PHOENIX — A new life is coming to what was once a bustling shopping center.
Most of the structure, built in 1973, will be demolished and rebuilt into an urban, walkable village as part of a $750 million redevelopment plan.
Developers plan to purchase the property and build 2,600 apartments, an amphitheater, pet-friendly parks, green spaces, retail stores and restaurants.
“It brings it back to its iconic status,” said councilwoman Ann O’Brien. “This will infuse so much energy back into the area.”
Metrocenter Mall officially closed on June 30, 2020, after years of decline. The owners-to-be, Concord Wilshire Capital and TLG Investment Partners announced they will work with Hines to repurpose the mall into a community-driven village.
The plan still has to go through and be approved by the city council to come up with public financing for the seven planned public garages.
The 1.5-mile northwest extension of the light rail and the newly built elevated station is expected to be one of the major focal points of the new Metrocenter Mall Village to provide a direct connection to Downtown, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, ASU, and communities to the east.
The Walmart, Dillards, and Harkins Theatre will remain on site.
The light rail extension is expected to be ready for passengers in 2024. The creation of the new village will be done in phases, with construction expected to last at least five years.
Metrocenter Mall’s future
The new Metrocenter will be situated on about 70 acres of land and include 100,000 square feet of essential and service retail stores.
The property was designated as a federal qualified Opportunity Zone, a qualification given to economically distressed communities where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax benefits.
Developers said it will be home to a variety of residential apartments, curated boutiques, retail stores, bars, a town-center park, and other commercial and entertainment venues.
“We think this is a project that everyone can be proud of,” said Steve Betts, an advisor of Concord Wilshire Capital. “What we love about this is the ability to use this project to allow all boats to float higher in the whole submarket of this area.”
Betts said the hope is to bring Metrocenter Mall to its glory days when people would go shopping, eat, or simply cruise around.
The village will also be designed to integrate with and complement certain existing amenities and venues within the Metrocenter Mall through its partially shaded internal pathways and roads, the developers said.
Growing up at Metrocenter Mall
O’Brien grew up at Metrocenter Mall, like many Arizonans.
On the weekends, she remembers going shopping with her mom or cousins, and as a teenager, she even worked at a retail store there.
“As a young girl it was just awesome to get to go shopping there,” O’Brien said. “As we all know cruising was a big thing back in the day, so we had a lot of fun.”
The mall even appeared in the 1989 film “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
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