Phoenix mayor wants to attract tech jobs to West Valley with 'Technology Corridor'

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Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants to attract more technology and manufacturing jobs to the West Valley, and he's announcing plans for a "vast new employment corridor" along a stretch of the Loop 202 expansion.

The South Mountain Technology Corridor will feature modern business parks for advanced manufacturing, business services and emerging industries near the site of the upcoming freeway along 59th Avenue in West Phoenix, Stanton said.

"It’s time for us to do more in the West Valley, in particular," Stanton said in the State of the City speech Tuesday. "Nearly half of the West Valley workforce commutes to other parts of the Valley each day. That’s a lot of talent, and a lot of valuable time wasted behind the wheel."

The corridor will run more than six miles along 59th Avenue, from Buckeye Road south to Elliott Road, according to Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackey. The corridor will span about a half mile on either side of the freeway.

Stanton said the corridor could generate tens of thousands of jobs over the next 20 years.

"Think of it as Price Corridor of the West Valley," he said. "This will be a game-changer, not just for the West Valley but for the entire region."

But developing another Price Corridor won't happen overnight.

Planning for the roughly 3.5-mile stretch in Chandler of high-tech business parks started in the early 1980s, said Chandler Economic Development Director Micah Miranda.

Price Corridor stretches from Price Road at the interchange of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways south to the intersection of Dobson and Ocotillo roads.

The area has attracted companies like Intel, Wells Fargo, PayPal, Orbital ATK, and more.

Miranda said establishing a high-tech business corridor takes more than just business parks. Employers also consider the quality of the available labor force and the business climate, along with school district rankings and other quality-of-life factors that will be available to their employees.

Stanton hopes the West Phoenix corridor can build on gains made downtown, where the number of tech companies has grown from 67 to more than 260 over the last five years.

"It's not slowing down – we added two more this week," Stanton said in the speech.

In an interview Wednesday, Stanton rejected the idea that a new corridor could struggle to compete with Price Corridor, or that the new corridor could draw businesses away from Chandler.

"At some point the Price Corridor will be built out. [Companies] will be looking for new areas for growth," he said. "This is not a zero-sum game kind of thing. We are growing the pie, the economic pie here. Great jobs in the East Valley can also beckon great jobs in the West Valley."

"You know why?" he continued. "People want to move to an area where there is depth in your economy. If they come here for one job and they lose that job, there's whole 'nother industry that can support them."

The 22-mile Loop 202 expansion is scheduled to open for traffic in late 2019. Stanton said filling out the South Mountain Technology Corridor will take decades, but the city is already working on the planning and land use process.

"We're thinking about the future. We're planning it. It's going to happen sooner than you think," he said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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