Foothills Mall Redevelopment Moving Forward

Credit: Pima County

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Originally developed in 1981, the 22-parcel, 68-acre Foothills Mall in unincorporated Pima County will undergo a massive renovation and restoration as a multi-modal live/work/play destination under an ambitious master plan submitted to the county’s Development Services Department last month by owners FHM Partners, LLC.

According to the proposal’s introduction, “Across the country, urban and suburban shopping malls are evolving to create new environments. Consumer interaction with bricks and mortar stores is changing with the increase in online sales activity over the last 5-10 years. This change in behavior and move away from outdated mall concepts provides an incredible opportunity to redevelop and reposition the FHM property to provide a unique, exciting, regional destination and living environment with existing infrastructure to support the multi-dimensional development.”

FHM Partners purchased the site, located at the NWC of Ina Road and La Cholla Boulevard, in Dec., 2016, and has spent the intervening time studying retail and mixed-use properties around the country to develop its plan. Among the planned uses are entertainment, housing, office, retail and hospitality. The current 620KSF building space will undergo a complete redesign and modification. Portions will be demolished to provide enhanced connectivity between all the proposed uses.

To promote pedestrian/cycling activity, partially shaded walkways will be provided and included in the overall circulation plan. Pedestrian connections to the multifamily components are intended, as are linkages to the Pima County trail system.

The plan states in order to realize the consolidated, integrated mixed-use vision the owners have in mind, “an increase in density and intensity of development will be required. Moderately intense uses are already established on the Property and surround it on all sides: multi-family residential to the west, office and commercial uses to the north, and major arterial roadways with office and commercial uses to the south and east. To attain the vision, this Specific Plan permits residential, office and hospitality uses to be 120 feet or up to 10 stories.”

As part of the 15-20-year implementation, the developers will review utility and related needs such as water, sewer and signage on an ongoing, as needed basis. Phasing over the plan’s lifecycle has not yet been established but will be implemented based on market need and demand. Individual development plans will be created and submitted for each component, according to the proposal.

The county Planning & Zoning Department will consider the plan at its Aug. 8 meeting.

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  1. While I greatly appreciate the new development underway of my neighborhood in the Foothills Mall area, I reside in Ranchos de La Canada, less than .5 miles away and a community built in the 1960’s and 1970’s- I am greatly concerned about light pollution from the announcement of the FHM Partners LLC project for the redevelopment of the Foothills Mall location.

    Light pollution as well as noise pollution is 100% a top concern for my residing neighbors and myself.
    Is there any known information or a point of contact who would be able and cooperative to give myself and others information on what type of lighting and noise reducing designs that are set to take place in the new project?

    Resident of Ranchos de La Canada since 1996.

  2. I have resided in Tucson my entire life, so I have a special affection for this city. Foothills Mall was the best planned mall in Tucson. The architecture was well thought out and very pleasing to look at. There was a good variety of stores with a food court. In the summer when temperatures hit 106-113 you could walk in comfort indoors. In the rainy season or winter you were able to stay dry and warm. You could decide to go see a movie at AMC. Now it is an abandoned mall, the future looks bleak. The purchase and renovation started 5 years ago. Nothing has been done for residents on the Northwest side of Tucson except to destroy the best mall in Tucson.We rarely visit the outlet stores on I-10. Weather is usually a deterrent. It might have been a good idea for FHM Partners to spend part of their research with residents that will ultimately make or break your ideas for the future. I hope you go to bed at night thinking of the ruin you made of Foothills Mall.

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