Economic development during and after COVID: New project at Westgate, help for local businesses

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps teased a major economic development announcement in the Westgate area during a Valley Partnership forum on Monday.

“We will be announcing that shortly,” Phelps said during the Valley Partnership virtual forum.

Phelps said the project will be a new entertainment concept at Westgate.

The area includes the Westgate Entertainment District, State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena.

Arizona Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, are touting the Phoenix area especially Westgate and the stadium for the Republican National Convention after President Donald Trump said the event might be moved out of Charlotte because of COVID-19 closures there.

Economic development during and coming out of the Coronavirus pandemic was a focus at the Valley Partnership event that also featured Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson and Tempe City Manager Andrew Ching.

Ching said the city of Tempe has taken some steps to help businesses and planned real estate developments as they navigate the reopening of the economy after COVID closures.

Ching said Tempe is allowing restaurants and shops to use outside spaces as they deal with social distancing rules.

“It’s a program I know some other cities have looked at implemented as well,” Ching said.

The city has also been extending existing development agreements and lifting rules on banners and signs to help promote local businesses.

“We’ve waived sign permits,” Ching said.

Phelps said Glendale has also been helping local businesses. 

He said COVID-19 has not had a significant impact on the pipeline of economic development projects and potential site selections looking at Glendale. Phelps said so far just three out of 85 projects and site selections have been delayed since COVID hit the economy.

“We are very encouraged by that,” Phelps said.

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