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State Of The City: Tempe Businesses 'Thrive'

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell
(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell praised the growth of local and national companies in Tempe in the annual State of the City address.

On Friday, Tempe business and government leaders took a minute to reflect on the city’s accomplishments and what’s on the horizon.  KJZZ’s Mariana Dale was at the Tempe State of City.

MARK BRODIE: Mariana, what were the big themes?

MARIANA DALE: Perhaps not surprisingly, the big theme from Mayor Mitchell was economic development. He pointed out local examples such as Four Peaks Brewing company, which started 20 years ago in Tempe and has since been sold to Anheuser-Busch. Also Cartel coffee.

Mitchell also talked about big national companies that have moved their offices to Tempe such as Bank of the West, which recently announced it’d be bringing more than 500 jobs to Tempe in the next couple years.

BRODIE: What are some the reasons these companies are moving to Tempe?

DALE: Each situation is unique. A big draw for a lot of businesses is the proximity to ASU, which churns out thousands of college grads, a.k.a. potential employees.

But it also has to do with the incentives Tempe offers to the businesses. Pretty much all of these deals are tied to some kind of economic incentive.

The most common one is called a GPLET, that’s an acronym for government property lease excise tax. Basically the city drops the property tax on the property for a set amount of time with the expectation the economic growth be it jobs or sales tax will make up for the difference.

RELATED: Tempe Tax Incentives Bring New Development, Legal Questions

BRODIE: What projects are coming up in the future?

DALE: There were several. One is Rio 21000, that’s east of Tempe Marketplace. It used to be a landfill, but now it’s slated for hotels, retail and office space.

A few big tenants have been announced, including Freedom Financial and Benchmark Electronics.

In the less flashy, but still import category Tempe is looking at renewing their arts tax next year, that’s a 10th of a percent sales tax that helps maintain the Tempe Center for The Arts.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.