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CB Richard Ellis taking over El Con, where Ward store is giving way to Target

Citizen Staff



Demolition work inside the old Montgomery Ward building at El Con Mall started March 10, but the building itself won’t start coming down for another month or so, a Target official said.

Target will build a 124,000-square-foot store on the Ward site with an anticipated opening date in March 2004, said Dave Hanson, the Target owner site representative.

More big boxes could be coming El Con’s way as CB Richard Ellis is negotiating to take over management at the mall, said Nancy McClure, CB Richard Ellis’ first vice president in Tucson.

“The direction the mall is taking is a superpower center on the order of more than 1 million square feet,” McClure said. “What we’re trying to do is introduce what the next evolution of (El Con) will be.”

CB Richard Ellis may have a management contract signed with El Con in the next week. The real estate firm already started mall leasing work about a month ago, mall attorney Ron Hatcher said.

It may take another six months before a lineup of tenants for the El Con redevelopment is announced.

“We are putting together an overall plan of targeted tenants,” McClure said. “It would not be like Park Place or Tucson Mall.”

The El Con envisioned by CB Richard Ellis would have more anchor box centers – such as The Home Depot and Target – plus smaller stores and restaurants to feed off the Century 20 El Con Mall movie theater traffic.

Getting the Ward site ready for Target is the first order of business.

Demolition crews are doing asbestos remediation and removing everything inside. The store closed in March 2001 as Montgomery Ward disappeared from the national retail map.

Hanson estimates the interior work will take about a month, and in May the Ward building will come down.

“There’s a lot of stuff on the site that needs to be removed,” he said.

Along with demolition of the building, the Ward basement also needs to be filled in before Target construction can begin, scheduled for June.

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