Mesa Riverview owners want to tear down part of shopping center

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MESA, Ariz. – Even though it’s just five years old, a portion of the Mesa Riverview shopping center, which was built with $80 million in tax-payer incentives, is going to be torn down.

The Riverview project was supposed to revive west Mesa with new shops, new jobs and a bustling entertainment district. Some of the storefronts on the main-street style development, however, are still empty. The owners believe that empty portion of the center, with its “overpowering architecture,” creates an uncomfortable setting for patrons.

While Riverview is at 93 percent capacity, the vacancies are clustered in one area so it might look to some like there’s not much there.

According to the East Valley Tribune, Kimco Realty wants to open up the area leading to the Cinemark Mesa 16 movie theaters and nearby restaurants. They say many people aren’t even aware the entertainment district exists.

The renovation plan calls for tearing down a section of about 30,000 square feet. Two tenants in the targeted area would have to be relocated.

While plans have not been finalized, Kimco Realty will likely do away with the current street parking setup in favor of a parking lot. In fact, if Kimco Realty gets its way, much of the current building space would be converted to parking. The long-range goal is add an additional 1250,000 square feet of retail space.

Mesa city planners have some concerns about the renovations, saying the development needs to be pedestrian friendly.

A 250-acre site, Mesa Riverview was built after the 2005 election allowed the city to give $80 million in sales tax revenue to owners Kimco Realty and De Rito Partners.

Kimco Realty bought out De Rito Partners, the minority shareholder, last year.

The renovation is expected to take about six months. The developer would like to get started early next year.