Guest Editorial: Smart and Balanced Economic Development in Scottsdale

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale Airport is an important economic, jobs and tourism driver for the city. It also is a prime example of how Scottsdale (and other cities) can balance growth and development with existing economic assets.

Scottsdale Airport had a $688 million economic benefit for Scottsdale. The general aviation airport and adjacent Scottsdale Airpark account for 3,979 jobs. The area is of the state’s biggest economic generators.

That is according to the new economic analysis by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

The airport’s economic benefits to Scottsdale are up 20.7 percent since 2014, according to the study.

Scottsdale Airport is also an important ingredient in the city’s economic brand. There are 176 corporate jets at the airport (37 percent of the 478 aircraft based at Scottsdale Airport).

The airport is also popular with visitors and fans coming in for special events including Barrett-Jackson, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Cactus League baseball and the Fiesta Bowl. Tourists and visitors who used the Scottsdale airport last year spent $54 million in the region, up 36 percent from the last economic impact study.

Scottsdale Airport also shows how cities can balance growth and development with existing economic assets and infrastructure.

The airport is very important. It also has economic impact because of the adjacent Scottsdale Airpark and other nearby developments such as Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons (which is in Phoenix just across Scottsdale Road).

The Airpark area continues to evolve and mature with a number of buildings and properties going under renovations and modernizations.

This year’s elections in Scottsdale will have a big focus on growth, density and development, including in downtown Scottsdale.

Voters and candidates should realize the city can grow while preserving Scottsdale’s brand and current economic assets. The Scottsdale Airport and neighboring developments have found that balance.

The same has happened in Old Town Scottsdale with the success of the Scottsdale Waterfront and Scottsdale Galleria, the new hotel and luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square and the planned Museum Square redevelopment.

Scottsdale voters should rightfully want to preserve the city’s brand and protect its economic strengths).

Voters will also know that those efforts are not mutually exclusive to bringing new energy to underperforming, vacant or shuttered properties and parcels.

They know the best path for Scottsdale is centered around a smart and balanced approach to growth and economic development.



Read the full Economic Benefit study.