By Amy Edelen for Cronkite News
Nearly four years ago, Casa Grande officials announced that developers had planned to build a massive international trade center on the edges of the city.
PhoenixMart would attract more than 1,700 vendors, establish nearly 8,000 jobs and provide a combined annual payroll of more than $300M, officials had said.
They anticipated the 1.5MSF project – the largest trade center in North America – would open in late 2012 or early 2013.
Yet the 585-acre site still sits vacant. The only visible signs of progress are three development installations near the main entryway of the semi-graded site. There’s landscaping and a few trees.
Setbacks have plagued the project, leading some residents to gripe about delays and question if the developers will ever finish it.
Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson said although the groundbreaking ceremony began in 2013, city officials expected it to move more quickly.
“They are still working on visas,” he said. “They were way overly optimistic on how long they could get the visas processed. They set expectations that were impossible to make.”
Developers said the $150M project is progressing, with 95 percent of grading completed on the site. Workers have begun foundation work and once the city approves a building permit application and reviews preliminary plat plans, construction should begin. The company also announced its first tenant last month.
PhoenixMart is now slated for completion by mid-2016.
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