The Quick Jab
by Bill Jabjiniak
Economic growth driving new speculative development activity in Mesa
Our nation continues to see slow, but steady economic improvement with 1.1 percent real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016.i Arizona’s growth continues to improve as well with employment increasing 2.6 percent, outpacing last year’s 2.0 percent.ii As the economy expands, so does the demand for office and industrial space for growing companies.
In the Phoenix-Mesa metro area vacancy rates are trending downward driving new speculative construction of office and industrial buildings.
Currently, Mesa is seeing impressive activity as new speculative office and industrial space comes online. Centrica, a $20 million redevelopment project by Phoenix Rising converting 100,000 sq. ft. of vacant big box retail into Class A speculative office space in the Fiesta District, was snapped up within six months by international consumer finance company, Santander Consumer USA. January 2016, just two months later, the company began operations with expectations to employ more than 970 people over three years.
October 2015, National General Lender Services snatched up 70,000 sq. ft. of office space for 400 employees just as the space came online following major renovations converting it to Class A speculative space.
More recently, Dexcom, a leading manufacturer of glucose monitoring systems, leased 180,000 sq. ft. of newly constructed industrial speculative space in the Broadway 101 Commerce Park for its 500 workers almost before it could hit the market.
These three projects alone account for the absorption of more than 350,000 sq. ft. of speculative space.
We expect this activity to continue as quality speculative industrial and office space hits the Mesa market. Here are highlights of a few new and forthcoming projects that come to mind.
Broadway 101 Commerce Park – Neighboring the Dexcom facility to the south is a new 64,000 sq. ft. industrial building that is complete and ready for tenant improvements.
Fiesta Corporate Campus – Nearby in the Fiesta District is the Fiesta Corporate Campus, another adaptive reuse project converting empty retail space into Class A speculative office space. The first building is 160,000 sq. ft. and is capable of housing as many as 1,300 employees. The forthcoming second building will be 100,000 sq. ft. of Class A space when renovations are complete.
New speculative space is planned for Mesa’s Falcon District in close proximity to one of the nation’s most active general aviation airports, Falcon Field Airport.
North Greenfield Rd. – Approximately 96,000 sq. ft. of speculative industrial space is planned northwest of the Airport along Greenfield Road just south of Loop 202.
Falcon Commerce Park – The Falcon Commerce Park, southeast of the Airport on Higley, expects to deliver more than 66,000 sq. ft. speculative industrial space by Q1 2017.
Waypoint at Riverview – In northwest Mesa, nearby the new Chicago Cubs spring training facility and adjoining Mesa’s Riverview shopping district, Harvard Investments, in partnership with Lincoln Properties, just filled a brand new 108,000 sq. ft. building with American Traffic Solutions’ corporate headquarters, and has begun construction on an additional 152,000 sq. ft. speculative office building.
US 60 Corridor
Metro East Valley Commerce Center – Another speculative property of particular note is Metro East Valley Commerce Center located at the southwest corner of US 60 and Horne Avenue. This property recently came on line and consists of four industrial buildings totaling more than 349,000 sq. ft.
These projects are just a sampling of the opportunities that will be coming online in Mesa during the next 12 to 18 months. As the economy continues to strengthen we expect to see steady interest in these and other properties, especially in Mesa's targeted employment centers.
Mesa’s Business District Opportunity Maps
To help companies better understand the opportunities in our targeted employment centers, we have created four new business district maps. These maps define the investment and opportunities within Downtown Mesa, Fiesta District, Falcon District, and the Mesa Gateway Area. Each is unique to the assets and character of the respective districts and provides an overview of the activity in the area. Please take a moment to review the maps at www.mesaaz.gov/business/economic-development/business-districts-maps or click on any of the links below.
> Downtown Mesa
> Falcon District
> Fiesta District
> Mesa Gateway Area
i www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm June 28, 2016
ii www.azeconomy.org/data/forecast-data/ June 1, 2016
Economic Development Advisory Board member recognized for service
At the June 2016 City of Mesa Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) meeting, Jo Wilson was recognized for her eight years of distinguished service on the EDAB board. Wilson also serves as the Special Assistant to the CEO at Benedictine University’s Mesa campus.
“We greatly appreciate the service Jo has provided the EDAB board over these last eight years,” Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said. “Her keen insights and vast experience, especially in the world of higher education, have been a tremendous asset to the board and to the City of Mesa.”
Wilson is a longtime Arizona resident and was instrumental in leading Benedictine University’s expansion to Mesa in 2013. Prior to her work at Benedictine University, Wilson was interim provost for the Downtown Center and Red Mountain Campus of Mesa Community College, where she taught and worked in numerous positions for more than 40 years.
HIGHER EDUCATION ROUNDUP
Wilkes announces tuition benefits for City of Mesa employees
Wilkes University is pleased to announce special tuition pricing for City of Mesa employees and their families.
- Full-time City of Mesa employees seeking their MBA will receive 10 percent off their total tuition. Qualified employees can use this discount in conjunction with Wilkes MBA scholarships.
- Full-time City of Mesa employees seeking to complete their bachelor’s degree on a part-time basis will receive 15 percent off their total tuition.
- Spouses and children of full-time City of Mesa employees will receive a $1,000 partnership scholarship when pursuing their MBA or bachelor’s degree on a full-time basis.
For qualified students, these reductions in tuition can be used in conjunction with other Wilkes scholarships. Awards are renewed annually when students maintain adequate academic progress and continuous full-time enrollment. The City of Mesa employs more than 3,700 people.
Upcoming information sessions for interested employees are being planned. In the meantime, learn more at www.wilkes.edu/Mesa. For more information contact (480) 878-4412 or MesaAdmissions@wilkes.edu.
Benedictine University at Mesa celebrates second commencement, new partnership with Catholic colleges
May 2016, Benedictine University at Mesa reached another landmark in its development as a premier Catholic institution of higher learning when 64 graduates turned their tassels and walked across the commencement stage at the East Valley Institute of Technology.
Benedictine’s Mesa campus continues to grow in its role supporting the revitalization of Downtown Mesa and in offering students across southwestern Arizona a values-based education. Due to the increased number of graduates and family members at this year’s commencement ceremony – the University’s second since establishing in Mesa in 2012 – the event was held at an off-site location.
Benedictine University at Mesa formed a coalition with other Arizona Catholic universities to assist students interested in a Catholic liberal arts education. A shared website at CatholicAZ.org was created to help prospective students find information on college programs that also provide support for their Catholic identity.
For more information about Benedictine University at Mesa, contact Admissions at (602) 888-5500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.The University is accepting applications for fall 2016 enrollment.
Sasan Poureetezadi named MCC Interim President
June 2016, Sasan Poureetezadi, Mesa Community College (MCC) vice president for Information Technology since 2011, was named interim president of Mesa Community College by Maricopa County Community College District Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick.
Poureetezadi assumes his new role effective Aug. 2, 2016, following current President Shouan Pan’s departure to take the helm as chancellor for Seattle Colleges in Washington.
“I am honored to have been named Interim President of MCC, and am committed to ensuring a smooth transition and supporting the search process to identify the permanent president for the college,” Poureetezadi said.
With administrative leadership and teaching experience at the university and community college level spanning more than 20 years, Poureetezadi also served as an information technology consultant for private, sports and higher education entities. He remains actively involved in technology-based organizations and has presented on topics such as new media, predictive analytics, virtualization and flipped classrooms.
Sasan was previously director of Computer Services at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. During his tenure at Cronkite, he played an instrumental role in the development of a new state-of-the-art journalism and new media complex at the downtown Phoenix campus.
Poureetezadi earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Arizona State University and a Master of Education in Community College Education from Northern Arizona University.
Northern Arizona University and Mesa Community College partnering to develop new teachers
In an effort to increase the number of teachers with a specialty in language learning, Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Mesa Community College (MCC) have teamed up to offer students a pathway to earn their associate’s and bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education.
Three key features make this a great opportunity for Greater Phoenix interested in teaching: (1) Convenience – all classes are offered on the Mesa Community College campus; (2) Affordability – students save money by enrolling at MCC for the first two years and completing the last two with NAU (Scholarships are also available through this partnership); and (3) Quality – faculty and staff at Mesa Community College and NAU work together to provide students with an excellent educational experience.
NAU’s commitment to developing quality teachers helps to create a stronger, more educated workforce for Arizona’s future.
For more information about this program or others NAU offers in Mesa, contact NAU at (480) 461-7984.
NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport requests Statements of Qualifications for master developer for aerospace park
The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport requests Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) from qualified firms or teams of firms to serve as Master Developer for the Gateway Aerospace Park at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona. This solicitation may be downloaded at www.phxmesagateway.org under the Business|Procurement|Public Notices section. Requests for additional information or clarification of requirements must be in writing and submitted to:
Contact: Shea Joachim, Business Development Director
Telephone: (480) 988-7605
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Sees 7% Jump in Passengers in April
Memphis, Des Moines, and Fresno Service Helps Bolster Growth
Fueled by new nonstop destinations - Memphis, Des Moines, and Fresno - Allegiant’s passenger activity at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport was up seven percent in April compared to the same time period last year. In April 2016, a total of 109,319 passengers boarded Allegiant airplanes, compared to 102,558 in April 2015.
Allegiant now offers nonstop service to 38 popular destinations with the recent addition of new nonstop service to Sonoma County, CA.
“We are pleased that more and more people are choosing Gateway Airport,” Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority Interim Executive Director, J. Brian O’Neill, A.A.E. said. “Allegiant’s continued investment in Mesa is making Gateway the airport of choice for many air travelers seeking low fares, easy access, and unparalleled convenience.”
Allegiant has offered commercial passenger services at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport since 2007, and has made Gateway one of the top three “most affordable airports in the country” as determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Mesa Arts Center announces Performing Live Season
Mesa Arts Center unveiled the 2016-17 Performing Live Season, and its full of unexpected surprises and unique events. See YouTube sensation Postmodern Jukebox, hear renowned author Neil Gaiman, and get cooking secrets and stories from The Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. With these highlights plus more concerts, theater and comedy, jazz, Classical Music Inside Out, speakers, National Geographic Live, dance and beyond, Mesa Arts Center has dozens of live shows to discover.
The Mesa Arts Center is great for client appreciation events and is located in Downtown Mesa with convenient parking, as well as numerous shops, galleries, museums, and more than 30 restaurants for your pre-show entertainment.
The Performing Live Season brochure is available for download at www.mesaartscenter.com and tickets are on sale now.
Economic Development Bills of the 2016 Legislative Session
Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) Report
Mesa Economic Reporter Editor’s Note: The state legislature has put in place several pieces of legislation that will benefit companies considering locating or expanding in Mesa. We recommend you view the full ACA Report to see how it may benefit your company.
The 2016 Legislative Session has come to a close and the Arizona Commerce Authority is pleased to announce that this session was especially successful for economic development. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ducey, the business community will have less burdensome regulations stifling their growth, schools will have additional resources to educate our future leaders and Arizona will continue to show why it is the best place to do business.
The passage, by Arizona voters, is a major victory for public education in Arizona and will provide $3.5 billion in additional funds to schools over the next 10 years. Schools will begin to see additional dollars as early as next month which will make a huge difference in the lives of educators and their students.
BUDGET AND FUNDING
The Governor promised in his State of the State address in January that he would continue to cut taxes and he did just that by signing a budget that contained an $8 million tax cut for businesses to quickly depreciate the deduction they can take for purchases of new equipment. The accelerated depreciation limits tax liability and promotes investment in new resources. This responsible budget allows the state to invest in the future while contributing to Arizona’s long-term financial stability.
SB 1525 (JTED restoration and reforms) – Restores funding to Joint Technical Education Districts (JTED) and establishes requirements for JTED reporting and administration, establishes the Career and Technical Education Task Force and requires a special audit of JTEDs.
Here are just a few of the key bills passed this session to revamp the economic landscape in our state:
HB 2584 (data center tax relief; qualification) – Changes requirements and qualifications for the tax relief allotted to the owner, operator or qualified colocation tenant of a certified computer data center. The changes will promote flexibility of the CDC program and will advance the program to a level that will increase investment opportunities by world-class companies, as well as expand on the ability of existing Arizona-based companies to compete on a national level.
HB 2666 (governor’s economic opportunity office; consolidation) – Establishes the Office of Economic Opportunity and modifies existing agency programs, policies, and funds for the office to monitor Arizona’s tax structure. The office will consolidate and improve analytic capacity with the goal of identifying the state’s economic advantages and areas where we can improve. Serving as the data analysis hub, the office will enable the ACA to focus exclusively on business attraction and growth. The bill also contained critical changes to the Qualified Facilities Program and Arizona Competes Fund to ensure that these programs continue to be the most impactful and beneficial to companies in Arizona.
HB 2676 (utilities; manufacturing; smelting; TPT) – Exempts the gross proceeds of sales or gross income derived from the sale of electricity or natural gas to a qualified manufacturing or smelting business from TPT and use tax.
Mesa Leadership proudly announces their 34th graduating class
The Mesa Leadership Training and Development Program honored 23 graduates at a ceremony at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa May 2016. The Class of 2016 consisted of Jill Adair, Journalist; Jerry Bianco, No Slip Arizona; Julie Bigler, Mesa Fire and Medical; Michael Book, HDR Inc.; Sharon Brause, City of Mesa Purchasing; Diane Cantile, Community Volunteer; Diana Clevenger, City of Mesa Police; Vince Evans, SRP; John Gilliam, Outerwall; Jaime Glass, Artist; Missy Gleason, DMB Associates Inc.; Lyn Gorton, Relay for Life; Shannon Heinze, Guild Mortgage; Pei Hseih, Good Neighbor Insurance; Robert Kjar, The Fit Stop; Wayne LaMarre, City of Mesa Energy Resources; Matt Long, Solutions Real Estate; Patti Oskvarek, City of Mesa Business Services; Kristen Rubi, SRP; Lynn Runyan, SRP; Morgan Sarager, SRP; Susan Tychman, Mesa Chamber of Commerce; and Mark Young, Mesa United Way.
Mesa Leadership provides participants an exclusive opportunity to learn about Mesa. It’s a 9-month program that focuses on topics of interest to Mesa leaders such as Mesa history, land and community development, business advocacy, and criminal justice. Mesa Leadership has graduated more than 700 community leaders. They serve in business and government, on City and non-profit boards, as well as the boards of local civic and social organizations. www.mesaleadership.org
Mesa Chamber announces Leadership Award Winners
Mesa Chamber of Commerce held its annual Leadership Awards Dinner April 2016 at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa. Through an application process the following businesses were nominated for business of the year with the winners announced at the Awards Dinner.
Small Business Nominees: HP2 Promotions, Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, and Lohman Company, PLLC. HP2 Promotions won for Small Business.
Medium-Sized Business Nominees: Country Inn and Suites, Longbow Golf Club and Unique Companies. Longbow Golf Club won for Medium-Sized business.
Large Business Nominees: Eastmark and The Boeing Company. The Boeing Company won for Large business.
Other recognition was awarded to outgoing 2015 Board Chairman, Joe Holmes of Heal the Hero and 2016 Ambassador of the Year, Melissa Moy of Dynasty Insurance and Legal Documents for their dedication and friendship to the Mesa Chamber.
Marc Community Resources, Inc. was recognized as the Non-Profit of the Year, Valley Express Towing and Auto Repair received the CopperPoint Insurance Companies Safety Award, and Jodi Sorrell with the City of Mesa received a special recognition for her work on bringing light rail to Downtown Mesa. The evening concluded with Jo Wilson of Benedictine Mesa taking the Volunteer of the Year spotlight.
In addition to recognizing business excellence, the Chamber honored Kasandra Zapien with Mountain View High School as Student of the Year, Maureen Magnusson of Westwood High School as Teacher of the Year, and Dr. Andrew T. Holycross of Mesa Community College as Professor of the Year. www.mesachamber.org
Visit Mesa selects HAPI to lead national marketing strategy, creative for City Limitless regional brand
May 2016, Visit Mesa, the destination marketing arm for Mesa, Arizona, selected branding firm HAPI for strategy, advertising and media services effective July 1. HAPI was awarded Visit Mesa’s marketing and creative services contract after a selective RFP process that included multiple in-state and out-of-state agencies.
“Visit Mesa has measured an increased awareness of our brand, City Limitless, since its inception and is delivering an inspired, fresh Arizona experience to leisure travelers,” Visit Mesa President and CEO Marc Garcia said. “As our product offerings expand and our awareness grows, we intend to be aggressive, take risks, and target new visitors in altogether new ways. With the support of our Brand Development Advisory Committee, we know that HAPI is the strategic and inventive firm that can carve our new creative path and get even more folks to take notice.”
Tourism is a targeted industry for Mesa’s economic development efforts. Since 2012, Visit Mesa has generated exceptional growth in the number of room nights booked in Mesa hotels. Fiscal Year 2016 number of room nights booked jumped to 62,867 compared to 43,870 in FY 2015, for a 43.3 percent increase. Since the inception of Visit Mesa in 2012 – the new brand launch and the organization’s added emphasis on sales – room night bookings for FY 2016 showed a 459 percent increase over the FY 2012 number of 11,244.
HAPI officially begins work with Visit Mesa in July, the beginning of Visit Mesa’s new fiscal year. Their first charge will be to communicate the destination’s authentic dynamic brand and identify new approaches to reaching potential consumers. Visit Mesa has placed a heavy emphasis on targeting millennial travelers, one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing consumer groups, and will continue with this effort. In addition, the organization will adhere to a purely digital marketing approach, abandoning traditional print mediums for selling through on the city’s visitor experience. Visit Mesa’s five branded lifestyles will also be elevated in the coming year with HAPI overseeing the creation of a new image library featuring new photography and consumer-generated visual content.