The closing of the last tenant space at the once very popular Fiesta Mall in Mesa, Arizona is sparking talk regarding the future of the 1 million square foot shopping center.
Dillard’s Clearance Center, an offshoot of the larger Dillard’s chain featuring discounted clothes, announced its exit from the mall last fall.
The chain’s decision to close its store caps a more than decade-long drain of tenants for a mall that once featured more than one hundred small stores and restaurants.
Built at a cost of $55 million and opened in the fall of 1979, the Fiesta Mall at 1445 W. Southern Avenue was for years one of the most successful shopping centers in the southwest.
Analysts trace its decline to the opening of the 1.2 million square foot Arizona Malls in nearby Tempe in 1997.
During the course of the next two decades, the Fiesta Mall saw a number of its largest tenants move out, with less than a third of the center’s retail space rented out by late 2016.
The Phoenix-based Dimension Financial & Realty Investments purchased the property three years ago for $7.7 million and said it would spend up to $30 million transforming the space into a higher education campus.
Although that idea was never executed, city officials have expressed interest in seeing the mall redeveloped as a mix-used site.
But one of the obstacles confronting any repurposing project has been the number of other developers, besides Dimension, owning a portion of the property.
According to reports, as many as five developers have had a stake in the property, a number that has since decreased to two.
That lower number, according to city officials, should make it easier for the City of Mesa to help coordinate a redevelopment of the site.
Notes the Arizona Republic: “The city is waiting to see ‘one unified vision’ - either with one group buying out the other for the sole ownership, or the two collaborating on a joint plan.”
By Garry Boulard
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