TOURISM

Tourism is the major economic driver in La Paz County.

Unlike much of Arizona, La Paz County has an active tourist market throughout the year.  Winter visitors, including hundreds of thousands of RVers, come to the county between October and May.  They are attracted by the warm and sunny winter climate, the recreation on and near the Colorado River, and many events including the Quartzsite RV, Crafts, and Gem shows, off-road racing events, and just to hang out with their friends.

The wave of baby boomer retirees and pre-retirees are now creating an even more dynamic winter visitor and full-time retiree market.  They prefer to own their own place in the sun rather than rent a space in an RV park or manufactured home park.

From Spring until Fall, tens of thousands of boaters, fishermen, hunters, and other sportsmen are drawn to the beautiful, cool waters of the Colorado River which acts as California’s east coast and Arizona’s west coast.

The eight counties which comprise southern California have a 45 to 65-year-old population of approximately 4.5 million.  Many of these residents have sold their expensive homes and have retired to the much more affordable La Paz County.

A VERY STRATEGIC LOCATION

La Paz County is becoming a very active link (or bridge?) between California, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.  Its major highways, Interstate 10, Arizona State Highway 72, and  US/Arizona Highway 95 provide the critical links between these major markets.

Companies that have traditionally located in the major metropolitan areas are now looking at La Paz County as an area that is much more open to industrial development and where the “not in my backyard” mentality is much less than it is in the metropolitan areas.

An industrial park is in the final planning stages at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Vicksburg Road, in central La Paz County.  The developer is in discussions with a wood products company, a sit-down restaurant and some trucking-related companies.

Two major natural gas fired power plants have been built in recent years.  One is just east of the county and the other is just west of the county in Blythe, California.  They chose those locations because they are near the major El Paso Natural Gas Company line which extends through La Paz County.

A major cargo transfer facility has also been built on Interstate 10 in Blythe.  Trucks arriving from the east divide their loads and distribute them to trucks bound for all parts of California.  Additional facilities to serve the trucking industry are expected to be built in La Paz County.

A large company in western La Paz County builds the bodies for cargo trucks and mounts them on the trucks.

General Motors Corporation has recently started construction of a 2,400 acre, $100 million hot weather vehicle testing facility in Yuma County, very near the south boundary of La Paz County.  The facility is being relocated from the Phoenix Metropolitan area where it has been pushed out by urban growth.

The US Border Patrol is reportedly increasing its workforce in the area by 100.

Three private prisons have been built just west of Blythe, California.  Employees of these facilities have expressed interest in living in La Paz County due to its lower housing costs.

Vicksburg Indoor Produce has opened a hydroponic facility for growing high-quality vegetables and is now expanding.  It is located in central La Paz County.

A California company has recently purchased a 70 acre site near Interstate 10 and Vicksburg Road in order to develop a plant for the purpose of collecting and packaging a variety of products for export to Asia.

Five major dairies are being established in the county.  Two are already in operation.

In order to support the growth of La Paz County and western Arizona, Arizona Western College (AWC) of Yuma, in cooperation with Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, currently has 13 buildings under construction, including a 5,000 square foot classroom building in Quartzsite and a 25,000 square foot building addition to its campus in Parker, which is the La Paz County Seat.  AWC has acquired 60 acres in Quartzsite for that campus.

Wal-Mart will soon start construction of one of its Supercenters in Parker in order to serve the growing retail demand in the area.

Housing for the management and workers of these various entities is in very short supply.

ONLY 5% OF THE LAND IN THE COUNTY IS PRIVATELY HELD.

The remaining 95% is owned by the US Government, the State of Arizona and the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Only a small amount of the private land can be zoned at densities which permit urban development.

The pattern of land ownership in the county creates a great land investment and development opportunity.

 Three major factors are affecting the dynamics and growth of La Paz County.

TOURISM

The county attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, many of which become seasonal or full time residents.

Fall, winter and spring bring the RVers, retirees and pre-retirees looking for sun, fun and lots of activities.

Spring, summer and fall bring boaters, fisherman, hunters and other sportsmen to the Colorado River and the mountains. 

La Paz County is one of a limited number of areas with a year around tourist industry.

A STRATEGIC LOCATION

The county is the very important link between the major metropolitan areas of the southwest.

 

 

 

Southern California – population, approximately 22 million.

 

 

 

The Phoenix Metropolitan area – population, approximately 3.5 million.

 

 

 

The Las Vegas Metropolitan area – population approximately 2 million.

 

 

 

Companies which have traditionally located in those markets are now locating in La Paz County.

 

 

 

This activity is enhanced by the fact that the county is much more open to industrial development than the metropolitan areas.

 

 

 

In addition, the US Government is now building an $80 million, 70 acre Mexican border crossing complex near Yuma, Arizona.

 

 

 

This facility will process the increasing flow of truck traffic to and from Mexico which has been forced to use inadequate crossings in New Mexico, Arizona and California.

 

 

 

US/Arizona Highway 95 and Interstate 10 funnel this traffic into and through La Paz County to destinations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and throughout the western US.

 

 

 

This flow will continue to increase as major Mexican seaports are constructed or expanded.  These ports are being enlarged in order to expand the flow of Asian cargo into the US.  This flow is beginning to be restricted due to the congestion in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.  Expansion of these ports is very difficult, if not impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

A VERY LIMITED AMOUNT OF PRIVATELY HELD LAND

 

 

 

Only 5% of the land in La Paz County is privately held.

 

 

 

The remaining 95% is owned by the US Government, the State of Arizona and the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

 

 

 

In addition, only a modest amount of the private land can be zoned at densities suitable for urban development.  This creates and excellent opportunity for land investment and development.

 

LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

Why is La Paz County such a major year around tourist destination?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

Winter visitors are attracted to the county by the great, warm winter weather, the many events which occur in Quartzsite such as the RV show, the craft show, the gem and mineral show, the great off-roading areas, the spectacular desert hiking and bird watching, the great fishing, the very exciting Bluewater Resort and Casino, and just to hang out with their friends from all over the country.  The area’s proximity to Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada is also attractive to winter visitors.

 

 

 

Summer visitors are attracted by the cool, clear waters of the Colorado River which provides great fishing and boating opportunities and many restaurants.  California fishermen and boaters have been flocking to the river for more than 50 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

What is causing retirees to locate in the county?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

Retirees are attracted by the many activities and also by the very affordable housing.  Housing is a strong motivator for Californians who can sell their highly appreciated homes and buy a very attractive La Paz County home at a much lower price.

 

 

 

The are also attracted by the quiet rural lifestyle and the low crime rate which contrasts with the increasing gang activity in the communities where they have spent their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

What makes La Paz County a strategic location?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

La Paz County is located approximately midway between southern California and the Phoenix Metropolitan Area which are connected by the Interstate 10 freeway, which is the most heavily traveled east-west highway in the western US.  Phoenix is growing rapidly to the west toward the county and southern California is growing toward the east, also toward the county.

 

 

 

The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is just over a one hour drive from La Paz County and the Palm Springs, California area is approximately a two hour drive from the county.

 

 

 

La Paz County is also just a few hours by car from Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada which are directly to the north via US and Arizona Highway 95.

 

 

 

The US Census Bureau has recently issued a report regarding the ten counties in the US which grew by more than 200,000 residents between 2000 and 2007.  Three of those counties are adjacent to La Paz County – Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix Metropolitan Area), Riverside County, California, and San Bernardino County, California.  Another county on the list is Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas) which is only a short distance from La Paz County.

 

 

 

Their rankings are as follows:

 

 

 

No. 2 – Riverside County, California

 

No. 3 – Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas)

 

No. 5 – Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix Metro)

 

No. 7 – San Bernardino County, California

 

 

 

Maricopa County, Arizona grew by more than 800,000 residents during the period.

 

 

 

US Highway 95 extends straight south through La Paz County and Yuma County to the Mexican border.  The US Government is currently spending $80 million to build a state-of-the-art border crossing for trucks and a new highway which will tie into US Highway 95.  This crossing is being built to handle the increasing flow of goods to and from Mexico.  This flow has been hampered by inadequate border crossings in California and Arizona.  The flow is also increasing as the result of the fact that Mexico is expanding its seaports in order to handle the massive flow of ship containers which are bound from Asia to California, Arizona and the rest of the western US.  Port congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is causing more of this container traffic to enter North America through Mexico.  At least one major industrial park developer is considering La Paz County as the site for a project to take advantage of this new activity.

 

 

 

The La Paz County highway network puts it in the center of the American Southwest, the most actively growing area in the US.

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

What about the availability of land in La Paz County?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

Land availability is very limited due to the fact that only 5% of the land is privately held, and much of that land is in flood plains and undevelopable areas.

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

What about educational opportunities in La Paz County?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

Arizona Western College, which is headquartered in Yuma, has a campus in Parker, Arizona which is the county seat of La Paz County.  It is currently constructing a 25,000 square foot classroom expansion to that campus.  It is also building the first 5,000 square foot classroom building on its new 60 acre Quartzsite campus.  Arizona Western has a long term alliance with Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff which is a 4 year college.  This allows them to provide a 4-year college curriculum to La Paz County.

 

 

 

 

 

Question:

 

 

 

What about job growth in La Paz County?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

 

 

Job growth is strong and a number of major employers are planning projects in the county.

 

 

 

The county is in an excellent position to attract industry which would previously have settled in Phoenix or southern California but has been forced to look for alternative locations as a result of urbanization, environmentalists, no-growth activists, etc.

 

 

 

A California company has recently purchased a 70 acre site for the development of a facility which will process various projects for shipment to Asia.

 

 

 

The Arizona Western College expansion will create more jobs, as well.

 

 

 

A Phoenix company is planning to construct a $220 million ethanol refinery near Vicksburg.  This is expected to create 400 jobs during construction and 170 full time jobs when it goes into operation.  The company has also announced that it plans to double the plant’s production by deploying a new technology  for the production of biodiesel.

 

 

 

Two major dairies have been built and are now operating in central La Paz County, one is under construction, and two more are planned.

 

 

 

Wal-Mart is planning to build one of its supercenters in Parker.  It has been reported that it will create more than 100 jobs.

 

 

 

The US Border Patrol is reportedly adding 100 new jobs in the Blythe, California area, just across the Colorado River from La Paz County.

 

 

 

A new truck stop has recently opened in Vicksburg, a second is under construction in Quartzsite, and a third is reportedly planning to build in Quartzsite.

 

 

 

The developers of the ethanol plant are planning an industrial and business park next to the plant.  They report that they are in discussions with a wood products company, a sit-down restaurant, and several trucking-related companies.

 

 

 

 

 

BELLA LA PAZ

 

 

 

 

 

A few ideas for consideration regarding the rights accruing to the 40 acre buyers.  The idea here is to get us thinking about how to approach these items which are at the core of our value proposition to the 40 acre buyers.  I am trying to refer to rights and benefits which will exist at close of escrow or soon thereafter – and not value enhancing services which we will provide to them in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

RIGHTS AND BENEFITS WHICH WILL BE RECEIVED BY THE BUYERS OF LAND WITHIN THE COMMUNITY

 

 

 

The benefit of the fact that the property is designated RURAL COMMUNITY under the La Paz County Comprehensive Plan, as amended during November and December, 2006.  The RURAL COMMUNITY designation allows the La Paz County Board of Supervisors to zone a property with a density of up to 5 dwelling units per acre.

 

 

 

All landowners within Bella La Paz will have the right to apply for residential zoning with five 5 dwelling units per acre density.

 

 

 

(We need to figure out a way to speak to the fact that the Pepper and the 180 are not designated Rural Community and can be zoned to a maximum density of one unit per 2.5 acres.  I would recommend that we consider applying for Rural Community on those parcels.  In the meantime, we might refer to them as the “suburban ranch” areas of the community.  Suburban Ranch is, in fact, the zoning category which would apply.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property owners will have the right to withdraw groundwater in amounts which are based upon two factors – the amount of water which has been allocated to the Bella La Paz community by the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the acreage of the owner’s property as a percentage of the total Bella La Paz acreage is 973.

 

 

 

(This is just an idea of the content of this statement.  The wording needs to be improved.  The statement can be changed when we have the approval from ADWR and can then state that the groundwater withdrawal by each the owner can be sufficient to serve 5 dwelling units per acre.)

 

 

 

(For the sake of simplicity, I would suggest that we inform prospective buyers that all of the property within Sections 6, 7 and 12 is planned for residential use - and that we place all of the commercial acreages in the 120.  In this way, we will avoid having to deal with the differing amounts of groundwater use between residential and commercial.  If commercial becomes viable in those areas in the future, the problem can be dealt with at that time.)

 

 

LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA

 

INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Industrial development is increasing in La Paz County.

 

XL Renewables of Phoenix is planning the development of a $270 million biorefinery at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Vicksburg Road, just 15 miles southeast of Bella La Paz.  The biorefinery will produce ethanol and biodiesel for the Arizona and California markets. It is projected that 400 jobs will be created during the construction period and that permanent employment will be approximately 170.

 

Corn for the biorefinery will be delivered to a major rail terminal which will be developed on more than 300 acres located just 6 miles southeast of Bella La Paz at the intersection of Arizona State Highway 72 and Vicksburg Road.  The rail terminal will also be used to deliver grain for three major dairies which have recently been built near the biorefinery.  It will also stand ready to serve additional industrial development in the area.

 

A 70 acre site in the same area has recently been purchased by a company which is planning a facility for the collection and processing of various commodities for shipment to Asia.

 

 

Major developments in Mexico and along the US – Mexico border will also lead to industrial and job growth in La Paz County.

 

The Mexican Government, in connection with major international companies, including Hutchison Ports of Hong Kong, is enlarging its west coast ports at Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo.  In addition, the Mexican Minister of Transport has announced that during 2008, his government will auction off the rights to develop a new mega-port at Punta Colonet which is located on the west coast of Baja California, about 160 miles south of the US – Mexico border.  The auction will also include the right to construct a railroad which will link the port to the US.  There are indications that the railroad will tie into the rail line which runs through Yuma, Arizona, near the border.

 

This activity is being driven by the fact that the US ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach, California are virtually at full capacity and do not have the space to expand in order to meet the rapidly growing flow of commerce from Asia.  This flow is projected to grow by more than 200% during the next 12 years.

 

Another major factor in this flow of products from Asia into the western US is the construction of a new $70 million border crossing for trucks at Yuma which has been fully funded by the US Government.  The crossing is projected to open during 2009 and will open up the vital flow of commerce from Mexico to Arizona, California and the western US which has been severely limited by small and outdated border crossings.

 

As a result of all of this activity, Highway 95, the major north – south highway through La Paz County, is projected to be the major artery for the flow of this commerce to California, Nevada, Utah and points north.

 

 

At least one very large US based industrial developer is working to acquire sites of more than 300 acres in order to build industrial parks in both La Paz and Yuma Counties.

LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

 

 

 

 

WHY IS LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA SUCH A MECCA FOR RVers AND WINTER VISITORS?

 

So many of their friends come to La Paz County each year for all of the Quartzsite events including The Rock and Mineral Show, The RV Show, The Craft Show, The Car Show, etc.

 

They also just like to hang out with those friends and make many new ones.

 

The area hosts a winter-long party created by the more than one million retirees and pre-retirees who can afford to make the winter escape from the crowded cities, blizzards, etc.

 

There is so much to do, including off-roading on ATV’s, hiking, rock hounding, fishing, biking, golfing, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, etc.

 

There is a major casino in Parker, the County Seat and others to the north in Laughlin and Las Vegas.

 

 

 

WHY DO CALIFORNIANS, IN PARTICULAR, VACATI0N AND/OR RETIRE IN LA PAZ COUNTY?

 

Many of them have been traveling to La Paz County for boating, fishing, hunting, and other activities for many years as their families were growing up.  The Colorado River is especially attractive to California boaters who are looking for a vast expanse of fresh water and abundant beaching and camping spots.

 

They can sell their highly appreciated homes, move to La Paz County, and have substantial cash left over.

 

Many wish to escape from the crime, gangs, traffic, and massive urbanization which have turned their hometowns into places which bear little resemblance to what they were when they raised their families.  This is especially true of the “inland empire” communities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, which just happen to be the nearest to La Paz County.  Population growth is huge in these counties and is projected to continue for decades to come.

 

 

 

They can enjoy a peaceful, less hectic, lifestyle and be only a 2 ½ to 4 hour drive from their children, grandchildren, and friends back in their hometowns.

 

The 8 southern California counties contain approximately 4,400,000 million of these retirees and pre-retirees between the ages of 45 and 64.  The total population of that 8 county area is approximately 22,000,000.

 

 

 

WHAT FACTORS ARE DRIVING LA PAZ COUNTY GROWTH?

 

Tourism and the retirement market is number one.  The owner of an RV and marine supply store in Parker recently reported that September is his only slow month.

 

A $220 million ethanol refinery is being planned for development at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Vicksburg Road, in central La Paz County. The developer states that employment during construction will total 400 and that permanent employment will total 175.  They made a presentation to the La Paz County Board of Supervisors on September 17, 2007, during which they discussed a plan to double the size of the refinery.

 

The same group is planning an industrial/business park next door and reports that they are talking with a wood products company, a sit-down restaurant, and some trucking-related companies.

 A large truck stop has recently opened just south of the industrial/business park, adjacent to the I-10 Freeway.

 Another truck stop is under construction in Quartzsite.

 Arizona Western College, headquartered in Yuma, is preparing to build a branch campus in Quartzsite, starting during 2007.  The college has an alliance with Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, which allows it to present courses from the University’s four year curriculum.

 Wal-Mart will reportedly start construction of one of its supercenters in Parker, the La Paz county seat, during the 3rd Quarter of 2008.

 There are two major private prisons located about 15 miles west of Blythe.  Their employees are buying homes in La Paz County in order to escape the more expensive housing in California.

 It has been reported that an additional 100 border guards are being assigned to the Blythe area.  They may also wish to buy homes in Arizona.

 During July, 2007, General Motors announced that it will lease a 2,400 acre site from the US Army which is located within the Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in southern La Paz County.  GM will build and operate a $100-million hot-weather vehicle testing facility for its own use and will also pay $10.6 million to the Army so that it may build an additional facility to test heavy military vehicles. GM is relocating from its testing facility east of Phoenix since that facility has been surrounded by urbanization.  The new facility will be operational in May, 2009.

 Two major dairies have been built and are now operating in central La Paz County, one is under construction, and two more are planned.

 WHAT EXPOSES LA PAZ COUNTY TO TRAVELLERS FROM ACROSS THE U.S. AND CANADA?

 Interstate 10 passes through the heart of the County.  It is the most heavily traveled interstate highway in the western US.

 Arizona State Highway 72 and California State Highway 95 form one of only two routes between Phoenix and Las Vegas.  It is not mountainous like the other route.  The subject property fronts on Highway 72.

  HOW DO THE RETIREES AND PRE-RETIREES OF TODAY DIFFER FROM THOSE OF THE PAST?

 The brokers in the area report that today’s RVers and winter visitors are much more interested in buying an RV lot or homesite rather than renting a space in an RV park.

 They see this purchase not only for the pleasure which it will provide but as an investment for the long term.

 The older retirees were more satisfied to rent in an RV Park.

 Interviews with visitors to the Quartzsite RV Show have confirmed this trend.

 WHAT IS THE TYPICAL RVer INTERESTED IN BUYING IN LA PAZ COUNTY?

 They typically buy a lot that will accommodate an RV and is large enough to provide space for a manufactured or conventional home at a later date, and, even then, still have room for parking the RV on the site next to their home.

 The lot sizes will typically range from 4,500 square feet to 9,000 square feet. 

 During the first few years, they will usually add one or more of the following structures – a canopy or carport to shade their RV, a small building to house their ATVs, bicycles, hiking gear, etc., a second building to house their laundry facilities and a craft room, and a third building to act as a family room/activity room, etc.

 This offers them the flexibility to create their own little homestead in the sun – something which they would not be allowed to do in almost any other part of Arizona – and certainly not in or near any of the urban areas.

 Over the past 20 years or so, approximately 6,000 or more of these larger lots have been developed in the Yuma area,  just south of La Paz County.  Over the years, approximately 85% to 90% of these lots have been improved with a manufactured home or a conventional home. As a result, very few are ever available for resale.  We understand that resales have been in the $80,000 range.  Yuma now discourages this type of development as they are looking for more of an urban feel to their city.  Also, land in that area has become very too expensive for this type of development.

 A similar project, consisting of hundreds of lots, has been developed near Quartzsite and has been sold out for several years.  Vacant lot resale prices are in excess of $100,000.