Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Tempe and Chandler End Mall War through Regional Cooperation

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Tempe and Chandler End Mall War through Regional Cooperation

Article excerpt

Once upon a time, the developers of two competing mall projects in the neighboring cities of Tempe and Chandler, dropped their shields, sat at a round table and joined forces to build one regional shopping mall-the Arizona Mills Mall. Then, the cities that sought the treasured project ventured into unchartered territory and created a historic alliance to share tax revenues.

This is not a fairy tale. After a year in the making, in April 1996, four independently owned developers formed a joint venture to build, own and operate the new regional shopping mall in Tempe, Arizona. A few weeks later, Tempe signed a revenue-sharing agreement with the City of Chandler and the Town of Guadalupe, which borders the mall site.

Today, the Arizona Mills Mall is just seven months from its proposed grand opening date of Nov.20. The excitement is building and the expectations are great for this 12-anchor, 1.5 million-square-foot mall featuring an IMAX 3-D theater, J.C. Penney, Off Saks Fifth Avenue outlet, Sega Game Works, themed restaurants and several entertainment venues.

More than 200 specialty stores will be visited by shoppers who may come from hundreds of miles away So the stakes were high when the Tempe-Chandler mall challenge was in full force. Millions of dollars in sales taxes would be generated annually by this regional mall.

For at least seven months in 1995, the dueling developers (The Mills Corporation, Taubman Realty Group, Simon Property Group and Grossman Company Properties) were filing lawsuits and battling in court, while trying to woo big-name tenants. Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano and Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said "enough." It was time to cooperate.

The historic deal was based on two simple facts: Chandler is a growing city which expects to see its tax base increase in the future. Tempe is landlocked and nearly built out limiting its future revenue. …

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