Park Central developers revive iconic names linked to historic mall

Jan 7, 2019, 3:00 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm
(Park Central Photo)...
(Park Central Photo)
(Park Central Photo)

PHOENIX – The developers revitalizing Park Central Mall as a mixed-use project are making the historic Phoenix shopping center’s past a part of its future.

Buildings at the repurposed Park Central will bear the names of families associated with the facility when it opened as the city’s first major mall.

Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies, the businesses behind the redevelopment, said in a press release they received permission from the Burgbacher, Straus, Graham, Lieb, Goldwater and Diamond families to use their names.

Bob Goldwater, whose family owned the defunct Goldwater’s department stores, called the use of his family’s name a “tremendous honor.”

“This project is a prime example of how we can repurpose old properties and modernize them without starting over from scratch, and we are pleased to have our name attached to a project that means so much to our family,” Goldwater said in the release.

Goldwater’s and Diamond’s were department store anchors when Park Central opened on Central Avenue near Thomas Road in 1957, and the Lieb and Strauss families also had businesses there.

The Burgbachers were the mall’s original developers, and the Graham family was involved with its leasing.

Construction of the 450,000-square-foot redevelopment is expected to be completed later this year.

The plans include office space, retail shops and restaurants, as well as a new apartment building on the property.

In addition, Nebraska-based Creighton University is building a $100 million health sciences campus there.

Four existing tenants — Fired Pie, Thai Basil, Gainshare Inc. and Starbucks — renewed their leases in 2018.

Park Central’s original mid-century-modern style buildings will remain at the center of the project.

During renovation, the developers uncovered a trove of photographs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, blueprints and other documentation related the mall’s history.

The material will be archived by the Arizona State University library system, and a selection of items has been made available for viewing online.

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Park Central developers revive iconic names linked to historic mall