Tucson is on a Roll
If you’ve ever played dice (craps) in a casino, you know how exhilarating it can be to have gaming chips on the table when the person with the dice (the shooter) is “on a roll”. Being on a roll means the shooter and all of the other people at the dice table making the same bet as the shooter are scoring wins when the cubes settle on the right combination of numbers over and over again. Each time the shooter makes his or her “point” (wins) the energy around the table rises with plenty of high-fives and whoops of joy as players collect their winnings.
In my view, Tucson and Southern Arizona are on a roll. Many business executives have told me that they have not felt this kind of positive momentum and economic adrenaline in our area in quite some time. It feels good to win. Creating jobs and realizing a better community give everyone a natural high and help expand our economy.
The last few months have brought us:
Caterpillar – The importance of the decision by Caterpillar to locate its Surface Mining and Technology divisional headquarters in Tucson (downtown Tucson no less) cannot be overstated. Like every region, we need to diversify our economy here in Southern Arizona. The well-paying jobs and reputation that Caterpillar brings to our region are significant. Collateral impact on the local economy is hard to measure, but will certainly be good for realtors, suppliers and for the image of mining in our area.
New Non-Stop Air Service to New York City – Collaboration between the Tucson Metro Chamber and the Tucson Airport Authority has succeeded in establishing the new daily non-stop service to JFK. Flights on American Airlines start in early October. This development should be a real shot in the arm for East Coast meeting planners to send conferences our way and for local executives to access the northeast and Europe much more easily.
Home Goods – Was it location? Was it available land? Was it logistical advantage? All three probably played a role in the decision by Home Goods to station a major distribution center in Tucson creating hundreds of jobs.
Comcast – The decision by Comcast to plant its flag in a vacant building on Oracle Road and fill it with 1,100 employees is a boost for local employment and a vote of confidence for Tucson as a place for corporate or divisional headquarters.
World View – The area around Tucson International Airport and Raytheon has been dedicated to the development of a defense and aerospace park. Helping World View and its high-tech, high-payroll operation stay in Tucson could easily be the signal that other defense and aerospace companies should consider joining the sector’s cluster.
City Council Vote to Start Improvements on E. Broadway – Kudos are due to the Tucson City Council members who voted to start improvements on E. Broadway.
Extension of the A-10 Mission – Thanks to Southern Arizona’s federal elected leaders (and especially Congresswoman Martha McSally), the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance and the DM 50, the flying mission of Davis-Monthan’s principal air frame, the A-10 Warthog, has been extended to at least FY 2028. Doing so affirms the role of the A-10 and enhances the mission of Davis-Monthan AFB and its impact on our local economy.
AC Marriott – Downtown Tucson has come a long way in the last few years. It now has its own vibe and culture. Eclectic is cool again. The boutique hotel right in the middle of it all will be the new AC Marriott. One can only imagine how nice it will be when completed but in the meantime it’s great to see building cranes on the Tucson skyline again.
Nor-Gen Hotel and Conference Facilities – Put this one in the “futures” category, but when the mixed use project on land between the Tucson Convention Center and I-10 is completed, Tucson’s downtown will take another giant step forward. The conference center that will be a part of this project will expand much-needed gem show facilities.
Repairs to Valencia Road – Yup, if you have ever driven east out of the airport on Valencia Road, you know why the City of Tucson calls this stretch of Valencia Rd. the “crown jewel” of bad streets. Repairs are scheduled for late third quarter/early fourth quarter, but just the announcement is worth celebrating.
Arizona Coyotes – Tucson has long needed a pro sports franchise to cheer for and now we have one. The decision by the Arizona Coyotes to move their American Hockey League franchise from Massachusetts to Tucson will add one more major reason to go downtown.
Credits – It should be noted that there has been a high level of cooperation in many of these situations between the private sector and the public sector. Special gratitude goes to Sun Corridor, Inc. for their business attraction efforts. Working together to create jobs and build a better community feels good…and so does being on a roll. Way to go, Tucson!
Michael V. Varney
President & CEO