Words from John Giles, Mayor of Mesa
March 27, 2017
Mayor of Mesa
Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona and our growth is accelerating. For years, we have been known for our stellar housing communities and that continues today with new developments like Eastmark, Cadence and Lehi Crossing. We were only second to Phoenix in 2016 in number of new housing permits. I expect our population will exceed 500,000 during my term as Mayor.
More people are not only moving to Mesa – new businesses are too. Our big ribbon cutting scissors are wearing out! We understand that a sustainable city is not focused solely on rooftops. We must foster an environment that attracts the world’s top companies.
And we are doing just that. I would like to highlight a few of the new businesses and projects happening in Mesa.
Southeast Mesa is home to Apple’s Global Command Center. Apple is applying the finishing touches to their $2 billion investment and are preparing to manufacture data server cabinets on-site to be distributed to their operations across the world. Apple is the first, but they will not be the last well-known tech company to locate in the Elliot Road Technology Corridor. Nearby, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport saw more than 1.3 million passengers in 2016 and new carrier WestJet added service to Calgary and Edmonton, Canada – the airport’s first international flights.
The Falcon Field airport in northeast Mesa, is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country. It has more than 700 aircraft based onsite and a budding aerospace manufacturing industry right next door.
In west Mesa, The Fiesta District is on the move with its transformation of Fiesta Mall from retail to mixed use office space and 354 new apartment homes opening at Southern Avenue Villas. Just a mile north is Dexcom, a leader in continuous glucose monitoring, which is expanding to 580 biotech manufacturing jobs and adding a 180,000-square foot facility.
Our last stop is downtown Mesa where a lot is happening. Right now, there are 1,500 proposed housing units for downtown. The City of Mesa owns several properties in the area and we are strategically planning the release of each piece to the market so we can best manage development. We are focused first on the corner of Main Street and Country Club Drive, one of the gateways to downtown where we anticipate a modern mixed use residential and retail development. Along with new residential is the extension of light rail to Gilbert Road, and new restaurants like Worth Takeaway, which was listed in Yelp’s top 100 restaurants in the country.
As you can see, our economy is making great strides but our job as a city doesn’t stop there. We are playing a leading role in developing the workforce to feed the biotech, technology and manufacturing sectors of our growing economy.
The development of all the right infrastructure and perfect weather is not enough. We need people with the right skillset to meet the needs of today’s top businesses. That is why we are focused on connecting Mesa’s students to both early childhood education and higher education. Since 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before age five, I want to move the percentage of children who get an early childhood education from one-third to one-half in Mesa.
When it comes to higher education, Mesa is already a college town with more than 41,000 college students. I am committed to bringing an ASU campus to the heart of our downtown. Just recently, Mesa Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the country, and Mesa Public Schools announced a partnership that places a full-time college advisor at each high school. This partnership will help connect students to a rewarding post-secondary education and deliver the workforce businesses need.
This is an exciting time for Mesa and as each new project breaks ground and each new business opens, I could not be more proud of our community in reaching our Next Mesa.