Westcor to reshape Fashion Square mall area
By Ed Taylor, Tribune
September 8, 2006
Westcor, the owner of the Scottsdale Fashion Square shopping center, is eyeing the redevelopment of a 13-acre portion of the property at Scottsdale and Camelback roads for mixed uses including hotels, condos and possibly a retail village.
The makeover would include a new retail area to replace the former Robinsons-May department store at the east end of the mall, which was acquired by Westcor after Robinsons-May owner May Department Stores merged with Federated Department Stores, owner of Macy’s. As a result of that merger, Federated decided to keep the existing Macy’s department store in the mall and no longer needed the redundant Robinsons-May store.
As part of the east side makeover, Westcor could tear out an existing parking structure and the Robinsons-May building to create a new main entry way to the shopping center from Scottsdale Road and possibly a shopping village for luxury retailers facing onto the street, said David Scholl, senior vice president of development for Westcor.
The Robinsons-May building could be retained if a new tenant or tenants want to occupy it, he said.
In addition, the north side of the Westcor-owned property — now occupied by a motel, restaurant and gas station — has the potential for more intensive uses after leases on the existing buildings expire in a couple of years, he said.
“Those are 13 of the best acres in the entire Valley to redevelop,” he said. “Opportunities like this come only once or twice in a developer’s career.”
Any residential development on the Westcor-owned property would be in addition to about 2,000 housing units under construction or planned by other developers around the shopping center, he said.
Westcor spokeswoman Anita Walker said the company wants to move quickly on the Robinsons-May portion of the project. “We are meeting with retailers now,” she said. “We’d like to move on that sooner rather than later.”
The north side component will take more time because Westcor will not regain control of the property for two years, but the company is drawing up a site plan for the area, she said. No rezoning would be needed to put in residential units, but Scottsdale’s approval would be required for added height, she said.
The plans for Scottsdale Fashion Square are following a similar pattern used by Westcor in remaking Biltmore Fashion Park at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. The company, a subsidiary of The Macerich Co. of Santa Monica, Calif., is revamping the retail portion of the center and plans to construct two mid-rise towers on the east side of the property for a hotel and condos.
Scholl said the company hopes to obtain zoning approval for the towers from the Phoenix City Council in November, but actual construction will have to await improvements by Phoenix to the water system in the area. He said the company hopes to have the mid-rise project finished in a few years.
Westcor, a retail specialist, is moving toward mixed uses of its properties because of market demand, Scholl said.
“It’s urban living,” he said. “People want to have their urban condos and a Starbucks and shopping at the bottom of the condo tower.”
He said Westcor probably will invite partners to develop the housing and hotel portions of its properties but will retain a say on the way those projects are developed to make sure they enhance the retail portion.
Westcor also plans to redevelop part of Fiesta Mall in Mesa, where the Macy’s store became vacant as a result of the Federated-May merger. Macy’s decided to occupy the Robinsons-May space, and Westcor bought the Macy’s store.
Westcor probably will tear down the building and turn the space into an outdoor shopping village for new tenants, said Garrett Newland, assistant vice president/ development.
“We’re looking at retail, restaurant and entertainment options,” he said. The timing on the project will depend on when new tenants are willing to commit, Walker said.
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