The West Valley’s business attraction continues to flower

As the state’s economy continues to steadily grow after cratering during the Great Recession, some of the most robust business is taking place in the West Valley.

“The West Valley of Metro Phoenix has grown to 1.6 million residents, with 62 percent of residents being workforce age,” said Sintra Hoffman, president and CEO of WESTMARC. “Health care has a been a leading industry for this region to serve this growing and diverse population. The West Valley’s strong sports and tourism base has been a strong driver in putting the West Valley on the national stage.”

WESTMARC was created in 1990 to serve as the main policy advocacy organization for the West Valley. For many years, the organization has focused on transportation, the preservation of Luke Air Force Base and promotion of higher education. Hoffman said all that work is paying off with more higher education opportunities in the West Valley, a talented aerospace workforce and, in particular, thriving new freeway connections.

“The West Valley’s location in proximity to California, and the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports of entry, perfectly positions this region to capture companies from the West Coast,” she said. “The West Valley is just a quick five-hour truck travel time from California.”

Pat Feeney, SIOR, senior vice president of CBRE Industrial and Logistics, said the West Valley has always been somewhat of a “best kept secret” — at least until the Loop 303 opened all its ramps in the fall of 2017.

“You could almost feel the increase in activity that September when it opened,” Feeney said.

Hoffman said WESTMARC and its partners also are actively recruiting office users, information technology and aerospace. Feeney added that manufacturing has been playing a larger part in the West Valley’s business growth, along with ecommerce, the pharmaceutical industry and third-party logistics.

“Companies are focusing on the location of the warehouse more today than in the past,” he said. “Locating in Phoenix is putting a check in a lot of the boxes on their list of criteria for their decision. … At the same time we are an excellent alternative to service the 36 million plus population and markets of Southern California from an economic standpoint.”

Yes, land is cheaper, but it’s the state’s lack of excessive regulatory red-tape that also attracts companies. In addition, there is also the ratio between the number of people who live in the West Valley compared to those who actually work there. Residents are eager for a good job opportunity that can put an end to one-hour long commutes mornings and evenings.

Hoffman points out that while “37 percent of all finance and insurance workers in Maricopa County live in the West Valley, only 12 percent of those office jobs are located here. There is tremendous opportunity for those industries to be successful upon opening their doors.”

As for the future, Feeney said “we are going to soon see two new players. I look to see, in the very near future, the small to mid-size industrial tenant locating here to facilitate the larger users we have been seeing, and a use we have not seen in the past — the back office administrative users.”

Janet Perez

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