Phoenix redevelopment: New uses for old grocery stores

PHOENIX – Redevelopment efforts are evident all over the Valley as old, empty grocery store locations become new homes to schools, entertainment centers and health clubs.

Examples of Phoenix redevelopment show up in unlikely places. A new charter school is located in Gilbert where there was once an Albertson’s grocery store. Leading Edge Academy educates 400 students at its brand new campus, which was built out on two floors. One for elementary and one for high school students.

Two more former grocery store locations in Gilbert are now family entertainment spots for bowling and arcade games. A Mesa strip mall could soon benefit from reuse by Banner Health for doctors’ offices and a laboratory.

A former grocery store in Chandler became Chandler Preparatory Academy where nearly 700 students are challenged by an academically rigorous curriculum. The old parking lot became sports fields for soccer and football. The property was renovated for around $100 per square foot, about half of projected cost if it had been built from scratch.

A side benefit of the renovation is the impact on surrounding businesses. SoZo Coffeehouse opened about the same time as Chandler Preparatory Academy and is a successful business, serving as an after-school hangout for students of the school.

Former grocery store locations like those mentioned are prime for reuse as they are typically near intersections and parking is abundant. Ceilings are high and repurposing is more affordable than building new.

Since businesses have been opting for redevelopment, the number of vacant big-box retail spaces in the Valley has fallen from 168 empty spaces in 2011 to 113 available spots in mid-2014, according to CBRE.

Source: Arizona Builder’s Exchange

Source: Arizona Republic

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Jeffri-Lynn Campbell

Jeffri-Lynn Campbell found her passion at age 15 with her first byline in Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine. She is convinced you get ink in your blood and can’t ever really leave publishing behind after that. From journalist to advertising sales person to operational manag...

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