New Mixed-Use Park Central Mall Space Honors Site's History

By Matt Kling
Published: Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:52am
Updated: Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:53am

Exterior of Park Central
Matt Kling/KJZZ
Exterior of Park Central property in uptown Phoenix on April 13, 2019.

Park Central, Phoenix’s first mall, held a grand reopening Saturday to celebrate the site’s new look as a mixed office-retail site.

The iconic property has been converted several times since opening as the city’s first mall in 1956.

The uptown property has gone from a collection of brick-and-mortar stores, to a newly redeveloped workspace campus, with office and learning space and newer restaurants.

Stan Shafer is the chief operating officer for Holualoa Companies, one of the developers of the site. He said Park Central can be attractive to newer businesses looking to hire Millennials.

“Because of the fact that we’ve created this very nice indoor-outdoor atmosphere, with a very interesting, authentic, historical kind of spaces," Shafer said, "we think it’ll be attractive to those types of tenants."

Shafer said the future of the site is likely going to change the fabric of the community.

→ Missiles To Tea Rooms: Remembering Phoenix's Park Central Mall

“We’ll have about 450,000 feet of office space that we’re in the process of leasing up right now," Shaffer said. "We’re adding more restaurants. In addition, we’re going to be adding Creighton University, which will have eight or nine hundred students.”

But visitors can take a trip back in time when they visit Park Central, getting a look at what it looked like back in the day.

“For the last year-plus, we worked together to save some of the archives and digitize them with ASU Libraries," said Eric Nystrom, an associate professor of history at ASU. "We had a 75-person oral history project to preserve memories of the mall.”

An exhibit of photos throughout the years is available for public viewing at Park Central.

Photo from Park Central archives at site
Matt Kling/KJZZ
Photo from Park Central archives at site's history exhibit.
Photo from Park Central archives at site
Matt Kling/KJZZ
Photo from Park Central archives at site's history exhibit.

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