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PHOENIX -- When Metrocenter opened near Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue 40 years ago, it was on the northern edge of Phoenix.

As the city expanded north, the Metrocenter area became inner city, and crime rates in the area went up. In turn, people's perceptions of the mall began to change, too.

Now, Metrocenter's owners are trying to decide the mall's future.

Carlisle Development took over Metrocenter last year, and is now debating how to revitalize it.

"We will always have the retail component here," said Carlisle spokeswoman Deb Jecupke. "Some of the other things you could consider having here are good medical complexes and office buildings. All of those things come together over time."

Jecupke said the developer is also considering other improvements.

"More entertainment components and office components," said Jecupke. "It's even been proposed that we would have a great opportunity to do some residential."

When asked if part of the mall could be sold to a developer that could build new homes on the site, Jecupke said she hasn't heard such an offer.

"We're not giving anything up," she added.

Carlisle has yet to give a date for when it will decide the mall's future.

"Stay tuned," Jecupke said.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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