Originally Posted by Vicelord John
every major city's shopping district I've ever been to has at least one mall, the largest of which is the Water Tower Center in Chicago. Yup, that's definitely as suburban as it gets. /sarcasm
Thats also a trend thats very 30 years ago. Most malls, suburban and urban, across the country are dying in some form or fashion. Look at PV, Christown, Los Arcos, MetroCenter, Desert Sky, Park Central, etc. locally. Many have been retrofitted to become New Urbanist town centers, others have been converted into things more closely resembling Desert Ridge or Tempe Marketplace. Fashion Square (and malls like it, i.e. Copley Place in Boston), because of its long standing cache in the community, is able to buck the trend.
Arizona Center was supposed to be our 'downtown mall' and that fell flat for a variety of a reasons. Even though its brutally hot here 4 months out of the year, I think the development of more and more outdoor shopping centers over the past 15 years has shown that in this market, thats probably the smart way to go.
Plus where would you even put a traditional "mall" in downtown PHX? There's really not the contiguous land area for it unless you wanted to do 1. mass 'urban renewal' or 2. Elevated said mall above the street in various buildings, connected by street deadening skywalks. Either way, both bad ideas.
Our best hope is to hope for an interconnected series of pedestrian/shopping/nightlife type, ie URBAN type of streets.
*Roosevelt between the 7's as the artsy, bohemian, boutique district (its already getting really close to being this). Eventually this could expand from 15th Ave to 16th St, though at much lower density beyond the 7's.
*Jackson St evolving into the nightlife area, something akin to Mill Ave or 5th Ave in Scottsdale.
*Washington from 1st Ave to 2nd St being sort of the hub of the whole system, combining retail & nightlife (it already has the beginnings of this).
*Central from Jackson to Roosevelt being something akin to Boston's Newbury street, that is made up of smaller middle to higher end stores, nightlife, hotels, etc. We see the beginnings of this already with the Westin, Michaels Jewlers, Urban Outfitters, the Public Market & nightclubs on North Central.
* Van Buren between the 7's being home to the more major department type stores and chains. AZ Center is the start of that, and the Urban Form code calls for similar uses along the Van Buren corridor. So if we ever get a Downtown department store again, thats likely where it would go (with the exception of a City Target @ CityScape)
* Lower Grand from the I-10 to Van Buren as a secondary artsty, bohemian, boutique shopping street. This will likely take the longest to develop because its the furthest off the beaten path, furthest from LRT and being able to support multiple boutique type streets within the City core might be tough.
Or since a picture is worth a thousand words:
Downtown PHX currently lacks any place to stroll, shop, and simply enjoy all things urban. We have lots of pockets of good stuff, but its hard to stumble upon because you'd have to pass too many parking lots, blank walls and dirt lots. Until we have at least one fully connected street (I think Roosevelt gets there 1st), Downtown will be far from complete. Working on a complete network like I've outlined is likely a 50 year mission, depressingly.