Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can KIMCO & De Rtio Partners do better with Riverview this time?

KIMCO and Marty De Rito of De Rito Partners Development, Inc think that they can knock down, tear up and rebuild with a 65 foot tall guitar and that will revitalize Mesa Riverview shopping the business district, I don’t think so.

If you remember back to 2005, KIMCO and De Rito Partners ran a big campaign to get public incentives for their project saying that it would bring jobs and tax revenues to the City of Mesa. Well as everybody know they pulled one over on the residents and the City of Mesa, didn’t achieve their goals and I think from the beginning they knew they couldn’t achieve the goals.

Mesa Riverview development has floundered and not been able to grab much traction over the years while Tempe’s market place has flourished. I wouldn’t be surprised if they will lay the blame for their failure on getting a late start on the project and having to go to a vote of the citizens.

Why has Riverview floundered? Personally I believe it has lived up to its potential for a couple of reasons
  1. Leadership. The project hasn’t had good leadership from the very beginning. The leaders on this project resigned themselves to being just average and being average sold out on Mesa and it’s residents. 
  2. Bad design. Also too much open space between the shops. Why would I want to walk clear across a parking lot in the heat of summer to go to another shop? Putting parking in the center of the entertainment districts breaking up the flow of foot traffic. There is no shade, or outdoor seating areas; they are not bringing the indoor to the outdoor.
  3. Lack of understanding of the market and who their cliental and customers would be.
  4. Average project. If you look around town you see that KIMCO and De Rito Partners have a lot of commercial space (strip centers) they own and manage. Look at those developments, are they quality projects? No. That should have been the first clue how this project was going to turn out. When you have a strip center developer doing a project what do you think you are going to get? A strip center.
  5. Quality tenants. To fill empty space they moved existing tenants in Mesa to Riverview which gave no new revenue to the city and left other parts of Mesa with run down and dilapidated buildings.
I need to give them some credit though; they did bring Toby Keiths, Bass Pro Shop, two of the 3 car dealers and a couple of other commercial ventures, beyond that though not much can be said.

So by razing part of the project, can they improve the image of Riverview? That is the $100,000 dollar questions. Will a 65 foot tall guitar do it, I doubt it.

What would I do?
  • Get rid of the street running down the center of the entertainment area.
  • Putting shade and seating areas similar to Tempe Market place, with fire pits, waterfalls and furniture.
  • Put in a stage where armature and local bands can play. Put in the lighting and sound equipment go all out. Then open up space to bars around the stage with outdoor seating so people can have dinner, a beer and enjoy the bands.
  • Require that Cinamark upgrade their facilities make it more of an upscale theater experience.
  •  DO NOT put in a fast food court yards, what I mean is McDonalds, Taco bells, Burger Kings, Del Tacos. They attract people with smaller pockets.
  • Hire a full time event planner to book bands and other outdoor entertainment venues and then promote the entertainment.
  •  Maybe even consider some housing option on the property to give it more of a community feel.
Personally I think they can make it successful if they hire the right people, put in right amenities, and make it feel more like a mall

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