Phoenix Struggles to Fill Its Big Vacant Boxes
According to Jarman, "Empty big boxes of 10,000 square feet or more represent almost half of the total vacant retail space in metro Phoenix," and with areas such as Chandler entirely over-retailed, the problem continues to grow, with no easy solution in sight.
The dilemma facing Phoenix is a result of larger forces transforming the retail landscape, and of factors unique to the area, where "The vast majority, 71 percent of the almost 8.6 million square feet of vacant big-box space, could be considered challenged because of location, age, configuration and other factors."
For the reasons outlined above, it's highly unlikely that retail uses will return to many of the vacated properties. Conversion or redevelopment as offices, schools, or housing are increasingly appealing alternatives to stabilize and revive distressed communities.