Gilbert is located in the Southeast Valley of the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale metro area. Gilbert is one of the fastest-growing large cities in the United States, with a local population of more than 245,000 residents (85th largest in the country, 5th largest in Arizona) as well as an annual growth rate of nearly 4 percent annually from 2010-2015. From 2010-2015, population in Gilbert expanded by nearly 40,000 residents.
This large and growing population is driving residential and retail expansion. From 2010-2015, nearly 9,400 single-family home permits were issued in Gilbert, by far the most of any city in the Phoenix metro area in that time and nearly doubling the number of permits issued in the second-highest city. This building trend will continue in the months ahead—since the beginning of 2015, nearly 350 acres of land have been sold in Gilbert for residential construction uses.
Gilbert is an affluent, educated area. The median household income in the city is over $81,000 annually, 50 percent higher than the median for the Phoenix metro area. More than 95 percent of the adult population in the city has a high school diploma and 40 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree. Both of these figures are 10 percent higher than the Phoenix metro as a whole.
The largest employers in Gilbert are population-serving industries, which is a reflection of the growing local community. School districts and local government account for thousands of jobs in the city, led by the gilbert Unified School District with more than 4,100 workers. In addition, hospitals including Banner Health/MD Anderson and Gilbert Hospital combine to account for approximately 2,000 workers in the city. There is also a growing technology component to the local economy, with companies such as Go Daddy, Orbital Sciences and Acquinity Interactive combining to have approximately 1,600 workers.
The high-growth, high-wage climate in Gilbert makes the city quite amenity rich, with a number of retailers occupying new, high-end construction. SanTan Village includes nearly 1 million square feet of big-box and in-line space including Sam’s Club, Costco, a Walmart Supercenter and Dillards. The city also includes Macy’s, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Target and other national retail chains.
Grocers have been active in securing locations in this high-growth city. Fry’s Food Stores has secured the leading position on the city, with seven stores totaling more than 500,000 square feet. Other grocery chains including Safeway/Albertson’s and Winco Foods have established a presence in the city, and Whole Foods Market is located in neighboring Chandler.
In addition to a number of national chains, Gilbert has a growing list of local restaurants. Some local favorites include: The Farmhouse, a converted farmhouse that has been a local fixture since 1989, The Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, which is the city’s first brewery, and Cuisine and Wine Bistro, which features a selection of boutique wines and craft beers.