Uptown Plaza, the landmark shopping center at the intersection of Central Ave. & Camelback Rd., has announced the grand opening of its first new tenant, Muse Apparel, since kicking off a wall-to-wall renovation in mid-2014. Opening just in time to celebrate Uptown Plaza’s 60th Anniversary tomorrow, August 25, 2015, this popular 10-year-old local women’s clothing boutique recently relocated from its original location at 7th St. & Glendale Ave. into a stylish, custom-designed storefront adjacent to AJ’s Fine Foods. Led by Vintage Partners, the Arizona-based commercial real estate development and investment company, the opening of Muse Apparel is only the latest development in their efforts to revitalize this historic midcentury modern property, as well as restore Uptown Plaza’s original mix of local, regional and national tenants in the heart of North Central Phoenix.
In fact, it was Uptown Plaza’s deep roots in north-central Phoenix that first attracted Muse Apparel’s owner, Victoria Lindley. “When I decided to open Muse in 2005, I knew north-central Phoenix was an underserved area with lots of shoppers but not a lot of shopping. And while I enjoyed our original location, I always imagined Muse being part of a more village-like atmosphere, surrounded by restaurants and other boutiques, so when I saw the remodeling efforts at Uptown Plaza I knew it was the perfect fit.” Best of all, Lindley says, throughout the remodeling process she had customers coming in and sharing memories of dinners at long lost restaurants such as Navarre’s, or working at the former flower shop. “What really makes this neighborhood unique is it spans generations, people have grown up here and stayed to raise their kids here, so it feels like a small town where everybody knows each other, and they take pride in supporting local businesses like Uptown Plaza.”
All of which explains why in 1955 the iconic developer Del E. Webb (creator of Sun City and former NY Yankees owner) originally choose this once-distant neighborhood as the home of the first large-scale shopping center located outside of the downtown Phoenix. Long considered one of the Valley premier shopping destinations, this sleek, brick-lined center is now in the capable hands of Vintage Partners, with the charge to “carefully renovate and re-merchandize this landmark property and restore Uptown Plaza as one of the Valley’s most desirable retail destinations,” says Vintage Partners Principal, David Scholl. Along with the grand opening of Muse Apparal, Uptown Plaza also recently announced upcoming tenants such as second Arizona location of the famed NYC-based, Shake Shack restaurant, and the third location of Phoenix’s own, Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Flower Child.
Scheduled for completion in fall 2015, with additional tenants to be announced later this summer, Phase 1 of the Uptown Plaza restoration is well underway. Starting with peeling away decades of stucco and clutter, during the delicate demolition process the design team has already uncovered 50’s-era details such as original hand-painted signage on the red brick storefronts. “We’re working to ensure that Uptown Plaza will once again be a neighborhood landmark that will thrive for generations to come,” Scholl says.