CASA GRANDE — A project more than a year in the making was given the nod by the Casa Grande City Council, officially welcoming Dreamport Villages to town.
At a special meeting Wednesday, the council voted unanimously to approve the zoning for and a development agreement with The Block Sports Co., project developers of Dreamport Villages, a destination resort, amusement park and retail center.
“It was a great night,” Rudy Camp, director of Block Sports, told PinalCentral. “It’s great for the city and gives people an additional reason to come here.”
Dreamport Villages is expected to be a 1,500-acre, multiphase project consisting of an extreme sports complex, amusement park, retail hubs, a resort and residential housing areas.
Sarah Murley, principal of Phoenix-based Applied Economics, said in a presentation to the council that she’d projected an opening of October 2019. However, Camp said the company wasn’t ready to specify time frames on the project just yet.
Murley said some of the projections she used to create her report were based on some assumptions of the project and didn’t necessarily reflect specific dates.
Dreamport Villages was announced in March at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting amid much fanfare and a packed house. On Wednesday the mood was more subdued and only a handful of people spoke on the project.
Not much new was revealed about the specifics of the project and Camp told PinalCentral that the company has deliberately taken its time in working with the city to try and ensure the project goes forward properly.
Ron Segall, CEO of The Block Sports Co., said: “We owe the staff a congratulations and a thank you. They’ve worked with us and the city to make this a better project.”
As part of the development agreement, the city of Casa Grande is to give an incentive in the form of a sales tax rebate to The Block Sports Co. in exchange for the needed public infrastructure around the project area. The sales tax rebate would be a portion of the taxes generated from all taxable sales in the park. The total tax rebate will not exceed $124 million.
Casa Grande City Councilman Dick Powell said that while other projects have come before the city, none “have ever had $5 million with them.”
Mayor Craig McFarland said after the council meeting: “This is the first project that’s on public land that will generate sales and property taxes for our municipality. It’s a huge win for private industry, the city and its citizens.”
The city owns 304 acres south of Interstate 8 where part of the project will be located. City Planner James Gagliardi told PinalCentral that he wasn’t sure exactly how the ownership of the land worked or what the “terms of the agreement is with regard to the sale of those acres to Block Sports.”
The council is expected to give final approval of the project on Sept. 5. As the project goes forward many of the components will have to come before the Planning and Zoning Commission for specific approval.