Casa Grande Annual Update
by Robert “Bob” Jackson, Mayor, Casa Grande
We finished our fiscal year on June 30 so I thought it might be a good time to update everybody on some of the projects that are taking place in Casa Grande. The past twelve months seem to show an improving local economy and we are starting to see some of our work on the economic development front show some tangible results.
One of the biggest successes was the decision by Tractor Supply Company to locate their southwestern distribution center in Casa Grande. As I write this in mid August, the Center is essentially complete and expected to start operation this fall. It will employ an estimated 270 people. In addition to the Distribution Center, Tractor Supply is also planning to open a retail center on Florence Blvd west of L.A. Fitness in September.
The decision by Tractor Supply has really called attention to Casa Grande as an ideal location for new industries and we are currently working with several new companies that are looking to expand into the southwest. Our primary competition is generally the west valley area of Phoenix, Utah, southern Nevada, New Mexico and west Texas. We are developing a reputation as a good community to work with and generally are very successful when competing with Arizona communities. The economic development business is highly competitive and every state offers different incentives to relocate companies to their region.
The Promenade Mall has also seen some activity during the past year. Beall’s and a new Party & Cake Depot stores have opened in the section near Michael’s, a new Krispy Kreme doughnuts opened, a Buffalo Wild Wings is under construction and expected to be open in September. Planned to start in the next few months is a McDonalds between Olive Garden and Mimi’s.
Several other businesses have either opened or will open soon. These include Raising Cane’s Chicken, a Taco Bell on Pinal Avenue, a new Circle K on McCartney Road and I 10, a Valero Gas Station on Florence Blvd. and several businesses in the shopping center on the northwest corner of Rodeo and Trekell.
Some of the approved developments that should start soon are a mixed use development on the southeast corner of Rodeo and Trekell that will include several varieties of Senior Living facilities; a new restaurant, Boston Pizza located east of the Holiday Inn Express on Florence Blvd and two new industrial businesses located out near the Tractor Supply Distribution Center west of town.
The most talked about local project is the PhoenixMart development. It continues to move forward. It is a large undertaking that will require several infrastructure improvements and is being financed by a method not commonly used in Arizona. In August they started pouring footings for the 1.8 million square foot building (more than twice the size of the WalMart Distribution Center). There are over 300 footings to be poured. It will be followed by pouring the slab and installation of the under slab utilities and finally the walls. Their current time schedule calls for completion in 2016.
The City has plans to install a sewer line to serve PhoenixMart, with the developer paying about half the cost (based on their anticipated use) and the City paying the remainder out of development impact fees to accommodate future growth on the east side of I-10.
Other City projects anticipated during the upcoming fiscal year include an upgrade to our Police and Fire Computer Aided Dispatch system. The current system is over ten years old and is being replaced to accommodate new technologies. While the project will be largely invisible to most of our residents it will improve the response capability of our Public Safety personnel.
The other major project is the Community Recreation Center. The Council recently approved a contract with a company to develop preliminary plans for the proposed Center including a site plan and final cost estimate. This is the final project approved by the voters in 2006. Some of the discussions currently underway include: should there be a fitness center since there are other alternatives locally, should we include an aquatics feature that is costly to install and operate and finally where is the most favorable location. The City received a donation of land from the Gilbert Family south of Kortsen Road on the west side of Peart. The donation of the 10 acres is a substantial savings if we don’t have to buy a site. Hopefully we can move forward with the final design and construction early next year.
There is lots going on in Casa Grande – let’s keep up the momentum!