What the Opportunity Is for Business

by RaeAnne Marsh

Downtown Phoenix

“For me one of the most encouraging signs is the ‘Phoenix Global Rising’ initiative which dares to claim Phoenix as a leading global city,” says Doug Bruhnke, founder and CEO of Global Chamber, contrasting now to the last deep recession and sharing that Global Chamber recently prepared an “Invest in Arizona” presentation for Japanese companies that highlights the dynamics in economics, logistics and technology that are making Phoenix a global place to be.

And Mignonne Hollis, president of Arizona Association for Economic Development and executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, points to Arizona’s low cost of entry for entrepreneurs wanting to start a business. “The regulations and red tape are minimum, and many barriers have been removed,” she says.

Opportunities Beyond Phoenix

Speaking for Chandler, for instance, Micah Miranda, economic director for the City of Chandler, says, “Locally, our Chandler City Council is committed to a vision of long-term, sustainable economic development. City Council recently adopted a Strategic Framework to guide growth in Chandler over the next few years.”

Economic Vitality is one of five focus areas, which, according to Miranda, calls for the city to offer “a supportive business environment for global industry leaders, exciting startups and entrepreneurs through every stage of business development.” Noting that having a consistent “pro-business” message from the state level on down is critical to economic development, he says, “Businesses feel secure investing in Chandler because they know there is political support and stability.”

Mesa has also seen noteworthy economic activity throughout the city this past year. Companies such as Amazon, Boeing, Banner Health, Dexcom, ElectraMeccanica, CMC Steel, NTT, Comarch, Bonelli Doors & Windows, Rosendin Electric, Mechnano and many others are locating or expanding significant operations in Mesa. “This activity,” says Mayor John Giles, “is creating myriad jobs and large capital investments in our community.”

To make room for these and other forthcoming employers, commercial development is booming. “Today, we estimate more than nine million square feet of Class A industrial space is planned or under construction in Mesa,” says Mesa economic development director Bill Jabjiniak. “Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of square feet of new industrial aviation and hangar space is under construction at both Falcon Field Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.”

Growth in Phoenix

In the City of Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego points to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company that recently announced it will open a fabrication plant in north Phoenix. TSMC will create thousands of jobs, with thousands more to come as their suppliers begin to co-locate near the facility. “With the arrival of TSMC, Phoenix and Arizona are positioned to become global leaders in this sector,” she says.

Along with this, Phoenix is also demonstrating business and economic development leadership in bioscience R & D, advanced manufacturing, and electric vehicles and infrastructure. “Our portfolio continues to expand because these businesses appreciate Phoenix for its highly trained workforce, its livability, and its affordability,” says Mayor Gallego, pointing out that even with the recent explosion of residential real estate activity, it is still less expensive to live here than in many other large American cities.

Read the next article in this series: How We Got Here

This is just one aspect of “Greater Expectations: New Economic Opportunity in Arizona.” To read the full story, click here.  

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