Bourn Companies buys Foothills Mall...again

Bourn Companies buys Foothills Mall...again
Aerial view of the Foothills Mall location. (Source: Bourn Companies)
Aerial view of the Foothills Mall location. (Source: Bourn Companies)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The new owners of Foothills Mall have past experience with the property.

Bourn Companies and FHM Partners, LLC owned Foothills Mall in 1994, when it was only at 12 percent occupancy, they turned the mall into what it is now as an outlet location, with promotional retailers, restaurants and a movie theater. They sold it in 1999 when it was at 95 percent occupancy.

According to a recent release Foothills Mall is at 73 percent occupancy.

Don Bourn has said there are no plans to kick any current tenants out of the location, and the company will work hard to keep them in mind when moving forward with makeover plans.

"It's great real estate in a great location and it's a large asset that has a lot of potential," said Bourn. "Retail has changed a lot and that property hasn't changed with it. The physical structure is over 30 years old so it's old and tired. And you have the same tile and the same stuff when it was built in the 80s." One of the first things to change might be the name.

Foothills Mall enjoyed success until 2015, when Tucson Premium Outlets was opened by Simon Property Group in Marana. Several stores pulled out of the Foothills location and headed to north to TPO.  Leaving an 'empty feel' to the mall and seemingly few people shopping.

Many who come to the Foothills Mall say they are only there for the food.  Like GianCarlo Apodaca, who visits only to eat at Sushi Garden. "It's boring. It's just dead in there. No one is in there shopping," said Apodaca. "It's not attractive at all."

While others, like Krista Struthers would like a better play area for kids and a more family-friendly atmosphere, she comes to the mall for certain stores instead of enjoying the mall experience.

"I think it's more of the experience that will really draw more customers. I feel this really isn't the best place to be shopping, honestly," said Struthers. "When I walk down the hall in the mall, I see a lot of empty gutted places that don't exist anymore."

"Here's what I can tell you," said Bourn. "We think it'll be a great mixed used location, corporate office site, strong entertainment base with more high-quality retail, restaurants, public gathering areas, make it more of a destination, more comfortable."

"It's going to take time, it's not going to happen overnight," said Bourn, who estimates it could take from two to four years to see big change.

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