SVP, Regional Manager, Schnitzer Properties
What are some issues that you think need more or better collaboration and how would you begin to address those?
Since Schnitzer Properties entered the Tucson market with our first acquisition in 2015, we have seen incredible growth and improvement in terms of infrastructure, job creation and amenities. The opportunity for collaboration among all stakeholders continues to be the improvement of the condition of the streets and roads in many areas of the community. Attracting new industries that create jobs at every level depends on transportation of people and products. Building state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, distribution warehouses and high-tech campuses will require some real attention to road conditions. We can begin by educating the community as to the benefits of additional job opportunities and upward mobility with some basic surface road infrastructure improvements.
If you were involved in the recruitment of a company to the region, what are the top selling points of the region that you would want to communicate to a prospective employer?
There are so many advantages to locating or expanding a company in Tucson that make this a fun conversation to have with almost any prospect. The easy points are the physical beauty of the area, the access to all of the benefits of UArizona, the affordable housing, world-class shopping, restaurants and terrific hotels and resorts. The possibilities for year-round recreation including golf, hiking, biking and sightseeing are an easy sell. Although a bit more nuanced, most prospects appreciate the fact that the cost of doing business in Tucson can be significantly less than bigger markets like Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver or San Diego. The companies that I deal with are almost universally impressed with the potential of working with Sun Corridor Inc., the City of Tucson and Pima County to facilitate an easy transition into the community. Until recently, all of these selling points only helped if there were existing facilities that could accommodate a new prospect to the area, particularly one who could not wait 12 to 18 months for a build to suit. Fortunately, that has changed with several spec developments by Schnitzer Properties and others. The future looks bright!
Tucson has developed a number of industry clusters that are gaining momentum in the region such as aerospace and defense, mining, biosciences and medicine, and various aspects of technology. Do you consider those to be areas that need continued focus and why?
Communities with a diverse industry base are always better and stronger. Imagine a community with tourism as its only industry during the past two years. One of the true strengths of the Tucson market is the diversity of the employment base and the fact that the institutions of higher education in Tucson and Pima County graduate students who can support the many industries mentioned. It has been great to witness the influx of technology-based companies that have added to or supplemented the growth of lower tech industries like manufacturing and distribution.