Phoenix Metrocenter mall owner Carlyle Development Group unveiled new mall entrance designs and an innovative leasing and redevelopment plan that will transform the 1.3 MSF retail landmark into a multi-faceted, mixed-use environment for shopping, dining and entertainment.

CDG presented its plans last week at an on-site industry event — the first of its kind since CDG purchased the mall, which is located on Interstate 17 between Peoria and Dunlap roads.

Event attendees included top Phoenix commercial real estate brokers, Phoenix Police Commander Benny Piña and Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams. It also included Phoenix-based Butler Design Group, the architect of the new mall entrances.

“This was an opportunity to share our vision and strengthen the industry connections that will revitalize Metrocenter,” said Carlyle Development’s COO Warren Fink. “It is a turning point — the next step in our promise to make Metrocenter a fun, safe atmosphere where customers and tenants will thrive. Having the support of the Phoenix brokerage community, Phoenix Police and City Council is a welcome part of that process.”

Piña and Williams participated as event speakers, providing updates on the submarket and safety, and underscoring their support for the mall revitalization efforts.

“I am very excited to see the enthusiasm and determination of Metrocenter’s new ownership team to turn Phoenix’s original mall into a destination once again,” said Williams. “It is about time somebody realized the potential of the mall and the surrounding area.”

“This was a wonderful way for the new ownership group to reach out to the local brokerage community. The mall looks sharp and the data provided by Commander Piña was enlightening,” said Colliers Vice President for Retail Properties Brian Woods. At the event, Piña provided statistics that debunk the safety perception of Metrocenter and instead point to a safe environment similar to other well-known Phoenix area malls.

“Metrocenter has great freeway exposure and tremendous daytime population and traffic counts. It epitomizes the type of infill property that is ‘hot’ in our market right now,” said Woods.

As presented at the event, CDG’s repositioning plan for Metrocenter focuses on:

  • Creating a mixed-use environment, including office and apartment uses that meet the needs of local shoppers and the community — a trade area of more than 156,000 daytime employees and more than 455,000 residents.
  • Signing a new retailer for the vacant Broadway location and consolidating in-line shop space to add new “mini-major” mall tenants; potentially attracting new retailers to the Arizona market.
  • Incorporating family friendly, cultural and entertainment-oriented tenants that reenergize the mall, help change the incorrect perception of the project and establish Metrocenter’s position as a positive force for the community’s 173,000+ households.
  • Completing facility upgrades, the first of which are contemporary new mall/tenant entries and outdoor patios designed by BDG.

“I remember coming to Metrocenter as a child. It was an event,” said BDG Principal Rick Butler. “The mall has been in transition for the past several years, but it’s actually in great condition—inside and out. We are very pleased to be on a team that wants to bring Metrocenter back as a true destination point.”

In the renovation process, CDG will call on its more than 30 years of value-add real estate experience and an in-house development group that offers tenant improvement, ground-up construction and overall project management services.

New York-based CDG purchased the regional mall in January 2012, after the property spent three years in various stages of foreclosure and receivership. In March of the same year, CDG announced a new Metrocenter leasing and management team that includes on-site General Manager Brent Meszaros and Senior Vice President of Leasing Anita Blackford, and a partnership with locally based Phoenix Commercial Advisors as the mall’s exclusive retail broker representative.

The 1973-built Metrocenter is currently home to more than 125 retailers and department stores including Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and a 12-screen Harkins Theatres. Other popular tenants include the Phoenix Conservatory of Music and in-line retailers such as Aéropostale, Bath & Body Works, The Children’s Place, Victoria’s Secret, Journey’s, Charlotte Ruse, Sports Chalet and Finish Line.

The project totals approximately 525,000 SF of shop space and 840,000 SF of anchor space. That space was enhanced in 2007 via a $32M renovation that revitalized common spaces, upgraded the food court, enhanced security systems and added a new children’s area and a new community room.