By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Long an icon of stalled hopes for renovation and redevelopment in Central Phoenix, the area around Park Central Mall continues to blossom into one of the city’s most dynamic areas of urban rebirth.
According to an announcement this week, the ownership group behind the mall property redevelopment “has purchased an additional 21 acres of property and an additional 193KSF building, consolidating ownership of Park Central for the first time in decades.”
Holualoa Companies and Plaza Companies announced plans for a Phase II in the redevelopment process, including a new nine-story residential complex that will go along with the recently announced Creighton University health sciences building.
In September of last year, the companies announced the initial plan to redevelop Park Central, which was the city’s first major shopping mall. The latest announcement says, “The first 337KSF of redeveloped office and retail space will be done in January 2019. Leasing activity for office and retail space is ongoing at the property and interest has been strong in the newly revitalized property.”
According to an Arizona Republic story last October, some of the plans included:
- The Market: A pedestrian connection to Central Avenue with lots of shade.
- The Goldwater Building: A large flexible office space in the building that once housed a department store by that name.
- The Porch: More restaurants and bars.
- The Hub: Space for entrepreneurs and creators.
- The Lofts: Work spaces that celebrate the history of the property while incorporating modern amenities.
- The Yard: Temperate outdoor area for work and play.
At the time, Cronkite News quoted Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay as saying, “I think it’s going to turn into the hip, cool new place to hang out.”
That was all well and good, then last month another major announcement raised the area’s interest and prominence even more when it was announced private Jesuit college Creighton University would build a new medical school at the mall next to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.
The initial announcement referenced plans to construct a 200KSF building for 800 health sciences students. “The expansion will include a four-year medical school, nursing school, occupational and physical therapy schools, pharmacy school, physician assistant school and emergency medical services program. A second building adjacent to the first may be added in the future,” the announcement said.
However, an article in Phoenix Business Journal revealed plans for two 150KSF buildings in two phases totaling a projected $150M investment.
The Latest Expansion
Wednesday’s announcement by the companies details the $28M purchase from Park Central Mall LLC of 21 additional acres for Phase II of the redevelopment. According to the release, the next phase will include:
- A nine-story multifamily residential development on the southern portion of the property;
- A 2,000-space parking structure in partnership with the City of Phoenix through a Community Facilities District;
- The new $100M, 200KSF Creighton University health sciences campus, which will bring a four-year medical school to the property as well as serving several other medical disciplines;
- Redevelopment of the just-purchased 193KSF building into modern office and retail space;
- And, the potential for additional mixed-use development that could include more multifamily construction, a new hotel, senior living and entertainment uses.
Regarding the latest announcement, Stan Shafer, COO for Holualoa Companies, said the purchase of the additional 21 acres will make the area more dynamic as part of Phase II.
“We are very pleased with the progress of the first phase of the new Park Central and the impact it will have on the central city,” he said. “However, with the additional parcel now under our ownership, we have an opportunity to do even more with Park Central to create a true hub for economic development for the region.”
Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Companies, said, “With Phase II now included, the entire property is now put back together with a master vision for its future. The synergies, benefits and impact are much more that they could have ever been if we were only able to do the first phase of the project. Between the impact of the new construction, the Creighton facility and the revitalized former mall space, Park Central will truly become an economic engine for Phoenix’s urban core.”