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City Manager Endorses Casa Grande’s Phoenix Mart

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City Manager Endorses Casa Grande’s Phoenix Mart

Pinal County

Pinal County

Dr. James Thompson, city manager for Casa Grande met with he Pinal County Citizens for Excellence in Government group on Aug. 27, 2011 for their monthly meeting at the Union Center in Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch.

He discussed the City of Case Grande’s budget as well as the upcoming Foreign Trade Zone Project, which includes the proposal of the Phoenix Mart.

He has been with the City of Casa Grande for seven years. With 25 years of governmental positions, and his work history spanning from business owner to auditor, he calls himself “conservative” and states he “Runs the city much like a private sector business, we depreciate assets much like the private sector does setting aside those assets.”

When he arrived, Casa Grande had one and a half million dollars in the bank. He has brought that up to 21 million now and states “We will not go below 20 million.” Thompson adds, “It is my job to bring a balanced budget.” Thompson also made a point of mentioning the City’s property tax rate; it is currently at 89 cents.

He went on to explain that Casa Grande has big things planned for the next year. In March of 2012, Phoenix Mart, once completed, the largest international commerce and distribution center in North America, will land in Pinal County and be located in Casa Grande near City Hall and off of Interstate 10.

He explained that the mall would be one and a half million square feet, with 500,000 items available.

“It is very seldom that people knock on your door saying we want to be here,” Thompson continued. “Casa Grande is very fortunate logistically with the Interstate 10 and Interstate 8 crossing as well as being surrounded by sovereign nations.”

The Phoenix Mart will bring economic development to the city and an estimated 3000 jobs. It will be host to American and overseas companies and similar to centers in China and Dubai.

Phoenix Mart

Phoenix Mart

Thompson went on to explain that Phoenix Mart will be made possible thanks to the EB-5 Immigration Law, a federal program for foreign investors, requires an investment of one million dollars, or, $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area.

Case Grande in Pinal County meets those criteria, falling in the unemployment being greater than 150 percent of the national average category. There are 300 people approved for this visa bringing Chinese families to the area.

For every visa, 10 full time US workers gain a job. This in turn, will create 3000 jobs for the community. The immigrant worker will obtain a visa for two years gaining citizenship after five years.

Phoenix Mart will have a hotel, water park, and a convention center along with the warehouse full of vendors.

Vendors will include textiles for clothing manufactures, housing, food and electrical just to name a few. “The intent is for buyers to come from all over,” Thompson said.

Issues like percent of space saved for American merchants along with semi-trucks tearing up roads and parking in housing developments were discussed. “The goal is to have as many American companies as we can” Thompson stated. He added, “Semi-trucks parked in Casa Grande in a non-parking zone will be cited.”

He is optimistic about Casa Grande’s future and enthusiastic about Phoenix Mart’s potential.

“It is creating our destiny and bringing us to the forefront, putting us in a new limelight,” he enthused, “We have hit nirvana, we made it!”

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