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Attracting new tech around Raytheon

Working to attract new business near airport
Posted at 7:49 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 22:49:17-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Raytheon officially opened a new entrance Wednesday. The new facility is a symbol of big plans to attract more tech employers here.

The ribbon cutting at Raytheon's new south gate and credential center is a symbol of a multi-year effort to cut loose the potential of the area as a magnet for other tech companies---companies that will offer more jobs at high pay.

Ted Maxwell, CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council says, “You're hoping you will attract both new businesses, businesses that are currently working with Raytheon or with the airport or with the Air Force. Because if you can create a sector down in this region that is not only advanced for technology, but also collaborative, so it works with the other businesses that are already here. And you get the supply system local versus having to bring the supply system in from outside.

Local leaders were stung when Raytheon chose Huntsville, Alabama over Tucson as the site for a new missile plant. They teamed up on a plan to encourage Raytheon to expand here, and encourage other tech companies to set up in Tucson.

The plan rerouted roads, and purchased land to create a better safety buffer around Raytheon.

It makes space for a new runway at Tucson International to handle more traffic, more safely.

Pima County Economic Development Director Dr. John Moffatt says the County bought about 600 acres of land that had been earmarked for houses. Homes would have limited Raytheon’s expansion and discouraged other industry from building nearby.

He says now that land has utility and high speed data connections ready to go. That’s a real draw for hard charging businesses that know time is money.

“Time to production is the key effort that most site selectors are looking for. So here we have all the utilities already in place. We are close to the airport. But we're also close to Raytheon where we would have supply chain folks be interested here. So it's a very quick time to get into production.”

Worldview already set up in the tech zone to build balloons for science payloads and eventually carry tourists to the edge of space, and John Moffatt says four or five other companies are thinking of bringing their operations here.

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