Today, Walmart announced plans to build a Supercenter at the iconic Metrocenter Mall, near I-17 and 35th Avenue, in northwest Phoenix. Work on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015 with the demolition of the former Broadway building, which has been vacant since 2006.
Officials with Walmart, the City of Phoenix and Metrocenter Mall, as well as area business owners and community leaders, were on-hand for the Supercenter announcement. This marks the single largest capital investment in Metrocenter Mall in decades.
“Metrocenter Mall is a Phoenix landmark that has served shoppers from across Arizona for decades,” said Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams. “I’m proud to be a part of this announcement with Walmart and I know that, together with its efforts and those of the City of Phoenix and area business and community leaders, Metrocenter Mall’s best days are still ahead.”
Metrocenter Mall opened in 1973 as the biggest shopping center in Arizona and one of the largest nationwide. Recent years saw Metrocenter challenged by the establishment of competing regional malls, changing shopping patterns and the Great Recession. Now, Metrocenter Mall owner Carlyle Development Group, the City of Phoenix and community leaders are intent on bringing new life to the area. In mid-March, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a redevelopment plan that will, over the coming decade, guide land use, infrastructure upgrades and public transportation for a 2,500-acre area, including Metrocenter Mall. Currently, the retail vacancy rate in the vicinity averages 28 percent, more than double the citywide figure.
The construction of a Walmart Supercenter is a critical part of Metrocenter’s turnaround, said Warren Fink, COO of Carlyle Development Group.
“Our vision when we acquired Metrocenter Mall two-and-a-half years ago was to bring in a well-known anchor to serve our local community. Walmart more than fulfills that requirement and we are thrilled to welcome them,” said Fink. “This is a first step toward revitalizing a once dominant mall, rebuilding customer commitment and moving forward with plans for the future of Metrocenter that include rezoning to permit complimentary uses such as multifamily apartments, senior housing, corporate offices, healthcare facilities and medical offices.”
Marcia Veidmark, Chairwoman of the North Mountain Business Alliance, is supportive of the Walmart Supercenter, and said its development should help attract additional customers and capital investment to the area.
“This is a very good day for Metrocenter Mall and for the Metro and North Mountain communities,” said Veidmark. “Walmart’s investment can be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. We need both of these.”
The new, 148,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter at Metrocenter Mall is scheduled to open in 2016. The store will provide 24/7 service.
Walmart will construct the Supercenter with industry-leading technology to maximize energy efficiency, conserve water and minimize waste. Environmentally responsible features will include LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC units and the use of drought-tolerant landscaping irrigated with a low-flow and drip watering system.
Once open, the Supercenter will employ an estimated 250 associates. A mix of full- and part-time positions will be available throughout the store, including: department managers, customer service, personnel, maintenance, sales associates, stocking positions, cashiers and more.
“Walmart is committed to the Phoenix community, and we’re thrilled this Supercenter will bring one-stop shopping convenience to our customers while playing a key role in the revitalization of Metrocenter Mall,” said Paula Ginnett, a Walmart Vice President and Regional General Manager. “This is truly a win-win, and we are grateful to Metrocenter Mall officials, the City of Phoenix, community leaders and – most of all – Walmart customers for making it possible.”