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Latest News in Casa Grande, AZ

Home furnishings store, hotel slated for major Casa Grande shopping center

The new year could be a good one for The Promenade at Casa Grande as a major discount retailer, a hotel, a popular pizza restaurant and more have plans to build or perhaps even open in 2023 at the shopping center.Home furnishings and décor store HomeGoods, a subsidiary of Framingham, Massachusetts-based TJX Companies Inc., which also owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls, has leased the former Bed Bath and Beyond space near Ross Dress for Less at the large shopping mall located just off Interstate 10, a source close to the deal confirmed....

The new year could be a good one for The Promenade at Casa Grande as a major discount retailer, a hotel, a popular pizza restaurant and more have plans to build or perhaps even open in 2023 at the shopping center.

Home furnishings and décor store HomeGoods, a subsidiary of Framingham, Massachusetts-based TJX Companies Inc., which also owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls, has leased the former Bed Bath and Beyond space near Ross Dress for Less at the large shopping mall located just off Interstate 10, a source close to the deal confirmed.

A timeline for the store’s opening wasn’t available as the company declined to comment on its Casa Grande lease.

“Although we appreciate your inquiry, HomeGoods has not announced a new store for Casa Grande, AZ at this time,” a HomeGoods spokesperson said in an email to the Business Journal.

Mesa-based Southwest Hospitality Management is developing a dual-branded Marriott hotel on two pad sites totaling 3.5 acres it bought at the southeast corner of the Promenade facing Florence Boulevard, said Ash Patel, who serves as CEO and president of the hotel management and development company. The project has been in the works for about two years.

The four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites and TownePlace Suites hotel will have 145 rooms and will comprise 88,000 square feet, including a 2,400-square-foot conference room, he said. Rooms under the TownPlace Suites brand will be equipped for extended stay guests. Other amenities will include a dog park, outdoor pool and a patio with barbecue grills.

While the final costs are still in flux as the developer seeks bids from general contractors, Patel said he expects the hotel will cost roughly $28 million to develop. He anticipates construction could start in March and April.

Patel said his company wanted to build a hotel in Casa Grande because it is an emerging market, with a booming population and commercial development, but with few new hotels.

“We targeted Casa Grande as an emerging market once it went over a 50,000 population,” he said.

With Southwest Hospitality Management being based in Arizona, Patel said his company saw the demand for more hotel rooms with Lucid Motors expanding in Casa Grande, Nikola Corp. in nearby Coolidge and more recently with Procter & Gamble announcing a new plant in Coolidge and semiconductor suppliers building facilities in Casa Grande.

Additionally, Barro’s Pizza purchased the former Mimi’s Café location at 839 N. Promenade Parkway, which closed during the pandemic, for $1.68 million on July 15, according to real estate database Vizzda. The seller was Rocky Yee and Therese Yee Living Trust.

Barro’s Pizza, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on its timeline for opening a second location in Casa Grande. The restaurant chain already has a popular location near the Fry’s grocery on the north side of the city at 2820 N. Pinal Ave.

The $100 million Promenade at Casa Grande, which is considered a regional power center, has faced an uphill battle since first opening during the Great Recession in 2007. New Jersey-based Lamar Companies bought nearly 500,000 square feet of the 1 million-square-foot shopping center in 2018. Kohl’s, Target, JC Penney and Dillard’s among others own their properties at the center.

Leasing activity has picked in the last couple years at the Promenade as the city’s population began to boom because of the demand for housing in the region, said Daniel Tartakovsky, leasing manager at the Promenade for Lamar Cos.

“I don’t think we lost a single tenant due to Covid at this shopping center, and that was simply because we were able to come in and make sure that they were healthy and that they stayed,” he said. “Their sales were so good previously that they wanted to stay. They were willing to tough it out with us.”

Ashley Outlet opened in 2022 in a 18,000-square-foot space that was vacant for five years, Tartakovsky said. Love Always Yoga is now open in a 4,200-square-foot space and Cloud 9 MedSpa has expanded from 1,300 square feet to 5,200 square feet.

“We have these national tenants coming in,” Tartakovsky said. “We have a ton of interest on pads from national users. We probably have three LOIs (letter of intent) for contracts out right now on some of those pads as well as courting probably another two national tenants, which would be big box [retailers]. And then another three or four smaller … lifestyle brands.”

Overall, he said the shopping center has 60 stores operating or preparing to operate and 11 vacate spaces. Three of those spaces are lease pending, he said.

So, going into 2023, Tartakovsky projects the shopping center will have nine available pad sites and nine available retail spaces totaling 85,000 square feet of leasable space. About half of that space is one unit — the former Sports Authority, which closed in 2016 as part of the retailer filing for bankruptcy.

Notably, Target still owns its 10.6-acre site and its 136,000-square-foot store at the center of the Promenade that was shuttered in 2016.

A Target spokesperson declined to comment on the store.

Tartakovsky said the vacant store is a “big black eye on the shopping center.” But if the major retailer happened to reopen, he said the remaining retail space would be leased in a matter of weeks.

Miles of San Carlos Reservoir being paved to prevent 'terrible losses through seepage'

Across Arizona, water districts continue to work with less as the mega-drought continues.There are so many different strategies being discussed to secure our water future, and every drop counts. In the meantime, millions of dollars of work is already underway to keep the water we have for miles and miles.For three years, the trucks have been digging, scalping and shaping the land next to the decades-old canal from the ...

Across Arizona, water districts continue to work with less as the mega-drought continues.

There are so many different strategies being discussed to secure our water future, and every drop counts. In the meantime, millions of dollars of work is already underway to keep the water we have for miles and miles.

For three years, the trucks have been digging, scalping and shaping the land next to the decades-old canal from the San Carlos Reservoir. For too long, the water district tight on water has lost too much to the dirt.

"We have terrible losses through seepage," says Shane Lindstrom with the San Carlos Irrigation and Drainage District.

Crews are nearing the end of a 12-mile trek to pave a canal that will prevent water loss.

"Very few water control checks in it, the new one we have checks in it, so we can control the water. We actually have different pools, so we can speed water up and slow it down," Lindstrom said.

They estimate in a wet year, simply paving this portion of the canal could save 50,000 acre-feet of water.

How much is that really? About 16,250,000,000 gallons of water.

The cost is big as the stretch of 12 miles headed to the Gila River Indian Community and farmers in Casa Grande costs tens of millions of dollars.

"It’s paid for with the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004, but their fund is now dry, and dozens more miles still need to be paved.

"There’s lots of money out there but the hard part is the matching grant, so for example, this is 52 million. If I had to match half of it that means I would have to come up with $26 million. In a small little rural district, that’s cost prohibitive right now," Lindstrom said.

However, he says with how much can be saved, every drop is worth every penny.

Water will fill the newly paved canal sometime late this summer, but it’s not the end of the road as more of this canal is paved in the years ahead, saving more water.

Due to a logjam in interstate negotiations for massive cuts in Colorado River water deliveries, Arizona farmers and urban users have no idea how much water use they’ll be ordered to cut, possibly starting next year.

Six months ago, Caywood Farms in Casa Grande was dusty, dry and brown. Now it's wet, muddy and most importantly - it's green.

5 ways to travel better in 2023 — and maybe save some money doing it

The start of a new year brings fresh opportunities, and that includes travel.People are figuring out where they'd like to go and what they need to do in order to make successful trips happen.Now is a good time to apply for or renew a passport and sign up for a Trusted Traveler program such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — or check to make sure your enrollment isn't expiring soon. It's also a good time to consider whether visiting must-see Arizona destinations in off-peak times or getting a credit card with...

The start of a new year brings fresh opportunities, and that includes travel.

People are figuring out where they'd like to go and what they need to do in order to make successful trips happen.

Now is a good time to apply for or renew a passport and sign up for a Trusted Traveler program such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — or check to make sure your enrollment isn't expiring soon. It's also a good time to consider whether visiting must-see Arizona destinations in off-peak times or getting a credit card with improved travel perks is right for you.

Here are five things to do right now to enjoy traveling more in 2023.

1. Apply for or renew your passport right away

Demand for international travel is apparent as airlines add more flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. American Airlines will introduce new service to Monterrey, Mexico, in January and ultra-low-cost carrier Lynx Air will enter the market with flights between Sky Harbor and Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, Canada, starting in February.

If you've booked an international trip or are planning one for the not-so-distant future, get your passport as soon as possible if you don't already have it. The U.S. Department of State estimates travelers can expect to wait six to nine weeks for routine passport processing and three to five weeks for expedited processing. These times may increase if demand surges.

If you have a passport, check the expiration date. Passports are valid for 10 years. If yours is expired or close to expiring, renew it as soon as possible. Some countries won't let you enter if your passport is near expiration. That window varies by country, so check the travel requirements of your destination if your passport has less than one year remaining.

Online passport renewal is available; to see if you're eligible to renew online, go to https://travel.state.gov.

2. Make sure your PreCheck or Global Entry is current

Passports aren't the only travel tools that can expire. Now is good time to check how much time remains on your Trusted Traveler program enrollment.

These programs help speed you through security and immigration lines. Enrollment, which requires going through an interview, lasts five years and can be renewed the year before it expires.

The Transportation Security Administration offers PreCheck ($85). U.S. Customs and Border Protection administers Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. Global Entry ($100) allows expedited entry into the U.S. from international destinations. SENTRI ($122.25) expedites entry to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. NEXUS ($50) allows expedited entry to the U.S. from Canada.

Applying or renewing well in advance is key. PreCheck processing can take up to two months in some cases, though most applicants receive their Known Traveler Number within three to five days. The process for the CPB programs could take as long as six to 18 months, and interview availability is limited.

Arizona has eight PreCheck enrollment centers, at Sky Harbor Airport, Staples locations at Camelback Colonnade in Phoenix and Arrowhead Crossing in Peoria, and IdentoGo locations in Gilbert, Sun City, Casa Grande, Tucson and Flagstaff.

Arizona has five enrollment centers for the CPB programs: Sky Harbor Airport, Tucson International Airport and the port of entry offices in Douglas, Nogales and San Luis. You can check interview appointment availability before applying; to do so, visit https://ttp.dhs.gov.

If your Global Entry is close to expiration and you have a filed your renewal application, you can use it past the expiration date for up to two years, according to Homeland Security.

New for 2023:Finally, Sky Harbor's Sky Train stops at the Rental Car Center. Here's how to ride

3. Consider getting a credit card with travel perks

Credit cards with perks like airline miles, hotel points or cash back for purchases can supplement your travel budget.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card, for example, offers 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One travel, and an introductory offer of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of the account. Other cards have different combinations of benefits that may suit your needs.

Be aware that many of these credit cards have annual fees, like Venture Rewards' $95 per year. Some cards have no enrollment fees, like Chase Freedom Unlimited, which currently has an introductory offer of 6.5% cash back on travel purchases made with the card in the user's first year.

Airline subscriptions:4 airlines flying out of Phoenix offer cheap flight programs. Here's how much you can save

4. Visit Arizona's hottest destinations in the offseason

It might feel like Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon are always crowded. But a comfortable experience is possible if you travel when people are less likely to go.

The spring and fall months tend to be the busiest times to visit Sedona, while fewer tourists are likely in summer and winter. Data from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce confirms this — bed tax collections in the 2021-22 fiscal year were highest in spring and fall, peaking at just over $1 million in May 2022.

The Grand Canyon is busiest from the late spring to the early fall, with this past summer averaging around 500,000 visitors in each peak-season month, according to the National Park Service. October through March typically is less busy, though people who visit during the winter months should be aware of winter weather hazards and plan for snowy and icy conditions.

5. Consider flying from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport instead of Sky Harbor

As the main airport serving metro Phoenix, Sky Harbor International is where most of the region's leisure and business travelers fly.

But for residents of the eastern part of Phoenix and cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction and Queen Creek, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport may win out over Sky Harbor for its convenient location and smaller, easily navigable size.

The east Mesa airport continues to experience record-setting passenger growth, and October 2022's passenger count of 150,846 people marked a 15% increase from the same month in 2021.

Gateway Airport continues to evolve to keep pace with airline industry and regional growth. It recently began work on a 30,000-square-foot terminal extension that will add new gates, a glass walkway, a tech lounge and restaurants and shops upon its expected completion in 2024.

Gateway Airport is targeted toward leisure travelers. Be aware that its airlines — the biggest one is Allegiant Air — offer flights only on certain days, not every day. Parking is cheaper than at Sky Harbor — $13 per day in the main daily lot just south of the terminal, $11 in a covered economy lot and $9 in an uncovered economy lot — but travelers should still give themselves plenty of time to find a spot and get to the terminal.

Coming soon:Here's how Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport's $28 million expansion will benefit travelers

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Seven AZ public schools selected as state finalists in Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Competition

Samsung Electronics America today announced that 300 public schools across America have been named State Finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition, including seven public schools in Arizona.The Arizona Finalists are:Representing the cream of more than one thousand competition entrants, each State Finalist has won a package of ...

Samsung Electronics America today announced that 300 public schools across America have been named State Finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition, including seven public schools in Arizona.

The Arizona Finalists are:

Representing the cream of more than one thousand competition entrants, each State Finalist has won a package of $2,500 in technology and school supplies. These Finalists advance to additional stages of the competition that will culminate in three schools being selected in May as National Winners, and receive $100,000 prize packages. The full list of State Finalists can be found here.

The annual Solve for Tomorrow competition challenges public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math (the core STEM subjects) can play in addressing some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition is designed to engage students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems – making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

“As a company and as individuals, STEM is incredibly important to Samsung – we depend on STEM-savvy people to envision, implement, and engage with innovative STEM-dependent products and services,” observed Michelle Crossan-Matos, Chief Marketing, Citizenship & Communications Officer, Samsung Electronics America. “Between 2019 and 2029, the number of STEM jobs are predicted to grow 8%, a higher rate than non-STEM jobs.”

“But while STEM skills are key to a 21st century workforce, we know that national test scores in STEM subjects like Math have fallen by the largest margin in 30+ years,” Crossan Matos said. “Solve for Tomorrow was designed to provide schools and teachers with an innovative, problem-based learning approach to STEM education to boost student interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM. This fresh crop of impressive State Finalists is proof that we’re succeeding.”

Ann Woo, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics America, noted several significant trends in the program proposals submitted this fall, “Every year’s entries provide a window into the concerns and aspirations on the minds of that cohort of middle and high school students,” Woo said. “A common theme this year is ‘connecting’ – whether that’s connecting people to people, peer to peer, across generations, or even around the globe. In fact, one school’s entry is based on its connection with a school in Ukraine – proposing a solution for providing solar power to students in a war-ravaged community. Climate change, school/student safety, and mental health are other top issues of concern for this year’s problem-solvers.”

“Giving students a voice in real-life issues affecting their communities allows them to see firsthand the change they can create in the world,” said Harry Preston, Computer Science teacher at Baltimore’s Green Street Academy, who is a State Finalist in this year’s competition and a 2021-2022 National Finalist. “We find our students are more engaged in our lessons and excited to learn new subjects when they are given the opportunity to learn through the kinds of hands-on experience Solve for Tomorrow delivers.”

From the pool of State Finalists announced today, State Winners will be announced in mid-February 2023.

Next Steps

More information on the competition and competition phases is also available at: www.samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 to encourage innovative thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork to address the most pressing issues impacting society. Today, the competition fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving, anchored in problem-based learning. To date, Samsung has awarded $24 million in technology and classroom materials to nearly 3,000 public schools in the United States. Solve for Tomorrow has been so impactful that it has expanded into a prominent Global citizenship program for Samsung Electronics now running in 33 countries worldwide and reaching over 2.1 million students around the world.

Taking a glance at Arizona’s 2023 real estate market

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s a brand new year and a brand new real estate market for 2023!Real estate agents across the Valley are expecting more balance in the market with more room for buyers and sellers to negotiate. In the Valley, there’s around 17,400 homes on the market. That’s the most inventory we’ve seen over the summer when the market was at its peak of just 3,500. In a “normal” market, there was an average of 35,000 homes up for sale. Several real estate experts say the market is in ...

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s a brand new year and a brand new real estate market for 2023!

Real estate agents across the Valley are expecting more balance in the market with more room for buyers and sellers to negotiate. In the Valley, there’s around 17,400 homes on the market. That’s the most inventory we’ve seen over the summer when the market was at its peak of just 3,500. In a “normal” market, there was an average of 35,000 homes up for sale. Several real estate experts say the market is in a good place to welcome buyers with interest rates being of prime interest in 2023.

Sindy Ready, vice president of Arizona Association of Realtors, said, “So we’re kind of in that place for a couple of years where interest rates where at that 3 to 3.5 and now they’re up to 7.5. Everybody is kind of going ‘Woah! What’s going on with interest rates?’” she said. “Yes, you could wait for a lower interest rate, but then you’re going to be competing with more people for the same houses just like we were before.” Ready added that if buyers are concerned about the rates, keep in mind that many sellers are willing to negotiate so you can buy down your interest rate. She also said to remember that if it’s your primary home, mortgage interest is tax deductible.

The Cromford Report, a real estate market tracker, said that overall, the market in Phoenix has moved back into balance. In December, 50% of the closings closed with some form of buyer’s concession. That means anything from a repair or contribution to an interest rate buy-down. Tina Tamboer, an associate of the report, said, “The outskirts of town, such as areas like Maricopa, Casa Grande, Buckeye, you’re still going to see a buyer’s market. Still very good deals are to be had with builders,” she said. “But, some areas like right like Phoenix, Chandler, and Glendale are in balanced markets--still very good for buyers. Then you have the northeast like Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek--those areas are still in seller’s markets. So the luxury markets are still doing very well.”

Sky-high interest rates appear to be coming down, at least a little. However, you might have a little more leverage to negotiate this year, experts say.

Inventory is an important piece of the equation, according to Eric Gibbs, the president of the Arizona Association of Realtors. He said that overall, the market is in a better place with around a 3-month supply of homes in the Valley. Gibbs said, “Buyers are in the market. Buyers are moving. The problem buyers have is that they can’t find inventory. There’s not a lot of inventory. If they’re looking for a home under 300K, there may only be a few available to them, and so that’s what’s causing some of the slow down in buyers buying.”

Economists for the National Association of Realtors are projecting that the mortgage rates will settle around 5.5% by the end of 2023. More and more businesses will be moving into the Valley this year so experts are claiming that pricing will likely reflect the boom in demand. Sindy Ready said, “The pricing has adjusted down, just slightly, about 4% over the last 6 months, and they’re saying we’re going to hold pretty steady where we’re at. Maybe another 1.1% is really what I’ve seen with some of the speculation, so pricing has kind of leveled.” Ready said that from the seller’s perspective, she recommends to check out what houses have been selling for and be realistic. “You’re still going to make a great profit on your home, but it may not be what it would have been a year ago,” she said.

Ready suggests to sellers that make sure their house looks sharp, clean, and furniture has been thinned out. “Photography is important. The way the house looks...making sure any major repairs that need to be done are done,” she said. “Gone are the days of ‘I’m not going to do anything to this house and sell it.’ I mean, you can still do that, but you’re going to take a big hit on pricing if you do that.”

Gibbs says that many buyers are generational families looking for a bigger home. “The openness, they want the open floorplan with a nice size backyard,” he said. “The ability to really enjoy life and community, living in an area where they have the things they need without having to drive so far to stores and those accessible restaurants and things like that.”

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