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Christown Spectrum Mall at the center of '19North' district revitalization

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 07:12:28-04

PHOENIX — The oldest operating indoor shopping mall in Phoenix is about to get a new big-name business.

Local leaders are thanking the community for their continued support of the Christown Spectrum Mall.

Residents have survived and now they are trying to thrive.

No one, it seems, is happier about what's happening in and around the "19North District" than Shannon McBride.

She along with others say the area has been revitalized and the nearby Christown Spectrum Mall plays a big role.

"Christown is considered an asset in this community. This is a shopping center many of us grew up and went to. I have high school pom-poms days where we did our fundraisers here. I was in a fashion show when I was 10 years old, here,” said McBride.

But, it wasn't always this way.

Neighbors say things turned a little bleaker in recent years. Thieves started breaking into homes, cars and businesses and stores started suffering forcing doors to close.

Through all of this, the community wanted change.

"The idea was what if we came together as a community and said, instead of focusing on things we don't want like we don't want any of this crime, what do we want? Which is vision,” said McBride.

The councilwoman for Phoenix's 5th District is also getting involved.

"One of the things I was most committed to was revitalization throughout the whole district,” said Councilor Betty Guardado.

Together, as partners who now make up a group called 19North, they've poured millions into making improvements.

"Every time a new business comes into this area, I am the greatest cheerleader. Not only do I get to welcome them. I get to say will you be a partner in making this area safe with us,” added McBride.

About two years ago, when Costco left the mall, some in the 19North community wondered if all the stores would soon leave, but not McBride. She was optimistic.

"There was a lot of disappointment. But, I knew we'd get something else in there because we have too many great things happening behind the scenes,” said McBride.

A new American Furniture Warehouse is opening at the mall this weekend and the city plans to add a skate park along with more small businesses nearby.

"Christown Mall is that anchor that we need to make sure we continue to get more businesses. Small business and big businesses to continue to invest in that area,” added Councilor Guardado.