To build the innovation-based economy our region needs, we must continue to invest in and support the bioscience and health care industries. Already these sectors are proving to be powerful economic engines. Phoenix’s 30-acre Downtown Biomedical Campus produced nearly $1.3 billion in economic activity last year, and sustained nearly 10,000 quality jobs. By 2025, the campus’s impact is expected to double, producing more than $3 billion in economic activity and supporting more than 22,000 jobs.

These numbers demonstrate how key the biosciences are to our future – to diversifying our economy and improving our community’s quality of life. And we’re building on that momentum to further establish downtown Phoenix as a hub for health care and research in the Southwest.

Last month, we opened the doors to the newest facility on the Downtown Biomedical Campus: the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Through a partnership with the university and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, this 220,000 square-foot, five-story, $100 million facility now offers comprehensive cancer services, patient wellness and support services, as well as clinical lab and research space. This premier institution will treat approximately 60,000 patients each year and create hundreds of permanent biomedical jobs. It joins other innovative institutions on the campus including the UA medical school and TGen, and I’m proud it will call downtown Phoenix home.

This project didn’t come about by luck or happenstance – it was part of a vision to transform downtown Phoenix into a nucleus for innovation and education.

We began our efforts back when I was on the City Council, when we first secured the land for the Biomedical Campus. We built the space for TGen to move in – and the city made smart, forward-thinking investments to bring the UA downtown as well. When I became mayor, Phoenix was still reeling from the effects of the recession, but it didn’t stop us from moving forward plans to build a revolutionary cancer center.

The UA Cancer Center was an opportunity for the city to take the lead, facilitate a unique partnership and make a serious investment in our economic future. We committed $14 million to make this state-of-the-art treatment and research center a reality.

Not only will this facility bring the most advanced care to our community, it will also draw the world’s leading physicians and bioscientists to our community – to work and live right here in the Valley. And through its partnership with the UA medical school just down the street, the Cancer Center will surely inspire the next generation of leaders in oncology and research.

For Phoenix, the benefits are clear: investing in the biosciences pays long-term dividends and is helping to shape a stronger, healthier economy.

• Greg Stanton was first elected mayor of Phoenix in 2011. He was relected to a second term as mayor on Aug. 25, 2015.

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