PHOENIX -- Metrocenter is welcoming a new anchor store to the neighborhood -- a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
With two levels and five anchors, Metrocenter was the first mall of its kind when it opened in October 1973. Not only was it the biggest shopping center in Arizona, it was one of the biggest in the country.
Over the years, the anchors have shifted, some leaving the property altogether. That created large vacancies in the mall.
On Tuesday, Wal-Mart announced plans to build a Supercenter as a new anchor for Metrocenter, which is located near Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue.
The investment is the largest Metrocenter has seen in years.
“Metrocenter Mall is a Phoenix landmark that has served shoppers from across Arizona for decades,” Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams said in a news release. “I’m proud to be a part of this announcement with Wal-Mart and I know that, together with its efforts and those of the City of Phoenix and area business and community leaders, Metrocenter Mall’s best days are still ahead."
Metrocenter Mall is owned by Carlyle Development Group, the principals of which believe the Wal-Mart Supercenter is essential to the shopping center's future.
“Our vision when we acquired Metrocenter Mall two-and-a-half years ago was to bring in a well-known anchor to serve our local community. Wal-Mart more than fulfills that requirement and we are thrilled to welcome them," Carlyle Development Group COO Warren Fink said. "This is a first step toward revitalizing a once dominant mall, rebuilding customer commitment and moving forward with plans for the future of Metrocenter that include rezoning to permit complimentary uses such as multifamily apartments, senior housing, corporate offices, healthcare facilities and medical offices."
The new Wal-Mart Supercenter, which will be at the south end of the mall, is slated to be up and running in 2016. It will be open 24/7 and employ some 250 people in various full- and part-time positions.
“Wal-Mart is committed to the Phoenix community, and we’re thrilled this Supercenter will bring one-stop shopping convenience to our customers while playing a key role in the revitalization of Metrocenter Mall,” Paula Ginnett, a Wal-Mart vice president and regional general manager, said in a news release. "This is truly a win-win, and we are grateful to Metrocenter Mall officials, the City of Phoenix, community leaders and – most of all – Wal-Mart customers for making it possible.”
Construction is scheduled to begin early next year with the demolition of the former Broadway building, which has been vacant for nearly a decade.
According to Wal-Mart's corporate website, there are a total of 121 Wal-mart stores in Arizona. Nearly 80 of those are Supercenters. The company has nearly 32,500 Arizona employees. Regular full-time hourly associates make average hourly wage of $12.67.