The Park Central Mall revitalization project has proved a goldmine for local history buffs, and now the buildings in the newly updated mixed-use development are receiving new names in another nod to the property’s rich heritage.
Microfilm reels, news clippings, antique signage and old photos from the 1950s are among the many relics found in a treasure trove discovered underneath the Park Central property in the renovation’s early days, and now the buildings at the property with an extensive and colorful history in the region will bear the same names as some of the original buildings and families involved.
The Burgbacher, Straus, Graham, Lieb, Goldwater and Diamond families have all granted Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies, the teams behind the massive redevelopment project, permission to use their family names on the property’s refurbished buildings.
Each family was involved in Park Central’s origins in some way — the Goldwater and Diamond families owned the original department stores or buildings at the site, the Lieb and Strauss families had stores at Park Central, the Burgbacher family was the project’s original developer and the Graham family was involved with leasing for Park Central.
Each will now get to see its family name live on, leaving a lasting legacy that city residents can recognize and appreciate for generations to come.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have one of the buildings at the new Park Central Mall bear our family name,” said Bob Goldwater, whose family owned the former Goldwaters department stores. “This project is a prime example of how we can repurpose old properties and modernize them without starting over from scratch, and we are pleased to have our name attached to a project that means so much to our family.”
The property, which once held court as the city’s first official shopping mall, later fell on tough times, but Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies saw potential in the site and teamed up to transition it from a failed retail center into a thriving community gathering place perfect for playing, working and celebrating the arts. While the project won’t reach completion for another few weeks, it’s already making a sizable impact on the surrounding community, with construction on its “Front Porch’ section, which includes a unique, Central Ave.-facing outdoor dining space, wrapping in November.
“The community got a taste of what’s to come when the Front Porch part of the project reached completion last month, and now, we’re in the home stretch,” said Plaza Companies President & CEO Sharon Harper. “A primary objective of ours was to adapt this property for modern-day use, but to do so without letting go of the area’s rich history. By naming Park Central’s buildings after the original onsite businesses, we’re taking yet another step in this direction.”
Construction on the more than 450,000 square-foot Park Central Mall redevelopment project should finish late this year. For more information on the project, visit www.parkcentralphoenix.com.