There are many advantages to being in Marana. The community is located between two of the largest cities in Arizona, it has 18 miles of Interstate 10 frontage and the local government is committed to a business-supportive attitude that is putting any lingering effects of the bruising recession in the past.
With an impressive recent population growth, Marana’s immediate future has potential for retail growth that would benefit all of Southern Arizona. One fast-tracked project has Town elected officials and staff filled with eager anticipation.
When the premium outlets break ground in Marana at the Twin Peaks Interchange this summer and opens roughly a year later, shoppers from miles around will see something unique to Southern Arizona. The mall will have more than 100 high-quality stores covering 360,000 square feet. Hundreds of jobs will be created and local government will see a notable increase in sales tax revenue, resulting in better police protection, parks and roads.
Simon Property Group is the driving force behind the outlets. Simon, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis, has an unparalleled record of developing outstanding outlet malls. The company has 81 Premium Outlets across the globe, including 65 in the United States. The American properties are located in major metropolitan areas, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
Simon also has nine developments in Japan, three in South Korea, and one apiece in Canada, Malaysia, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The company owns or has interest in more than 325 retail real estate properties in North America and Asia totaling 243 million square feet.
“We couldn’t ask for a better partner on this project,” Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said.
When completed, the outlets will be a little more than an hour along Interstate 10 from Simon projects Phoenix Premium Outlets in Chandler and Arizona Mills in Tempe, giving the company a strong foothold in Arizona.
While no agreements have been signed with retailers for the project, Simon’s property in Chandler serves as a model for the one in Marana. Phoenix Premium Outlets has 90 stores, including internationally recognized brands such as Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan and Polo.
As a bonus, hundreds of jobs will be created for people from across Southern Arizona.
“The ripple effects from a project like this are incredible,” Davidson said.
Marana’s council has long embraced pro-business policies, and staff is collecting resident feedback to use in a second update of the town’s Strategic Plan. Next up is a revamp of the town’s Economic Roadmap, which identifies the type of industry that would best succeed in Marana and where those resulting businesses would best be located.
The Town’s Development Services Center is working with numerous investors who want to set up shop in Marana. Already on the books are the region’s first Tractor Supply Company retail store and a John Deere dealership.
Strong retail activity over the past two years has created a shortage in available space that is resulting in development activity. A good example is the construction at Marana Marketplace on the corner of Thornydale and Orange Grove roads.
“This is a great time to cultivate economic development here,” Marana Economic Development Manager Curt Woody said. “My calendar is filled with people who want to do business with the Town.”