Walmart last month announced plans to build a Supercenter at the iconic Metrocenter Mall, near I-17 and 35th Avenue, in northwest Phoenix. Work on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015 with the demolition of the former Broadway building, which has been vacant since 2006.
This marks the single largest capital investment in Metrocenter Mall in decades. The 148,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter is a key part of plan to modernize 40-year-old Metrocenter Mall.
The mall first opened in 1973 as the biggest shopping center in Arizona and one of the largest nationwide. Recent years saw Metrocenter challenged by the establishment of competing regional malls, changing shopping patterns and the Great Recession. Now, Metrocenter Mall owner Carlyle Development Group, the city of Phoenix and community leaders are intent on bringing new life to the area.
“This is a first step toward revitalizing a once dominant mall, rebuilding customer commitment and moving forward with plans for the future.”In mid-March, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a redevelopment plan that will, over the coming decade, guide land use, infrastructure upgrades and public transportation for a 2,500-acre area, including Metrocenter Mall. Currently, the retail vacancy rate in the vicinity averages 28 percent, more than double the citywide figure.
The construction of a Walmart Supercenter is a critical part of Metrocenter’s turnaround, said Warren Fink, COO of Carlyle Development Group.
“Our vision when we acquired Metrocenter Mall two-and-a-half years ago was to bring in a well-known anchor to serve our local community. Walmart more than fulfills that requirement and we are thrilled to welcome them,” said Fink.
“This is a first step toward revitalizing a once dominant mall, rebuilding customer commitment and moving forward with plans for the future of Metrocenter that include rezoning to permit complimentary uses such as multifamily apartments, senior housing, corporate offices, healthcare facilities and medical offices.”
Marcia Veidmark, chairwoman of the North Mountain Business Alliance, is supportive of the Walmart Supercenter, and said its development should help attract additional customers and capital investment to the area.
“Walmart’s investment can be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. We need both of these,” said Veidmark.
The new Walmart Supercenter at Metrocenter Mall is scheduled to open in 2016. Once open, the Supercenter will employ an estimated 250 associates.