Commercial and residential development across the Valley helps drive the local economy

July 3, 2012

The early economic foundations in Arizona started with the four “Cs” – cattle, copper, cotton and citrus. These four fundamentals continue to contribute as modern-day economic drivers however another major economic driver that has emerged is large land holdings in Arizona.

The ownership of land, and its usage, often causes concerns and controversy and is not always understood or appreciated based on facts. DMB’s projects are great illustrations of how a property can evolve and contribute to the local economy over time.

DC Ranch was a working cattle ranch in the early 1900s that served local and regional markets with jobs and livestock production. Over time, the changing infrastructure technology and changing market demands lessoned the need for ranching in North Scottsdale and the land was used very little for almost a generation.

Ultimately, the family who owned the property chose DMB to help them create the next economic phase of the ranch as an innovative, large-scale, mixed use community that integrated business, retail, education, recreation and living. And as modern day settlers of DC Ranch grow their families and businesses, their economic impact grows and touches the entire region.

In 1945 at the base of the White Tank Mountains, the Caterpillar Tractor Company established their Arizona Proving Grounds in the barren desert west of Phoenix. The land was used to test technology and development of equipment at the time; this created local jobs and contributed to the rapidly growing US economy.

Caterpillar decided to move their operation when the population growth of the Valley began to encroach on the proving grounds and Caterpillar looked for a developer to create their next economic phase – and this was the start of DMB’s Verrado community. Verrado now weaves together living, recreation, education, healthcare, shopping and business and is in the next cycle of land-use and economic growth.

DMB’s newest community, Eastmark in the East Valley, used to be the General Motors Proving Grounds and were used for testing automotive systems in the hot desert climate. GM provided high-wage jobs for more than four decades and was a center for innovation in the motor industry with an economic impact that extended far beyond the East Valley.

When GM moved to another location, DMB’s planning team took inspiration from the historic use of the site and created the vision of a hub of commerce, innovation and high-performance living. Eastmark’s 2013 launch is envisioned to include high-wage, quality employers with a focus on business attraction and an active lifestyle in the heart of the East Valley.

With a commitment to creating a new standard for community and mixed-use development, DMB is incorporating smart planning and design principles to create a sustainable place and an economic engine that will thrive as people who live, work and play there make contributions in this phase of economic life. To learn more about Eastmark, follow us on Facebook at

Charley Freericks

Charley Freericks, President of DMB Associates, is responsible for strategic management and leadership of DMB’s Arizona activities. He has over 14 years of experience with DMB, including executive leadership roles and overseeing masterplanned community and commercial development operations. Mr. Freericks is an active contributor to Arizona organizations that enhance our community and business environment, currently serving as board chairman with Fighter Country Partnership (Luke Air Force Base), and several industry associations.

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