The owners of El Con Mall might announce early next week that Tucson’s oldest shopping mall is being sold.
No details were available as of Friday afternoon about the future of the mall, at 3601 E. Broadway.
However, St. Louis Rams owner Stanley Kroenke filed incorporation papers on Wednesday for a limited liability corporation called TKG El Con Center, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission website.
Kroenke, whose estimated net worth is $5.6 billion, according to Forbes, owned the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, but transferred ownership to his son when he became a majority partner with the Rams. NFL rules prohibit ownership of other major sports franchises. Kroenke also owns the English Soccer Club Arsenal and numerous real estate holdings.
Kroenke is married to Walmart founder Sam Walton’s daughter, Ann Walton.
No one with direct knowledge of the deal would confirm whether El Con is being sold or whether Kroenke is the buyer. But someone who answered the phone at El Con’s corporate office Friday said a statement about the mall would be released Monday or Tuesday.
El Con opened in 1960 and was a joint venture between Joseph Kivel and the Papanikolas family. A covered walkway made it unique among Tucson shopping centers.
While the original anchor stores, such as Montgomery Ward, Woolworth’s, Skagg’s Drug Store, and Dave Bloom and Sons Clothiers, helped the mall prosper for decades, it fell on hard times in the late 1980s as once-prominent chain stores disappeared from the American retail landscape.
A multimillion-dollar makeover in the late 1990s turned the mall’s fortunes around as national outlets such as Target, Home Depot and, eventually, Walmart opened stores on the site. In 2011 the owners began a “de-malling” in which they tore down the indoor corridors, leaving stand-alone anchor stores at the center of the property with small strip centers around the perimeter.
Descendants of both of the mall’s founding families still operate it today.