Chandler Aids Redeveloper in N. Park Plaza Renovation
Newspaper: The Arizona Republic
Location: Chandler Sun Lakes & Ocotillo Front Page
Author: Chris Fiscus
In the 1960's, it was state of the art.
Four decades later, it was in an entirely different state.
“It deteriorated to a level where it just looked horrible... it earned the title of being the ugliest building in Chandler,” said Michael Pollack, who is redeveloping Chandler’s North Park Plaza.
The retail center on the northwestern corner of Arizona Avenue and Ray Road has a new look thanks to a $ 600,000 redevelopment.
Those familiar with the center probably won’t recognize it. The 1960's facade is replaced with a new brick and Roman concrete column look. There also are about 20 planters and new palm trees to soften the appearance, along with new light fixtures, and a redone parking lot is on the way.
“It’s exciting,” said Chandler’s economic development director, Garrett Newland, who called the plaza “the least attractive of our retail centers. The work he’s doing, it will be a dramatic, significant change.”
The old center was known as the city’s first major retail center, and time took its toll. “It was not a very attractive building,” Newland said.
Chandler implemented a commercial reinvestment program that offers matching grants to help upgrade the appearance of other retail centers. Several along Arizona Avenue took advantage of the program, but the Pollack one “will be the most significant” makeover, Newland said.
The entire Arizona Avenue corridor is expected to undergo an extensive transition in the coming years, thanks to renovations already underway that could trigger others to follow suit. A new freeway also is on the way nearby.
Pollack bought the 61,000-square-foot North Park center about a year ago and planned to
wait before moving ahead with any kind of redevelopment. But Chandler’s economic development officials approached and discussed the city’s reinvestment program aimed at improving older centers. The city assistance - about $152,000 for this project - persuaded him to move ahead.
The hope, Newland said, is that other area businesses, homes and apartment complexes follow suit, from major renovations to just adding new paint or landscaping. “A renewed pride in their neighborhood” is common for residents and businesses after such a project, Pollack said.
An official grand reopening won’t be held until early May. Joining marching bands and City Council members will be some of the politicians who attended the shopping center’s original grand opening in the 1960s.
“It’s exciting... The work he’s doing, it will be a dramatic, significant change.”
Garrett Newland, Chandler’s economic development director ~