Three “Surprising” Growth Trends to Watch in 2021 in the City of Surprise

Guest Feature for Molera Alvarez by Jeanine Jerkovic, Economic Development Director, City of Surprise

When you’re a city called “Surprise,” it’s safe to say that constant change is a bit of a norm, however, the year 2020 accelerated more change than ever for us – and somewhat for the better! Many people think of the City of Surprise as the suburban Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, but there is so much more happening – and so much to expect in 2021!

After 2020, we could all use some positivity, and the top three 2021 economic growth trends to watch in Surprise and the Northwest Greater Phoenix might actually signal positive growth ahead!

#1: Homes, Homes and More Homes

By the end of 2020, Arizona hit a 14-year peak in single-family home growth, closing the year with an estimated 40,800 single-family permits and an additional 46,900 single-family permits estimated for 2021.

With a more than 300 square mile planning area, the City of Surprise is absorbing a tremendous share of this home growth, along with its West Valley neighboring communities of Peoria and Buckeye. The City of Surprise is on target to add between 2,000-3,000 new single-family residences to its market each year for the next decade. By 2030, Surprise is estimated to grow from a population of almost 150,000 today to 215,000, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.

Additionally – it isn’t just the quantity of home growth in Surprise that’s happening – it’s the quality! Toll Brothers started selling homes in its new luxury gated resort-style community Sterling Grove in 2020, and they will open their new 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course in early 2021. The community is expected to build 2,200 new homes, which will have access to a clubhouse, spa, restaurant, fitness center, several pools, and tennis and pickleball courts.

#2: Retail Rising

While many small businesses nationally are certainly struggling and closing – in fact 25% in Arizona have closed due to COVID; there is evidence that Arizona’s consumer retail spending is recovering. Arizona’s retail spending is up by 17% since before the COVID pandemic, and the City of Surprise retail spending is up by an incredible 24% over last year. Additionally, the City of Surprise is seeing tremendous interest in new business openings and new retail corridor development.

One primary reason suburbs like the City of Surprise are experiencing a retail boost – aside from the “panic-buying” early in March – is the “teleworker effect.” As more employers asked workers to work from home this year, workers have started shopping and dining/carrying out closer to home more than ever before. In suburbs like Surprise where most of the workforce was commuting outbound each day to work, staying home has helped reap retail rewards.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, new retailers such as Costco, Tractor Supply, Bath and Body Works, Reel Pizza Pies, Handel’s Ice Cream Parlor, Boyer Bakery, and dozens of others have started construction or opened their doors in the City of Surprise. Along the Loop 303 in Surprise, the Simon/CRE Master Plan in Prasada with 890,000 square feet of new commercial space was submitted for development review – the equivalent of about 18 full-sized grocery stores!

#3: Manufacturing to the Max

2021 might be the ‘year of the manufacturer’ in Surprise and the West Valley from a job growth perspective. Arizona is projected to be strong in 2021 for industrial sector job growth, mainly due to its proximity to the California market, but also due to the demands of reshoring companies seeking secure, accessible infrastructure, an abundant workforce, and affordable real estate options in the US.

Arizona is currently ranked #3 for job growth nationally, and transportation and warehousing industry growth increased by 10% in Arizona this year. The West Valley is poised and ready with available and flourishing industrial corridors; further, the City of Surprise has 300 acres of “BNSF certified” shovel-ready sites in its award-winning Surprise Rail Plex to offer.

Local City of Surprise-based manufacturers IRIS USA, SeaCa Packaging, and Trimaco, and others like them have been in growth mode throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, adding new workers and some even considering new market opportunities. Available industrial land in Surprise has received considerable interest throughout the pandemic as well – and now a new Amazon “last-mile” delivery station is under construction!

While the only constant in life may be change, the growth in Surprise and the West Valley are unwavering in the near future! Come out and visit for a pleasant ‘surprise!’

For a high-level overview of economic development trends to watch in Arizona for 2021, view our blog.

The City of Surprise was awarded “Global City of the Year” at the Global Chamber of Phoenix Annual Grow Globally Fair in 2020.

Published On: January 20th, 2021Categories: Community News

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