Introduction to Tucson Mall
Located at 4500 North Oracle Road in Tucson, Arizona, Tucson Mall is the city’s largest shopping mall. Established 40 years ago on March 22, 1982, the mall was developed by Forest City Enterprises and is currently owned and managed by Brookfield Properties.
Spanning over two floors and 1,287,206 sq ft, it features around 175 stores and services, with six anchor tenants, five open and one vacant. Tucson Mall has become a shopping haven for locals and visitors, offering diverse retail options and recreational activities.
Positioned on Tucson’s north side, the mall is bordered by Oracle Road, Wetmore Road, Stone Avenue, and the Rillito River. It boasts a variety of anchor stores, including Dillard’s, Forever 21, J. C. Penney, Macy’s, and Old Navy, a food court with fast-food options, and “Arizona Avenue,” an arcade filled with Southwestern-themed items.
The Visionary Behind Tucson Mall
According to historian David Leighton, the idea for Tucson Mall was conceived by Helen Wetmore, whose husband’s family had homesteaded the land in the late 1800s.
On a trip to Chicago in the 1930s, Wetmore observed a shopping center along the Skokie Highway and decided to create something similar on her land. She retained the parcel of land until 1978 when plans for the mall were initiated in collaboration with Forest City Enterprises.
Tucson Mall officially opened in 1982 with about 100 stores and five department stores, including Broadway, J. C. Penney, Mervyn’s, Diamond’s, and Sears. In 1984, Diamond’s store was converted to Dillard’s, marking the first significant change in the mall’s anchor tenants.
Evolution and Expansion of Tucson Mall
In 1990, Tucson Mall underwent a series of expansions and renovations to improve its offerings and accommodate growing customer demands. The first stage involved expanding the Dillard’s anchor and adding a parking garage nearby.
In 1991, a new wing was built on the east side of the mall, adding over 400,000 sq ft, more than 70 new stores, and a sixth anchor, the Houston-based Foley’s.
In 1993, the food court was revamped, including the addition of a carousel and the Arizona Avenue arcade. A series of anchor store transitions took place over the following years.
Foley’s locations were rebranded as Robinsons-May in 1997, and the Broadway became a Macy’s in 1996 after Federated Department Stores acquired it. In 2001, Tucson Mall came under new ownership when General Growth Properties acquired the property.
Major Overhaul and Recent Developments
In 2003, Tucson Mall embarked on a $15 million overhaul, the first significant update since its opening in 1982. The renovation included newly polished tile floors, glass railings on the upper level, new escalators and elevators, a children’s play area, refurbished restrooms, a reworked food court and Arizona Avenue, and a fresh paint scheme.
The Robinsons-May store was transformed into a Macy’s in 2006, following Macy’s acquisition of the chain.
In recent years, the Tucson Mall has undergone significant transformations. The former Macy’s store was demolished in 2007 to create space for a grand entrance hall, extended store spaces, water features, and the introduction of REI and The Cheesecake Factory.
A new parking structure was also built next to the existing Macy’s. Following Mervyn’s closure in 2008, Forever 21 took over the space in 2009, expanding its footprint with larger stores offering a wider variety of merchandise. The closure of Sears in April 2020 marked another significant change in the mall’s anchor tenants.
Transportation to Tucson Mall
Accessibility is a key factor in the mall’s ongoing popularity. Sun Tran’s Tohono Tadai Transit Center, which opened in 1994, is adjacent to Tucson Mall. This convenient transit center connects the mall with various areas in the city, making it easy for shoppers to reach the retail destination and enjoy all it has to offer.
From its early days as a 100-store mall to its present status as a major shopping center with over 170 stores and services, Tucson Mall is a vibrant retail hub in the heart of Tucson, Arizona.
With its array of shopping options, dining experiences, and family-friendly entertainment, the mall remains a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.
Summary: Unraveling the Allure of Tucson Mall in Tucson, AZ
As the largest shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona, Tucson Mall offers over 170 stores and services anchored by major tenants such as Dillard’s, Forever 21, J. C. Penney, Macy’s, and Old Navy.
The mall has undergone numerous expansions and renovations since its opening in 1982, continuously adapting to cater to its visitors’ evolving needs and desires. With a rich history, convenient transportation options, and various shopping, dining, and entertainment options, Tucson Mall remains a premier destination for locals and tourists.
From its inception by visionary Helen Wetmore to the present day, Tucson Mall has stood as a testament to retail innovation and growth in Arizona. Its strategic location, diverse store offerings, and continuous commitment to improvement make it an essential shopping and leisure destination in the heart of Tucson.
As a hub for fashionistas, outdoor enthusiasts, and families alike, Tucson Mall is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to experience the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in Tucson, AZ.