The Quick Jab
by Bill Jabjiniak
Strong successes encourage future growth and activity in Mesa
The City of Mesa’s 2017/2018 Fiscal Year has closed as of June 30, 2018, and with it, another strong year of economic growth with significant wins for the Mesa Office of Economic Development (OED).
As a department, it is our mission to enhance Mesa’s economy, creating quality jobs to improve the overall quality of life for Mesa and its residents. We accomplish this mission by promoting Mesa as a premier location for business and targeting key industries that provide high wage jobs. We serve as the primary point of contact for companies, site selectors, and community stakeholders to obtain technical expertise and support services necessary to properly evaluate opportunities in Mesa.
There are four traditional standards on which most economic development organizations are measured: number of jobs created and retained by the companies OED assists; the average annual wage of those jobs created or retained; total capital investment created; and the total square footage of commercial space constructed or absorbed.
These metrics are direct outcomes of the OED’s efforts in business attraction, retention and expansion, entrepreneurship support, and redevelopment and revitalization programs. Through these lines of service we track the effectiveness of our department, and it is important to share and celebrate our performance in these areas.
This fiscal year marks the last year of our current Economic Development Strategic Plan, which aids to guide OED’s efforts in attracting new companies to the City and assisting existing Mesa companies in their expansions. We are pleased to report that Mesa OED significantly exceeded these fiscal year goals set in our strategic plan. The table below illustrates our performance and targets across four of our key department metrics:
These achievements took diligent effort and work from our OED staff, as well as constant collaboration with numerous other city departments. We also could not have brought these jobs and investments to Mesa without close collaboration with our partners at the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the commercial brokerage and development communities, and many others. It takes a village to bring many of these major projects and developments to reality, and we are fortunate to have many great partners across the community, region, and state.
MAJOR SUCCESS STORIES
The aforementioned metrics were realized through some impactful business attraction efforts this year to help bring new investment and high-quality jobs into the community. Mesa OED successfully facilitated 38 projects in Mesa this fiscal year, ranging from multi-million dollar data center projects to assisting entrepreneurial ventures and startups in LaunchPoint, Mesa’s Business Accelerator. Highlights include:
EdgeCore Break Grounds on $2 Billion Data Center Campus
In March 2018, EdgeCore Internet Real Estate broke ground on a $450 million, 200,000-square-foot Phase I Building of a major data center campus inside the Elliot Road Technology Corridor, which continues to garner national attention from the technology industry. EdgeCore’s full campus build-out at Eastmark will total 1.25 million square feet and reach an estimated $2 billion in investment.
Northrup Grumman Expansion
In March 2018, Northrup Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) announced a 36,000-square-foot expansion of it's operation in Mesa’s Falcon District, creating 60 new, high-paying engineering and manufacturing jobs. This expansion will nearly double the company’s current production capacity in Mesa.
Urbix Resources Earns Accolades
Urbix Resources, a start-up company changing the way the world uses graphite, is one of LaunchPoint’s biggest tenants and success stories. It continues to grow rapidly, hire new employees, and garner national attention. Urbix CEO, Adam Small, was named to the prestigious Forbes magazine’s 2017 “30 Under 30” List, and the company raised $3.5 million in it's Series A round of funding. Growing entrepreneurship in Mesa remains a key focus for OED, and Urbix serves as a premier example of innovative ventures growing in our community.
AQST Spaces Systems Relocates HQ from Puerto Rico to Mesa
AQST Space Systems has moved it's headquarters from Puerto Rico to Mesa, creating 125 new jobs for the city. The aerospace company will be manufacturing and assembling rockets and small satellites, expecting to begin production by the end of 2018.
These successes and others have helped make this past year a remarkable one for Mesa. In the last five years, Mesa OED has aided in the creation of over 11,100 new jobs and $4.6 billion in investment. Despite our successes, we are always looking towards the future, and with major transformational projects underway like ASU’s Downtown Mesa Campus and the 1.3 million-square-foot UNION at Riverview office development, we are excited for what this next year will have in store for Mesa.
Thank you for your support. Please contact me with questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you at William.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, visit our website at www.mesaaz.gov/economic.
Mesa Economic Development Advisory Board members recognized for service
At the June 2018 City of Mesa Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) meeting, Jeff Pitcher, Laura Snow, and Jeff Crocket were recognized for their years of distinguished service on the EDAB board.
Pitcher, Partner at Ballard Spahr, LLP, served on the board for nearly nine years, two as board chair. Snow, Senior Director of Strategy and Planning for Banner Health, served six years, one as chair, two as vice-chair. Crockett of Crockett Law Group, PLLC, served for 10 years, three as chair.
“We greatly appreciate the service Jeff Pitcher, Laura Snow, and Jeff Crockett have provided the EDAB board over the many years,” Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said. “Their insights and experience have been tremendous assets to the Board and to the City of Mesa.”
The Economic Development Advisory Board acts as the advisory board to the Mesa City Council on matters pertaining to economic development, including goal setting, strategic planning, marketing and business recruitment, retention and expansion. www.mesaaz.gov/economic
Mesa Assistant Economic Development Director awarded AAED Member of the Year
The Arizona Association of Economic Developers (AAED) selected City of Mesa Assistant Economic Development Director, Jaye O’Donnell, the Member of the Year at the Annual Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) Awards dinner held May 2018 in Tucson, Arizona.
The prestigious EDDE Awards honor individuals and companies that have made significant contributions to the advancement of the organization and to economic growth within the state of Arizona. Recipients are selected from a pool of nominations made by members of AAED. Overall, 10 EDDEs were presented during an evening awards dinner at the AAED Spring Conference in Oro Valley.
“The winners of the EDDE Awards truly represent the best and brightest economic development practitioners and organizations in Arizona,” Joyce Grossman, AZED Pro, AAED’s executive director, said. “Their contributions throughout the state demonstrate not only a commitment to the communities they serve, but to the economic vitality across Arizona.”
AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, public policy and collaboration. www.aaed.com
City of Mesa announces approved Opportunity Zones
The City of Mesa has 11 census tracts now approved as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Department of Treasury. This federal program is meant to spur investment in low-income areas by providing tax benefits to investors who reinvest capital gains into Opportunity Zones.
The Opportunity Zones program allows state governors to nominate 25% of their qualifying low-income census tracts as opportunity zones. Arizona was one of the first states in the nation to submit a package for designation, with nominations being sent to the Treasury Department on March 21.
"Mesa has so many great locations for investment in Opportunity Zones," City of Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said. "We now anticipate this new program to move investors off the sidelines and into development deals that will offer strong returns."
There are two requirements to take advantage of the tax benefits central to Opportunity Zones. First, the investment must be made via an Opportunity Fund. Second, the investments must be derived from a gain in another investment and transferred into an Opportunity Fund within 180 days of realizing that gain.
The tax benefits associated with this investment are that the tax on the realized gain is deferred and reduced if the investment is held in an Opportunity Fund for five to seven years. Second, gains on the Opportunity Fund investment will not be taxed if the investment is held for ten years. Opportunity Funds in turn must have at least 90% of their assets in qualified Opportunity Zone property.
The Governor's Office and the Arizona Commerce Authority worked with local governments, tribal communities, and counties to decide which census tracts would be submitted. As of April 9, Arizona's 168 submitted tracts became officially designated as Opportunity Zones.
For more information about Mesa's Opportunity Zones, visit: www.mesaaz.gov/business/economic-development/incentives-programs/opportunity-zones
HIGHER EDUCATION ROUNDUP
ATSU-SOMA receives COCA Accreditation with Exceptional Outcomes
The American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) has awarded A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) its highest accreditation status, Accreditation with Exceptional Outcomes, granting the School 10 years of reaccreditation.
COCA is the accrediting agency for colleges of osteopathic medicine, reporting to the U.S. Department of Education. In January 2018, ATSU-SOMA underwent a rigorous evaluation to determine its compliance with COCA’s 12 accreditation standards, related to the School’s mission, resources, and curriculum.
“We are honored to receive COCA’s highest level of accreditation,” ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, said. “ATSU-SOMA continues to prove the value of its innovative clinical presentation curriculum model, centered around its community health center partnerships. Underserved patient populations in communities across the country where our students are embedded benefit from additional access to primary care. Thank you to the students, faculty, staff, and administration who made this possible. We look forward to seeing the positive impact the School will have over the next 10 years.” www.atsu.edu
MCCCD IT Institute in Mesa announces inaugural classes
To help fill Arizona's demand for IT professionals, Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) IT Institute will offer Networking Technology I and Survey of Computer Information Systems as inaugural courses this fall, according to Dr. Linda Collins, chair, Mesa Community College Department of Business and Information Systems.
Networking Technology I (CIS109AM) focuses on computer networking basics and incorporates blockchain technology instruction. Survey of Computer Information Systems (CIS105) provides an overview of computer technology, concepts, terminology and the role of computers in business and society. Discussions of social and ethical issues related to computers and the exploration of relevant emerging technologies are addressed.
There are no prerequisites for these classes; both are offered in a hybrid format providing a flexible and collaborative learning environment. Classes begin August 18, 2018.
Hybrid courses combine in-person classroom meetings with online learning activities students can work on from home, the office, MCC lab, or wherever they access the internet.
MCCCD IT Institute classes will be held at the Mesa Community College Downtown Center, 145 N Centennial Way, Suite 201, Mesa, AZ 85201. www.mesacc.edu
Northern Arizona University expanding bachelor’s degree programs at Mesa Community College
Northern Arizona University is adding three new bachelor’s degree programs at the Southern and Dobson campus of Mesa Community College. The new programs, Strategic Leadership, Applied Human Behavior, and Industrial Leadership, are designed to meet the workforce needs of businesses in Mesa and the surrounding region.
The new programs will be offered in a 90/30 format, which means students can complete up to 90 credit hours at Mesa Community College, then complete the remaining 30 hours by taking NAU classes on the MCC campus.
“NAU is committed to ensuring that a college education is accessible to everyone by serving students when and where they need us. Our efforts resulted in over 8,000 students taking classes from NAU on community campuses and online this last spring,” NAU President Rita Hartung Cheng said. “Increasing our 90/30 program offerings at Mesa Community College allows us to expand affordable options for our students and meet the workforce needs of our communities.”
“Mesa Community College is very excited to partner with NAU in offering these degrees,” Sasan Poureetezadi, interim president at Mesa Community College, said. “It is another example of Northern Arizona University and the Maricopa Community College District collaborating to offer educational opportunities more efficiently and at lower costs.”
The new programs will add to existing bachelor’s degree programs in Elementary Education and the RN to BSN concurrent enrollment program offered by NAU and MCC. For more information about NAU’s programs in Mesa, contact Josh Schwalbach, Student Service Coordinator for NAU, who is located on the Mesa Community College campus at Southern and Dobson, at (480) 461-7984 or email@example.com.
NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Development opportunities available near Falcon Field Airport
The City of Mesa and Falcon Field Airport are currently seeking proposals for leasing or development opportunities. These opportunities will remain open until a successful entity is selected. www.falconfieldairport.com/doing-business/real-estate-connections
Fixed Base Operator
A parcel of 3.3 acres of undeveloped land zoned Light Industrial is available for development, use, and operation of a fixed base operator (FBO). The parcel has direct access to the Airport’s two runways and is located along a taxiway that is a main access point to more than 400 hangars. A lease for up to 40 years is negotiable for a developer and/or aerospace business committed to a long-term investment and able to begin construction within 18 months. The successful proposer must be the primary developer of the facility and will be responsible for securing long-term tenants.
To submit questions or request information or a site tour, contact Lynn Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Small Vacant Parcels
Two sites of undeveloped land are available that will be leased separately. Both parcels are zoned Light Industrial and have direct access to the Airport’s two runways. Site One is .15 acres (6,699 SF) with a lease term of up to 27 years. Site Two is .06 acres (2,600 SF) with a lease term of up to 39 years. Successful proposers will be committed to a long-term investment and able to begin construction within 18 months. The successful proposers must be the primary developer of the parcels.
To submit questions, request information, or schedule a site tour, contact Lynn Spencer at email@example.com.
Falcon Tech Center
The City of Mesa is seeking proposals from developers and developer teams to lease and develop approximately 70 acres of City-owned land adjacent to Falcon Field Airport known as the Falcon Tech Center. The successful respondent will develop, market, and manage a first-class business park focused on attracting high-technology companies.
The land is located on Greenfield Road between McKellips and McDowell Roads, and is available for non-aeronautical development. It is zoned Planned Employment Park (PEP). A long-term lease of up to 40 years is negotiable. The ideal firm or team will have significant experience in the development of office and non-retail facilities, and will have experience developing property on or near airports. The successful proposer must be the primary developer of the facility and will be responsible for securing long-term tenant(s).
For details on the concept, visit www.MesaFalconTechCenter.com. To submit questions, contact Lori Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mesa Chamber’s Industry and Defense Council sends delegation to Washington DC
On April 26-27, 2018, the Mesa Industry and Defense Council (MDIC) traveled to Washington, DC as part of an Arizona delegation representing private and public sector leaders. The delegation included Mesa defense contractors, an Arizona State University representative, and other defense advocates from around the State.
The delegation held meetings with the Senate and House Armed Service Committees with specific focus on military construction, rotary wing, environmental, and cyber topics. Additional meetings where held with Congressman Andy Biggs, Senator John McCain’s staff, and Congresswoman Martha McSally, as well as with White House Domestic Policy advisors, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, the Army Senior Congressional Liaison, and the Secretary of the Air Force.
MIDC member and delegation participant, Al Funderburk, noted, “The engagement of staff members and congressional representatives was tremendous. Arizona is indeed fortunate to have such committed elected representatives working to help us all enhance outcomes for our businesses, bases, universities, and municipalities. The diversity of the delegation added strength to our message – that we are working together in Arizona to solve difficult challenges for Arizona and our Nation’s warfighters.”
MIDC expresses special appreciation to the leaders who planned and coordinated the visit, including Mr. Shay Stautz, Associate Vice President National Policy Arizona State University and Mr. Rick Stilgenbauer of Squire Patton Boggs.
MIDC participants included Sally Harrison, President, Mesa Chamber and Mesa Industry and Defense Council; Al Funderburk, President and CEO, Phoenix Logistics, Inc.; Lisa Brown, VP, Northrop Grumman; and Dane Mullenix, Director, AZLabs. www.mesachamber.org
Mesa is in Demand, Hotel Industry Outperforming Phoenix Market
For more than five years, Visit Mesa has been actively monitoring and tracking hotel performance in the city and regularly measures the impacts of the visitor industry based on three key performance metrics: occupancy rate; average daily rate (per hotel room) or ADR; and revenue per available room or RevPAR. Using Smith Travel Research data, Visit Mesa shows demand growth in Mesa has exceeded the Greater Phoenix market in each of the last four years. Mesa has exceeded the Phoenix Market in the last 29 months (January 2016 to May 2018). Visit Mesa has completed the most productive sales year yet with a record 95,534 booked room nights from July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 and has recorded increases in marketing reach, media impressions, and impressive audience gains on all online media channels. All Mesa’s hospitality indices illustrate that Mesa is more in-demand now than ever before. In fact, Mesa’s record growth in occupancy and revenue per available room are two key contributors to this fiscal year’s increase in Visit Mesa’s destination marketing funds distributed through the Arizona Office of Tourism and Proposition 302.
In FY 2018-19, Prop 302 revenues are expected to nearly double for Mesa as compared to last year. This means Visit Mesa can effectively double marketing outreach efforts in the year ahead. Those allocated Prop 302 funds are determined by total revenues generated in Maricopa Country by visitor spending in hotels and Mesa’s share has grown in large part due to Visit Mesa’s aggressive and successful sales efforts over the past several years. Is experiencing hotel consumption from bookings that began as many as five years ago when Visit Mesa rebranded the destination as City Limitless®. This consumption trend will continue in the years ahead based on booked hotel business years in advance and with new hotel room inventory hitting the Mesa market in late 2018 and 2019. The interest and desire for Mesa’s unique attributes both as a leisure and business travel destination has never been higher. www.VisitMesa.com