Sunday, February 24, 2013

Economic Development Update

City of Scottsdale’s Economic Development Department

Scottsdale’s business attraction manager Bob Tunis reports that there continues to be robust interest in Scottsdale from a number of companies looking to relocate to Scottsdale.
While the vacancy rate in the Airpark continues to hover around 24%, Scottsdale has begun to see some positive absorption of space in Class A and B real estate and commercial real estate brokers report that business has begun to improve. Improvement does not imply a return to the glory days for property owners and a great deal of new development, but the market has seen some redevelopment of existing properties.

Scottsdale General Plan
Rick Kidder, representing the Chamber, was chosen to participate in the City sponsored town hall to work on the community values and vision statement for the General Plan. The previous version failed at the ballot for a number of reasons, among them charges from some members of the community that the General Plan had not received the appropriate level of community input and scrutiny prior to being placed on the ballot.
Roughly 100 members of the community from remarkably diverse backgrounds and perspectives under the leadership of the Arizona Town Hall gathered for three half-day sessions designed to come to consensus on the community values and vision statement, the basis for the General Plan document.
The consensus approach is challenging but is designed to filter out personal agendas and fringe concepts to arrive at place where essentially the group agrees. The Arizona Town Hall has no vested interest in the outcome and the process produced a widespread support from the attendees.
Documents and events related to the vision and values and other news and information related to the General Plan can be accessed through the city’s web site at

Economic Development Advisory Council
Scottsdale Forward
EDAC had another robust and busy meeting on February 12. Chair Don Couvillion issued a call for volunteers to take on leadership of the Focused Initiative Groups (FIGS) coming out of the Scottsdale Forward event on March 21. All Chamber members and members of the community are invited to attend and participate in Scottsdale Forward on March 21 at Scottsdale Community College’s Performing Arts Center from roughly 7:30 AM-10:15 AM. For more information on Scottsdale Forward, see the Chamber website at

What Does the New Healthcare Law Mean to My Business?
Bill Smith, member of EDAC and leader of Mountain States Employers Council brought two speakers with him who are experts on the Affordable Healthcare Act, offering a detailed analysis of the new law and its multiple effects on business. The legislation is still subject to mountains of regulatory clarifications prior to full implementation, but it is clear that no one will remain unaffected by its provisions.
Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer, a strong opponent of the law (Arizona was part of the legal challenge which eventually was adjudicated by the US Supreme Court,) concluded ultimately not to create a state healthcare insurance exchange in favor of whatever exchange is set up by the federal government.
It is recommended that all businesses who currently provide access to healthcare insurance seek assistance from benefits professionals who are able to keep current and sift through the thousands of pages of regulations associated with the law.
For more information, contact Mountain States Employers Council at
or at

Discovery Triangle
The Chamber has been for two years a strong proponent in Scottsdale’s participation in the Discovery Triangle, an economic development zone envisioned to include parts of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale. While the City Council decided not to participate, the Chamber remains committed to the concept and looks to our leadership to revisit participation.
The Discovery Triangle essentially runs from Downtown Phoenix to Downtown Tempe (and originally envisioned to include Scottsdale along McDowell Rd to include ASU SkySong). The Phoenix/Tempe area runs along the light rail corridor, seen by many as a significant redevelopment area, with substantial assets and opportunity. Transit-oriented development has begun to bring that once underutilized corridor back to the beginnings of substantial revitalization.
Sara Dial and Don Keuth provided a progress report on the inventory of existing properties within the triangle and the rapid evolution of the entity towards financial independence from public dollars. The Discovery Triangle is a public/private partnership designed to have diminishing public support and larger pay-for-service revenue stream working with companies seeking to revitalize and infill properties.
The goal of the Discovery triangle is to promote and assist knowledge companies to the area which could find synergies with each other and use the incredible asset base and intellectual environment of ASU, the anchor points in each city.
For more information, go to

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