PHOENIX — A shopping mall that was a major Phoenix attraction when it was built in the 1970s has faded so much that a new owner plans to gut the mall and tear down major parts of it.

Metrocenter mall sits in a city-designated blight area, reported KJZZ-FM (

It was purchased in 2012 for $12.5 million after the recession impacted mall tenants and mortgage payments.

Carlyle Development Group purchased the building with plans to tear down all or most of the mall.

At the request of Chief Operating Officer Warren Fink, city councilmembers changed the area’s zoning to allow office, medical and residential space in addition to retail.

“It really started to have problems as some of the department stores throughout the nation were consolidating and various department stores went out of business,” Fink said of the mall.

A former department store will house a Walmart Supercenter.

“Those are not just Walmart customers,” Finks said. “Those are customers that are coming from the demographic that have the majority of the Walmart customer, but they also have the higher income level in that overall 500,000-person demographic. All we had to do was take a look at the expansion and success of the restaurants that are around us to realize this is a much more diverse market than some people think.”

Phoenix resident Heather Perez said she remembers visiting Santa Claus at the mall, and when she was older cruising the road that loops around the building.

Now, she said, older people walk the mall like an indoor track.

“It’s always going to be Metrocenter,” she said. “And it better have a round circle because that’s where we cruised.”

Fink said that while the mall will definitely be changing, it will keep its Metrocenter name and looped road.

Information from: KJZZ-FM,

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