Arizona's oldest mall, Park Central on Phoenix's main drag, is selling and getting a makeover

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Plaza Cos. and Holualoa Cos. are buying the once-iconic shopping center built in 1957.

Park Central Mall, located in the heart of Phoenix, has been sold to a group of investors who plan to give it a long-overdue makeover.

Plaza Cos. and Holualoa Cos. are buying the once-iconic shopping center built in 1957. The deal is expected to close later this month, and no purchase price is available yet.

Most of the former mall on Central Avenue and Earll Drive was transformed into office buildings and data centers in the late 1990s. The center has a few popular restaurants as well. 

Plaza and Holualoa are buying 337,000 square feet of the former shopping center and plan to "reinvent" the space for a mixed-use hub that will attract more restaurants and employers.

The Dignity Health building at the southwest corner of the former mall and the former JC Penny building at the northwest section aren't included in the sale.

“We believe that Park Central lends itself to a remarkable opportunity for new economy workforce and businesses,” said Sharon Harper, CEO of Plaza. 

She said plans call for creative workspaces and offices, meeting spaces, art, shade, gathering places and an indoor and outdoor environment "unlike any office campus in the area.”

Holualoa and Plaza have teamed up on other prominent redevelopment projects in the Valley, including ASU's Innovation Center Skysong in Scottsdale.

arizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 1 THEN: The Mill Avenue Bridge (left) on its dedication day, May 1, 1933. The 1913 Ash Avenue Bridge is on the right.  Tempe History Museumarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 2Buy Photo NOW: The Mill Avenue Bridge in Tempe.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 3 THEN: Arizona State University, which was founded in 1885 as the Territorial Normal School in Tempe, began playing football in the 1890s under coach Fred Irish. The school's first football stadium (pictured), built in 1927, was named Irish Field after the original coach and was used for nine seasons before the team moved to Goodwin Stadium in 1936.  Tempe History Museumarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 4Buy Photo NOW: ASU now plays football in Sun Devil Stadium, which opened in 1958. The venerable venue has seen its share of history, having served as the home of the Arizona Cardinals, the Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl XXX and several of college football's national championship games. It once held more than 71,000 fans, but a renovation project, designed to make the stadium more scenic and fan-friendly, is reducing its seating capacity.  Rob Schumacher/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 5Buy Photo THEN: Fatty Arbuckle's Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer sold for $32,000 when it was built in 1919.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 6Buy Photo NOW: Fatty Arbuckle's 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer rolls across the block at the Barrett Jackson auction on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Scottsdale.  David Kadlubowski/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 7Buy Photo THEN: This view of Sun Devil Stadium from Tempe Town Lake in 2003 has changed forever. It is now obscured by new developments along the man-made lake, and the stadium, which was built in 1958, is undergoing renovations.  Dave Seibert/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 8Buy Photo NOW: Construction is well underway at the Marina Heights development on the shores of Tempe Town Lake, which will be anchored by the regional headquarters of State Farm Insurance. The buildings have blocked views of Sun Devil Stadium.  Dave Seibert/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 9Buy Photo THEN: A 1949 aerial photo shows the Buckhorn Baths during the east Mesa establishment's boom days. The baths soothed generations of travelers and Cactus League baseball players with its mineral baths.  Pat Shannahan/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 10 NOW: A deal for Mesa to buy and restore the 15-acre Buckhorn Baths fell through earlier this year. The property has been deteriorating for more than a decade, with its historic collections inside gathering dust.  William Hermannarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 11 THEN: The Arabian Horse Show, originally called the All-Arabian Horse Show, began in 1955 at the Arizona Biltmore. It moved to Paradise Park in Scottsdale, at 6200 E. Bell Road, in 1957, where this photo was taken.  Arabian Horse Association of Arizonaarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 12Buy Photo NOW: Today, the Arabian Horse Show is held at WestWorld in Scottsdale. It continues as one of the top Arabian horse shows in the world. In this photo, judges take a final look at a Half Arabian English Show Hack class on February 12, 2015 at WestWorld's Wendell Arena.  Dave Seibert/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 13Buy Photo THEN: Minal Patel, son of the owner of the Starlite Motel in east Mesa, surveys the damage to the iconic diving lady neon sign after it was knocked down in an October 2010 wind storm.  Rob Schumacher/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 14Buy Photo NOW: The diving lady neon sign has been shining at the Starlite Motel since a rededication ceremony in April 2013. More than $100,000 was raised to have the wind-damaged sign repaired.  Aaron Lavinsky/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 15Buy Photo THEN - The sugar beet factory in Glendale on Sept. 25, 1960.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 16Buy Photo NOW: The sugar beet factory sits empty in Glendale. One of the latest plans for the building, a winery, fell through..  Angela Piazza/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 17Buy Photo THEN: For years, the sign for Mr. Lucky's nightclub beckoned to people along Grand Avenue.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 18Buy Photo NOW: Mr. Lucky's closed in 2004. The nightclub hosted a star-studded lineup of entertainers over the years, including Waylon Jennings, Glen Campbell, Dircks Bentley and Kenny Chesney..  Nick Oza/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 19 THEN: The track is filled for the Bobby Ball 150 in 1977. The track opened in 1964.  Dave Seibert/The Republicarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 20Buy Photo NOW: Fly over prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 Sunday, March 15, 2015 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.  David Kadlubowski/The Republic, David Kadlubowski/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 21 THEN: Winston Cup champions Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnet work on a car during the qualifying day on Feb. 28, 1978, at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale. Bonnet died in a 1994 crash during qualifying at Daytona. This is the 50th year of Phoenix International Raceway.  Dave Seibert/The Republicarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 22 NOW: In March 2014, Kevin Harvick celebrated his win at PIR; it was his second consecutive Sprint Cup Victory at the track.  Patrick Breen/The Republicarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 23Buy Photo THEN: The Sundome in Sun City was built for $8.6 million in 1980.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 24Buy Photo NOW: The outside entrance to the Sundome in Sun City on Dec. 12, 2000.  Suzanne Starr/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 25 THEN: This is a black-and-white photo of old Litchfield train station, date unknown, near Litchfield Road and Maricopa County 85.  Goodyeararizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 26 NOW: Goodyear purchased the old Litchfield train depot in 2008 in hopes of preserving one of the Southwest Valley's few historical structures. The station, originally located near Litchfield Road and Maricopa County 85, served as the arrival point for travelers doing business with the Goodyear Aircraft Corp. and Goodyear Farms.  Goodyeararizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 27Buy Photo THEN: Palo Verde Nuclear Energy Generating Station in 1975, architects rendering of 3 units total proposed for 45 miles west of Phoenix.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 28 NOW: The largest nuclear plant in the U.S., Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, is equipped to handle emergency situations.  Cronkite News Servicearizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 29Buy Photo THEN: Arizona's second nuclear unit was 80 percent complete as of Feb 28, 1982, and is scheduled for commercial operation in 1985. All three of the 1,270 megawatt units are identical, a factor which helped keep construction costs at a minimum. In many cases, the employees building the plant started work on Unit #1, then proceeded to Units #2 and #3 to repeat tasks. Construction cost estimate for all three units is $4.6 billion.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 30Buy Photo NOW: Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Units One and Two.  Mark Henle/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 31 THEN: Wilhelm Automotive, shown in about 1932 in Peoria.  Wilhelm Automotivearizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 32Buy Photo NOW: Thom Gyder, pictured on May 22, 2007, in front of his Wilhelm Automotive business in downtown Peoria.  John Severson/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 33 A family enjoys springtime from Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in March of 1979. The popular hiking spot is an oasis in the middle of the city and overlooks the Phoenix Zoo.  Republic file photoarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 34 Thirty-four years later Republic photographer Ashli Truchon came across a similar family in the same location and asked them to recreate the pose. Papago Park is open every day from sunrise to 11 p.m.  Ashli Truchon/The Republicarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 35Buy Photo THEN: Baseline Road used to be lined by flower gardens, such as the Kishiyama Flower Garden on the northwest corner of 40th Street and Baseline.  Michael Ging/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 36Buy Photo NOW: The northwest corner of 40th Street and Baseline Road in Phoenix is now the site of a Circle K and the entry way to the South Mountain Village neighborhood.  Dave Seibert/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 37Buy Photo THEN: The Enchanted Island amusement park in Encanto Park was formerly known as Kiddieland.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 38 THEN: The future of the Enchanted Island, Park including the boat rentals, is up in the air after the city decided to put the contract out for competitive bidding. This photo of the canoes in the Encanto Lagoon is from 1969.  Phoenixarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 39Buy Photo NOW: The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board extended the contract with the Encanto Park amusement-park operator for one year to avoid a lapse in operation.  Patrick Breen/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 40Buy Photo THEN: The Sahara Motor Inn opened at First and Polk streets in downtown Phoenix in 1956. Marilyn Monroe stayed in the three-room penthouse suite overlooking the pool while she was in town to shoot the movie “Bus Stop.” The hotel became a Ramada Inn in the 1960s.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 41Buy Photo THEN: Demolition begins in May 2010 on the Ramada Inn at First and Polk streets. Surrounding the lot are (from left) an Arizona State University parking garage, ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and ASU’s Taylor Place student dormitory.  Tom Tingle/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 42 THEN: After the Ramada Inn was torn down, the city of Phoenix used the space as a parking lot. The lot was coated with a special reflective coating, made by Scottsdale-based Emerald Cities USA, that can help reduce temperatures on concrete and asphalt surfaces, according to its maker. Such heat contributes to the “heat-island effect,” in which some pockets of urban areas become hotter than others.  Dave Seibert/The Republicarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 43Buy Photo NOW: Today the foundation and basement are in, the elevator and stair columns are up and the structural steel is being installed on the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The first classes will begin in the Fall of 2016. Construction progress is shown as of Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  Dave Seibert/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 44Buy Photo THEN: In the late 1940s, several radio stores, selling such brands as Zenith and Motorola, were located at Seventh Avenue and Washington Street. Phoenix's first television station, KPHO, went on the air in 1949.  The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover photo 45Buy Photo NOW: The Phoenix Police Department headquarters opened in 1975 at Seventh Avenue and Washington Street.  Nick Oza/The Republic/azcarizonas-oldest-mall-park-central-on-phoenixs-main-drag-is-selling-and-getting-a-makeover p<div class=

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