouldn’t know it was him,” McCarthy says. “I miss him. He was always somebody to call if you had an idea and he was willing to call you if he had an idea. And that’s how things get done.”

West-MEC provides career and tech training

West-MEC Provides Career And Tech Training To West Valley Teens

Keeping with its goal of enhancing the education system in the West Valley, WESTMARC is a major proponent of West-MEC — the Western Maricopa Education Center District. West-MEC is a public school district that provides Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to more than 21,000 high school students in the West Valley. West-MEC was formed in 2002 after eight west side communities voted to form the Western Maricopa Education Center. Today, 12 districts and 39 high schools make up the West-MEC district. Not only is WESTMARC a business partner with the school district, but also, President and CEO Jeff Lundsford is on West-MEC’s governing board.

Greg Donovan, West-MEC superintendent, says combining efforts and expenditures allows West-MEC to offer students more than any one district could offer alone.

“Some career and technical education programs require a lot of very expensive equipment,” he says. “Individual districts may not have the space, money or expertise to offer such programs, so we help fund the programs and provide the necessary equipment.”

West-MEC programs include classroom instruction, laboratory instruction and work-based learning. Some of the career and technical education programs offered include business, finance, marketing, technical and trades, and health occupations. A school district works with local business and industry to build educational links to employment and continuing educational opportunities. Business leaders such as Mike McAfee, director of education for the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association (AADA), which represents and supports all new car dealers in the state, work with the school district. They help determine employment sectors to focus on the type of programs and equipment needed for training.

McAfee helped Peoria High School become the first high school in the West Valley to earn NATEF Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and offer a class that teaches brakes, steering suspension, electrical and engine performance. High school students in the West-MEC district can take the same automotive classes at Glendale Community College. Ford, GM and Chrysler provide new vehicles and equipment for the program at no cost to the college so students can train on new vehicles. Gateway Community College has the same type of partnership but with Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Kia.

“With more than 230 million cars and trucks on the road today, demand for highly skilled techs is going to continue,” McAfee says. “So when we employ students in their junior and senior years, we want them to continue their education.”

Experienced technicians typically earn between $30,000 and $60,000 annually in metropolitan areas. Incomes of more than $70,000 are not unusual for highly skilled, hard working master technicians, according to the AADA.

Stephanie Miller, a graduate of Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, wanted to explore a career in health care, so she took a two-part, CTE lab class during her senior year. When the class was over she was certified as a phlebotomist in Arizona. Miller’s certification landed her a job at Sun Health Del E. Webb Memorial Hospital, where she works as a part-time phlebotomist. She also attends Arizona State University and is taking classes to earn a degree in physical therapy.

“This is my first job and I make well over $10 an hour so I consider myself lucky,” Miller says.

Justin Rice, 19, a graduate of Centennial High School in Peoria, took automotive and medical CTE classes during his senior year. The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) classes were held at Glendale Community College. Since Rice was in high school, he did not have to pay the $800 tuition for the EMT classes.

“If I hadn’t had this opportunity, I would still be saving to take the classes today,” he says.

Rice now works as a part-time EMT for First Responders Inc., which provides medical support during Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns games, and for Little League games.

West-MEC opened a new cosmetology training center in July for students who attend high school in the West-MEC district. The 10,000-square-foot facility in Peoria is operated through a partnership between West-MEC and Gateway Community College’s Maricopa Skill Center. The center opened with 240 students and next year, enrollment will increase to 480 students, which is the center’s capacity. Students who complete the state-required minimum 1,600 hours of instruction will be eligible to take the state cosmetology board exam to become certified cosmetologists.

Chris Cook, West-MEC’s director of marketing and public relations, said the two-year cosmetology program costs $1,200 instead of $8,000 to $15,000 for the same program after high school.

A 2007 survey conducted by the National Accreditation Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences showed that owners of Arizona salons are hoping to hire more than 6,800 individuals this year.

“Students benefit greatly from these programs,” Cook says. “It’s a stepping stone to a career or post-secondary education.”

Gridlock

West Valley Looks To Improve Transportation Efforts

Finding Solutions to Gridlock

West Valley looks to improve transportation efforts

By Debra Gelbart

Transportation issues affect the entire Valley of the Sun, of course, but they are particularly weighty in the West Valley, where lack of sufficient freeway miles and the dearth of motorist-friendly roadways are taking a toll on commerce, economic development, tempers and safety. “We simply don’t have the freeway miles that the East Valley does,” says Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, who also chairs the Maricopa Association of Government’s (MAG) Transportation Policy Committee. “In the West Valley, we have too many people traveling on arterial streets, which hurts the quality of life within a city.”

find_solutionsShe says other areas of the Valley are able to concentrate on different aspects of transportation besides freeways. “Phoenix is focused on building light rail and expanding bus service. The East Valley is improving arterial streets,” she says. “But here in the West Valley, we’re still trying to get enough freeways to manage our explosive growth.”

It’s more than just an issue of convenience. “The seven-mile stretch of Interstate 10 that passes through the city of Goodyear—between Perryville Road on the west and Dysart Road on the east—is a major corridor of commerce for products from Asian manufacturing centers off-loaded at the Los Angeles ports,” says Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh, “and because of the narrowing of the freeway here [there are only two lanes in each direction], traffic backs up terribly. We’ve investigated and found that these seven miles have 10 times the number of traffic fatalities compared with the national average for the 2,500 miles of Interstate 10 across the nation. And we know that this leg of I-10 accounts for 35 percent of all traffic fatalities on I-10 within metropolitan Phoenix.”

The reality is that the commute from the West Valley to Phoenix has become unbearable, says Jay Ellingson, vice president of land development for SunCor, developer of the master planned community of Palm Valley. In January, Ellingson will become chair of WESTMARC, the Western Maricopa Coalition, which brings together representatives of business, 13 local governments and educational organizations to advocate for sound public policy in the West Valley. “We’re just not given the attention we deserve by employers and educational institutions,” Scruggs says, “in part because it’s difficult to travel from and through the West Valley because of so few freeway miles.”

Cavanaugh has been instrumental in securing relief for the congestion on I-10. Originally, I-10 between Dysart Road and the Loop 303 at Cotton Lane was not supposed to be widened until 2011. But because of the efforts of Cavanaugh, other Goodyear officials, leaders from the cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Litchfield Park, MAG and the Arizona Department of Transportation, the widening project will now get under way in 2007. “By late 2008, we will have four lanes in each direction,” Cavanaugh says. “By early 2010, we’ll have five lanes in each direction.”

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, says accelerating the widening of I-10 will have a dramatic effect on businesses. “If your people are sitting in traffic for an extra half hour at any given time, that results in a decrease in productivity,” he adds.

Accelerating the widening of I-10 is critical for the people who live in the West Valley, adds John Bradley, general manager of Verrado, DMB’s master planned community in Buckeye. The residents of Verrado may be able to look forward to the I-10 widening from Loop 303 to State Route 85 possibly beginning in 2013 rather than 2023, as originally planned. Currently about 2,000 people live in Verrado; at build-out in 2017 it’s expected to be home to as many as 30,000 residents.
The widening of I-10 is one of three freeway projects that will affect the West Valley. Another is extending Loop 202 from I-10 linking I-10 in the West Valley to I-10 in the Southeast Valley. Construction would start in 2009 and finish in 2015.

AZ Business MagazineThe third freeway project affecting the West Valley is construction of Loop 303, located about 10 of miles west of Loop 101 and currently a two-lane roadway extending from McDowell Road to Grand Avenue in Surprise. Future construction of what will be called the Estrella Freeway will link Interstates 10 and 17 in the far West Valley, but the six-lane freeway won’t be completed until about 2014. “All of these projects are vital now to moving traffic more efficiently and effectively in and around our West Valley cities,” Lunsford says, “and they will be critical in the West Valley’s ability to accommodate and manage future growth.”

Scruggs says the West Valley’s time in the spotlight is overdue. “The West Valley still isn’t recognized for the role it plays in Maricopa County,” she says. “The center of the Valley is shifting westward, to right around Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue. The way the West Valley is perceived will begin to change when we get the freeways we need.”

www.glendaleaz.com
www.ci.goodyear.az.us
www.suncoraz.com
www.westmarc.org
www.dmbinc.com

Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

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Home Run

Playing The Economics Of Sports In The West Valley

Home Run

Playing the economics of sports in the West Valley

 

It’s not so much a case of “if you build it, they will come” that is turning the West Valley into a sports mecca. Rather, it’s the other way around. People have come to the West Valley in droves, setting the stage for an economic explosion and a sports megalopolis. The Arizona Cardinals stadium opens this month, the NHL Phoenix Coyotes play in adjacent Glendale Arena, five Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training at West Valley sites with two cities avidly seeking other teams to call their own and Phoenix International Raceway stages two major NASCAR races a year.

home_runEconomist Elliott Pollack says population growth came to the West Valley first. Contrary to the view of some, Pollack says, “The Phoenix area grows like a balloon in a very orderly manner, at its periphery. Growth got to the west side and the area was looking for an image.”

He calls Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs “a very smart lady,” who took advantage of the situation—a population explosion and an abundance of available land. The growth is happening not only in Glendale but in Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale and Buckeye as well.

Cardinals Stadium and Glendale Arena essentially created a focal point for that area. “It gave the media something to focus on,” Pollack says. “The area would have grown anyway, but now with a much better image than before.”

Julie Frisoni, marketing and communication director for the city of Glendale, agrees. “Growth is driving the West Valley expansion,” she says. “Much of the East Valley is built up and developed. In the next 15 to 20 years, 40 percent of all growth will be west of the 101 (Agua Fria Freeway).”
People moving to the West Valley expect good housing, quality jobs, entertainment and sporting options, restaurants and shopping opportunities, Frisoni says. “Glendale always has been a bedroom community, a place where people lived and went somewhere else to work and for entertainment. Growth demands the amenities you’re seeing spring up.”

With growth comes soaring land prices. When the deal for the Glendale Arena was struck in 2001, agricultural land there was selling for $2 a square foot. Today, commercial land at the Westgate City Center in Glendale carries a price tag of as much as $25 a square foot. In seven to 10 years, Westgate will have 6 million square feet of retail and restaurants.

Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of WESTMARC, a West Valley economic development organization, says the sports explosion is having a huge dual impact—direct and indirect—on the West Valley economy. The direct impact is fairly easy to calculate. For example, Lunsford says, each of the two NASCAR races are worth $200 million to $250 million to the local economy, and the 2008 NFL Super Bowl, $250 million to $300 million. Add to the mix the Fiesta Bowl and the NCAA Bowl Championship games, plus the hundreds of events, concerts and meetings to be held in the Arizona Cardinals stadium and Glendale Arena and the economic impact is huge, he says.

Spring training is yet another economic engine. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers train in Surprise, the Milwaukee Brewers are in the Maryvale area of Phoenix and the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners share a stadium in Peoria. Glendale and Goodyear are on the hunt for Major League teams and appear serious about building their own stadiums. “In two years we could end up with eight teams in the West Valley,” Lunsford says.

Frisoni says Glendale has entered into an exclusive agreement with teams to discuss a potential spring training site. She won’t say how many or which teams the city is targeting or where a stadium site would be. “We are continuing to move forward,” Frisoni says. “We expect a resolution very soon.”
Meanwhile, the Goodyear City Council in March approved a site for a new spring training complex and gave the City Manager’s Office authority to seek Major League teams. Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh says the complex would be located on the Woods’ Family property east of Estrella Parkway near Yuma Road. The ballpark complex would include commercial, office, hospitality and residential uses.

AZ Business MagazineLunsford notes the indirect impact of the West Valley’s sports explosion is the retail and service development that those kinds of activities spawn.
Economist Pollack sees a change overtaking the West Valley, particularly in the Westgate City Center complex. “There was a lot of economic development going on during construction of the stadium and arena, bringing in retail and more revenues,” he says. “Hopefully the concept will be that people will go there, eat, shop, go to a game or a concert and then go home. Now, they go to a Coyotes game, get out of their car, see the game, get back in their car, and go home. There are not a lot of places to eat on the west side, and that will change.

“It’s not that the arenas created the growth, they created a focal point for growth. It’s going to be a sports and retail mecca that people from other parts of the Valley will go to see games and concerts.”

www.westmarc.org

 

 

Arizona Business Magazine Aug/Sept 2006

 

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