The renovations at Scottsdale Fashion Square show a mall willing to continue to provide the experiential retail experiences of the future, as malls across the nation close down, or renovate in hopes of attracting non-retail users. 

“(Scottsdale Fashion Square) is very well leased with an occupancy of just about 97 percent,” says Kim Choukalas, vice president of leasing for Macerich, the owners of Scottsdale Fashion Square. “So, (the renovations) are very strategic. We are going to continue to grow first to market retailers.” 

Macerich, which owns Scottsdale Fashion Square, announced its renovation plans for the mall last December. The renovations will be multi-phase, renewing the interior and exterior areas of the mall, with the grand opening of the renovated luxury wing planned for Fall 2018. 

Macerich has been working with consultants from New York to make sure the mall is delivering an experience customers expect, Choukalas says.  

Nationally, and in Arizona, many malls have been struggling as e-commerce takes the retail world by storm. Credit Suisse, a Switzerland-based international financial services company, estimates that around 20 to 25 percent of the 1,100 shopping malls in the U.S. will close by 2022.

Scottsdale Fashion Square
Scottsdale Fashion Square’s north entrance will have new restaurants surrounding the drive in. (Provided rendering)

Arizona has already seen some of its iconic malls close. The Galleria in Scottsdale has been converted into an office complex. Earlier this year, Fiesta Mall in Mesa was purchased by developers who will be spending $30 million to turn the mall into an office campus. And Metrocenter Mall, opened in 1973 as one of the nation’s largest retail facilities, is being redeveloped into offices, housing and healthcare facilities.

Many of Scottsdale Fashion Square’s renovations will take place on the north side of the mall near the Dillard’s and Neiman Marcus. The current north entrance will be redesigned as the mall’s main, luxury entrance.  

Restaurant pads will be added around the northern entrance of the mall for new to market restaurants.  

Palm trees will lead shoppers into the renewed north entrance, which will be two stories upon completion.  

Scottsdale Fashion Square
The mall’s current elevators and escalators will be removed. (Provided rendering)

Scottsdale Fashion Square’s interior will be upgraded. The floors, ceilings and walls will be updated. Elevators and escalators at the mall will be removed and moved to new locations.  

The bathrooms will be resort style and many of the zig-zagging catwalks on the second floor of the mall will be straightened out to create a sleek experience.  

Once these renovations are complete, Macerich plans to add mixed-use elements to the mall. These plans are still in the works, but Macerich says it will add high-end residential units, Class A office space and a hotel.  

David McGlothlin contributed to this report