By Jenna-Lee Neff
Photo Courtesy of paradisevalleymall-zoning.com
For more than 40 years, Paradise Valley Mall has stood at the core of Paradise Valley Village. But now, it looks like the mall’s days are coming to a close. According to a zoning narrative on the Paradise Valley Mall Redevelopment Project website, mall owner Macerich and RED Development are collaborating to redevelop approximately 78 acres into a mixed-use development.
Occupancy at the mall, which has an estimated 1.2 million square feet of retail space, has fallen over the past several years, with many chain stores moving operations to newer facilities.
“The mall is failing and will be increasingly challenged in the on-going future to remain a sustainable and viable development,” the document reads. “The redevelopment will create additional interest, life, and economic vitality that will benefit the Mall, adjacent properties, and the City.”
The redevelopment seeks to include a mix of retail shops, a grocery store, restaurants, multi-family dwellings, office space, self-storage and other unspecified uses for the land. According to the document, the current plan expects to create 6.5 million square feet of occupied building area split equally between residential and non-residential use.
Within the 3.25 million square feet of residential space, the current plan estimates that there will be 2,500 multi-family dwelling units created.
Last month, Edwin Bull of Burch & Cracchiolo Attorneys discussed redevelopment information during a Paradise Valley community update meeting held via Zoom.
Bull, who represents the developers of the project, shared that current plans for the redevelopment do not include Macy’s or J. C. Penney, as they are not owned by Macerich or RED Development. Plans also do not include the Phoenix Public Library Mesquite Branch.
Though there is a Costco and a parking garage inside of the proposed 78-acre redevelopment area, Bull says neither of those will be redeveloped, though the parking garage might get some enhancements.
“I am expecting that part of what architects at Macerich will be working on is ways to make the parking structure not only function as a parking structure,” Bull says. “If we’re going to have people passing through it from the library and so on, to try to enhance it in some appropriate pedestrian ways so it’s more inviting.”
According to Bull, Costco has expressed interest in remaining on the property and will remain open.
Though there is no official word yet on when the mall will close, Bull says they hope to be underway with phase one of the project by mid-to-late 2021.
Louisa Ward with RE/MAX Excalibur and organizer of the community Zoom meeting, says though some locals might not like the project, the revitalization of the area will bring in more business and restaurant opportunities.
“This type of project in our community could put our neighborhood back on the map with higher desirability and further increase the percent of appreciation on our property values,” Ward says.
Local realtor Allison Barnett says she has seen a mix of opinions on social media, though the overall response to redevelopment has been positive.
“More people are excited to see a place where they want to spend time again,” Barnett says. “Because that has really been lost over time.”
According to Barnett, the idea of re-imaging the mall has been making its way through the community for about four years. But from her perspective, it looked like Macerich needed a partner in order to make that happen.
“It’s no longer the highest and best use for the land,” Barnett says. “It’s exciting to see them coming to the table with some interesting designs.”
Barnett is an ambassador for North 32nd Street Corridor, which is a citizen driven effort to improve the conditions along 32nd Street.
Paradise Valley Mall originally opened in 1978, with the grand opening occurring in 1979. Currently, the mall’s website directory lists about 75 individual shops and services within the mall, including anchor stores J. C. Penney and Macy’s.
Former anchor store Sears closed in January 2019 as part of the national shutdown of the brand, and the building has remained vacant.
To keep up with the Paradise Valley Mall redevelopment project, visit paradisevalleymall-zoning.com.
Jenna-Lee Neff is a freelance journalist, digital audience analyst, and nonprofit public relations professional. Learn more about her work at jennaleeneff.com.
Paradise Valley Mall Memories
We asked on our North 32nd News Facebook page (@North32ndNews) for our followers to share some of their favorite Paradise Valley Mall memories.
“One of my favorite memories is from about 10 years ago, I remember rushing in at midnight on Black Friday and then running from store to store getting all of the coupons and giveaways. I also have fond memories of performing in the food court with my elementary school choir and getting Cinnabon after.” -Brenna Wolff
“When my marriage was collapsing in 1988, I walked the mall with my daughter in the stroller…walking that mall was my solace. It saved me.” -Jan Buchholz
“I had my first breakup there. Spent my formative years forming lifelong friendships there. Discovered “Taco Bell ice” there (if you know, then you know). Rocked uniforms for Paradise Bakery and Hickory Farms there. Got my first real makeup there. Got my first homecoming dress there. Saw Jurassic Park and Wild Things there. Went to countless birthdays at ‘the original McDonald’s location’ there. Got overwhelmed by a herd of grasshoppers there (in the parking garage, technically). Did my first Christmas Angel there. Ran around with my dad buying presents for the rest of the family there. Decorated my 13-year-old room thanks to Suncoast Video and Spencer’s there. Got interviewed by Suns TV and professed my love for Dan Majerle and Charles Barkley there. Practiced driving in that parking lot before my driver’s test there. RIP, PV Mall. You were everything to the Oregon Trail generation in PV and Scottsdale in the day.” -Allison Bailin Batz
“I remember I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in 8th grade, and it was only because I would forget to call my mom on the pay phones at PV Mall—and one time I remember her having to page me over the mall intercom. I grew up near 32nd Street and Thunderbird Road so PV Mall was the place we went for everything: shopping, photos, movies, food, etc. I always associate PV Mall with the Mesquite Library, which was within its campus. This was the main library I went to growing up—and I can remember working on so many class projects there!” -Stephanie Lieb