Metrocenter redevelopment project approved: A look back and what to expect

The Phoenix City Council voted in favor of a redevelopment project at Metrocenter Mall that will look to inspire and create new memories for generations to come.

The project would totally transform the area by adding hotels, restaurants, housing, and a big park.

The vote passed 6-2 on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

The mall closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many say this mall was the place to be in its heyday.

"Metrocenter has been just an indelible part of childhood for a lot of people who grew up in Phoenix and I think a lot of us are excited to see what they do next," Phoenix native Steve Conrad says.

He grew up two miles from the mall and says he has lots of fond memories that helped raise him.

"Metrocenter was our third place growing up. It wasn’t school, it wasn’t home. It was the place to be. You could see your friends, you could go to the arcade here and spend $20 in quarters. You could learn to ice skate. I learned to ice skate at this place, we would skateboard here until they outlawed it. I would cruise around when I first drove. This was the place I came to when I got my car and we cruised around the parking lot," Conrad said.

RELATED: Metrocenter Mall to be demolished, redeveloped into mixed-use 'village'

For Juliet Frew, she would often make the trip from Cottonwood to get a taste of the big city life with her friends.

"Like in high school, just coming here and feeling like you are part of a bigger something. Being from a small town where there is not a lot to do, coming to the Metrocenter was just feeling like part of the world a little bit," she said.

The Metrocenter opened in the 1970s. Its large department stores and food court even served as a shooting location for a couple of movies.

The redevelopment project will turn the now-shuttered mall into a new place for future generations to enjoy. The project will feature multifamily housing, restaurants, retail space, and an amphitheater park.

The light rail will also lead right to it.

Phoenix Councilwoman Ann O'Brien's, said, "Metrocenter was a crown jewel back in the day and that’s what it will become again with this redevelopment."

The price tag is about a billon dollars.

For now, O'Brien says the project will get started early next year.