Pinal County developers and leaders discuss importance of transportation, look towards future growth

Pinal County

by Melissa Johnson | Rose Law Group Reporter

In the first half of 2005, Pinal County’s share of single-family home permits jumped to 30.5 percent, up from 19 percent in 2004, concluded a study conducted by Arizona State University.

The county experienced a 66.5 percent burst in growth, the fourth highest rate in the nation. This wasn’t a surprise for the people who were already developing Pinal County; it was at that time they, along with land owners, business owners and government leaders realized there was a lot of work to do in the county to aid in this massive amount of growth that was occurring and was foreseen to continue for years to come.

And that was how Pinal Partnership was born.

Pinal County
The panel at Pinal Partnership’s 10 year celebration. Left to right: Michael Martindale, Jackob Andersen, Jason Barney, Jordan Rose, Supervisor House, Harold Christ, Sandie Smith

Rick Merritt, senior vice president of Elliott D. Pollack and Associates, told the inaugural Pinal Partnership meeting in 2005 growth was likely to be increasingly concentrated in the West Valley and Pinal County because they still had large tracts of land available for development. Ten years later, that same statement was echoed by Michael Martindale, an original member of Pinal Partnership and the principal and designated broker of CRA, at the ten year celebration of Pinal Partnership on September 11 at the Copper Sky Recreational Complex in Maricopa as the group reflected on the past and looked to the future.

Martindale said there are several builders looking at Pinal County as old subdivisions are winding down and new ones are opening.  CRA forecasted 14,500 permits would be issued in 2015 and now expects to hit 16,200.

Supervisor Todd House agreed with the forecasts, adding Maricopa is running out of master planned communities but they have plenty of space for that in Pinal.

House told the group economic development in Pinal will be the fasted growing in coming years. He reflected on the need for the 202 Freeway and how development sprouted once it was in place. The completion of Hunt Highway will have a similar result for development; groups are approaching him saying they’ve been waiting for it to happen and want to be a part of it, he said.

Jordan Rose, a founding member of Pinal Partnership and president and founder of Rose Law Group, said the north-south freeway will probably gain partial funding over the next two years. The need for the north-south freeway was one of the original factors behind the partnership forming. Rose recalled Stacy Brimhall, President of Langley Properties, coming to her with a map of a freeway that needs to be built.

Sandie Smith, then supervisor of Pinal County and now president and CEO of Pinal Partnership, said it all started with transportation, then open space and finally rail. It was important to get all the cities and towns involved, which is exactly what Pinal Partnership did. “If we don’t plan, others will plan for us,” Smith said.

Harold Christ, an original Pinal Partnership board member and owner of Windmill Winery as well as a developer in Pinal for past 40 years, said there was a strong need for the partnership, there was nothing like it and there wasn’t an East Valley Partnership at the time either. He said Pinal has so much beauty, space and potential so the community needs to look at its needs to continue to develop.

Jackob Andersen, newest partnership board member and president and CEO of Saint Holdings, LLC, was the first to answer an audience question from Supervisor Anthony Smith saying transportation will definitely be the most important thing in the next ten years as well as infrastructure and economic development.

Martindale said the industry has built 12 schools, grocery stores and lots of infrastructure, and the future is bright and the market is recovering.

Jason Barney, an original board member and principal at Landmark Companies and Circle G Property Development groups, said he loves looking at the Pinal County map the partnership created and seeing all the opportunity over the next ten years.

The Partnership’s slogan is “Uniting the Vision for Pinal County,” and Barney added he thinks another great one would be, “Looking forward, looking forward.”

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