A Note From The Newsroom About The Metrocenter Mall Interviews

Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 1:19pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 1:51pm
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
A major makeover is planned for Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix.

Last week’s story on the past, present and future of Metrocenter mall generated many memories and emotions among Valley residents. The story was the most popular on KJZZ.org in the last five years, and more than doubled the usual website traffic as people shared the story of the Phoenix landmark with friends and family.

The information about demolition plans in that story came from recorded in-person and email interviews with Warren Fink, chief operating officer of the Carlyle Development Group, which owns Metrocenter mall.

After the story aired on KJZZ and was published on KJZZ.org, a public relations representative for the Carlyle Development Group reached out. Through emails and phone calls to the KJZZ newsroom, the representative explained Metrocenter “has received some strong responses” and was “getting flooded with calls.”

The representative said that Fink had “misspoke” in the interview with KJZZ and that “complete demolition is just one of many options that Warren and team are considering.”

In the days following the KJZZ broadcast, Fink told other Valley media outlets there were no plans in place at this time for a complete demolition.

But if Fink misspoke, he did so to KJZZ on two separate occasions.

During an in-person interview recorded Sept. 8 (click here or above to listen), KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Christina Estes asked if the property would still be a mall.

Fink responded:

"It will not really be a typical mall. It will really be a streetscape. We're looking forward to demolishing the mall. It'll take a few years, but we're looking for the opportunity to create a street and pedestrian traffic environment that would have retail on the ground floor, restaurants, office and residential on top. A new state of the art movie theater and then again going back to some of the density that we've been talking about - bringing in medical, bringing in senior housing, bringing in offices and so forth. But it would really be an open village, I guess what you would call a lifestyle village that would be a total change of environment and I think much more exciting than the antiquated, rather tired enclosed regional shopping center. People don't want to just go to regional malls and walk the malls anymore. That's just not part of our climate. We're just not doing that anymore."

Before producing the story, Estes emailed Fink with follow-up questions, and asked for clarification on the concept of “demolishing the mall.”

Estes asked:

“Do you plan to demolish the mall in the way that a non-developer thinks of demolition - meaning tear it all down? Or are you looking to keep all or most of the bones and open up the inside?”

Fink replied [sic]:

“the demolition - whole or partial has not been determined at this point. One of the concepts is total tear down including the current Dept. Stores that we control while another concept keeps the Dept. Stores in place and we partially demo the surrounding area. All these decisions will be made over time as we start to make deals with the various mixed use developers ( residential, senior housing, office , healthcare) that are interested in joining Metrocenter.”

When Fink provided different statements in follow-up interviews to other media outlets, some of those outlets implied the story had been initially reported inaccurately.

Based on the recorded interview and statements given to KJZZ by Fink and his public relations representative, KJZZ stands by the reporting in the original story.

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