Friday, September 10, 2010

Focusing on opportunity over real estate

The Republic has an insightful editorial today about the need to focus on attracting opportunity for its own sake instead of attracting it to fill empty land. Mesa recently launched healthcare and education studies to see how either could be used to fill site 17 in downtown. Ultimately, the results have shown that while Mesa may be able to attract opportunity, there is no guarantee that the downtown site would be the best fit.

They go on to say that focusing on real estate is not the "most effective strategies to woo high-wage jobs Mesa's way." While we agree, sometimes real estate will have to be a factor. Mesa has among the most creative reuses in the valley with Amazing Jakes, Mekong Plaza, and AZ Country USA to name a few.

These may not fit into the "high wage jobs" category, but they do show ways that creative thinking and real estate considerations go hand in hand in creating successful ventures. Thoughtful reuse and the creative incorporation of site 17 may still be in the future for healthcare and education opportunities. They key must be, like the editorial says, a focus on attracting the jobs, not just filling the space.

While their overall premise that Mesa's pursuits of healthcare and education should be more flexibile is spot on, we don't necessarily think that they give Mesa enough credit for being creative in its approach to challenges.

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