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PHOENIX-As soon as the holiday shopping season wraps up, Macerich Co. will begin a long-awaited facelift of the 32-year-old Biltmore Fashion Park. Meanwhile, the team is weighing a vertical mixed-use expansion, which could provide the 609,000-sf destination location with up to an additional 300,000 sf of office, retail or hotel/residential space, depending on the demands of the market.

“We’ve received our city approval and are just trying to finalize contracts with the contractor as well as trying to finalize the budget,” says David Scholl, senior vice president of development for Phoenix-based Westcor, a subsidiary of Macerich Co. The Santa Monica, CA-based Macerich acquired the center in 2003, incorporating it into a newly formed Lumenati luxury property group in late 2004.

“We’re probably going to attack this building by building,” Scholl tells GlobeSt.com. “And, we’re working with the tenants to make sure the sequencing will work out with them.” He says the goal is to have the entire renovation completed by end of 2006. The renovation, which has been on the drawing board for 18 months, will include changes in infrastructure as well as to the exterior and landscaping. Scholl isn’t disclosing the renovation tab.

Biltmore Fashion Park, situated at the corner of Camelback Road and 24th Street, is considered a “destination location” for many in the Phoenix area. Scholl says it’s definitely time for the property to be refreshed. “We felt like it had been 15 years since any new investments had been made to this property,” he adds. “Retail tenants start to demand more, stronger store fronts, higher store fronts. We felt we needed to invest in this property to maximize opportunities for the merchants to do their best sales.”

Along with renovation plans is a consideration to expand the center. But, Scholl stresses, that at this point, any potential expansion plans are just that–plans. “We’re going to try for a real full zoning effort to let the [Phoenix City Council] know what the long-term plans are,” he explains. “It’ll probably be in phases over a lot of years, but we’d like to get that process started in ’06 as we continue the renovations.”

He adds that until a site plan is developed and approved, the extra space or budget are difficult to predict, but says the expansion could add 150,000 sf to 200,000 sf per tower. “Whether that would be office, hotel, condos or a combination would depend on the market,” Scholl says.

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