Redevelopment plans take shape for Christown mall in Phoenix

Redevelopment plans take shape for Christown mall in Phoenix

Article Originally Posted On Phoenix Business Journal On March 9, 2021

The oldest operating indoor mall in Phoenix, Christown Spectrum, is set for a massive adaptive reuse project, which aims to include office, apartments, retail, entertainment and hotel uses on the 98-acre mall site.

“Christown Spectrum intends to accommodate the full spectrum of business and commerce tenants from the small use tenants looking for quality space with nearby freeway and light-rail accessibility all the way to corporate headquarters in a signature building,” a website created by law firm Earl & Curley, the zoning firm for the project, said. “The residential, hotel, and office components of the development will complement and support the corresponding amenities of retail shopping, restaurants and support services.”

Zoning documents contain several buildout scenarios, but at full buildout the plans include creating a public plaza and paseo through what is the existing mall, demolishing portions and making much of the space open-air.

The mall, located at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, is primarily owned by an entity of Kimco Realty Corp. Several of the tenants at the mall, including Walmart, Ross Dress for Less and Walgreens, have long-term leases, some of which extend for decades. Target owns its location.

In February 2020, Kimco confirmed that Costco Wholesale Corp. was not renewing its lease at Christown. JCPenney also closed its Christown location in 2020.

A spokeswoman for Kimco said the company is still in the early planning stages of the project, but plans submitted to the city outline the company’s 20-year plan for the project. Christown currently includes 650,265 square feet of space, and with the planned additions, which will fill much of the existing parking lot, will add 2.98 million square feet, bringing the total square footage to 3.63 million. In total the full buildout plans call for 2,066 apartment units, 300 hotel rooms, 46,000 square feet of entertainment and 280,000 square feet of office to be added. The architect of the project is Streetsense and the landscape architect and civil engineer is Kimley-Horn and Associates.

Christown is the latest Phoenix mall to be planned for a massive renovation. Phoenix-based RED Development is planning to redevelop Paradise Valley Mall to include a mix of retail shops, restaurants, a grocery store, multifamily housing, office space and a self-storage facility. The updated zoning will allow up to 2,500 multifamily dwelling units. The plan calls for some of the current businesses operating at the mall to stay there, including the Costco.

Metrocenter, which was once the largest mall in the Southwest, has been primed for redevelopment for years. The mall’s owner, Carlyle Development Group Inc., put together a redevelopment plan and is now ready to sell the mall.

Park Central, in midtown Phoenix, recently underwent a massive redevelopment and adaptive reuse to turn the former department stores into offices. The parking lot is also being developed into Creighton University’s medical school, as well as apartment and hotel projects.