By Mark Cowling | Pinal Central
SAN TAN VALLEY – Residents here spend $900 million each year in other places, primarily Maricopa County where 80% of them work, Pinal County Supervisor Mike Goodman, R-San Tan Valley, told an audience of about 30 people, and more watching online.
This community has grown over the last 20 years to an estimated 120,000 people, but the jobs, goods and services to make it sustainable continue to lag, attendees at an economic development town hall were told on June 29.
An attendee asked why no one is requiring developers to provide small retail areas. Danny Court, senior economist with Elliott D. Pollack & Company, said developers view San Tan Valley positively, but it’s “sort of two-edged sword” with neighbor Queen Creek. Retail is finally coming to Queen Creek, but businesses see San Tan Valley as part of the same customer base.
Also, traditional brick-and-mortar retail is “a tough industry right now,” Court said. Rather than new store locations, retailers are investing in technology and distribution for online sales. For Pinal County that’s good because sales tax is collected on the home address, and online sales continue to grow.
But because of Queen Creek’s success, retailers are asking “Where else can we do this?” Court said. “I know they’re looking at San Tan Valley.” But the question is “Where is the site?” he said. Site selectors are under pressure to make every location “a stand-alone success,” and locations without high traffic and visibility won’t be chosen.
When San Tan Valley was the fastest-growing place in the country, the county’s retail impact fees here were the highest in the state, attorney Jordan Rose said. At the time, retailers sought lower fees in Queen Creek. Then the market crashed and very little was built for 10 years, she said.