Years before Buckeye was designated a city, people were flocking by the thousands to the West Valley suburb, which was once a small town largely made up of family-owned agricultural and dairy farms.
“It was ‘Drive until you can afford,’” recalled Deanna Kupcik, the president of the Buckeye Valley Chamber, whose family came to Buckeye in the 1950s.
Single-family homes continued going up and residents moved in because of the relatively low price to buy land and inexpensive housing, she said.
In the 2000s, when the population jumped from just 6,500 to 50,000, some people were buying upwards of five homes, Kupcik said. City officials contend that a variety of "high value" housing options is what drove people to Buckeye.
Eventually, Buckeye was hit hard like the rest of Arizona by the Great Recession, so construction stalled. But as the economy started to recover, so did the West Valley municipality, which recent Census data shows was the fastest-growing city in the nation from 2010 to 2020.
Meanwhile, several years after Buckeye became a city in 2014, commercial growth also started to pick up steam. The city has landed deals with such companies as Cardinal Glass, Five Below and recently, U.S.-based KORE Power, a lithium-ion battery manufacturer that’s poised to bring 3,000 well-paying jobs to the area.
“We are now starting to see significant non-residential development as well, both in terms of major employers, retail, services, amenities for the community, things like that,” said Dave Roderique, economic development director for the city of Buckeye. “That obviously comes as a result of having a lot of people in an area.”A confluence of factors has led to this pivotal moment for Buckeye, the largest Valley city in geographic size at 640 square miles. To go along with its booming population growth and accompanying residential projects, other development is finally starting to catch up, spurred in part by the buildout of Loop 303 that has caused a surge in industrial development. City officials and industry observers say Buckeye's biggest challenge will be to properly manage the increasing demands for infrastructure growth, while patiently waiting for retail to catch up with the growing number of rooftops.