The Phoenix Metropolitan Area makes up the central part of Arizona, totaling over 9,000-square-miles. Also referred to as Greater Phoenix, this region includes both East and West Valley cities, but the City of Phoenix only accounts for 517-square-miles total, which can lead to confusion when talking to people from out of town or state, whether it’s a relative, friend, business owner, investor or site selector.

Keeping that in mind, the Kasten Long Commercial Group (KLCG), Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) and East Valley Partnership (EVP) held an event at the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday, January 31, highlighting the new branding of the East Valley, now referred to as “PHX East Valley.”

The event’s speakers suggested with the overall strong job and populations growth combined with the area being able to expand its boundary to the south and southeast, the PHX East Valley may soon be the “fastest growing area in the United States.”

Speakers from KLCG, Scott Trevey, CCIM, and Linda Fritz-Salazar, defined the status of the current real estate cycle, plus the need for more apartments and the existing investment opportunities in “B” and “C” class apartments in the PHX East Valley.

John Lewis, president and CEO of EVP, looked at six particular markets in the PHX East Valley, including, Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Tempe. Lewis highlighted the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport expansion and the 275-square-mile Superstition Vista project that is master-planned for 800,000 people as well as major projects in each of those six markets.

Other takeaways include media stories and reports that noted:

  • — Tempe being the No. 1 growth city in the U.S.
  • — Two of the best cities to find a job in the U.S. are in the PHX East Valley.
  • — Greater Phoenix population is projected to reach 7.755 million in 2050, with the existing PHX East Valley expected to have a population increase of one-million people and an additional of 400,000-plus new jobs.

Jaye O’Donnell, assistant director of economic development for the City of Mesa, provided an overview of recent investment and additional development opportunities throughout Mesa’s five economic development hubs, which included the Fiesta Mall and the opportunities that may be available with its possible transition to high-tech office, education and healthcare.

Overall, she noted rising employment opportunities across Mesa and an increasing demand for affordable housing to keep pace. “We want market rate housing and density,” she said.

Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro, then gave insight into light rail expansion efforts in PHX East Valley, the significance of being connected to Greater Phoenix and where the investment opportunities are being created along the current and proposed light rail.

Smith described investment in infrastructure as “the glue that holds everything together.” He added, the $1.9 billion capital investment for the light rail project has spurred a total of $10.1 billion of additional capital investment, of which $7.8 billion has come from the private sector.

Looking ahead, Smith foreshadowed plans in the works for the South Central Light Rail Expansion, which will potentially connect four different districts and lead to the addition of a second line and a station at CityScape similar to a Grand Central Station in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.

KLCG formed a partnership with the AMA in 2017 to be a resource for their members that own and manage apartments. KLCG is a full-service, commercial real estate brokerage with a focus on multifamily brokerage and research in Metro Phoenix since 1998. Founded over 50 years ago, the AMA is the statewide trade association for the apartment industry, representing more than 2,000 members in legislative, legal and regulatory matters.

This was the fourth event for the partnership, each selecting different locations across Metro Phoenix with a focus on the current and planned activities in the selected area that will have an impact on property value. Information provided at each event is posted on