By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Developer The Block Sports Company has filed plans with the City of Casa Grande to create a destination resort comparable to Walt Disney World, and it intends to invest between seven and 10 years and $4B to make it happen.
According the Planned Area Development prepared by Gilmore Planning & Landscape Architecture, Dreamport Villages will be created in two components, Dreamport Villages Casa Grande – North and Dreamport Villages Casa Grande – South. Combined, they will total more than 1,500 acres as a, “Destination Resort,” at the junction of interstates 8 and 10.
The recently submitted PAD deals with the 618-acre north component, which will serve as the primary resort and recreation area. The developer plans to provide indoor entertainment, an extreme sports venue, water parks, restaurant, retail space and, ultimately a fully-themed amusement park.
The south section will augment the resort and amusement park with still more recreational areas, a college campus annex, tech park and master-planned residential community. It will also reserve a site for an elementary or charter school and provide access to mountain hiking trails.
The project will also create access connections to the freeways.
The submittal touts the plan as having an economic impact on the state that is, “simply staggering.” It notes, “In sales tax alone, the State will receive 5.6 percent, Casa Grande gets 2 percent and Pinal County gets 1.1 percent. This means that 3.1 percent of every dollar spent throughout the Destination Resort goes directly to the local government. This means that for every $100 M in annual sales generated from within Dreamport, Casa Grande gets $2M and Pinal gets $1.1M.”
In addition, the developer calculates the first phase of development will create roughly 5,800 direct and indirect jobs. When the project is completely built out, the estimate rises to 15,000 jobs and an annual visitor count of more than 15 million.
While making frequent comparisons to the end result being Arizona’s equivalent to Disney World, the submittal explains at length the advantages the developer has over creating that project, including quantum improvements in technology and two major population centers within an hour’s drive of the site. In its conclusion the submittal states, “As a result, what took Disney to accomplish in 50 years, could be accomplished in Pinal County in as little as 1/4 the time. “
The Planning & Zoning Commission will take public comments on the plan March 2.
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