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Phoenix Leaders To Focus On Vacant, Struggling Retail Centers

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Marketing downtown and the central city to new retailers was an economic development goal shared with Phoenix City Council members.

One of the biggest retail highlights for the city of Phoenix last year was landing a new Fry’s Food Store downtown, but now it’s a vacant Fry’s store that has one council member asking questions.

During Tuesday’s council policy session, Economic Development Director Chris Mackay touted last year’s successes: 29 companies responsible for 15,000 new and retained jobs.

“We are seeing activity levels that we have never seen before in Phoenix,” she said.  

After laying out priorities for this year which include 10,000 new jobs, workforce development and building a vibrant, sustainable urban core, Councilwoman Debra Stark asked about retail strategies. She mentioned the Fry’s that left 7th Street and Bell Road.

“They moved to a new location and now we have a big, empty box in actually a great center,” Stark said.

Macaky said vacant and struggling retail centers will be a major focus, "They’re areas that can become a cancer very quickly and move into neighborhoods and drag neighborhoods down with them."

The city recently hired a retail strategist to conduct an analysis on what kind of retail is needed in different areas.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.