By Chris Call

And the winner is….Gilbert, Arizona.

This attractive East Valley community has earned dozens of accolades, from being a top city for under-35 home ownership to one of the best cities for raising a family and even one of the happiest places to live, according to the town’s website.

Gilbert’s much admired quality of life is just one of the reasons that the community continues to grow in businesses and employment. This is certainly in line with the state’s business outlook:  When Alliance Bank of Arizona surveyed more than 500 local business leaders about the state of doing business in Arizona, 33 percent indicated they plan to expand their business in 2017.

The East Valley is currently home to 42 percent of the entire workforce in the Phoenix metro area and is projected to have more than 1.4 million residents by 2020, making the region a prime location for companies looking to expand and relocate, according to the East Valley Partnership.

As a member of the Gilbert business community, I have had the opportunity to help a number of companies expand in the region, including EVO Aquatics, Backyard Taco and Desert Sky Dermatology. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve seen more development activity in the area than we have seen in previous years.

My own organization, Alliance Bank of Arizona, recently opened a new branch in Gilbert to help support the growth we see on the horizon. Looking ahead, heat maps for residential growth show the bulk of new residential building in the Phoenix metro area is happening in the Southeast Valley. With this indicator in place, we can expect to see more service-type businesses, including retail and medical, continue to seek out this very attractive region.

Chris Call is senior vice president and manager of Alliance Bank of Arizona’s Gilbert branch.