PHOENIX-Strong residential growth has prompted thestart of the first regional mall to bebuilt in the Valley in three years.

Locally based Westcor Shopping Centers has startedconstruction on the Chandler Fashion Center, a 1.3-million-sf super-regional mall in Chandler, one of Phoenix’s fastest-growing residential suburbs. At the intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Price Road, the enclosed mall will have four anchor stores and 150 specialty shops.

The center will also have a large outdoor “streetscape village,” lined with boutiques, service-oriented retailers, restaurants and a 100,000-sf multi-screen movieTheater. Phoenix-based Kitchell Contractors is thegeneral contractor.

The shopping mall is part of a 320-acre urban villageplan that includes office parks, a hotel, conferencecenter, residential area and three other retaildevelopments. Construction on the mall is expected to be completedby October 2001.

Chandler, with large parcels of open farmland, hasattracted much of this area’s new home development in recentyears. Though the Phoenix metropolitan area is growing by about 85,000 people annually, the vacancy rate at retail properties is in the modest 5%-range.

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