PhoenixMart is based on Yiwu International Trade Center, a 59 million square foot wholesale market in Yiwu, Zhejiang, China. The “showroom” would house over 1,800 suites where companies serving the home and hotel, electronics, fashion, automotive, and food and beverage industries would market directly to customers. Conceptually, it would resemble a Walmart store where every brand of sock or cereal had their own sales booth under one roof. Later phases were slated to include a trade and expo center, condos, and other attractions.

In 2011 PhoenixMart bought almost 600 acres of land near Casa Grande, AZ. Ground was broken on the 1.5 million square foot center in 2013, though delays in obtaining visas and an investigation by the FBI into possible investor fraud slowed the start of construction to 2016. By 2017 structural framing and the roof were completed.

PhoenixMart’s funding depended largely on EB-5 visas, which allow people from overseas to obtain green cards to live in the US for up to 10 years in exchange for investing $500,000 to $1 million to create jobs in rural areas with high unemployment. But a flood of applicants for the limited number of visas offered and concerns about fraud meant that by 2018, the project was out of money.