PhoenixMart finally going vertical

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Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction. “Al Bernstein”

Jun 24, 2016   Eric Jay Toll Reporter Phoenix Business Journal

PhoenixMart is officially under construction. The long-awaited 1.5-million-square-foot expo center in Casa Grande, first announced in 2012, is finally going vertical.


Casa Grande issued the final building permit for the $1 billion project, which cost PhoenixMart a $250,000 permit fee. PhoenixMart is supposed to fill up with nearly 2,000 showrooms with goods and services from small and mid-size companies all over the world.

Work on the footings and foundations across the equivalent of 26 football fields’ worth of grading has been going on for several months with more than $3 million in concrete poured into hundreds of excavated holes to support the massive structure.

Two contracts, worth more than $4 million, have been inked with Harder Mechanical and Canyon State Electric to complete underground utilities at the site. Casa Grande is also extending trunkline sewer and water services to the site. PhoenixMart is responsible for half of those costs.

PhoenixMart, an international products sourcing center, is modeled after global trade expos in Shangai, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. In its showrooms, business-to-business offerings are displayed and services available to help companies find trading partners as well as customers for goods and services.

The project is being developed under the cloud of an FBI investigation into its source financing. The bureau will not comment on the status of any ongoing investigation, but sources with knowledge have said that there are questions about representations made to foreign investors by agents of parent company AZ Sourcing.

Some of the construction financing for the project comes through EB-5 investors based in China. AZ Sourcing CEO Elizabeth Mann has family roots and financial connections in China. Many wealthy Chinese use the EB-5 program to obtain immigration visas, commonly called “green cards” for family members, and move to the U.S. or send children to American colleges.

Sources have told the Phoenix Business Journal that a number of the PhoenixMart EB-5 investors have purchased homes in Arizona.

The EB-5 program allows investors to pump $1 million in capital and create 10 long-term jobs as a prerequisite for obtaining permission for immediate family to live in the U.S. In a special program for “targeted economic areas,” mostly specified rural areas in the U.S., the capital investment is dropped to $500,000. Casa Grande is a TEA target.

Eric covers economic development, banking and finance, infrastructure, transportation and utilities.



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