West Valley redefines itself as a catalyst for innovation, economic growth

Above: Park West in Peoria is undergoing a massive renovation, valued at over $4 million, solidifying it as a prominent destination for dining, fitness and entertainment in Metro Phoenix. Business News | 19 Jul |

Long, long ago in a region many Phoenicians perceived as far, far away, the West Valley was considered … well, perhaps in need of some polish. But it didn’t take a rebellion to change this perception. It took revitalization, rebranding and relaying a more accurate, updated story.

Today, the West Valley story involves new locates such as Microsoft, AKOS, and Vantage data centers, innovative healthcare options, new restaurants, vibrant entertainment districts and more.

One-off stories from the West

Smart movie franchises do more than capitalize on one story. They offer viewers one-offs, spin-offs, and mini-stories to illustrate a more complex narrative while also attracting interest. Storytellers like WESTMARC, CBRE and MAG are helping to re-shape perspectives on economic growth, talented workforce, rising household incomes and quality of life in the West Valley.

There are also plenty of one-off stories to share, like those of Farmers Insurance, which selected a West Valley location close to the North Peoria commute shed.

“A variety of factors convinced us that the West Valley, which is near our new facility, is a vibrant, growing area that could accommodate the housing, shopping, educational and recreational needs of our people, not just for today, but also as we grow and evolve,” says Deborah West, director of Farmers Direct Services, “The West Valley is a strong and growing community with economic vitality, entertainment opportunities and a diverse workforce, making it an attractive area.”

There are many common themes in why companies like Farmers Insurance, Vantage Data, Stream Data Center, Microsoft, REI, Amazon and other nationally-recognized companies have established — or are establishing — locations in and near the West Valley.

First, there is the talent: 35 percent of Metro Phoenix’s healthcare talent, 32 percent of finance and insurance labor, and 33 percent of manufacturing workers already reside in the West Valley are ready and happy to eliminate their commutes to other areas of the Valley.

Second, there is the buying power: The average household income in the West Valley currently hovers around $68,225, with many areas scattered throughout the region where the average household income exceeds $80,000.

Third, there is the quality of life: Westgate Entertainment District, State Farm Stadium, Gila River Arena, five Major League Baseball spring training facilities, award-winning golf course, Topgolf, Desert Diamond West Valley Casino, numerous local parks and hiking trails, and much more create a vibrant quality of life in the West Valley.

Fourth, there are the educational opportunities: A-rated K-12 and post-secondary schools, ASU West, Grand Canyon University, Ottawa University, Midwestern University, Glendale Community College, Estrella Community College and West-MEC are training a skilled workforce for jobs that may not even exist yet.

And, while these four pillars represent key areas of conveying the modern West Valley story, there is yet more to the plot. The West Valley consistently seeks to revitalize and expand its offerings in entertainment, retail, and recreation.

Economic development spinoff

“Park West is an incredible lifestyle shopping center that offers friends and families amazing retail, dining, and entertainment options,” says Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat. “Commercial Investment Real Estate (CIRE) Equity’s recent $4 million investment in upgrades and new amenities at Park West, and the incredible new tenants that have already opened their doors, demonstrate the success of our healthy and prosperous local economies, and I’m thrilled to see Park West continue to flourish as a premier Peoria shopping and entertainment destination.”

“The West Valley, along the Loop 101, has really come into its own as an entertainment attraction,” adds Sintra Hoffman, WESTMARC president and CEO. “This is where our West Valley residents go to have fun.”

The addition of the now open, Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District boasts a full-scale casino featuring a 75,000 square-foot gaming floor with the addition of new restaurants and retail.

There’s also notable activity taking place with PV303, as more occupants solidify space, creating a conglomerate of e-commerce, clothing manufacturing, food and beverage, cold storage, third-party logistics (3PL), transportation, aerospace and data center industries.

“Activity continues to be strong, and we believe the diversity in companies at PV303 adds to the viability of the industrial market in the West Valley,” says Pat Feeney, SIOR, senior vice president of CBRE. “PV303 has attracted a dynamic mix of corporate users — many of which are household names like UPS, REI, Boeing and Ball Corporation, to name a few.”

“A number of these companies have planted their flags in the ground and purchased the buildings they occupy,” Feeney adds, “which I think says a lot about their confidence in the area and their ability to attract and retain local labor. It also helps to attract other businesses to the area that want to be neighbors with nationally and globally recognized tenants.”

A continuing and captivating franchise

While revitalization and improvement of existing space continue to be a major aspect of the West Valley story, new offerings continue to be a catalyst for growth as well.

Entertainment and recreation additions such as the Goodyear Civic Square at Estrella Falls, slated for completion by summer of 2020, is a prime example. The new community gathering spot will serve as a center for festivals, concerts and parades, as well as inviting future development of new restaurants, retail and entertainment.

“The West Valley Pipeline (Workforce Development Implementation Strategy) affirmed what West Valley leaders have long known — our region is home to highly educated and skilled professionals looking for quality employment and head of household jobs close to home,” Carlat says. “Couple this with a warm, stable climate, access to amazing amenities, diverse housing options, and quality education, and it shows our region has a lot to offer. As we continue efforts to attract new businesses and targeted industries, we remain focused on communicating the very best of who we are, to ensure prospective employers recognize what we already know—the West Valley is the place to be.”

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