When Metrocenter opened in 1973, it was the first "super-regional" mall in the metropolitan area. Unlike the typical mall of the era with two anchor stores, Metrocenter had five: Goldwater's, Rhodes, The Broadway, Sears and Diamond's. With two levels, its sleek interior looked like a starship. The showpiece was a ice-skating rink with a bar-restaurant on the second level overlooking it.
As the photo above shows, it was built in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of the city along Black Canyon Freeway between Dunlap and Peoria avenues. Westcor, the developer of this and so many other Phoenix malls, assumed the growth of single-family subdivisions and office parks would follow. And so they did.
It gave the lie to "retail follows rooftops." Rather, Metrocenter was built on spec, and one underlying reality was that it would badly wound or kill older malls, especially Chris-Town and Park Central. And so it did.