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New Mixed-Use Park Central Mall Space Honors Site's History

Park Central, Phoenix’s first mall, held a grand reopening Saturday to celebrate the site’s new look as a mixed office-retail site.

The iconic property has been converted several times since opening as the city’s first mall in 1956.

The uptown property has gone from a collection of brick-and-mortar stores, to a newly redeveloped workspace campus, with office and learning space and newer restaurants.

Stan Shafer is the chief operating officer for Holualoa Companies, one of the developers of the site. He said Park Central can be attractive to newer businesses looking to hire Millennials.

“Because of the fact that we’ve created this very nice indoor-outdoor atmosphere, with a very interesting, authentic, historical kind of spaces," Shafer said, "we think it’ll be attractive to those types of tenants."

Shafer said the future of the site is likely going to change the fabric of the community.

→  Missiles To Tea Rooms: Remembering Phoenix's Park Central Mall

“We’ll have about 450,000 feet of office space that we’re in the process of leasing up right now," Shaffer said. "We’re adding more restaurants. In addition, we’re going to be adding Creighton University, which will have eight or nine hundred students.”

But visitors can take a trip back in time when they visit Park Central, getting a look at what it looked like back in the day.

“For the last year-plus, we worked together to save some of the archives and digitize them with ASU Libraries," said Eric Nystrom, an associate professor of history at ASU. "We had a 75-person oral history project to preserve memories of the mall.”

An exhibit of photos throughout the years is available for public viewing at Park Central.

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After spending seven months as a news intern for KJZZ, Matt Kling returned in January 2019 as a general assignment reporter, mainly on the weekends.Kling’s radio career started when he joined Blaze Radio as freshman at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School. At Blaze Radio he has served as a host, producer and assistant production director. He’s also interned for KTAR before joining KJZZ in 2018.Kling also has extensive work in television production, working as a director, technical director and other positions for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS. Today, Kling serves as a newscast producer for Cronkite News. He anticipates graduation from the Cronkite School in May 2019.When he’s not working, you can find Kling out and about on the town, or in his downtown Phoenix apartment watching his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.