(PHOENIX) Neighbors, community leaders, city leaders, and business leaders met with Merit Partners, Arizona’s top industrial real estate developer on Saturday November 21st to discuss a new 83 acre jobs center that could employ as many as 1,000 people.
The company, Merit Partners is transforming an old cement plant into a new industrial park near 7th Avenue and Elwood Street. Part of that process involves an $11 million environmental cleanup which began in August. As that process continues and Merit looks to start construction, the company hosted a community event at the site to meet its future neighbors and to gain insight on what residents would like to see at the facility. Merit is also connecting with civic and business leaders in order to connect job seekers with the estimated 1,000 new jobs that would be created by the project called Merit Sky Harbor Industrial Park.
The socially distanced event included free food, a live DJ, and potential project artists. “Our goal was to gain some insight from residents and give them an idea about what we have planned. We want to be more than just good neighbors. We want to be a part of the neighborhood,” said Kevin Czerwinski, President of Merit Partners.
This project will be located along a new light rail route near the Rio Salado. It represents a renewed effort to clean up the riverbed and revitalize the area. It also falls within an Opportunity Zone, which are designated parts of the community that need investment. According to data from the Maricopa Association of Governments the 85041 zip code, the location of the project, has seen some of the steepest increases in unemployment since the start of the COVID crisis. Here is a link to the data.
Merit is in the process of lining up tenants for the fully entitled site and new facility. The goal for those tenants is to employ those who live in the area, especially along the light rail route. “It’s not only good for the community, it also makes good economic sense when businesses can employ people who live close to their operations. Everybody benefits,” added Czerwinski. The emphasis will be on light industrial and so-called grey collar jobs which are in higher demand in a COVID and post-COVID economy.
Phoenix based Merit Partners is Arizona’s number one industrial real estate developer with projects all over the Valley representing a combined investment of nearly $2 billion.