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MEDA

Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart shows MEDA and the city council plans to develop Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

Millions of dollars are about to be invested into the Copper Sky Commercial District.

Wednesday, Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, announced plans for an 18-acre development around Copper Sky that will include La Quinta Hotel, 620 units of multifamily housing, a 172-unit Morning Star Assisted Living Center and 53,000 square feet of new retail space.

Airheart unveiled the $146-million plan at Wednesday’s special meeting between the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) and Maricopa City Council.

“The southern parcel will include a hotel with about 85 rooms,” Airheart said. “That is going to be the very first project on this site. Phase one will continue to include about 320 units of multifamily housing and then retail with about 16,000 square feet.”

She said the northeastern corner of the development will also include assisted living housing.

“This is a segment of our population that we are not able to cater to today,” Airheart said. “The developer that we are working with is interested in being in and out with construction within three years. The developer is investing money and he also has to work to attract investment dollars to this project. We hope this will go on to expand the critical relationships that we are working on.”

Airheart said La Quinta Hotel is a $10 million private investment and will be four stories tall with 89 rooms. It will have a $1 million annual operating budget and create 20 jobs according to Airheart.

She said it will provide an annual payroll of $390,000 to the local economy, as well as property, bed and sales taxes.

Hopes are the hotel will be operational by the end of 2020.

Those attending the MEDA meeting were extremely excited by Airheart’s release about the development.

“Ummm, so this is confirmed?” one man asked.

Photo by Jim Headley

Airheart replied it was about to become reality and the developer is ready to start on the project soon. Businesses going into the open retail spaces at the new development will be “market-driven.”

City Manager Rick Horst told the crowd the developer of the hotel is Shea Connelly Development, a national developer with a long and prestigious track record.

The hotel is separate from the multifamily housing and retail complex going into the Copper Sky development. Airheart said the same developer has built a similar project in Fountain Hills.

The Copper Sky Commercial District will include a $100 million private investment into a complex with 53,000 square feet of retail space and provide about 150 new jobs.

The Copper Sky development is almost twice the size of the Fountain Hills development.

The proposed Morning Star assisted living facility is a $30 to $35 million private investment providing 172 units with 82 as independent care, 56 as assisted living and 34 dedicated for memory care. Morning Star is expected to provide 225 jobs to the Maricopa community, according to Airheart.

She provided images of the company’s development at Fountain Hills showing a large and luxurious 91-unit care center that is nearly half the size of what will be built in Maricopa. Fountain Hills was a $21 million investment.

Horst said, in all, the new development could house up to 3,000 more people and will leverage larger events to come to Maricopa, increasing tourism and jobs.

City Manager Rick Horst talks to the joint session. Photo by Jim Headley

John Schurz

John Schurz, president and general manager of Orbitel Communications and Western Broadband, Schurz Communications Inc.’s Arizona cable properties, has been elected chairman of Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA).

MEDA is the City of Maricopa’s private-public partnership for economic development.  As a 501(c)3 corporation, the organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in Maricopa by bringing together the business, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.

Schurz is a fifth-generation executive of Schurz Communications, a 146-year-old privately held family owned and operated business. He began his career with the firm in 1988 and has worked in cable, radio, newspaper and television at eight of the company’s facilities. Currently, he serves on the Schurz Communications Board of Directors and Finance and Audit, Governance and Acquisition Committees. He is also a Past President of the Southwest Cable Communications Association and serves on its board.

“I am honored to lead this organization that works so diligently to grow and advance the City of Maricopa,” said Schurz, who has served most recently as the organization’s treasurer.  “I joined the board in 2013 and working with Mayor Christian Price, the City Council, the City’s economic development staff and my fellow board members, I look forward to the year ahead.”

MEDA’s board is comprised of the leading executives of Maricopa’s major business sectors, representing expertise and experience in utilities, finance, development, health care and infrastructure development.  Equally important are the elected officials and public sector executives who bring the essential representation of the City of Maricopa’s City Council, City Management and Economic Development functions.

“MEDA works in close partnership with Maricopa’s Economic Development Department on several strategic projects and programs,” said Mayor Price. “All our initiatives are geared toward creating a stronger and more competitive community and economic base for our city.  John’s business knowledge coupled with his commitment to Maricopa will serve MEDA well.”

Other officers elected include Brett Benedict of Maricopa’s Electrical District 3 as treasurer and Jim Kenny of El Dorado Holdings, Inc. as secretary.

The Maricopa-MEDA partnership is an important component of the city’s economic vitality and sustainability. Through the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance, the City of Maricopa and business and education leaders join forces to identify and support promising economic development opportunities for the City of Maricopa.

An economic development mechanism received an updated agreement with the city Tuesday.

During a regular meeting, City Council voted to approve the new $125,000 agreement with the non-profit Maricopa Economic Development Alliance for fiscal year 2017-18.

The agreement is contingent upon several metrics that include MEDA having to maintain its private funding to the tune of $83,000. They also must increase media value by 10 percent and increase online exposure throughout the region.

According to MEDA, the organization will also continue to use online television spots to promote the city and help bolster a positive image and ultimately growth for the city.

Per their mission statement, “The Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) organization champions strategies and solutions that foster economic growth and prosperity in the city of Maricopa by bringing together the businesses, government, education and civic sectors to identify and advance forward-looking policies that facilitate investment, growth and workforce development.”

Other goals stated in the agreement include tackling flood plain issues, championing public education, helping prepare “shovel-ready” commercial and industrial property and improving the overall business climate.

MEDA claims to do this in a number of ways, the largest being support for the City of Maricopa’s efforts to bring businesses to the city through “deal-generating.”

MEDA Board Officers:
Chairman – William H. Stacy –– Electric District 3 – general manager
Treasurer – John D. Schurz – Orbitel – president and general manager
Secretary – James F. Kenny – El Dorado Holdings – president

Board Members:
Denyse Airheart – City of Maricopa Economic Development – director
Christian Price – City of Maricopa – mayor
Marvin L. Brown – City of Maricopa – vice mayor
Gregory Rose – City of Maricopa – city manager
Steve Chestnut – Maricopa Unified School District – superintendent
Jennifer Alai – Great Western Bank – Southern Arizona president
Brian C. Bernardo – Banner Health – senior director
Ron Fleming – Global Water – president
Bryan M. Hartman – Santa Cruz Ranch – president
Adam Saks – Ak-Chin Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center – general manager and COO
Bud Walters – Southwest Gas – Supervisor

Advisory Board Member
Lyle Frederickson – Great Western Bank – vice president