Bulldozers at Amarillo Creek
Mayor Christian Price told residents of Province last week that Maricopa is primed for development due to lack of land in other parts of the Valley. [Jay Taylor photo]

Mayor Christian Price let the residents of Province who attended a presentation on city issues last Wednesday in on a little secret. He said during a recent meeting with Land Advisors Organization (a Scottsdale-based group that consults with land developers on site selection) they showed him a map of the entire metro Phoenix area, from Anthem to Casa Grande and Buckeye to Queen Creek.

The map was accompanied by a rather shocking statement.

Price said Land Advisors told he and city manager Rick Horst, “There is not a single spot of land anywhere in here that is not either in a holdout position, where a family owns it, and they don’t want to sell it; that has been purchased and is already slated for development; or is currently under development in some fashion. There is not a single plot of land that doesn’t fall into one of those categories. You guys – Maricopa – are all that’s left. You’re the last bastion.”

Price said that puts Maricopa directly in the cross hairs of every site selector looking for land in and around the Valley, and that’s an enviable position.

“We’ve been working toward this for 10 years,” he said. “We’ve been putting in the foundation for years to take advantage of this situation – we planned for it. We’ve been watching it from a water perspective, a utility perspective, and an infrastructure perspective and now it’s about to happen.”

Price said he frequently hears residents say they think development should be put on hold until the infrastructure catches up. But the mayor said those people have it backward.

“Infrastructure gets put in when you build,” Price said. “That’s how it happens. And guess what? The developers pay for it, so we don’t have to, and that’s what we want. You don’t want to pay for this stuff – it’s expensive. So, we can have the developer pay for it, then give it to the city and we just maintain it, and that’s a bargain.”

The amount of prospective development on the horizon is staggering, Price said.

“Right now, we have about $1.5-2 billion in industry that is looking to make investments in building things here in Maricopa,” he said.

Price referred to Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Tracey Lopeman, who also spoke at the meeting about the upcoming election for Proposition 457, the extension of the 10% MUSD budget override passed in 2016. He said the override would help MUSD continue to provide quality education, adding that businesses looking to make that kind of investment will require a well-educated work force. He said, “if a company is going to come in and spend a half a billion dollars in our community, they want to be sure they have a quality work force, and good schools are a key to providing that.”