Fix the corner of Southern and Alma School. It's the anchor of urban blight in the city.
What can our local Government do about it? Well, let's find out.
This is absolutely true. The Fiesta Mall is failing. It has already lost too many of its primary anchor stores. The surrounding retail space is dilapidated as well. I propose a much larger scale project- replace the entire block containing the Fiesta Mall with a massive urban park to include everything and then some - an event plaza, a ferris wheel, baseball fields to replace those lost at Riverview park, etc. Then, redevelop the surrounding big box retail stores into multi-story mixed use development. This will require a massive expenditure by the city but will be much better for the local economy than the Cubs stadium because it will be active year round.
Yes, there's a lot to do to get parts of this city cleaned up. Got my vote!
You may also want to check this other idea that may help.
May be a good option for a multi-zone area. Can these locations have businesses, but also dense residential area. With the growth of MCC and other colleges in the area, recruiting another college into the area that can partner with MCC would be a huge win. This would allow students to grow in the area which then would filter out to commercial properties.
Dan Konzen commented
Stanko, et al.,
... But the City does own some of the properties to develop. Getting them to actively make progress on re-development is a whole other topic.
Dan Konzen commented
Times are a changing in the Fiesta Area. Please check-out the related iMesa idea for this area and cast your vote to make this happen: http://bit.ly/1414qLr
The first thing that you have to recognize is that the City does not own the specific sites so they cannot just go and build a movie theater or park there. They only have so much power over what the owner of a commercial property does with their land.
The street improvements are about as good as they can do at this time. They have also been working with the stakeholders in the area like Banner, Westcor and MCC to create design guidelines for improving the area and cresting a specific sense of place and promoting the area as a distinct district.
The Grace properties on the North West corner are an interesting dilemma since they are creating a sense of blight in the area that is not true for all of the sites. As I understand the family that owns the property is very wealthy and does not rely on the rental income from the tenants. They tried to get the site approved for a Lowe's but the City declined their request for the increased commercial use and in retaliation the family did not renew any of the leases of the tenants and let the property fall into disrepair.
Other sites like Banner and the Fiesta mall are expanding or adapting. Fiesta Mall got Best Buy and Dicks Sporting goods to take up vacant anchor positions in the mall. Banner desert recently added new facilities and more employees.
The main thing that should be done is to make it easier for the major stakeholders to interact. Create pathways and structures so that people who attend MCC can easily get to the Fiesta Mall or so employees at Banner can cross to the other side of Southern and easily get to the restaurants and retail there. There are enough people in the area to support a great deal of the commercial establishments that exist there, these people are simply underutilized.
You might see if someone like Tanger's Outlet Mall would consider buying this for a Nice high end outlet mall like the one Tempe has at Baseline and I10. Mesa needs more attractions like Bass Pro Shop, maybe an outdoor music venue, and good local eateries.
Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Tempe have Mesa beat in all of those areas.
Draw in people from Chandler and Tempe with something special.
A satellite map shows that this corner is mostly parking and few buildings and trees. That's really ugly, the bare asphalt heats up the surrounding area, and the empty space turns into a crime magnet after dark. Plus the overbearing parking requirements burden these businesses and disincentivize them to set up shop here.
Is it any wonder it's an anchor of urban blight?
Eliminate half the parking, allow more buildings to be built, plant more trees, and implement modern parking management technology (like SFPark) to prevent any parking shortages. This will eliminate the blight, cool down summer temperatures, and make this corner a more vibrant, attractive area.
Amy Campbell commented
Regarding David's comment about too much retail in that area. I live in west Mesa and I am TIRED of driving to Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale to shop. I went to Fiesta Mall last week to just give it another chance and, although I did buy a couple of things, I will not be going back soon. I shop at the Target on Longmore so PLEASE give me a good mall in west Mesa!!! I will drive to Chandler, Gilbert San Tan, Tempe Marketplace or even Scottsdale before I will drive to Superstition Springs Mall. (p.s. To whoever builds a new mall: Put a great sign out by the freeway so people know it's there!).
This corner needs to be the foundation for the redevelopment of the fiesta district. It needs a google, facebook or ebay type industry employing thousands of employees who would fill the multi-housing in the area, support the shopping and bring a need for night life to the fiesta district.
Just turn that northwest corner into green space...make a nice community park with cafes and small shops on the perimeter. In the middle have a splash park for kids and lots of tall trees. Turn the old theater into underground and above ground parking to save space. I just hate seeing that vast area of land..mostly useless parking lot surface just sitting there as if nobody has had a good idea yet. That old building on Southern and Stewart could make a cool activity center for kids... Most importantly use imminent domain to take this piece of land and turn it into something great!
David, Interesting comment about the traffic. I live in the area and am concerned that the city's answer is to remove traffic lanes and restrict traffic even more. With MCC, Banner Hospital, and the Mall of course the traffic is going to be heavy. Planting trees along Southern will not get people out of their cars, but making the area more pedestrian friendly will. A quick trip up the road to Scottsdale to see how they handle the multi-use Indian Bend area would be a quick study. It appears Tempe and Scottsdale built on each others success' for the bike, jogging, in city lakes in the area. Make the traffic co-exist with bikes and pedestrians by using under or overpasses, not by removing traffic lanes.
I cannot/will vote for the city plan. The city fathers only need to walk a few short steps to Main Street and tell me how many people they see downtown with all the trees, and art work, and pedestrian friendly attractions there. If it failed once, it will fail again, just in a different part of town.
David Yauch commented
Nick, there was a study commissioned by the city a few years back, even before the economy took a dump, that identified that there was already WAY too much retail in the Fiesta area. That study recommended demolishing a lot of retail and rezoning it for apartments/condos.
So, I think we'd all like to see a lot more interesting shops in this area, but despite all of the traffic this area receives it just doesn't have the population to support it....and we are LONG past the days of seeing Fiesta as a destination (although I would be happy to see those days return....)
Companies will not bring business to this area because of the look and feel of it. A park would be fantastic, but bringing in business, shopping and additional restaurants would increase city revenues!
Relocate the Riverview Golf Course to that area. Create some good residential real estate (assuming the market turns around).
I think a large park and sport fields would be great. My kids games are always playing in Gilbert even though most of the teams live in Mesa. Give us a place to play, a place to gather and enjoy Mesa more. Add SPLASH PADS! Mesa needs those, if possible create a Kiwanis type park area. With the empty shopping and vacant lots all around it shouldn't be too hard. Oh and who had the brilliant idea of the red street signs? Historically speaking red light or sign districts are not the image we want for an area trying to revitalize itself. Or was that the plan, move all the asian massage parlors to the area and let loose....
How about a soccer complex or softball 4-plex in place of the former Borders-Best Buy shopping center? A skate park would be a nice touch, too. The picnic areas and playgrounds would complement these amenities. The new police station would be across the street. The sports activities would generate business for the restaurants/bars that are failing every week in the area. We have to drive to Riverview or Superstition Springs now to keep our business and sports activities in Mesa right now. Bring it back home to the Fiesta District!
Wallis Stemm commented
Regarding the Grace family who own Fiesta Village, it might be to the best interest of the City to claim that property through proper legal channels to help in revitalization of the area.
Wallis Stemm commented
Work with the building owners and Mesa residents to create a collaborative environment for energy, education, jobs, and community entertainment (roller skating rink, movie theaters, museums, and recreational services).
We really need to find business to buy that property. That's private land and the land owners needs to step up. Those with business contacts can also put out feelers to find potential investors.