Developers plan to transform Fiesta Mall into a campus focused on health and education.

Buyers plan to invest $30 million in nearly vacant mall after purchasing it for $6.72 million

Fiesta Mall in Mesa, once a giant in the southeast Valley shopping scene, has been sold to a duo of developers who plan to transform the withering mall into a campus focused on health and education.

The sale price was $6.72 million.

New owners Dimension Financial & Realty Investments Inc., spearheaded by Jerry Tokoph and Wayne Howard, intend to spend as much as $30 million on the makeover.

The company paid cash for the 380,000-square-foot mall. The seller was LNR Properties LLC, a Florida-based firm that took over the property in 2013 from mall operator Macerich, which bought it in 2004.

“We want to re-create the space into a campus environment primarily for community colleges and for-profit schools,” said Ray Cashen of Cashen Realty Advisors.

Areas will be designed for medical learning centers and colleges, he said. Housing, eating and entertainment venues also are planned.

Cashen brokered the deal for Dimension Financial and will be marketing the project.


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What the sale entails

This sale includes the majority of the interior portion of Fiesta Mall but does not include the Sears, Dillard’s, the former Macy’s and recently closed Best Buy/Dick’s Sporting Goods buildings.

Developer Scott Jackson owns the Macy’s and Best Buy/Dick’s buildings. Sears and Dillard’s clearance center are owned by those retailers.

Jackson, who is redeveloping his buildings as office or mixed-use space, said he was not yet aware of the new mall owner’s plans or how his ventures will fit into them. He said he did not bid on the mall, which opened in October 1979.

Cashen said the mall property that was sold to Dimension Financial has a few retail tenants left, but they have short-term leases that won’t be renewed.

Revitalizing the area

The revamped Fiesta Mall is expected to open next year, Cashen said.

“Fiesta Mall will be one of the biggest adaptive reuse projects in metro Phoenix,” he said. 

Mesa Fiesta Corporate Center, a property just east of the mall, also is currently owned by the principals. It will be bridged into the mall and become part of the main campus, Cashen said.

The 1.15 square miles surrounding Fiesta Mall, known as the Fiesta District, is one of Mesa’s key economic development corridors. 

In a statement, Mayor John Giles said, “Fiesta Mall is in the heart of the Fiesta District and I am excited to welcome DFRI to the team of developers working to revitalize one of Mesa’s greatest assets.”

MORE: ‘Explosive growth’? Mesa is about to top a half-million residents

Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said Fiesta Mall is major part of the city’s redevelopment efforts in west Mesa, and he said it’s critical that the new owners and the existing tenants in the area share a vision.

“There has to be more discussion and more information provided on their vision. l would like to see the whole comprehensive plan presented,” Jabjiniak said.

Tokoph and Howard redeveloped the former Honeywell/Bull facility at Interstate 17 and Thunderbird Road in Phoenix into a development with big-box retailers, hundreds of residences and over a million square feet of offices.

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