When Lucid and PhoenixMart made big splashes with their announcements of major projects in the Casa Grande area, we were more than willing to report extensively on their intentions.
Their plans were newsworthy.
We had stories projecting the economic impact through jobs, taxes and prestige such projects would bring to the area. We quoted all the politicians, civic leaders and others, praising the companies and their intentions, from Gov. Doug Ducey on down to the Pinal County man on the street.
However, we don’t work for Lucid, PhoenixMart or the city of Casa Grande. We work for you. Marketing is their business. News is ours.
At the time, you, the public, had a right to know what the intentions were of these companies because you also have a stake in their projects. Your job prospects and property values in the community could be impacted based on the success or failure of these companies. Also, each project is either directly or indirectly tied to taxpayers, through property tax breaks, a sewer line extension and even a land deal.
Yes, you, as our readers and audiences, are partial shareholders in these projects.
That is why we have a responsibility to report on the ongoing progress of these projects. Our coverage doesn’t just stop and end at the news conference or press release. When Lucid announced its intentions with a made-for-TV parade of their funky-looking electric cars between news conferences in Phoenix and Casa Grande, we were there. But we also reported that the company still had to raise almost 75 percent of the funding needed to start construction on a proposed electric car manufacturing plant.
This month reporter Heather Smathers has diligently reported that Lucid needed an extension on its option to purchase property, and PhoenixMart has been slapped with a nearly $1 million lien by a concrete contractor.
These stories were also newsworthy.
In Lucid’s case, the California–based electric car manufacturer has received an extension on the time to purchase 500 acres located at the southwest corner of Thornton and Peters roads.
The option of having the county buy the land is “Plan B,” according to the broker. The county may or may not be required to use its bonding authority that was approved, depending on how Lucid gets financed.
As for PhoenixMart, Hardrock Concrete Placement Co. Inc. has filed a notice of claim with the county Recorder’s Office seeking $907,480.65 from AZ Sourcing, the parent company of PhoenixMart. The lien also seeks reimbursement of court costs and attorney’s fees.
Hardrock Concrete of Phoenix furnished concrete, labor and materials for construction of the proposed facility off Florence Boulevard east of Interstate 10.
PhoenixMart is building a 1.5 million-square-foot sourcing center to bring manufacturers, sellers and buyers together for large-scale business purchases. It is supposed to have 1,866 showrooms. The exterior of the building is largely complete.
The project originally was announced in 2011 as an international trade center that would bring in commercial buyers from around the world. At the time, officials said 8,000 jobs would be created.
Last summer the city of Casa Grande agreed to a plan for extending the sewer line underneath Interstate 10 at Kortsen Road, with AZ Sourcing paying for a portion of the sewer line that will service the property.
Whether it is Lucid, PhoenixMart, Dreamport Villages, Attesa or even the recently approved half-cent sales tax for roads, we have an obligation to you, the shareholders, to continually report on the progress of each.
When new developments occur, we will report them. Those involved in these projects, including government officials, need to accept that. In fact, it would help if they actually expected it. Then they would be better prepared to respond and explain to the shareholders what is going on.
And that defines what is newsworthy.
Andy Howell is assistant managing editor. You can reach him at email@example.com.