We are home to wide open spaces, have an affordable cost of living and doing business, and saw strong growth pre-pandemic, with nearly $100 million in capital investment over the past five years. Couple that with the increased interest in mid-size cities for both business and talent, and Tucson and Southern Arizona are well-positioned for a strong comeback from the COVID-19 economic crisis. Moody’s Analytics ranks Tucson as a “Top 10 city best positioned to recover from the coronavirus,” and the Site Selectors Guild named Tucson as a strong candidate for new location or expansion projects in the next year. Tucson is also part of a top 10 emerging megapolitan region with Phoenix. The region boasts ample land and room to grow, plus access to a massive talent pool with graduates from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Pima Community College.
With access to two internationally recognized universities within 100 miles of each other, plus a top-ranked community college, Southern Arizona is a higher education powerhouse with an exceptional talent pipeline.
Tucson is home to the University of Arizona (UArizona), a top 20 public research institution offering more than 250 undergraduate majors and graduate programs. UArizona is home to leading programs in areas such as space, astronomy, optical science and medicine; and partners with major local employers such as Raytheon Missiles & Defense, which hires more engineers from UArizona than any other university in the country.
Arizona State University – one of the largest universities in the country – is just 100 miles north; ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for innovation (ahead of MIT and Stanford); and boasts the largest engineering school in the United States.
Pima Community College (PCC), ranked in the top 10% of U.S. Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute, has five campuses throughout Southern Arizona and is a key partner with employers such as Caterpillar for hands-on, workforce training. PCC is making major investments in the region – from doubling the size of its Aviation Technology Center at Tucson International Airport to a new Center of Excellence in Applied Technology in downtown Tucson.
From developing driverless trucks, high-tech missiles, emerging 5G wireless networks and smart mines to cutting-edge cancer diagnostics – companies in Tucson are creating pioneering solutions to global problems.
With companies like TuSimple, the world's largest and most advanced self-driving truck company, plus “smart mining” innovations from Hexagon Mining, Caterpillar, and Komatsu, Tucson is a proving ground for smart, autonomous technologies.
In aerospace and defense, Tucson is home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and industry giants such as the Raytheon Missiles & Defense headquarters, Honeywell Aerospace and Northrop Grumman, plus budding startups like World View.
Thanks to its proximity to major R&D institutions, combined with a business-friendly regulatory environment, robust local workforce, ideal weather (boasting more than 300 days of sunshine annually) and proximity to both California and Texas, Southern Arizona provides fertile space to test technologies of tomorrow.
Tucson’s strategic southwest location provides easy and fast access to California, Mexico and Texas – three of the world’s largest economies. Tucson is less than an hour from Mexico, Arizona’s number one trading partner; and an hour and a half from Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city.
This combined with assets such as I-10 and Tucson International Airport, the first port of entry for general aviation with 24/7 CBP processing, position the region as a key hub in the U.S.-Latin America trade corridor.
The inland port provides international ocean container rail service to and from seaports in California and Mexico – allowing companies to avoid delays at California ports and take advantage of lower freight costs. South of Tucson, the city of Nogales is home to Arizona’s busiest port of entry, particularly for commercial traffic, which boasts some of the shortest wait times on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This combined with assets such as I-10 and Tucson International Airport position the region as a key hub in the U.S.-Latin America trade corridor. In recent years, big names have bet on Tucson for distribution operations, including Target, Amazon and HomeGoods. As COVID-induced supply chain disruptions prompt companies to rethink their logistics networks, Tucson continues to be a strong option as a strategic transportation hub.
Amid a global pandemic, individuals and families across the country are eyeing communities that offer plenty of open space – plus an affordable cost of living – and Tucson checks all the boxes. The average home price is $304,000 and the cost of living is 6% below the national average. From hiking and biking through the biologically diverse saguaro-studded mountains to stargazing through one of the world’s largest telescopes, outdoor activities are endless and accessible year-round (hello, T-shirts in January).
Tucson is also home to world-renowned spas that make it a wellness destination – Canyon Ranch and Miraval. Balancing historic preservation efforts with new modern developments, Tucson is rich in history, heart and soul, but also a city of the future. Downtown Tucson has seen a renaissance in recent years, with $1 billion in investment over the last five years, 85 bars and restaurants, a streetcar connecting it to Tucson’s most unique districts, and lively music and arts scene. Tucson has a “cool factor” to rival Austin and Nashville, and its diverse dining scene put it on the map as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the country. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder national publications like Outside Magazine, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have included Tucson on their “best” lists.