A New Real Estate Trend?

This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Developer proposes turning Phoenix movie theater into apartments

A plan to redevelop a Harkins Theatres location in north Phoenix could spark yet another new trend — repurposing outdated retail real estate to meet changing market demand.

Developer Wolff Co. hopes to raze the North Valley 16 movie theater and redevelop the site into apartments. Jason Morris, partner at Withey Morris and zoning attorney for the redevelopment project, said the site is no longer desirable as an entertainment use, but was very attractive to different apartment developers.

“There are a lot of retail centers out there that just aren’t going to work and probably shouldn’t work anymore,” Morris said. “The ones that are surviving are doing a different type of retail, like restaurants. In Arizona, which has a higher rate of retail per capita than the rest of the country, it is likely all of this retail isn’t going to stand the test of time and these sites will transition to other uses.”

According to CBRE Group Inc., experts forecast the U.S. will see a 20% reduction in retail real estate inventory by 2025. The U.S. averages 56 square feet per capita.

Morris’ client, the Wolff Co., plans to redevelop the site, located at 34th Way and Bell Road, into a 278-unit luxury apartment complex, which Morris said is in high demand in the highly residential area.

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