Casa Grande: The New Orlando?
In 1959, Walt Disney Productions began a search for a new location to house a planned second resort on the east coast. After being impressed by the well developed infrastructure in Florida in addition to the ideal weather, Disney started buying up land near the Orlando area. This completely changed Orlando’s economy by ushering in a major population boom that then spurred economic growth. Could Arizona potentially be developing a major theme park?
A similar project for a 1,500 acre world class amusement park and resort has been proposed by developers for the city of Casa Grande which is around forty five minutes from both the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. The proposed park would be located near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 8 and could cost as much as 4 billion dollars to complete. News of this development already has investors getting excited as the area could undergo an Orlando like economic boom upon completion of the park. Initial estimates have that the park would generate 66,000 new daily weekday trips on I-10 from Phoenix and Tucson. It would also create an estimated 5,800 jobs in phase one alone, some which will be commutes. Other parts of the project include new retail space, a rv park and hotels, As a result of this news, property values and housing demand are inevitably going to go up in southern Arizona. In fact, just one day after the announcement was made in February, the average price for a single family home in Pinal County increased by $20,000. This development also raises commercial property values not just for Casa Grande, but for all of southern Arizona. The developers believe southern Arizona is actually better positioned for this type of project than Orlando was back in the 1960s, considering its proximity to two major freeways and location between Tucson and Phoenix. Looking forward, this project could have a significantly positive effect on the southern Arizona real estate market and grow the area down the line.