Mesa’s Fiesta Mall is for sale.
Owner L & B Fiesta Mall, Inc., a private partnership, announced Friday it has commissioned a New York-based investment banking firm to market the west Mesa shopping center.
The company expects to find a buyer by year’s end.
"The mall’s ownership has identified this as a good time to take the property to market because retail properties are currently selling at very favorable rates," said John Gerdes, vice president of asset management for L & B Realty Advisors, in a prepared statement.
"In addition, the cost of financing is low, real estate is a stable investment and the performance of the mall continues to be strong. Fiesta Mall continues to experience substantial sales growth and is the primary shopping destination for residents and visitors of the Mesa and Tempe area."
Neither Gerdes nor mall managers were available for further comments late Friday.
Fiesta Mall, a 25-year-old regional shopping center, had been the prime destination for East Valley shoppers until about seven years ago. Then the mall was slammed by a one-two punch of mall developments — Arizona Mills in Tempe and Chandler Fashion Center.
After several years of renovations to update its decor, additions such as a play area for children, and a focus on attracting the trendiest retailers, Fiesta Mall had been attracting former regulars, especially families.
According to the statement from L & B Realty Advisors, mall sales rose more than 10 percent this year compared with last year and sales per square foot are significantly above the national average of $330 per square foot.
A just-completed study of Fiesta Mall and surrounding west Mesa businesses commissioned by the city proved the center is vibrant, said Richard Mulligan, Mesa’s economic development director.
"People have the idea it’s in death throes, and it’s clearly not the case," he said.
It is pegged as the heart of a revitalization effort for the entire west Mesa retail corridor, which encompasses the mall and numerous open-air shopping centers, a community college, hospital and dozens of other businesses.
Mulligan said it’s too soon to say whether a sale will be good for the city, its shoppers and its revitalization plans.
"We won’t know until someone surfaces as a buyer," he said.
Fiesta Mall stands out as a single-owner David in an area dominated by national retail Goliaths. Most Valley malls are owned by Westcor, a division of national giant Macerich.
Arizona Mills is co-owned by two other national retail leaders, Taubman and Mills Corp.