Words From Sharon Wolcott, Mayor of Surprise
August 23, 2017 |
Mayor of Surprise
Surprise is an active community of more than130,000 residents who enjoy new housing,incredible retail and restaurants, and award winning recreational amenities – including a Spring Training baseball stadium, one of the largest municipal tennis complexes in the country, and nearly 30 thousand acres of hiking trails at White Tank Mountain.
Surprise has always been a great place to live, but did you know we’re also home to a growing business community that’s focused on the future?
More than one million square feet of development has been added to our premier industrial park over the past several years. This area is a designated foreign trade zone with rail access and boasts three international companies with headquarters in Surprise. Plus, an exciting new development broke ground this summer. Skyway Commons is a 110,221 square foot speculative space designed to meet the growing demand from small to mid-sized general industrial users.
As we work to attract new business, we know the importance of creating a sustainable economy, and an educated workforce is a vital piece of that.
We are thrilled that Surprise is now a college town! Ottawa University has opened in city center, changing the face of the city’s downtown area by introducing a new, vibrant culture. Not only does this 4-year university offer a variety of degree programs, it also offers 21 intercollegiate sports! Future plans call for a 35-acre campus build out with sports fields and student housing.
Plus, the new 19.3-acre West-MEC campus in Surprise opens this month with career and technical education programs. As students begin classes, they will see construction underway on fresh restaurant amenities downtown, including fast casual concepts like Tokyo Joe’s and Pieology Pizzeria.
While city center is starting to flourish, incredible unleashed potential remains. There’s more than 400 acres of available land master planned for mixed use, sustainable development, including entertainment, retail, business, hotels and medical. Medical development is already leaving a significant footprint at city center with Banner Health Center in place and a new medical complex close to completion.
Businesses are thriving in Surprise. Locally-owned State 48 Brewery opened in June 2016. This April, they announced the city has been so supportive of their flagship location, they are opening a downtown Phoenix location. Surprise believes in being a good partner to businesses; that’s why we offer support for
entrepreneurs and small businesses. Our AZ TechCelerator business incubator is focused on assisting technology and innovation companies. Through recent renovations, we also added a coworking space called the Beehive.
Our Economic Development team is reaching cross-border to bring innovation and opportunity to Surprise. This year, they created a joint task force with a Canadian firm to identify ways in which Surprise can support expanded healthcare services to Canadians who visit or reside in the region, including the potential of a new Canadian medical service center.
Business growth in Surprise is being complemented with residential real estate development. We’re seeing new concepts entering our market. Lennar is building “Millennium Next Gen” housing in the Asante community, which includes a detached suite model.
Surprise is more accessible than ever. We have seen increased connectivity with Loop 303 widened to three lanes in each direction between Grand Avenue and Happy Valley Parkway and linked to the I-10 through an interchange. We have also seen east-west travel improvements with a new Bell Road bridge that carries traffic over Grand Avenue and the railroad, as well as the widening of Greenway Road. Plus, in our northern area, new sections of Jomax Road are paved, and Happy Valley Road is expected to connect from 163rd Avenue into the city of Peoria within the next year and a half.
It is truly an exciting season for our city. Surprise is evolving and becoming so much more than the bedroom community it once was. I am proud to be part of this community.