You have started to characterise the city’s engagement with private development as a collaboration into the ‘four Ps’ of marketing (product, price, place and promotion). Why has Surprise adopted this approach?

Yes, we are fortunate as a young city that we can still define how we work with the business community. In most municipal environments the city and private sector have distinct roles and practices for engagement. At the city we agree they both serve specific purposes, but they still share many of the same visions of success. If that vision is aligned, maybe it makes sense to collaborate and leverage strengths toward that common goal.

How does this collaborative approach work with the four Ps of marketing?

For product, the traditional definition relates to a business meeting an existing consumer demand for goods or services. In Surprise, the city surveys our community annually for their most desired restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues. We are fortunate to have amazing resident participation with 4,000 to 6,000 responses per year. This provides the development community with valuable consumer information. We not only share this information with our development community, we reach out to the ‘most desired’ list with our developer partners to enhance the impact of that prospect discussion. The shared focus on product is netting results; Prasada Loop 303 has close to a half a million square feet in development. This corridor bisects the rapidly growing West Valley region, estimated to exceed two million people by 2030.

What about price?

We understand the project has to be financially feasible for it to meet consumer expectations related to price. The city takes great pride during the development process to identify efficiencies with big-ticket items in land, infrastructure and the construction schedule. Along the Prasada Loop 303, the city organised infrastructure improvement for multiple projects, delivering cost and timing efficiencies. Within the Surprise City Center area next to the Surprise Spring Training Complex, the city worked closely with the landowner to amend a street layout to maximise commercial building, benefitting the associated cost/value across the whole development area.

And place and promotion?

Surprise City Center provides a great example of how the city is working with partners to ‘place steal’. Ottawa University developed phase one of its residential campus on 15 acres in the city’s 200-acre civic and recreational campus. Ottawa University’s Chancellor coined the term that he was “stealing” the scale of the surrounding public amenities to enhance the university investment. The university furthered this by matching the stonework of the City Hall, police and fire headquarters, and other prominent public buildings. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers each completed new state-of-the-art player housing and development facilities. The city and landowner developed a plan to help them co-locate directly adjacent to the stadium complex, allowing for easier player and staff access to the Spring Training Stadium facilities.   

The shared vision of the Prasada Loop 303 and Surprise City Center creates success through unified promotional efforts, too. The city has recognised the value of regional entertainment along the Prasada Loop 303 corridor and has prioritised its industry outreach and communication tools in TV, web and print to share this opportunity. Conversely, the city helped conduct a 12-month Surprise City Center master planning exercise with land ownership and 1,000 local resident contributors. The new master plan and development agreement have encouraged close to $150m in new investment drawn to the 350,000 visitors to the civic and recreational campus and the nearly 100 special events each year.

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To find out more about developments in the city (including City Center and Prasada Loop 303), watch this interview with Mayor Skip Hall.