News Ticker

Mesa’s Industrial Sector Blossoming

By Maria Polletta for The Arizona Republic

Furnace Operator Robert Bahling checks the temperature of an oven as they convert scrap metal into steel at CMC Steel in Mesa on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

Furnace Operator Robert Bahling checks the temperature of an oven as they convert scrap metal into steel at CMC Steel in Mesa on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

With its ever-expanding list of big-name tenants, Chandler’s high-tech Price Corridor for years has earned the city praise from economic-development experts and Valley residents alike.

But Mesa, too, has been laying the groundwork for an industrial sector for decades near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. And with the recently announced addition of scientific gas and equipment company Matheson Tri-Gas, the city believes it’s seeing development in that sector catch up to Mesa’s long-running vision.

The industrial sector, also known as the Logistics and Commerce District, spans the roughly 1.5- by 6-mile area south and east of the airport from Pecos to Germann and Rittenhouse to Meridian roads.

When it completes its new facility in 2014, Matheson will join a mix of early investors and relative newcomers there, including TRW Automotive, CRM Rubber, Fujifilm, MGC Pure Chemicals, CMC Steel and Bridgestone Americas.

Mesa economic-development officials believe Matheson will do for Gateway’s industrial sector what Air Products did for Intel and other Price Corridor companies: make manufacturing easier and potentially allow them to expand.

Clean Gas Part of City Infrastructure

Clean gases constitute the latest addition to a working list of infrastructure assets — including water and sewer lines, roads and freeways and heavy-duty power sources — that Mesa promotes with site selectors. Though those resources aren’t available to the same degree throughout the entire area, Mesa already has seen returns in the sections where infrastructure assets are most comprehensive.

Infrastructure needs and the city’s overall vision for the industrial sector were considerations when CMC Steel chose to locate there four years ago, according to Ty Garrison, CMC Americas West Region vice president.

The city believes the airport itself, the coming business accelerator at Arizona State University Polytechnic, and former Air Force Research Laboratory AZLabs also help position the industrial sector for growth.

Mesa Seeks to Block Residential Encroachment

What the city doesn’t want to see in any part of the sector is residential encroachment — neighborhoods or mixed-used developments that aren’t compatible with airport overflights.

Chandler Economic Development Director Christine Mackay said fending off residential encroachment is the largest battle Chandler has faced over the years in its effort to preserve the Price Corridor.

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