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Position of Power Visionary leaders and a dedicated economic development team have positioned Peoria as a magnet for visionary developers, major businesses and educated workers BUSINESS by ANDREA MARKOWITZ TOP: Rendering of more development at Park West. BELOW: Here to catch a game? Northern Peoria's Cibola Vista Resort & Spa is perfect for those looking for a luxurious stay. www. visitpeoriaaz. com • PEORIA, ARIZONA 29 C reating a job for every available worker and ensuring that the available jobs complement workers' skills would seem like a daunting task to any city's lead-ers but Peoria's. After recently adding 4.5 million square feet of office space, more than 400,000 square feet of commercial space is being developed. The city also has plans to develop another million or so square feet. Future employment centers along the Loop 303 corridor will have the capacity to create 120,000 jobs. " We're putting together strategies for a healthcare center with hospitals, research and development, biotechnology, higher education and training," said Steve Prokopek, Peoria's economic development director. A sepa-rate Peoria Regional Medical Center is slated for construction northwest of Lake Pleasant and Happy Valley parkways. Commanding economic self- sufficiency Economic self- sufficiency is Peoria's ultimate goal. " We don't want to be just a bedroom community that relies on other communities for its success," said Prokepek. To that end, Peoria's leaders are complementing its freeways — which offer easy access to its employment centers, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and the entire Phoenix metro area — with transit- oriented development. Such a plan creates compact, mixed- use communities that encourage residents to spend their money in Peoria. Park West and Vistancia are shining examples of transit- oriented developments. Park West's urban western ambiance combines open- air shopping, dining and a Harkins movie theater with upscale apartment living. Future phases

30 PPEEOORRIIAA,, AARRIIZZOONNAA • www. visitpeoriaaz. com will bring offices and a hotel. " It's a lifestyle center that entices you to park your car, walk around, window shop and go to dinner and a movie," said Glen Van Nimwegen, Peoria's community development director. Vistancia's several residential neigh-borhoods mix in restaurants, shops, golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and hiking paths in a natural desert set-ting. " The developers linked it all with trails so it's a walkable community," Van Nimwegen said. Revitalizing Downtown Peoria is a transit- oriented project that began with building the new Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. New residential, commercial, dining, retail and office buildings soon will follow. Also on the docket are mixed- use projects near Osuna Park and City Hall, and a study for a commuter rail corridor that transports people to and from downtown Phoenix. " We're finding ways to mix everything together to create a diversity of living space," Prokopek said. Peoria's future urban trail system will link neighborhoods with commercial and recreational areas while connecting develop-ing areas to the north, allowing people to walk or bicycle from their neighborhoods to the Peoria Sports Complex and even scenic desert mountain trails. " Developing an infra-structure that includes alternatives to driving goes hand in glove with Peoria's ethic of envi-ronmental stewardship," said Carl Swenson, Peoria's city manager. Mastering green solutions Peoria's environmental stewardship includes aggressively addressing water conservation. For example, a new water reclamation plant treats all of the effluent and recharges it back into the groundwater supply. " We have some of the most comprehensive water use policies of any city in the Valley," said Swenson. Conserving energy is another high priority. The city gave an award to the Mercedes Benz of Arrowhead for building a U. S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ( LEED) certified dealership. A library under construction is using LEED principles for energy use reduction, and the city is seeking LEED certification for its remodeling of City Hall. To encourage additional LEED-certified buildings, the idea of giving expedited reviews and permits to building plans that are designed for LEED certifi-cation is being considered. " We think of Peoria's sustainability in terms of environ-mental stewardship and as a community to be around for hundreds of years," Prokopek said. ? For more information Go to: www. visitpeoriaaz. com or www. peoriachamber. com TOP: Award- winning Vistancia offers more opportunity for growth in northern Peoria. BOTTOM: The Plaza Del Rio, the single largest health- care community in Arizona, covers 185 acres in Peoria. BUSINESS