As technology firms move to expand their presence in the Arizona economy, the state’s software development community is taking advantage of the boom.
While the industry has struggled to find a market in Phoenix, software development is thriving in Tucson, Tucson-area developer Kevin Dye says.
“When I first got here in 2006, there wasn’t a lot of competition for jobs,” Dye said.
“We’re in the best place in the country.”
That’s because of the Arizona Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) program, which allows developers to qualify for state aid through their home development company, or HDC.
The AEDC is the state agency responsible for developing and administering the state budget.
The program is geared toward the home development and design industries, and allows companies to qualify and build a project for up to $1 million.
The $1.6 million in state aid is a big boost to the local economy, but the program has come with some challenges.
“You have to be able to afford the housing,” Dyer said.
The program allows companies like him to build affordable housing with state money.
“I can’t pay rent,” Dyes said.
The AEDCs program is based on two assumptions: A project can be built without significant funding, and the project must be within 20 miles of a school or community center.
The guidelines also limit the size of the projects.
For Dye, the AEDs program has provided a much needed boost to his business.
Dye, who has been involved in home development for more than 20 years, said his company, the Dye-Tucson Home Development Company, is growing quickly.
“We’re now building two-bedroom homes in our garage, which is one of the best areas in the state,” he said.
Dyer said he hopes his company will expand into a larger home.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dyers added.
“It’s definitely been a slow burn, but I think we’ve come through the rough patches and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”AEDCs has been one of several incentives available for home development projects since the state passed legislation in 2016 to encourage home development.
The legislation created a program to award up to 80 percent of the project cost to the developer, and it allowed the AedC to award incentives to local and statewide companies for the construction of single-family homes.
The company has already received $1,000 in state funding to build a house in the area, and Dye hopes that additional incentives will come next year.
“The state has been generous,” Dys said.
But Dye is still wary about the incentives, especially after several companies complained about the process and some developers left.
“A lot of them didn’t want to apply because they were scared,” he added.
He said he’s still not sure what’s next.
“If we’re going to be in a position to expand, we want to do it right.
We want to have the best project we can,” he continued.