Fiesta Mall

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Fiesta Mall
Fiesta mall entry3.jpg
LocationMesa, Arizona, USA
Address1445 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
Opening dateOctober 3, 1979
Closing dateJanuary 27, 2018
DeveloperHomart Development Company
ManagementCushman & Wakefield
OwnerDimension Financial & Realty Investments
No. of anchor tenants5 (1 open, 4 vacant)
Total retail floor area1,000,000 (approx)
No. of floors2

Fiesta Mall was a shopping center in the U.S. city of Mesa, Arizona (part of the Phoenix metropolitan area). Encompassing approximately 1 million square-feet of retail space, it was west of Alma School Road, between Southern Avenue and the US 60 (Superstition Freeway). As of the week of March 6, 2018 all the stores are gone, except for Dillard's Clearance and access to the main part of the mall is closed and the doors are locked.

In May 2017, LNR Properties sold the mall to Dimension Financial & Realty Investments for $6.72 million. A spokesman for Dimension said the firm intended to convert the mall into a health and education campus. The deal does not include the mall's four anchor properties, which are owned by other companies.[1]

On January 27, 2018, the mall closed permanently, except for Dillard's Clearance Center.


Early years[edit]

The development that would become Fiesta Mall was announced on October 8, 1970 by officials from the city and Sears, Roebuck and Company. Sears officials said the company would develop the mall, which would include one of their stores, through its subsidiary Homart Development Company. The mall was projected to cost $35 million to $55 million and encompass 1.2 million to 1.4 million square-feet of retail space on 120 acres. It's projected opening was 1973.[2]

Fiesta Mall officially opened Oct. 3, 1979 with Sears, The Broadway and Goldwaters as its first three anchor stores. A fourth anchor, Diamonds, would open later.[3] The mall was developed by Homart, which at the time of the opening of Fiesta Mall was developing several shopping centers nationwide anchored by Sears retail locations.[4][5]

Fiesta Mall and other large developments in the area such as Desert Samaritan Hospital were facilitated to a great extent by population growth in the southeast Valley and the construction of the Superstition Freeway.[6]

In June 1982, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold a 50 percent stake in the mall to Grosvenor International. The selling price was not disclosed. Under the deal, Homart remained as the mall's management firm.[7]

Homart announced plans in 1985 to grow the mall by nearly 40 percent from 921,046 to about 1.3 million square feet. Part of the company's $50 million expansion plans included a fifth department store.[8] Homart withdrew plans the following year after several delays due to concerns about traffic and parking from the city and other developers with nearby properties.[9][10][11]

Fiesta's owners renovated the mall in 1989, doing away with the orange and brown color scheme of the 1970s and installing skylights.[12]

By the early-1990s, Fiesta Mall was at the zenith of its success. It was the commercial hub of the East Valley and ranked within the top 15 percentile of regional malls in the nation in sales.[13][14] A survey conducted by The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette in 1992 identified the mall as the preferred shopping center for most Valley residents and, in 1993, as many as a dozen companies were vying to purchase Fiesta.[15] L&B Real Estate Counsel of Dallas, a commercial real-estate investment firm, bought the mall for $124.3 million in December 1993. Citing continuing robust population growth in the southeast Valley, the owners announced new plans for a major expansion that again included a fifth anchor store.[16]

General Growth Properties Inc. acquired Homart and all of its malls in December 1995.[17] Fiesta's management announced in July 2001 that they were searching for a buyer, but said it had nothing to do with increasing competition from newer malls in the area.[18]

On April 13, 2004, pop music star Avril Lavigne hosted a free concert at Fiesta Mall, drawing about 3,000 people.[19]

Decline and closure[edit]

Fiesta Mall started showing early signs of trouble in terms of shrinking customer traffic in the late-1990s. When Arizona Mills Mall opened in the neighboring city of Tempe in 1997, mall officials saw an initial decline in shoppers.[20] Fiesta management said the change was short-lived after initial interest in the new mall peaked.[21] When Chandler Fashion Center opened on Oct. 17, 2001, about eight miles away from Fiesta, the mall suffered its first sustained revenue drop due to a competing mall.[22][23]

The west-facing side of the former Macy's store at Fiesta Mall. Macy's closed in 2014.

In March 2004, a study commissioned by the city and conducted by the International Economic Development Council and the International Council of Shopping Centers said the mall faced significant obstacles as a future competitor in the local retail market. The study reported decreasing sales and difficulty attracting "top-tier stores" due to increasing competition from newer shopping centers and changing demographics.[24] The study also noted recent increases in crime and gang activity in the immediate area surrounding the mall.[25] Despite the mall’s challenges, the study's authors reported that sales per square foot remained "well above the threshold for 'vulnerable malls' of $275 or less, according to the Urban Land Institute." The authors also noted that there were "almost no vacant spaces in the mall."[26]

Fiesta Mall was acquired by Macerich for $135 million in 2004, a time when the center appeared to be showing significant signs of decline.[27][28][29]

The period between 2006 and 2008 proved to be pivotal in Fiesta Mall's overall decline. In 2006, the mall lost one of its four anchors following the merger between Macy's and Robinsons-May.[30] The mall's sales continued to dwindle following the economic recession and the opening of Mesa Riverview and Tempe Marketplace in 2007.[31][32]

During this time, reported crime at and around the mall continued to increase. In 2007, Mesa police reported a jump in gang activity at Fiesta, although mall officials denied there was a rise. Police officials said calls for service increased about 71 percent from 2005 to 2007.[33]

Visitors mill inside the mall's wing that Macy's department store once anchored. Vacancy rates hit unprecedented highs in the years following the 2008 recession.

On March 31, 2008, a man stabbed two mall patrons, including one fatally. Authorities said the suspect had links to gangs and had a history of mental health issues.[34][35]

Police reported a spike in property crimes including car thefts from 2007 to 2008.[36]

In January 2012, police arrested a documented gang member in the beating and attempted robbery of another man near Fiesta Mall.[37] On October 1, 2012, a woman was robbed at gunpoint at the mall.[38]

In March 2013, the mall was appraised at $39.5 million — a 72 percent decline from its worth in 2004. In September 2013, Macerich turned over Fiesta Mall to its lenders due to “imminent default relating to potential tenancy issues." [39][40]

Macy's closed in early 2014, sparking fears over the mall's possible demise.[41] As of October 2016, only 35 businesses were still operating at the mall, which has more that 100 tenant spaces.[42]

On January 27, 2018, the mall closed permanently, except for Dillard's Clearance Center.


LNR Properties sold the mall to Dimension Financial & Realty Investments in 2017. Dimension said it planned to spend $30 million to convert the property into a campus focusing on education and healthcare for community colleges and for-profit schools. The deal does not include the mall's four anchor properties, which are owned by other companies.[1] In October 2017, Cashen Real Estate Advisors, which markets the property for Dimension, proposed the mall for Amazon's HQ2; it did not make the finalist tier.[43]

Anchors & Majors[edit]

Fiesta Mall opened with three anchor department storesGoldwaters, The Broadway and Sears. Diamond's opened later as the mall's fourth anchor.[3]

Goldwaters became Robinsons-May.[44] The Broadway became Macy's. Macy's then moved into the Robinsons-May building after the two companies merged in 2006.[45] Macy's closed in the spring of 2014.[41]

The space previously occupied by The Broadway and the mall's first Macy's store hosted a Dick's Sporting Goods and a Best Buy in 2007. Both of those stores closed in 2016.[46][47]

Diamond's became Dillard's, and later converted to a Dillard's Clearance Center.[48][49]

On November 2, 2017, it was announced that Sears would be closing as part of a plan to close 63 stores nationwide. The store closed on January 28, 2018.[50]


  1. ^ a b "Developer buys Mesa's Fiesta Mall, plans makeover into health, education campus". azcentral. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  2. ^ "Mesa approves Sears' plans for shopping center". The Arizona Republic. p. 21.
  3. ^ a b "Mall will open Oct. 3". The Arizona Republic. June 24, 1979. p. D-8.
  4. ^ "British firm buys half of Fiesta Mall". The Arizona Republic. July 1, 1982. p. C3.
  5. ^ "Mesa approves Sears' plans for shopping center". The Arizona Republic. October 9, 1970. p. 21.
  6. ^ McGowan, Dan (May 16, 1977). "Bonanza is expected in Mesa with arrival of delayed freeway". The Arizona Republic. p. B-1, B2.
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  10. ^ Rose, Brbara (August 16, 1985). "Fiesta Mall expansion stalled by parking issues". The Arizona Republic / Southeast Extra. pp. SE1.
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  12. ^ Deters, Barbara (March 5, 1995). "Evolution changing the face of malls". The Arizona Republic. p. E1.
  13. ^ Novotny, Jean (October 21, 1990). "A mall springs to life". The Arizona Republic. p. F1.
  14. ^ Novotny, Jean (October 21, 1990). "Fiesta doesn't expect its pinata to go bust". The Arizona Republic. p. F1.
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  17. ^ Reuters (1995-12-27). "Sears Completes Sale of Its Homart Unit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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  19. ^ Collom, Lindsey (April 14, 2004). "Avril, uncomplicated". The Arizona Republic. p. B1.
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  34. ^ McDevitt, Katie. "Man stabbed to death at Mesa's Fiesta Mall". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
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  38. ^ Tribune. "Man follows woman on freeway, then robs her at gunpoint at Mesa mall". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
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  40. ^ "MAC - 9.30.2013 - 10Q". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
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  49. ^ "Dillard Department Stores Inc. Thursday announced an agreement to..." UPI. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
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