El Con Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in the city of Tucson, Arizona, United States. Originally opened in 1960 as an outdoor shopping center, it is the oldest shopping mall in the Tucson area. It features J. C. Penney, Ross Dress For Less, Target, Burlington Coat Factory, and The Home Depot as its anchor stores. An additional anchor space, last occupied by Macy's, has been vacant since 2008. El Con Mall is classified as a dead mall, because it is largely vacant. Besides the mall's anchor stores, only a multiplex movie theater and six other stores remain open, although several restaurants have opened on the periphery in the past five years. Because of the center's low occupancy rate, it is slated to be demolished and reverted to an open-air complex, although no official announcement has been made on the mall's redevelopment.

El Con Mall opened in 1960 as the first mall in Tucson, Arizona, adjacent to the El Conquistador Hotel. Although initial plans called for the hotel to be part of the mall itself, these plans were later scrapped. An outdoor mall at the time of its opening, El Con Mall was anchored by the local department store Steinfeld's (which had moved in from downtown), and chain stores Montgomery Ward and Woolworth. In 1967, the former El Conquistador Hotel space was demolished, and a Levy's was built on its site (which like Steinfeld's had moved in in from downtown). New Goldwater's (1978) and J. C. Penney (1971) stores were built along a connecting link, and the mall was enclosed. Joseph Kivel, developer of El Con Mall, later opened another shopping mall, what is now Park Place, in 1975. After his death in 1995, both malls were sold to his nephews and their wives (Janice and Alvin Kivel, Betty Jean and Victor Kivel, and Beverley and Daniel Kivel). Steinfeld's closed, and became a winter-time-only soup kitchen in 1984, & the Pavilion Food Court in 1993. Levy's (which was owned by Federated Department Stores) became Sanger-Harris in 1985, marking the first of several name changes in the mall's western anchor store. Sanger-Harris became Foley's in 1987, and Robinsons-May in 1993. Goldwater's, in turn, became Dillard's in 1989, and Woolworth's closed in 1993.

El Con Mall is still owned by the heirs of its original developer, Joseph Kivel. Following the elder Kivel's demise in 1996, his descendants began renovations on the mall. A multiplex movie theater and food court were both added behind J. C. Penney, although no restaurants were ever opened in the food court. Additional plans promised "a unique variety of retail stores", but competition from larger malls, most notably Park Place, caused El Con to lose more stores than it gained. Dillard's closed on May 9, 2000. It had decided to when Park Mall's Dillard's got a new building. Montgomery Ward was renamed Wards in 1997. In mid 1998 the whole entire northeast wing of the mall (including The Pavilion Food Court) was demolished. In 2001, Montgomery Ward closed along with the company's bankruptcy. The Home Depot (2001) and Target (2003) were built on the east side of the mall, with the latter replacing Montgomery Ward. The addition of these stores was considered controversial by local residents, many of whom did not want such big box retailers in the area. Neither Target nor The Home Depot is directly accessible from within the mall itself. Although many retailers and restaurants opened on the mall's periphery in the 2000s, the enclosed mall itself continued to lose tenants. In 2005, May Department Stores (then owners of the Robinsons-May name) was acquired by Macy's, Inc., and most May Department Stores nameplates were converted to the Macy's name. The Macy's store in El Con Mall was deemed unprofitable, and was closed in 2008, shortly after the addition of a Ross Dress For Less store in the Macy's wing. Later in 2008, it was announced that Wal-Mart might move into the former Macy's, (plans have now been confirmed it will, but have a new building). In November 2009, Burlington Coat Factory announced it would open a new store at El Con Mall in the former Dillard's space. The store opened on Mar., 5th, 2010.


1 photo

Building Activity

  • Ryan Green
    Ryan Green updated
    about 10 months ago via OpenBuildings.com