North Central News

Major facelift sought for Christown mall

By Colleen Sparks
Christown Spectrum mall could receive a major facelift that would create a more modern, urban feel and might include a hotel and residential community.

A request has been submitted to the city of Phoenix to establish a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the property at 1703 W. Bethany Home Road, a site that was developed using the Planned Shopping Center (PSC) zoning and superblock concept. Primarily owned by Christown 1755, LLC, this mall is managed by Kimco Realty Corporation, which is proposing a multi-phase approach to evolving and expanding on the retail, service, entertainment and office uses in existence now. Kimco Realty Corporation wants to create a “dynamic and vibrant urban environment” that would include a hotel, residential units and office components that complement and support retail shopping, restaurants and support services, according to Earl & Curley, PC, the legal firm representing the principals and development team.

The development for Christown Spectrum, which opened in 1961, would be designed around a mixed-use urban theme with an accessible pedestrian and bicycle network that would ultimately connect the Montebello/19th Avenue light rail station to the “spine” of the project, according to the applicant’s narrative filed with the city. Wide sidewalks, significant landscaping, lots of tree canopy offering shade and many pedestrian and bicycle amenities are being proposed on the site.

“We saw a similar application at Central (Avenue) and Indian School Road,” said Joshua Bednarek, deputy director of the Planning Division of the city of Phoenix’s Planning and Development Department. “The idea is to try to make those places hubs for not only investment but also outdoor dining, walking. It builds on the fact that people are maybe getting there through rideshare or light rail.”

The Alhambra Village Planning Committee will eventually hear the case for the Christown Spectrum proposed zoning change but a date had not yet been set as of press time. This committee will discuss the case for “information only” at one meeting and then vote on a recommendation on it at a meeting after that. After that the city’s Planning Commission will listen to a presentation on the proposal and make a recommendation on it. The City Council will have the final say in whether to approve the rezoning.

Christown Spectrum is home to a Walmart, Walgreens, Ross Dress for Less, Big 5 Sporting Goods and many other stores and restaurants. It is unknown how the proposed development change would impact businesses that are already in the mall. As Kimco considers the future of the mall, it will deal with a “significant constraint” related to the long-term lease agreements with many tenants including Walmart, Ross Dress for Less and Walgreens, according to the planning document. Walmart’s lease and options will expire in 2053 and Walgreens’ lease and options will expire in 2102. The long-term leases delineate tenant control zones over big areas of the property, which offer tenant approval rights that protect their customer parking lots, vehicular circulation, entrance driveways and other issues.

A Costco warehouse at Christown Spectrum mall closed in September despite an online petition thousands of people signed to try to keep it open.

To learn more about the proposal for the redevelopment of the mall, visit https://earlcurley.com/christownspectrum.

 

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