They didn’t take the same routes toward their respective success, but Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert will all end 2013 with a strong year in their economic development which brings hope for a fortuitous 2014.
Chandler had a strong year on the economic front, with several sizable businesses announcing plans to make Chandler their new home.
Among those companies are General Motors, Nationstar, OnTrac, QBE North America, Intel and Infusionsoft. Those firms are expected to bring between 4,000 to 5,000 jobs to Chandler. In 2014
“It was a blockbuster year, the short and sweet of it,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, who was named American City and County Magazine’s Municipal Leader of the Year.
Several of those businesses moved into the Price Corridor; a stretch of Price Road south of the Loop 101 that also includes eBay, PayPal and Wells Fargo, among other companies. Tibshraeny called that stretch of Chandler a “hot area,” and said it’s been that way for quite awhile.
Much of the Price Corridor is filled with jobs related to technology firms, but Tibshraeny said announcements made this year also cover positions related to research and development and call centers. Combined, he said the positions offer residents a strong balance in the kinds of jobs available.
“We’re looking for the full gamut in Chandler, the white collar and the blue collar,” he said.
Balancing the East Valley’s economic growth was the continued rebound of the housing market due in large part to the increased job growth. Maracay Homes CEO Andy Warren said the East Valley has done the best in that department in recent years.
It’s created a baseline for the housing market Warren said is based largely on four factors — consumer confidence, affordability, job growth and population increase — that have all contributed to the East Valley’s recent success. Maracay alone opened eight communities across the East Valley — Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek — in 2013, the most the company had across the Valley.
“The way I look at it, we’re 24 months into a great recovery driven by economic fundamentals,” he said.
2014 and beyond
Economists who specialize in real estate project the market to make additional gains in the coming years, although at a more sustainable rate than the economic boon which led to the 2008 bust. The rest of the Arizona economy could move along more slowly, as a report by Research Professor Lee McPheters anticipates it will take an additional two or three years for a full economic recovery.
McPheters, who is the director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, anticipates the state will make slight gains in employment growth, personal income and population growth, but will drop in retail sales during 2014.
Despite the tepid report, the three East Valley municipalities project 2014 to be a strong year for their respective areas due in part to strong education reputations across all levels, and from continued gains made during what Tibshraeny called a “banner year.”
“It sets the stage for a great 2014 as well, and not just for Chandler, but the entire East Valley,” he said.
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