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City of Surprise Assistance Programs

Competitive Advantage to locating in Surprise, AZ

The Surprise City Council actively supports high employment projects, and city staff is skilled at utilizing assistance programs to meet the critical needs of incoming projects through the following tools:

Financial Assistance

Development Assistance

Development projects that provide benefits such as employment, capital investment and new tax revenue to the city may be considered for development assistance funding.   Funding may be used for purposes such as public infrastructure improvements and permitting & engineering fees.

Foreign Trade Zone No. 277

The City of Surprise is located within the Greater Maricopa Foreign Trade Zone No. 277 which offers both federal benefits and up to a 75% reduction on Arizona Real and Personal Property Taxes.  The City of Surprise partners with the Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC), which is a public-private partnership of the 15 communities, the business community and the educational sector in the West Valley of Greater Phoenix, to facilitate the activation of the Foreign Trade Zone within the City of Surprise.

The city has experience in assisting businesses in obtaining an FTZ Designation and recently worked with IRIS USA in establishing their FTZ designation for their 400,000+ square foot manufacturing facility in the city’s  Southwest Railplex industrial district.  The city worked with the company during the designation process and coordinated efforts directly with the company, site selector, WESTMARC and the designated FTZ consultant to file the appropriate applications.

5-Day Building Permit Program

The Self-Certification Permit Program, also known as the 5-Day Building Permit Program, illustrates how the City of Surprise is committed to enhancing customer service for our building community. The program eliminates the plan review fee for Licensed Design Professionals certified with the City of Phoenix and provides a faster permit process for eligible projects, allowing a permit to be issued within five business days.

Operating Assistance

Interim Office Space

The city of Surprise may provide interim office space at its 60,000 square foot AZ TechCelerator business incubator to businesses entering the market. This helps to accommodate business start-up operations, hiring & recruitment, and training needs while the planning and construction of a new facility is underway.

Numerous companies in Surprise have utilized the temporary office space and have found it to be highly beneficial to establishing their new facility in our city.  RioGlass Solar, Gestamp Solar and IRIS USA have each utilized this program during construction of their manufacturing facilities in the city.  Medical projects such as Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospital and Mainstreet, a transitional care property, have also utilized the program successfully.

Workforce Development

New businesses entering the Surprise market can benefit from the support of city staff and engagement in city-hosted job fairs in order to create awareness and assist in recruitment efforts.

Surprise is home to Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC), a public school district dedicated to providing innovative Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to local businesses.  The future 18-acre campus is another amenity and service that businesses locating in our city will be able to utilize in order to further support workforce development needs.

International and Start-Up Assistance

Global Concierge Services Program

As the most stable commercial market in the world, international companies are increasingly looking at the United States to expand their operations.  The City of Surprise offers Global Concierge Services, a robust program dedicated to helping international locates achieve success. Companies are able to get the support they need to start-up in the United States through the use of secure, government-owned office space at the city’s business incubator; plus, they have access to international business experts who can assist in navigating issues like international patents, work visas, local business licenses, incorporating in the U.S. and other issues unique to foreign locates.

Investor Engagement

The city can facilitate introductions to its network of financial institutions and investors in the Greater Phoenix market.   These introductions can help guide international clients and advanced start-ups to resources that may potentially put them on a path to be better positioned for capital investments.

Surprise Heritage District

The Surprise Heritage District (SHD) is a zoning district that regulates properties in the city’s Original Town Site (OTS), which is bounded North-South by Bell Rd and Greenway Rd and East-West by El Mirage Rd and Dysart Rd.  The SHD is intended to aid in revitalization of the OTS while preserving historical character and a unique sense of place.

Adopted under Ord 2016-14, the City’s Infill Incentive District provides financial incentives to promote both residential and commercial development that will aid in the revitalization of the Original Town Site. In order to be eligible, properties within the OTS will now be required to have one of the optional overlay zones, either SHD-RO or SHD-CO. If the property qualifies, the available incentive and procedure to obtain it will be determined by the type of project: residential or commercial.

  • New residential development on parcels zoned either SHD-RO or SHD-CO shall receive a 100% waiver of the City of Surprise Development Impact Fees
  • New, expanding qualifying commercial development may request a 100% waiver of Building Plan Review, Building Permit, and City of Surprise Development Impact Fees at the approval of City Council

View the full list of benefits at the Surprise Heritage District.