A rumor circulating about the demolition of Metrocenter Mall has had two results. First, considerable media coverage. Second, a public outpouring form Phoenix residents unhappy about the news. Here’s the good news: Metrocenter isn’t being demolished.
“The public’s response confirms what we’ve known for a long time – that Phoenix residents hold a special place in their hearts for this retail landmark,” said Warren Fink, Chief Operating Officer for Carlyle Development Group, the owner of Metrocenter Mall. “We feel the same way, which is why we’ve worked so hard to create concepts that will revitalize Metrocenter without losing its history.”
According to Fink, this includes a number of different concepts in the planning stages, but none at this time that include a complete demolition.
“Our vision is to create a mixed-use palate that makes the very best use of this site – both its existing space and parts of the property that can support redevelopment or new development, such as senior housing, multifamily housing, corporate office, healthcare and additional retail, restaurant and entertainment amenities,” said Fink. “Shoppers flock to this type of dynamic combination. It’s what communities want and it’s what we want to provide. This will almost certainly include some level of redevelopment and new development, but not an entire demolition.”
Carlyle’s vision is possible thanks to a June decision by the Phoenix City Council to pass a Planned Unit Development (PUD) rezoning that allows for this range of property types at Metrocenter. The PUD also allows for a height increase up to 180 feet (approximately 15 stories) and allows Carlyle to almost double its current 800,000 square feet of existing space, to a total 1.6 million square feet.
This rezoning encompasses 130 acres, with 83 acres of that occupied by Metrocenter Mall, the adjoining Macys and Sears anchor spaces, and the 10-acre land site of a future Walmart Supercenter. The balance of the PUD – approximately 45 acres – encompasses land and businesses around the mall loop road, including Castles-N-Coasters, College of America and the former Sports Authority big box.
“This has been a joint effort championed by everyone from public officials to retailers to property owners to residents. We’ve all been working to get to this spot for a long time,” said Fink. “Now that the rezoning is in place, we can move even more purposefully toward our vision.”
One of the first projects to move forward at Metrocenter has been the construction of a 148,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter, which upon completion will sit directly adjacent to Metrocenter Mall, at the site of the former Broadway building. The development marks the single largest capital investment in Metrocenter Mall in decades. Other benchmarks on the horizon include the extension of Light Rail to the Metrocenter site, with an on-property Light Rail stop expected to be open and operational by 2023.
“The bottom line is that there’s a tremendous opportunity to do great things here. We won’t be saying ‘goodbye’ to Metrocenter for a long time,” said Fink. “We will be saying ‘hello’ to a new hub that we hope will serve the community for years to come.”