A city looking to put itself on the tourism map often will promote its airport as part of the destination experience.


The City of Mesa is using longtime fixture Falcon Field Airport as part of a different destination strategy - a premier location for aerospace, defense, manufacturing, and technology companies.


Falcon District is the new name for the area anchored by the airport and includes more than 35 square miles of retail, commercial and industrial parks, plus residential neighborhoods. The goal is to draw local and national attention to the area as a hub for: manufacturing, medical technology, advanced business services, and next generation aerospace and defense.


The new effort stemmed from recommendations in last year’s Falcon Field Economic Activity Area Strategic Plan, which recommended several action items, such as increased emphasis on business attraction, expansion and retention activities and a brand and marketing plan.


This summer, the Mesa Office of Economic Development conducted meetings, interviews and focus groups with area employers, property owners, developers, residents and stakeholders, resulting in the new Falcon District brand.


The intent is to build on the economic infrastructure already in place, which begins with manufacturing and technology companies—many with a global following—that have more than 18,000 skilled workers.


For example, serving the Aerospace/Aviation & Defense sectors are The Boeing Company, with a payroll of 4,200 employees, and MD Helicopters, which has 255. Other companies are Phoenix Heliparts, Aeromaritime, GECO, The Timken Company and CAE Oxford. When it comes to advanced manufacturing, Special Devices Inc., has 400 employees and Nammo Talley counts 249 workers onsite. Other companies include Orbital ATK, Trans-Matic and Able Steel.


To accommodate more companies, the Office of Economic Development notes there is open space that offers protection from encroachment, security and certainty for long-term planning. Need a skilled workforce to get the job done? There are plenty of options: According to an Esri Community Analyst 2015 report on the area, this is the makeup of who lives nearby:


Labor Force (age 18+) 20-Minute Commute 30-Minute Commute
2015 434,210 1,082,714
2020 461,408 1,157,085
Educational Attainment (age 25+, highest level completed)
Associates Degree 9.5% 9.1%
Bachelor's Degree 16.4% 20.1%
Graduate/Professional Degree 8.8% 11.6%





Source: ESRI Community Analyst, 2015 – Center point Falcon Field Airport


The airport is getting a new look to match the new chapter for the area. Work is expected to be completed in November on a $2 million renovation project.

Click here to learn more about the project.