An indoor swap meet with a more upscale ambience is planned in Mesa's west Southern Avenue corridor.
Called Fiesta MarketPlace, the business plans to open on Aug. 1 at 1360 W. Southern Ave.
"We will have all new merchandise and permanent booths, so the same merchants will be there week in and week out," General Manager Char Davis said. "One of the other things we're trying to do is make it a community venue. Every weekend we will have community events such as bringing in flu shots, having pictures with Santa Claus at Christmas, Easter egg hunts at Easter."
Also planned are two areas with large-screen TVs to watch sporting events and an arcade area for children, she said.
"We've accommodated the entire family," she said.
Vendors will be able to rent spaces (10 feet by 10 feet) for $400 a month and can rent a combination of spaces if they need more room, Davis said.
The intent is to provide the merchant with an alternative to leasing more expensive space in a mall, while shoppers can find swap-meet bargains, she said.
The marketplace is located in a 56,000-square-foot space that previously was occupied by IRCA, a hotel furniture liquidator, and a Service Merchandise store. It has been vacant for about six months.
The marketplace will have more than 200 spaces available, and about 50 have been rented so far, said Jose Barbosa, who is handling leasing.
"We hope we will have about 100 up and running by the opening," he said.
Among the items on offer will be clothing, shoes, tools, electronics and party supplies, he said.
The marketplace is being developed by Scottsdale-based Fiesta MarketPlace LLC. The Mesa site is the firm's first, but the company could expand the concept to other areas using the same name, Davis said.
She said the marketplace is aimed not just at Hispanics, who are growing in numbers in the area, but it's designed to have crossover appeal to all communities. She added the fiesta name was adopted to refer to Fiesta Mall, which is across Southern Avenue, and the city-designated Fiesta District around the mall, not just to an Hispanic audience.
"We feel the (Mesa) demographics really support this type of business," she said. "It will be something the community will embrace."
Mesa City Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh, whose district includes the Fiesta MarketPlace, said the business should help the Fiesta District, which the city is attempting to revitalize.
Retailing in the area has been hurt by competition from the new Mesa Riverview to the north, he said, so the addition of Fiesta MarketPlace will help to maintain the area's retail atmosphere.
"The problem is the (Fiesta Mall) area has been overbuilt with retail," he said. "What a lot of the area needs is different zoning and different uses."
The city has plans to upgrade street signs and landscaping in public areas of the district and is investigating a bus circulator similar to the Downtown Buzz in central Mesa.