Metrocenter makeover may include open-air retail concept, medical and office space

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 22:11:13-04

Fencing lines the southeast side of Metrocenter, where a new Walmart is under construction. North Valley shoppers are anxious to see what else will end up in the area after city council approved it for mixed-use development.

"(Metrocenter) is definitely part of Phoenix heritage, that's for sure," Phoenix resident Meredith Loihle said. Loihle has been keeping a close eye on the changes; he's been coming to Metrocenter for most of his life.  

"I used to work here at a couple of stores when I was a teenager," he said. "This place was packed all the time." 

After the recession hit, stores closed and traffic at the mall dwindled. New York-based Carlyle Development Group snapped up the property in 2012 with plans for a total makeover. Chief Operating Officer Warren Fink said the wheels of development turn slowly. But in the end, it's not going to be your grandmother's mall.

"We plan to take it from the old icon that is was 40 years ago, even 20 years ago, and turn it into much more of a consumer opportunity for live, work, play," Fink said.

Fink said there are no plans for a complete demolition at this time. So what will change?

An open-air concept is something they're considering for the retail portion of the property, similar to Kierland Commons. But first, residential, hotel and office space are on his wish list. And he says the name will always be Metrocenter.

"What we really want to bring to this center is a rejuvenation of that icon position, except it will be a rejuvenation bringing more than retail," he said.  

Fink says they're consulting with other developers and have no timeline for completion or even a concrete plan for the layout. The Walmart is expected to open next summer.