Metrocenter: 'A Walk Down Memory Lane' inside once iconic north Phoenix mall

Metrocenter, a once-iconic north Phoenix mall that was used as a filming location for the 1989 movie "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," will soon be demolished and turned into a multi-use village.

The mall opened its doors in 1973, and at the time, it was one of the largest malls in the country.

"There were 175 retailers here in the 1980s," said Chris MacKay, Director of Economic Development for the City of Phoenix.

Before the age of social media, and during an era with no cell phones or internet, Metrocenter was where people connected with their friends, went shopping, ice skating, watched the latest movies, and went cruising around the mall. Parents would drop their kids off, and pick them up hours later.

Metrocenter closed in June 2020, and according to a letter sent to tenants at the time, the mall's owner cited a drop in occupancy levels as a factor in the mall's closure.

"I remember its grand opening, and to know that mall is closing, first it makes you feel old, and then it makes you retrospectively think of all the great things that happened in your life because of this mall," said MacKey.

In November 2022, the Phoenix City Council voted in favor of a $850 million redevelopment project for the now-shuttered mall.

"That thing we remember in the 70s, 80s, and 90s that stopped existing in the 2000s, the community gathering, this will go back to being that again," said MacKey.

There will also be a new light rail station in the area. The station is set to open in 2024.

"The project will have over 2,600 multi-family units, beautiful bike paths, retail stores, restaurants, bars, and a wonderful park. This redevelopment affirms our commitment to transit-oriented development," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

"Really, it's being reinvented into this urban village," said Steve Betts with Concord Wilshire. "So, there may be around 5,000 people living here, and [there is an] urban park and a band shell. Lots of public events going on at the urban square."

Demolition on the mall is set to begin on May 5 and developers expect the entire building to come down next month.

The public will be invited to a Metrocenter farewell event on May 21, where a special showing of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" will be played on a projection screen outside of the mall.

Image 1 of 4

Entrance to Metrocenter Mall

Map of Metrocenter's location: