By Lincoln Shea
The wrecking ball will be hitting large sections of Paradise Valley Mall at Cactus and Tatum in Phoenix. Built in 1979, the mall is long past its heyday as it continues to lose business to online sales and more up to date shopping centers such as Desert Ridge.
The mall’s owner, Macerich and Red Development gave the public a sneak peek at what to expect as the center is redeveloped. They held a Zoom meeting December 17th and appeared to get little if any push back on plans to remove large portions of retail space and replace it with what the developer described as “Market Rate” apartments. There could be as many as 2, 500 units.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, if it gets built. Plans call for up to 3.25 million square feet of non-residential uses and 3.25 million square feet of residential uses, for a total of up to 6.5 million square feet of occupied building area. The non-residential uses are not exclusively retail. A mini storage facility is part of the plan, as well as office space, and restaurants.
Building heights at the core of the project are not expected to top 120 feet. Costco will remain. Macy’s and JC Penny’s, which are independently owned, have not expressed plans to move out.
New plans do call for retail as well as a new grocery store. Similar to City North, some of the residential will be built on top of the retail and the grocery component.
The December 17th Q and A was moderated by attorney Ed Bull. While residents expressed disappointment about losing some retail shops, they generally expressed modest support. The major concerns centered on traffic and multifamily housing.
The developer has created a website with details and renderings. Here is a link. http://paradisevalleymall-zoning.com/
The website NextDoor which can often be an epicenter of opposition, is seeing few posts outright opposing the plans. This post is typical of the reactions:
“Even if you dislike some part of the new development it’s great for the area for something to be done with an almost empty mall. Areas like Desert Ridge are just more popular now, even if you don’t like shopping there in the heat. Most of their stores are pretty full every weekend throughout the year and something similar here will be a nice investment in the area.”
Rumors of the mall’s demise have been circulating for years and concern about what would replace the mall generated dire predictions of sprawl.
No re-zoning hearings have been set, and re-zoning will be needed to deal with issues such as building heights and density. However given past worries about the future of PV Mall, neighborhood opposition is not overwhelming at this stage. And there are no signs of it escalating.