Housing Is Going Up on the Sites of These 3 Former Phoenix Malls

Rendering of the Life Time buildings part of the Paradise Valley Mall redevelopment (Rendering courtesy of RED Development)

By Jessica Swarner

April 6, 2023

Only one will offer units considered “attainable” housing. 

Arizona does not have enough houses to keep up with the number of people moving here.  

The Arizona Department of Housing estimates that the state is 270,000 units short to satisfy the growing population—although agency spokesman Dave Cherry noted the data used to calculate that number is from 2019-2020, so the actual number is likely higher than the current shortfall. 

This lack of supply has made it more difficult for the average person to afford rent or buy a house. To try to help close the gap, the city of Phoenix has committed to creating or preserving 50,000 new housing units by 2030. 

Working with the city, developers are looking for ways to breathe new life into three former metro Phoenix malls by creating multi-use sites that include housing. Here’s more information on each of those projects: 

Metrocenter

Metrocenter was a shopping mall located at Peoria Avenue and Interstate 17 that opened in 1973 as the first indoor mall in Phoenix. It closed in 2020. The mall is known for being a set location for the 1989 science-fiction comedy “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

Concord Wilshire Capital and TLG Investment Partners, two out-of-state real estate development firms, announced in 2021 they planned to invest $750 million in redeveloping the shuttered Phoenix mall into a residential and mixed-use community. 

RELATED: How Shipping Containers Are Being Used to Increase Housing in Phoenix

The 68-acre property will include apartment buildings with 2,600 units—as well as stores, restaurants, a park, and an amphitheater. 

A number of the apartment buildings will be considered “workforce” or “attainable” housing, meaning they will be available to residents who make between 80 and 120% of the area’s median income. For a two-person household, that’s $50,600 to $75,840, or between $63,200 and $94,800 for a four-person household. 

The development will be very accessible to public transit. In fact, work is underway on a Valley Metro light rail station, scheduled to open in 2024, right on the property. Underneath the light rail station will be a Valley Metro RAPID bus station. 

Park Central Mall

Park Central Mall opened in 1959 as the first shopping mall in Phoenix, located at Central Avenue and Osborn Road. It lost major retailers in the 1990s and much of the area was converted into office space. 

Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies, two Arizona-based real estate firms, are now steering the area’s mixed-use redevelopment. Current tenants include cybersecurity firm Avertium, Creighton University, Dignity Health, EoS Fitness, and University of Jamestown. The site also has a number of restaurants, including Zipps Sports Grill, Thai Basil, First Watch, and Fired Pie.  

As for housing, apartment building Aspire Park Central opened last month with 278 units. Rents range from $1,625 per month for a 597-square-foot studio to a 1,444-square-foot two-bed, two-bath unit for $2,955 a month. 

Another apartment building, called 3rd & Flower, is expected to open at the end of this year or in early 2024. It will be nine stories tall with 338 units and a rooftop pool. Rates are not yet known for these units. 

Paradise Valley Mall

Paradise Valley Mall opened in 1978 at Cactus Road and Tatum Boulevard and stayed open up until 2021 when redevelopment began. The new center by Phoenix-based RED Development will include a Whole Foods, Harkins Ciné Grill, and a 3-acre central park. Already on site are a Costco, JCPenney, and a Phoenix Public Library branch. 

StreetLights Residential is expected to open an apartment complex called The Blake next year with 400 units. Rates are not yet known, but units will range from studios to three bedrooms. Amenities will include a pet park, indoor pet spa, full-service bar, and fitness center. 

There will also be an 11-story Life Time Living residence with 300 units, in conjunction with a Life Time Fitness “athletic country club.” Residents of Life Time Living, which is slated to open in 2026, will automatically be members of the gym and club. The building will have one-bed, two-bed and penthouse units that will range from 850-2,100 square feet. Amenities will include work-from-home lounges, “concierge wellness programming,” a meditation room, an outdoor pool deck, a dog park, and more. Units at a Life Time Living property in Coral Gables, Florida, range from $2,247 for a studio to $12,481 a month for a penthouse.

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Author

  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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