Southern Arizona Community Overviews
Cities & Towns
A diverse and welcoming community, Tucson offers an outstanding quality of life along with a low cost of doing business. A leading hub for aerospace and defense, bioscience/healthcare, renewable energy and logistics, businesses in Tucson are leading the way in innovation.
With Davis Monthan Air Force Base as one of the region’s top employers, world-class aerospace and defense companies like Raytheon Missile Systems, Bombardier, Honeywell Aerospace, and World View Enterprises benefit greatly in Tucson’s economy.
Located entirely in a Foreign Trade Zone, 60 miles from the Mexico border, Tucson’s high-capacity border and transportation infrastructure provide an ideal choice for companies doing business in the United States and Mexico.
Tucson is the only city in the United States with the prestigious UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation, making it a destination for some of the world’s top culinary researchers and enthusiasts.
- Arizona’s Best ‘Staycation’ City (WalletHub)
- One of the U.S.’ Fastest Growing Technology Metropolises (Oliver Wyman Forum)
- One of the seven rising cities to be on your 2019 travel bucket list (TripAdvisor)
Casa Grande is a dynamic, involved community, a modern city with rural heritage and old-fashioned values. Its economic base is a mix of retail trade, factory outlet shopping, manufacturing and agriculture. Founded in 1879, Casa Grande was named for the famous Hohokam Indian Ruins 20 miles to the northeast. Midway between Phoenix and Tucson, the city has grown to be the largest community in western Pinal County since its incorporation in 1915. Once dependent on agriculture and mining, the community has evolved into a diversified full-service area with manufacturing, retail trade, government, tourist-related employment, and a wide array of locally-owned restaurants. All of Pinal County is a designated Enterprise Zone.
- Thorough collaboration between all parties resulting in a quick turnaround for permits
- Transportation hub with multi-modal access to railroads, interstates, and air routes
- Strong mix of retail, industrial, and manufacturing trade
- Economic hub of Pinal County
- Leader in advanced medical services
- Easy access to multiple top-notch research universities and trade colleges
- Shovel Ready sites available (including rail-served and airport-served)
The City of Douglas is positioned for economic and community success. The community’s rich history and culture, economic drivers, community assets, and strategic border location make Douglas a good location for business investment. In 2016, leading industries were retail, healthcare and social services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. Today, education, health care, and social assistance are the sectors containing the largest share of the workforce.
Arizona has the fastest-growing population compared to other U.S. border states and continues to uphold its reputation for being attractive to businesses and people. Border wait times at Arizona ports of entry are highly competitive when compared with other ports along the U.S./Mexico border. Demonstrated first in Arizona, Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) offers an innovative solution to the traditional dual inspection process by permitting U.S. and Mexican customs officials to jointly inspect commercial cargo. The UCP expanded to Douglas in early 2017 and provides effective and efficient facilitation to 100% of the commercial cargo through this port.
Large Regional Population Market Base
All of Arizona’s binational border regions rank in the top ten Arizona population centers when compared with the population of the state’s counties and incorporated places. By county, the Greater Nogales Binational Region (Santa Cruz County and Nogales, Mexico) ranks fifth, and Greater Douglas Binational Region (Cochise County and Agua Prieta, Mexico) ranks sixth. However, when considering the addition of the Sonoran communities of Cananea (105,000), Nacozari (95,000), and Cumpas (10,500), as shown in the Population Rank chart below, the Greater Douglas Binational Region (448,393) moves into fourth based on total regional binational population.
Marana is fast becoming known as the most business supportive community in Southern Arizona. With exceptional access to multimodal transportation, a newly reorganized Development Services Center and a local government that values corporate investment, businesses both large and small are taking advantage of development opportunities in Marana. The Marana Economic Development Strategic Plan identifies the main target industries that will lead the way for the Town’s future job growth: transportation, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, professional and business services, and the tourism visitor experience.
Transportation & Logistics
Marana’s unique position straddling Interstate 10 just northwest of Tucson and only 90 minutes south of Phoenix contributes to its unique position as an emerging logistics hub. Running parallel with I-10 is the Union Pacific Railroad, presenting another option for the movement of goods and services. The Town of Marana has also invested over the past decade in infrastructure improvements to the Marana Regional Airport, making it a popular facility for executive travel and general aviation.
Business Industry Cluster Support
The aerospace, aviation services and defense industries have a strong presence in the Metro Tucson area, specifically in Marana. The community is investing money in infrastructure development and improvement in order to better attract these sustainable, career-oriented industries to the area. As businesses of these types locate in clusters, several key goals will be accomplished for Marana: creation of high-paying, career oriented jobs for a strong economic base, attraction of retail to support population growth related to business cluster development, and finally, reducing the need for local businesses to seek suppliers or contractors for goods and services outside of the Marana area.
Arizona is ranked first in the nation in projected job growth and economic growth prospects, and Nogales is the #1 Port of Entry in the entire Southwestern United States. Nogales is Arizona’s International Gateway and the county seat and economic heartbeat of Santa Cruz County. Nogales is safe, friendly, accessible, and open for business.
Ambos Nogales, the name associated with the binational region that includes both Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, is strategically located as Mexico’s gateway to Arizona and the entire Western United States. The strategic location allows companies to enjoy the advantages of accessing two labor forces, two tax systems, and two governments.
Companies can utilize wage structures in Ambos Nogales to make their operations cost competitive. The median age in Ambos Nogales is very young and those youthful individuals are ready to work.
The strategic location of Ambos Nogales along the U.S./Mexico border allows companies here to utilize the Mexican ports of Guaymas. Stopping in Nogales, containers and products are shipped throughout North America.
The Town of Oro Valley is where scientific collaboration, technology innovation and business opportunity are surrounded by the stunning Arizona landscape. Oro Valley is already home to global bioscience, health care, and hi-tech companies many of which are experiencing significant expansions.
With the ground breaking of a business incubator/accelerator in Innovation Park late 2019, the Town is poised to help launch and grow new life-science-oriented enterprises along with a diverse mix of new engineering and business services. This facility will create a dynamic environment that will include flexible lab and office space and will link to the University of Arizona Innovation Ecosystem via the future Veterinary College in Oro Valley planning to start its first cohort Fall 2020.
- In 2018, commercial construction permit valuation totaled more than $36 million
- No local property tax
- Commercial property assessed at 18% of fair market value
- Residential property assessed at 10% of market value
- Roche Tissue Diagnostics (automated diagnostic systems for anatomical pathology)
- Honeywell (diversified technology and manufacturing)
- Simpleview (customized tools for destination marketing organizations)
- Securaplane (avionics products for commercial, military and business aircraft)
- Sigma Technologies International (polymer capacitor technologies)
- Icagen (pharmaceuticals)
Nestled just miles from Madera Canyon, Sahuarita is one of the fastest growing communities in Arizona. Strategically located between Tucson’s Aerospace and Defense Technology Corridor and the burgeoning economy of Mexico, Sahuarita’s diverse business climate includes mining, agriculture, tourism, and technology innovation. The Town benefits from its young and highly educated workforce and affordable, newly built communities.
Sahuarita helps its growing businesses through its low taxes, and also through the BizHUB. Recently opened thanks to a generous grant from Freeport McMoRan, BizHUB is a public workspace where businesses can reserve space (for free) to use. Located in the Town Hall lobby, there is a conference room, workstations with computers, free wifi, and other areas to collaborate.
Additionally, Sahuarita has extensively planned for future economic and residential growth. In the short term, Rancho Sahuarita has a master plan where they have designated a 16-acre site for industrial and technological offices. The Farmer’s Investment Company (FICO) owns thousands of acres of Pecan Groves in the Town, and have designated this land as the Sahuarita Farms Specific Plan. This plan will grow Sahuarita both commercially and residentially in the ten-twenty year range. Finally, for the long term, the Town has developed the Sahuarita East Conceptual Area Plan (SECAP) for much of the undeveloped, unincorporated land to the east of the Town. All of these plans incorporate retail, residential, and industrial uses. Sahuarita will continue to build on its current mining, aerospace, defense, and information technology industries while also fostering entrepreneurship. The Town’s close proximity to Mexico also presents unique opportunities in tourism, international trade, and also a hub of transit between the two nations.
Located just 30 miles from Interstate 10, Sierra Vista serves as the retail hub of Cochise County and northern Sonora, Mexico. Home to Fort Huachuca, the Army Post houses some of the most technology advanced industries in the Department of Defense. These encompass intelligence training, network communications, cyber operations and unmanned aerial systems. The airspace above the community is controlled by the military providing an unmatched 964 sq. miles for manned and unmanned aircraft. Fort Huachuca also leverages the electronic proving ground utilizing the Buffalo Soldier Electronic Test Range’s 2,500 sq miles that affords testing offered nowhere else in the United States.
Enriched Educational Environment
Sierra Vista is a technology focused community. Higher education institutions such as Cochise College, Embry Riddle, Wayland Baptist University and the University of Arizona (UA) South have developed programs to support growing the workforce. These include the Bachelors of Applied Science Degree in Cyber Operations offered at UA South and now NSA has designated UA’s program as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) one of only 20 programs in the country.
The weather in Sierra Vista is mild and sunny 360 days a year rarely reaching 100 degrees and offering a variety of outdoor activities for residents. While being extremely affordable, Sierra Vista offers a large selection of shopping, retail and tourism experiences.
The City Council is proactively involved in economic development and embraces new businesses within the community. The Business First program offers those businesses looking at locating in Sierra Vista a variety of incentives.
Why Pima County? We believe companies want to grow in communities that have excellent quality of life and that make investments in critical infrastructure that are the foundation for commerce. We believe businesses appreciate efficient governments that maintain an appropriate tax rate, pay off debt rapidly, provide certainty in regulations and deliver high quality service.
The Sonoran Corridor – A Regional Economic Development Catalyst
The Sonoran Corridor is a multilevel, multistep, multiyear economic development initiative for Pima County and Southern Arizona. Once completed it will significantly transform the regional economy, adding billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to the Tucson valley.
Business Retention and Attraction – Incentives
The Pima County Board of Supervisors enthusiastically supports new businesses and business expansion in Pima County. The Board has an approved a business attraction and expansion plan and has directed staff to assist business development and expansion in any way possible.
Located in the heart of the Sun Corridor, Pinal County has a very diverse economy. Since the county’s inception 135 years ago, copper mining has and remains a county economic mainstay, over the many years creating thousands of great paying jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue to the state, county and local economies. Another major economic engine is agriculture. The central to western area of the county is home to hundreds of family, corporate and university based farms supporting various types of agricultural products including Pima cotton, hay, sorghum, millet, corn, sheep, dairy & feeder cattle and several varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Manufacturing and major distribution firms are centered along Pinal County’s main traffic corridors of Interstate 10 (California to Florida), Interstate 8 (Pinal County to San Diego) and US Route 60. Transportation corridors in the county also include the Union Pacific Sunset Line (Long Beach to El Paso) and Copper Basin railroads. With the proposed development of a 950 acre Union Pacific Railroad rail park locating near Red Rock, and close to I-10 and I-8, Pinal County has a great opportunity to create a major multi-modal warehouse/distribution network along with opportunities for the location of national and global rail-served manufacturing operations.
Cochise County is nestled in the southeastern corner of Arizona encompassing 6,200 square miles of mountains, yucca-speckled grasslands, and unique cities and towns. The communities of Sierra Vista, Douglas, Bisbee, Benson, Willcox, Huachuca City, and Tombstone, along with surrounding unincorporated areas and the border state of Sonora, Mexico, boast a shared, diverse workforce with vibrant regional, national, and cross-border/international market opportunities. Cochise County balances high technology and aerospace industries with a rich agricultural setting offering.
- Eight public general aviation airports (most with available land)
- Rail access
- Robust fiberoptic infrastructure
- Access to major east-west interstate highway (I-10)
- Multiple electric cooperatives with reliable and cost-effective power and natural gas providers
- Fertile agricultural land with year-round growing season
- Proximity to U.S./Mexico border with two international ports of entry
Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz County is located the southernmost central part of Arizona, bordering Mexico and serving as the gateway to North America’s most important port of entry, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. While one of the state’s smallest counties, Santa Cruz County is also one of Arizona’s most diverse and interesting destinations, offering an eclectic blend of history, culture, art, recreation, shopping, cuisine and entertainment in a beautiful and relaxing setting.
From the artist colony of Tubac, to the historic national monuments at Tumacacori, to the twin border towns of Nogales, Arizona and Mexico, to the mountain and birding town of Patagonia, to Arizona’s wine country in Sonoita and Elgin, a journey though Santa Cruz County will intrigue, stimulate and satisfy the senses!