Flagstaff Mall breaks ground on new addition

Ann Widmann/Observer
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David Beckham, left, in development with Westcor, and Paul Lancaster, media consultant for KOLT Radio, were on the backhoe for the ceremonial first scoop at the Aug. 25 Flagstaff Mall groundbreaking for a major addition and remodel.

Ann Widmann/Observer <BR><BR> David Beckham, left, in development with Westcor, and Paul Lancaster, media consultant for KOLT Radio, were on the backhoe for the ceremonial first scoop at the Aug. 25 Flagstaff Mall groundbreaking for a major addition and remodel.

FLAGSTAFF -- Gathering under a large white tent off Spur Street behind Flagstaff Mall, community and business leaders attended a ceremonial groundbreaking Aug. 25 for a major addition and remodel that will make Flagstaff Mall the largest in northern Arizona.

The Village at Flagstaff Mall will include a collection of specialty shops, boutiques, entertainment and dining spots in an open-air setting. Upon full build out in 2009, approximately 435,000 square feet of new retail space will be created just south of Flagstaff Mall.

This will include one anchor store and six mini anchors expected to open in the winter 2006. Village specialty shops, apparel boutiques and a wide variety of dining offerings will begin to open by winter 2007. An entertainment plaza, outdoor seating and gathering areas are scheduled for completion in 2007 along with a multi-screen movie theater. Street redesign and additional roadways, including a new mall entryway at the intersection of Cummings Street (near the location of Designs West) should be complete by 2008. Flagstaff Mall exterior renovations are expected to be in place by 2009.

"The partnership, we as a community, have formed with Westcor and its parent company, Macerich is an example of stellar compromising, working towards a vision that was both an asset to our community, but also, a retail product that a private company could be assured was a financially viable undertaking," said Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson. "For coming the mile, although rocky sometimes, we are very grateful to Westcor and Macerich. They are a great neighbors."

Mayor Donaldson Pointed out that the development will also include residential housing and an Auto Park with several new auto dealerships as well as the relocation of some of existing Flag dealerships.

"Most importantly, it will provide a local retail economic stimulus that will increase the flow of additional outside regional dollars into our community without displacing existing, financially sound, local businesses," Donaldson said. "This is a milestone in the development of Flagstaff as a regional retail economic center. It is because of this kind of development a partnership between Westcor and the citizens of Flagstaff coming together with their resources that will enhance the city's sales tax revenue stream with little or no redistribution of existing retail dollars."

Liz Archuletta, Coconino County Suupervisor for District 2, which includes the Flagstaff Mall, called the addition "a positive change for urban and rural citizens."

She stressed that the project will create new jobs--500 jobs anticipated to manage and staff new retail stores as well as more than 200 new construction jobs--provide new entertainment and firmly establish the mall as a regional shopping destination.

Addressing shoppers heading to Flagstaff from the Rez, Archulleta said, "The added variety of retailers will not only increase the shopping options for our neighbors from the reservation, it will offer them one stop shopping and prices comparable to Prescott and Phoenix."

Westcor, based in Phoenix, is the largest retail developer in Arizona, and a subsidiary of The Macerich Company. Westcor's portfolio consists of 18 million square feet of retail space at 39 shopping centers throughout Arizona. Other projects include Prescott Gateway, Chandler Fashion Center, Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Of the nearly 100 acres of State Lands identified for the East Flagstaff Gateway Redevelopment Area, Westcor is responsible for 40 acres as part of The Village at Flagstaff Mall. The City of Flagstaff's plan for the remaining acreage includes an auto park and residential area that will include condominiums and town homes.

According to a Westcor press release, estimmated sales tax revenue generated from new retail components, primarily benefiting the public education system, is projected to be more than $700,000 for Flagstaff and more than $400,000 for Coconino County in Phase I. Calling it a conservative estimate, Westcor estimates these sales tax revenues will drastically increase as the project develops and new stores open in subsequent phases.

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