Following massive success in Mesa’s Asian District, the developers and owners of Mekong Plaza are expanding the shopping center.
Located on the southwest corner of Dobson Road and Main Street in Mesa, Mekong Real Estate Investment Group will add more than 35,000 square feet of retail space to the existing 100,000-square-foot plaza. Construction is set to start on the parcel directly south of the existing center. Mekong Real Estate Development Group acquired the land for $1.6 million in 2019 according to Maricopa County records.
The expansion is said to cost $10 million and construction is expected to be finished in July 2023.
There is plenty of demand from tenants, which are almost all Asian-owned, are targeted toward Asian consumers, or serve or sell some sort of Asian cuisine or goods. Drew Burtoni, the development manager for Mekong Real Estate, said that the plaza has 30 tenants, is 100% leased and has a waiting list of tenants who want to move in.
He said he’s received similar interest on the expansion. Even though construction on the expanded space has not started yet, it is already 60% pre-leased, Burtoni said.
“Right now I’ve slowed down on signing any more leases so I can focus on catching big fish once we start building and catching more momentum,” Burtoni said.
Similar to the first phase, Burtoni said he is looking for more Asian-centric and Asian-fusion concepts. But he’d like to have more nightlife concepts as well, catering to a younger audience and staying open later.
There will be at least 12 new storefronts in the Mekong Plaza expansion. So far the biggest space signed far is 6,000 square feet, Burtoni said.
Two years ago Mesa officially designated the area around Mekong Plaza and the H-Mart across the street as the “Asian District.” Mesa Mayor John Giles said that no other city in Arizona has created its own Asian District with a focus on growing Asian-centric businesses and a place for the Valley’s Asian community to gather.
“This is not something unique just for Mesa, but in the Southwest United States, this stands out as the premier Asian District,” Giles said. “That is not by accident. This was a very deliberate thing that a lot of people came together to make happen.”
The district has attracted more than 80 businesses to its boundaries, and it continues to grow..
While Mesa and the East Valley have larger Asian populations, Mesa’s Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said the reach of the district is a lot farther and with large companies from Asia, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., starting operations in the Valley, more Asian people are coming to Mesa.
“You’re finding that these people will travel 40 to 45 minutes to get here and really partake in the Asian District experience,” Jabjiniak said. “It has really been a boon to Mesa’s economy.”
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