West Valley mayors recently wrapped up the season for State of the City speeches. It was a time for city leaders to rave about their communities, share their visions for the future and, typical of the fast-growing West Valley, highlight major developments that will bring jobs and investment to the region.
Higher education and business innovations were the talk in the northwest Valley, while southwest Valley cities continue to reap the benefits of strategic location by attracting more warehouse, distribution and manufacturing companies.
Here are some of the projects West Valley mayors teased to during their speeches. While Goodyear didn't hold a State of the City address, The Arizona Republic reached out to include major developments happening in the city.
SanMar, a distribution warehouse for imported sports clothing that has been in Avondale since 2014, is expanding its building by 400,000 square feet to become the city’s first 1 million-square-foot facility.
The new building at 127th Avenue and Van Buren Street is expected to open in May, adding another 40 jobs to SanMar's current 115 employees in Avondale, said Jeffrey Fairman, the city's employment and business-development specialist.
Across the street from SanMar, Vitamin Shoppe — a New Jersey-based health and wellness company — will move into a new 187,000-square-foot building by the end of June.
This facility will become the company’s West Coast distribution center and will bring 110 jobs, Fairman said.
Vitamin Shoppe will hold a job fair for management positions April 19 and 20, and another fair for the rest of the openings in mid-May, Fairman said.
Huhtamaki, a manufacturer of consumer food packaging and service ware, recently opened in a renovated 750,000-square-foot facility near Maricopa County Highway 85 and Cotton Lane in Goodyear.
Huhtamaki is expected to create up to 300 jobs by 2021. The company will produce paper drink cups, insulated hot cups, food containers, pressed paperboard plates and thermoformed plastic cups and lids.
Some of the warehousing and shipping services are up and running and the manufacturing will begin in the fall, according to Harry Paxton, Goodyear’s economic-development project manager.
A glass manufacturer will open just north of Buckeye's historic downtown in May, bringing 100 jobs to the city. The Cardinal IG Company fabricates high-quality, energy-efficient insulating glass for residential window and door companies.
The company occupies 250,000 square feet on a 66-acre parcel at Maricopa and Apache roads. The company plans to add another 700,000 square feet to the facility over the next five years, according to the city.
On an educational front, the Western Maricopa Education Center, or West-MEC technical-education district, opened its Buckeye campus with three buildings in August 2016 and will expand this year, Superintendent Gregory Donovan said.
Donovan said the district plans a $16.8 million project to add another six buildings in Buckeye, and construction of the first three buildings is expected to begin this fall.
West-MEC’s campus in Buckeye already offers sustainable energy, welding, general construction, medical assisting, pharmacy tech and IT security courses. The expansion should add veterinarian sciences, cosmetology, dental assisting, computer coding and engineering/STEM, Donovan said.
The student body is expected to grow from 225 to 475 with the new additions.
“We are very excited to build this campus in Buckeye,” Donovan said. “When we are complete, this will be a $45 million investment in the future of economic development for our West Valley.”
Mayor Sharon Wolcott said Surprise will soon be a “college town” as she announced a deal with Ottawa University to develop a 35-acre campus next to the city's civic center.
The non-profit Christian university based in Kansas aims to enroll 250 students by August and plans to house 3,000 residential students in the next 10 years, according to President Kevin Eichner.
Classes will begin in August in the 26,000-square-foot former "Communiversity" building in Surprise, where Ottawa has offered adult education for the past eight years.
The Surprise campus — Ottawa's first residential campus outside of Ottawa, Kansas — is expected to eventually include dormitories, an indoor activity center, dining options, conference space and athletic fields, including a stadium, for 19 varsity sports.
Crews continue to construct Conair Corporation's huge new building on Glendale Avenue, just north of the Glendale Municipal Airport. The company, best known for manufacturing blow dryers and curling irons, will open the new distribution center this summer. The massive building will be longer than the Empire State Building is tall.
The facility will create about 300 jobs by 2020 and serve as a distribution hub for the company's hair dryers, brushes, Scünci hair accessories and some kitchen appliances.
Conair already operates two buildings totaling about 1.25 million square feet at the Glendale Airpark. The new facility adds about 1 million additional square feet and will make the corporate campus the second largest in the Valley, behind Intel in Chandler.
Also expanding are the Arizona Kidney Disease and Hypertension Centers with the recent purchase of a 40,000-square-foot office building at Westgate.
The company, partnered with Fresenius Medical Care, will hire for 50 full-time positions at the new location at Maryland and 91st avenues, according to the city. Arizona Kidney Disease and Hypertension Centers has two locations in Glendale already, and with the addition, it is expected to serve more than 700 patients weekly.
Mayor Jerry Weiers also touted the recent purchase of Glendale’s largest vacant office building at Talavi Business Park near 55th Avenue and Bell Road.
Alaska USA Federal Credit Union purchased the 185,000-square-foot building, adding to its 20-acre property at the Talavi Business Park, according to the city.
Peoria is in full promotional mode over a public-private partnership it hopes will be the Peoria Innovation Campus.
Located in the P83 entertainment district near the Peoria Sports Complex, this hub for technology and innovation will have 275,000 square feet in Class-A office buildings, a hotel, 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a parking garage with 3,150 spaces, according to the city.
In July 2016, the Peoria City Council approved a partnership with developer Plaza Del Rio Management Corporation to create a 17-acre innovation campus.
No construction has started and no tenants have been recruited for the space, but the city has completed the design of the site and is in the process of finalizing negotiations on a ground lease and development agreement. It is also marketing the project to the tech and innovation sector.
"Our focused economic-development plan is designed to be a bridge of transformation as Peoria grows from a suburban, bedroom community into a world-class city with a vibrant economy, cultural awareness and an exceptional quality of life," Mayor Cathy Carlat said.
Republic reporter Jessica Boehm contributed to this article.