Monday, May 11, 2009

Gateway concerns

Boeing is moving 60 jobs in their F/A 18 repair facility to Florida. They are keeping their helicopter testing and operations here, but it still means 60 fewer decent wage leaving town. It sounds like that these plans were a long time coming, but its still disappointing.

In addition, a major piece of land near Gateway may be heading into foreclosure. The land was going to be used for a major mixed-use trade center. Now, they are going to switch gears and see if they can use some of the land as a "green zone" in an attempt to attract federal funds. Its not clear what happens if they are unsuccessful, but we should be expecting some setbacks like this during this economic climate.

Finally, as resorts are reporting record drop-off, blogger Joanna Allhands ponders if Mesa's Gaylord project will be able to meet expectations. It is anticipated (or at least hoped) that 2011 will lead the upswing, which completely fits the Gaylord's timeline, but if things are in fact a little slow, what happens then? She also wonders if the shift towards a more frugal lifestyle will impact Gaylord's high-end appeal.

All of this goes to show that while Gateway clearly has a lot of promise, its not all a guaranteed result. The City and everyone who is involved must make sure that they are doing everything they can to ensure that the area is successful. Losing 60 jobs is not as impactful if you can turn around and attract 300. Losing a plan to foreclosure can be fixed if you find someone with either better financing or a more solid plan for the land.

I still fully expect that the Gaylord will be built, and I think that their appeal will be able to survive the "new frugality" of the recovering economy. Their business model of "everything in one place" is going to be attractive to many people, and in fact, I think it may draw some traffic away from posh Scottsdale into Mesa where they could get more bang for their buck. However, it does bring up a good point:

Gateway's future should not depend solely in Gaylord's success. Gaylord will be an economic driver for the area, but it shouldn't be the only one, and the leaders shouldn't rest on their laurels.

1 comment:

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