By Orion Investment Real Estate
As 2022 winds down, the Arizona economic development sector has much to celebrate in the way of wins. According to the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the state ranked No. 3 for economic outlook — a 10-spot jump from No. 13 the prior year. With manufacturing and semiconductor development scores such as Kohler, KORE Power, Lucid, Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (to name a few) as well as tremendous traction in autonomous vehicle manufacturing, and dottings of retail and hospitality activity across multiple areas of the Valley, it’s no wonder the state’s economy largely flourished in 2022.
Looking ahead to 2023, will favor shine upon the Valley of the Sun once again? To help find out, AZRE connected with several Arizona economic development experts. While water conservation and a looming recession concerns are very real, the state remains poised for continued growth. As you’ll see, technology and manufacturing sectors are as strong as ever throughout Metro Phoenix and the West Valley — propelled by the fastest-growing cities in the nation — is projected to amass more economic activity for the foreseeable future. Now, take a look at what else is in store for Arizona’s economic development as we inch closer to a new year.
Meet our Arizona economic development experts:
• Chris Camacho, president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC)
• Dr. Ian Roark, vice president of workforce development for Pima Community College
• Suzie Boyles, economic development director for the City of Buckeye
• Sandra Watson, president and CEO of Arizona Commerce Authority
• Vincent (Skip) Becker, director of project management and Development for Terrapin Care Station and president-elect for the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED)
AZRE: What have you identified as some of the most exciting Arizona economic development projects occurring now or slated as we move forward into 2023?
Chris Camacho (CC): The number of companies reshoring and nearshoring as part of the global industrial technology boom is historic, and Greater Phoenix is capturing a significant number of those projects. These companies bring with them major investments and massive job growth that help to advance the region and strengthen both the local and national economies.
Ian Roark (IR): In Southern Arizona, projects related to manufacturing continue to remain at the forefront of interest in our area from a workforce development perspective. Broadly speaking, this pertains to aerospace and defense, battery manufacturing and other components for electric vehicles, semiconductor manufacturing and more.
Suzie Boyles (SB): There are many new developments occurring in Buckeye right now and you’ll continue to see them go vertical into 2023; including 7 million square feet of active development and another 2 million looking to begin construction soon. These projects include Banner Health and Abrazo Health campuses, Costco, two Marriott Hotels, Ross Dress for Less Distribution Center, as well as multiple new industrial and retail developments.
Sandra Watson (SW): We are seeing a lot of growth in advanced manufacturing projects including semiconductors, batteries, electric vehicles, aerospace and space. Some exciting projects announced recently in rural Arizona include steel manufacturer Nucor, sustainable home manufacturer ZenniHome, battery recycler Cirba Solutions, industrial materials leader Owens Corning and building materials manufacturer National Gypsum.
Likewise, in Maricopa County, there are multiple high-tech projects moving forward, such as Virgin Galactic’s spaceship assembly plant in Mesa, KORE Power’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Buckeye, Zero Electric Vehicle’s manufacturing facility in Gilbert and ElectraMeccanica’s first-ever U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Mesa.
Vincent (Skip) Becker (VSB): I believe the projects related to the semiconductor manufacturing industry are the most exciting projects in Arizona, with the expansion of Intel, and the development of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. I also see the EV manufacturing industry projects — the Lucid Group and Nikola Motors, just to name a few — experiencing incredible growth due to federal mandates and a shift by the consumer in the demand for EVs. The semiconductor industry supports so many business segments throughout the world that the economic impact is staggering.
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