Thousands bid farewell to the Metrocenter Mall before its demolition

A party was held on May 21 to bid farewell to the Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, born in the 1970s, before it becomes a pile of dust.

Metrocenter reached its peak in the 80s when indoor malls were all the rage. But, it's about to be torn down and redeveloped.

10,000 people RSPV'd to the party to celebrate the life of Metrocenter. Demolition is expected to start within the year.

It likely won’t see this kind of crowd until the new development is complete by around 2030.

"Kind of sad, you know? Literally grew up just a few miles away, so this was our hangout back in the day," a woman named Sarah Fingold said.

Families have been coming to the mall in north Phoenix for generations. Sarah and her mom Karen Ballard included.

"We would ditch school, take the city bus, come up here and hang out," Ballard said.

"Oh, I didn’t ditch school," Fingold jokingly said back to her mom.

It’s bittersweet for those who have fond memories of growing up in the Valley, and even for those still growing up.

Metrocenter was the first mall in the country to host five department stores, the first place to offer indoor ice skating in Arizona, and in its heyday, it was the largest mall west of the Mississippi.

But, all good things must come to an end.

"Pretty soon the new developer is going to come in and start taking down Metrocenter, so we’re having an event to say goodbye to Metrocenter," said District 1 Phoenix councilwoman Ann O'Brien.

She organized the farewell with food, fun and family in the Arizona sunshine. In a few years, the site will turn into a new multi-use property with retail and residential spaces.

"We have the Thelda Williams Transit Center here, we have buses, and so you have easy access to much of our city from here. So to add housing, which we need, and then all of that other play stuff with the restaurants and the shopping and the park and amphitheater is just a smart move for Phoenix," O'Brien said.

"It’s awesome. I wish I was here when it was active and going. Seems like it would have been a cool thing to do," Tamitha Irby said.

For more on the development project, click here.