Fiesta Mall

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Fiesta Mall in Mesa has seen better days, but the mall will be revived as a campus for community colleges and for profit schools. Mesa mayor John Giles will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: FIESTA MALL IN MESA WAS A RETAIL HUB THE AREA HAS BEEN IN DECLINE FOR YEARS. THE ONCE BUSTLING SHOPPING MALL IS HEADING FOR NEW LIFE AS AN EDUCATION CAMPUS. JOINING US IS THE MAYOR. WHERE IS FIESTA MALL?

JOHN GILES: IT'S THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, TED. IT'S A STONE'S THROW FROM CHANDLER AND GILBERT AND TEMPE. IT'S AT THE INTERSECTION OF ALMA SCHOOL AND SOUTHERN.

TED SIMONS: HOW LONG DID IT LAST AS A VIABLE SHOPPING HUB?

JOHN GILES: IT WAS THE CAPITAL OF THE VALLEY FOR DECADES. WE WERE CHATTING ABOUT GROWING UP GOING TO FIESTA MALL. THROUGH THE '70S AND '80S, IT WAS THE PLACE TO BE.

TED SIMONS: WHY DIDN'T THE MALL SURVIVE?

JOHN GILES: THIS IS NOT A SITUATION UNIQUE TO MESA ARIZONA. WE HAVE A 20TH CENTURY MODEL OF BIG BOX RETAIL MALLS. WHEN I GO SHOPPING, I'M IN MY PAJAMAS IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER SCREEN AND THE NICE MAN FROM UPS BRINGS IT TO ME THE NEXT DAY. THE ECONOMY HAS CHANGED. I'M PROUD TO SAY MESA IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW TO RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGE.

TED SIMONS: IT'S BEEN SOLD TO A PAIR, THIS IS NOT THE ENTIRE MALL. IT SEEMS LIKE IT'S SPLIT IN TWO HERE. WHAT IS GOING ON?

JOHN GILES: THERE ARE MULTIPLE LONERS. MACEYS AND SEARS. WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN TO COME BACK. THERE ARE MULTIPLE OWNERS THERE. THERE ARE A COUPLE OF GROUPS DOING A GREAT JOB OF CONSOLIDATING OWNERSHIP. A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, THE COMMON AREA CHANGED HANDS WITH A GROUP MOTIVATED IN TRYING TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE THE SAME GROUP OF OWNERS WITH A CORPORATE GROUP NEXT DOOR. IS THAT TRUE?

JOHN GILES: THERE IS ANOTHER RETAIL CENTER SAME GROUP OF OWNERSHIP.

TED SIMONS: THIS IS A MALL. TURNING INTO A HEALTH AND EDUCATION CAMPUS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

JOHN GILES: LITERALLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM FIESTA MALL IS AN OLD SERVICE MERCHANDISE, OR BED BATH AND BEYOND, A HUNDRED SQUARE FOOT BIG BOX ACROSS THE STREET ON SOUTHERN. IT SAT AS A TESTAMENT TO THE 20TH CENTURY ECONOMIC FAILED MODEL WE TALKED ABOUT FOR YEARS. A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, GREAT INVESTORS BOUGHT IT, CONVERTED IT TO EMPLOYMENT. IT'S BEING LEASED BY A SPANISH BANK AND A THOUSAND PEOPLE GO TO WORK THERE. IT WENT FROM RETAIL TO EMPLOYMENT. THAT'S A GREAT EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING WE NEED NOW. THE GOAL IS TO DO SOMETHING SIMILAR AT FIESTA MALL.

TED SIMONS: IS THIS CHESS KING AND THE SHOE STORE BECOME MODULES OF OFFICES? HOW DOES IT WORK?

JOHN GILES: IT'S MIXED USE. IF YOU HAVE TWO OR THREE BIG BOXES THERE ARE THOUSAND EMPLOYEE OFFICE BUILDINGS, YOU NEED RETAIL AND ANCILLARY SERVICES. THE COMMON AREA IS EDUCATION AND SUPPORTIVE SERVICES FOR EMPLOYMENT OCCUPYING THE BIG BOXES. THERE IS FLEXIBILITY BUILT INTO WHAT COULD HAPPEN.

TED SIMONS: WHAT WAS THE CANDY STORE, SHOE STORE, WHATEVER. YOU CAN KNOCK DOWN THE WALL, THEY DON'T HAVE TO STAY COMPARTMENTALIZED AS THEY WERE.

TED SIMONS: THIS REMINDS ME A LITTLE BIT, REMEMBER THE SCOTTSDALE MALL BACK IN THE '80S? IT WAS A MALL, A FAILED MALL. THEY TURNED IT INTO BUSINESSES, SOMETHING NOT RETAIL. SOUNDS SIMILAR.

JOHN GILES: ABSOLUTELY. I THINK WE NEED TO BE AGILE AND RESPOND TO THE ECONOMY. NOW DAYS, PEOPLE DON'T WANT SHOPPING MALLS TO WALK AROUND IN. THEY DO A LOT OF RETAIL ACTIVITY ONLINE. THE THREE RULES OF REAL ESTATE ARE LOCATION, LOCATION, AND I FORGET THE THIRD. THAT APPLIES TO FESTIVE MALL. THIS IS STILL A STRATEGIC AREA.

TED SIMONS: SEARS, DILLARDS, MACEYS, BEST BUY, DO THEY SURVIVE? ARE THEY GONE ALREADY? DICK'S SPORTING GOODS IS GONE.

JOHN GILES: SEARS IS THERE. MACEYS COULD QUICKLY BE CONVERTED INTO AN EMPLOYMENT CENTER.

TED SIMONS: IT'S GONE?

JOHN GILES: IT IS.

JOHN GILES: THERE ARE TWO OR THREE OWNERS. WE NEED TO CONSOLIDATE, GET EVERYONE SINGING OFF THE SAME SHEET OF MUSIC.

TED SIMONS: THIS AREA, THE FIESTA MALL AREA AND DISTRICT, IT SEEMS LIKE THERE HAS BEEN AN IDEA OR MOVEMENT. WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE AREA?

JOHN GILES: I INVITE YOU TO TAKE ANOTHER TRIP OUT THERE. IT'S THE FIESTA DISTRICT. THE CITY OF MESA, IT WAS THE PART OF TOWN WITH HUGE POTENTIAL, NEEDED A LEG UP. OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, WE HAVE INVESTED A LOT OF MONEY IN INFRASTRUCTURE. IT'S BEAUTIFUL NOW. NEW STREET ESCAPE, A LOT OF INFRASTRUCTURE. A LOT OF INVESTMENT YOU DON'T SEE BECAUSE IT'S UNDERGROUND. IT'S MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN IT WAS A FEW YEARS AGO THANKS TO THE CITY'S INVESTMENT. THAT HAS PAID DIVIDENDS.

TED SIMONS: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN YOU HAVE GOING NOW WOULD HELP A LOT.

JOHN GILES: YES, SIR. THE LOCATION HAS A GREAT FUTURE. IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE IN THE FUTURE, THE ECONOMIC CAPITAL OF MESA AND THE EAST VALLEY.

TED SIMONS: WHERE IS TRICITY MALL?

JOHN GILES: DOBSON AND MAIN.

TED SIMONS: I'M CONFUSING THE TWO. THAT'S LONG GONE TOO?

JOHN GILES: IT IS. IT'S A PARK AND RIDE.

TED SIMONS: IT'S A HUB FOR ASIAN FOOD.

JOHN GILES: ALL UP AND DOWN DOBSON IS GREAT ASIAN FOOD. I ATE THERE TODAY AT A GREAT KOREAN RESTAURANT.

TED SIMONS: GOOD LUCK WITH THE FIESTA MALL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

JOHN GILES: THANK YOU, TED.

TED SIMONS: THURSDAY, AN INFOCUS SPECIAL, COLLEEN JENNINGS TALKING ABOUT HER CAREER IN THE ARTS AND HER EXPERIENCES GETTING BIG NAME SHOWS TO THE VALLEY. A HORIZON IN FOCUS SPECIAL ON THE NEXT ARIZONA HORIZON.

TED SIMONS: THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

John Giles: Mesa Mayor

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