Retail Market

Ari Spiro - cropped

Ari Spiro
President and Founder, ORION Investment Real Estate


The boom of online shopping over the last decade has forced retail developers and tenants to rethink their strategy. Grocery anchored shopping centers continue to thrive due to the consumer needs for day-to-day items and retail services. At the same time, big-box power centers with their large footprint stores and department store anchored malls have struggled to adjust to the ever changing shopping habits of the American public.

Developers are adapting to these industry changes by accommodating tenants who gravitate toward consumer experience-based properties. These properties are filled with entertainment and restaurants to attract consumers and act as the main traffic drivers for retail. Specialty amenities such as water features and splash pads are also built to draw consumers and create a destination retail environment.

Epitomizing this dynamic is the construction boom currently taking place on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). Kicking off this influx of development in recent years have been Talking Stick Resort and Casino, Salt River Fields and Top Golf. And now we are witnessing the development of one of the most transformative and ambitious commercial project that Arizona has seen in decades. This project is anticipated to draw a conservative figure of over 2 million annual visitors to Phoenix metro – including a high number of summer visitors. At the same time, the project will attract resident families searching for indoor activities during the long, hot summer months – both groups will inherently become consumers to the retailers in this development.

If you drive along the Loop 101 Freeway adjacent to Scottsdale, it is impossible to miss the enormous structure rising from the desert on Via de Ventura. The OdySea Aquarium, An Oceanic Adventure, a 35-acre, multi-million-dollar entertainment complex is opening July 2016. This development will be a rich addition to the visitor attraction base since Phoenix metro was the only larger, major metropolitan area in the United States that did not offer a world-class aquarium. Once completed, it will be the largest aquarium in the Southwest.

The 200,000 square foot aquarium will be home to some of the most fascinating creatures that live in the sea – presented in a totally unique format that combines education, entertainment and hands-on encounters that will surely create the most memorable experiences for visitors of all ages. This state-of-the-art facility will feature touch pools, a 4D theatre, other large-scale exhibits and the SeaTREK experience, a unique adventure that will provide underwater novices the ability to walk along the ocean floor. Other attractions currently planned for the site include a 78 foot indoor skydiving facility, another aquatic-themed experience, and potentially an IMAX Theater.

In the center of this multi-attraction development will be approximately 75,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurant space, surrounding a landscaped courtyard with multiple water features, which will become home to many concerts and festivals throughout the year. Suites ranging from 1,000 to 6,500 square feet will host innovative concepts from some of the world’s top restaurateurs and retail brands. The first floor will cater to retailers offering fun, hands-on interactive shopping while the main level will house an array of unique, high-energy restaurants for visitors seeking an extraordinary culinary experience.

With little new retail development in the Valley in recent years and the incomparable consumer experience that this project provides, the intrigue in this project from prospective tenants has surpassed expectations. Local, national, corporate and boutique, have exhibited widespread enthusiasm. The superb Northeast Valley location, Scottsdale’s 9 million annual visitors, the project’s visibility from the freeway and its unique use are all driving interest to The Odysea in the Desert.

In less than a year of leasing, approximately 80 percent of the project is committed; the Developers are very selective in engineering the final tenant mix. As a legacy project for valley developer, Amram Knishinsky and his team, it has been important to create a unique destination retail experience that will become home to tenants that are not seen in a typical shopping mall or retail center.

This project is an excellent footprint demonstrating what Phoenix metro can do to attract the new retail consumer and to excel the retail industry as a whole.


Ari Spiro has been involved in the real estate industry for nearly 20 years and is the founder of ORION Investment Real Estate. Ari can be reached by email at or by phone at 480-634-8596. For additional leasing information for this development, inquiries can be sent to ORION at


Commercial 360° Seminar

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016  –  9:00 AM TO 12:30 PM


This seminar is for anyone wanting to learn about growth and development in Arizona.

Learn from industry leaders regarding Arizona and Salt River Pima economic development, land availability, trust land funds, energy and water plans as well as a current market update – hear how all these factors effect the state’s growth and the real estate industry. Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will also provide some detail on how projects in Tempe are creating a positive influence for the state of Arizona.

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Tuition: $40

Credit: 3 hrs. Legal Issues