Economic development, housing growth drives restaurants, other businesses to Casa Grande

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

Casa Grande is seeing new restaurants open spurred by economic development and housing growth even as the wider economy navigates the coronavirus pandemic.

Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland said a new Texas Roadhouse as well as new taco shops and a QuikTrip opening.

McFarland said more restaurants and food-related businesses are also looking to land in the Pinal County city.

That comes as many restaurants across the country face tough times and closures because of the pandemic.

McFarland said two local restaurants have closed during the pandemic. “I expected there to be a little more,” he said. “We’ve got like 20 new businesses coming in and two that close.”

Casa Grande continues to see housing growth and economic development. Both are helping attract attention from restaurants and other businesses.

“The business side of the industry is kind of taking note,” McFarland said.

The growth is a stark contrast to the restaurant closures seen across the country because of all of the impacts fo COVID-19.

The mayor said restaurants in his city aren’t as linked to Arizona’s tourism industry which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

They are being propelled by local growth and new residents.

Casa Grande saw more than 1,100 permits for new homes in 2020 and another 350 during the first two months of 2021.

That kind of growth means residents who can support restaurants, coffee shops, stores and other businesses.

Pinal County is also seeing significant economic development and jobs with Lucid Motors’ electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Casa Grande and Nikola Motor’s production operations in Coolidge for hybrid trucks.

McFarland said Lucid’s growth is a key component in attracting more businesses and jobs. That includes high-tech automotive supply and service businesses such as restaurants.

Lucid is looking to grow its operational footprint to 6,000 workers with many of those based in Casa Grande.

“Its huge. It’s a game changer,” McFarland said.

The city is also doing its part to provide new and improve existing amenities for residents.

“We are going to expand our trail systems,” McFarland said.

The mayor said the city will also clean up mountain trails and install new fencing in hiking areas because of some past damage made by off-terrain vehicles (OTVs).

The city will also improve other trails as well as its water tower. “We’re going to try to beautify it a little bit,” the mayor said.

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