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City of Peoria Press Release

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Peoria Takes Active Role in Business Development

Cities Called ‘Economic Engines of Arizona’ in Recent UA Report


 (Peoria, Ariz.) Jan. 25, 2007– A new research report says the overwhelming amount of economic activity in Arizona occurs within incorporated cities and towns. That is particularly true in Peoria, where city officials have invested dollars, infrastructure and staff time to create jobs and balance the local economy.

The report, produced by the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, calls municipalities “the economic engines of Arizona.” According to Doug Coleman from the Arizona League of Cities & Towns, which commissioned the report, it “clearly demonstrates that the state’s robust economy is not occurring by accident, but as the result of mayors and city councils making economic development a policy priority, as well as making investments that attract business and improve the quality of life.”

In Peoria, planners have been working for more than a year to implement a land-use plan for commercial development in the future Loop 303 corridor – 32 square miles in the city’s vast, northern Mesquite District. Much of their effort has focused on extending infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, to the area.

“If we want to grow and thrive as a major city and be a player in the Valley, we need to make plans now,” Mayor Bob Barrett told the Peoria Chamber of Commerce shortly after taking office this month. “We want to have corporations and headquarters of companies locate in the Loop 303 corridor.”

City officials, who work with the guidance of an Economic Development Advisory Board comprising seven members of the business community, estimate that up to 116,000 jobs could be created in the Loop 303 corridor over 25 years.

The effects of planning ahead are demonstrated in Peoria’s 83rd Avenue entertainment district. A number of restaurants, an ice skating facility, a dinner theater, a movie theater and 230,000 square feet of office space have sprung up on land the City Council had the foresight to purchase in the 1980s to capitalize on the development of the Peoria Sports Complex.

So, what has focusing on economic development done for Peoria lately?

The $12.9 million Peoria Center for the Performing Arts poised to open in the city’s historic Oldtown has made the area more attractive for developers. A mixed-use project on Washington Street across from Osuna Park is in the works, as is a retail development between the park and Grand Avenue. In addition, the city is moving forward with the Cotton Crossing road project which, among other things, will connect 83rd Avenue to a Wal-Mart that will go up at 81st and Peoria avenues. That infrastructure investment is key to another new project -- Peoria Place, a 127-acre mixed-use development just east of the city’s Municipal Campus that will add commercial, retail and residential activity to the area.

But the city isn’t concerned solely with attracting developers. It also can help smooth bumps along the path to completion. When construction of a shopping center in southwestern Peoria hit a snag, “We redid the development agreement and worked with them to get it done,” said Steve Prokopek, Peoria’s Economic Development director.

Since Peoria created Prokopek’s department, efforts to attract business have had a huge impact:

  • Completed projects have generated about $190 million in capital investment, $2.3 million in annual sales tax revenue and 5,000 jobs
  • Projects under construction represent about $219 million in capital investment, $9.5 million in annual sales tax revenue and 7,400 jobs
  • Projects scheduled to begin this year are expected to generate about $94 million in capital investment, $3 million in annual sales tax revenue and 1,500 jobs.



Media contact: Steve Prokopek, Economic Development director, 623-773-7738.