Land movers and construction crews abound just south of Loop 202 along the borders of Mesa and Tempe. And while it’s only the 16-screen Cinemark movie theater at Mesa Riverview that’s now open, Riverview and Tempe Marketplace should be swinging at this time next year, creating a shopping destination expected to attract thousands of shoppers from across the Valley.
Marty DeRito is chief executive officer of DeRito Partners, the company developing Mesa Riverview along with Kimco Developers.
DeRito bristles at the suggestion that the two projects are in competition with each other and balks at comparisons.
“We are both regional sites but we are a completely different project. We are twice the size and we are truly a mixed-use project,” DeRito said.
“We have offices, hotels and car dealerships. At the end of the day, we’ll probably be among the East Valley’s largest employers. We’ll have between 5,000 and 6,000 employees at the property,” DeRito said.
David Malin, project manager for Vestar that is developing Tempe Marketplace, agrees that the two projects are different and aren’t after the same tenants.
“We will have specialty shops that are normally found in a mall, like Pac Sun, American Eagle and Guess. These are top-tier lifestyle specialty tenants. Riverview does not have that. Riverview has a theater and a Wal-Mart and a couple destination big-box retailers,” Malin said.
The project sits on 250 acres at the intersection of Dobson Road and Loop 202 and will create 1.4 million square feet of retail. In addition, there will be several auto dealerships on the west side of Dobson Road as well as an office park and two hotels on the property. Voters approved an $84 million incentive package during a special election May 17, 2005. The project is being developed by DeRito Partners and Kimco Developers.
The 117-acre center is at the intersection of loops 101 and 202 and also sits at the northwest corner of McClintock and Rio Salado drives.
Crews broke ground on Jan. 31 of this year and will create 1.3 million square feet of retail space. Developed by Valley-based Vestar, opening is expected in the summer of 2007.
A former Superfund site, the city and developers received grants and loans to clean up the underlying property. The city also gave developers a sales tax rebate that will total $26.7 million over the next 15 years and a property tax abatement.
Vestar officials say a portion of the rebate will help offset costs for cleanup and infrastructure.
Mesa Riverview will be anchored by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, a Springfield, Mo.-based sports and recreation retailer. The center also has a 16-screen Cinemark theater, Claim Jumper, a Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart Supercenter and Home Depot, among others. Mirrored after Desert Ridge Marketplace in the north Valley, Tempe Marketplace will have an 18-screen Harkins Theatre, Barnes and Noble, Dave and Busters and Target, among others.
Jay Butler, a professor and director of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State Polytechnic in east Mesa, says that creation of the two nearby centers reflect larger trends. “The basic idea is that shopping centers are getting bigger.
People — for whatever reasons, gas, convenience, time — don’t want to drive all over the place,” Butler said. Butler points to the Gilbert Gateway Towne Center at the intersection of Power and Ray roads in Gilbert as another example of retail’s blurring lines. “You’ve got Target and Wal-Mart across the street from each other and it’s technically the same center. But again, it’s a very intensive shopping experience,” Butler said.
Occupancy for both Mesa Riverview and Tempe Marketplace is high, officials say. “Overall on the retail portion of it, we are about 75 percent leased. We have activity for about another 10 to 15 percent where we are negotiating letters of intent or leases,” said Marty DeRito, CEO of DeRito Partners.
“The build-out of the project was originally seven to 10 years. But because of the success we’ve had, it’s going to be over a three to four year period, which is amazing when you think about it.” Vestar’s project manager David Malin says Tempe Marketplace is booming.
“The leasing’s off the charts and across the board. We are 95 percent leased right now,” Malin said. For a project that’s still a year away from opening, a 75 percent lease rate is more typical, Malin said.
Both centers aim to create an entertainment district with theaters and shops centered in a pedestrianfriendly design. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Cinemark will anchor Riverview’s entertainment area while the Harkins Theatre will contribute to Marketplace’s entertainment venue. That also will have outdoor laser light features.
A 117-acre lifestyle center modeled after Desert Ridge Marketplace, Tempe Marketplace is scheduled to open next summer.
Some restaurants/ retailers
Cost Plus World Market California Pizza Kitchen Famous Footwear Linens N Things Shoe Pavilion King’s Fish House Old Navy Michaels Lane Bryant Dressbarn Pier 1 Imports Office Max Sport Chalet PetSmart Ulta Ross Tilly’s Guess Gap
Cinemark Movie Theaters has already opened as construction progresses on the rest of the center. Bass Pro Shops broke ground in May, and is scheduled to open in April.
Bed, Bath and Beyond Jo-Ann Fabrics Petco, Shepler’s Danny’s Car Wash Great Clips Sally Beauty Party City
Cracker Barrel Logan’s Steak House Ruby Tuesday’s McDonald’s Panda Express Arby’s, Chili’s Claim Jumper El Pollo Loco Famous Dave’s BBQ Golden Corral Restaurant San Francisco Oven Taco Bell Extreme Pita Subway
SOURCE: Flatt and Associates Public Relations