BNSF railway certification earned in Surprise, Arizona
The historical significance of rail for Arizona communities has been tremendous. Dating back to the late 1800s, rail helped put Arizona on the map and serve as the most innovative way for goods to be transported. As towns were built along common rail stops, Arizona became a key player in the growth of the national economy. This industry has literally – and figuratively – helped move our region forward. Fast forward to today, rail is still a critical piece to move exports and imports through Greater Phoenix.
The City of Surprise was recently able to tout an economic development win. Two 150-acre properties within the Surprise-based Southwest Railplex Industrial Park, Cactus Commerce Center and Summit Business Park, have earned BNSF Railway Company’s Certified Sites designation, and are now part of a limited inventory of certified rail-served sites across the country.
This is essentially a stamp of approval from a qualified party, BNSF Railway, stating that this land is shovel-ready with all major utilities to the site, including water, sewer, power, rail and telecommunications. The evaluation criteria also takes into consideration geographical characteristics of the land, surrounding uses, and access to transportation, among many others. This certification increases speed-to-market, reduces development time, and reduces upfront development risks and costs of site preparation, and helps entice companies to Surprise that are looking to expand or relocate.
“This designation is a tremendous marketing multiplier for these sites and for the entire Southwest Railplex,” says Samantha Pinkal, economic development project manager for the City of Surprise. “BNSF Certified Sites are part of their Premier Parks, Sites and Transload Program which proactively identifies rail-served sites that are immediately available for development. To be included in this exclusive list is quite a privilege and benefit to every stakeholder in this development area and the community.”
The certified Surprise location is the first in Arizona and is one among only 24 in North America. The certification process took about six months and required consolidation of many existing documents detailing utility services, demographics, various maps, and proof that the properties were not designated as wetlands or home to endangered species.
“The City of Surprise’s dedication to certify their properties is the kind of action that markets Greater Phoenix as a quality, competitive place for business growth,” says Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “I look forward to seeing this certification bring business to Surprise and advance the region overall.”