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Owners of Phoenix Metrocenter deliberate mall's future

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.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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