The Mercado consists of six Spanish-style buildings that serve as classrooms and offices for a variety of Arizona State University colleges. Additionally, it contains a Simulation & Learning Resources Center that features state of the art technology for Nursing students. Mercado is also leased to local businesses and government agencies. Mercado, however was most noticeably a shopping center as of 1989, before it was bought by ASU in 1999.
Backstory and Context
The Mercado first opened in December of 1989. It originally began as a shopping center with a heavy Hispanic/southwestern influence. The Mercado received the first ever Federal Urban Development Action Grant in Phoenix. The Mercado housed many different Hispanic shops and restaurants. It also contained the first ever Hispanic Art Museum in Arizona. The Mercado has about 125,000 square feet of office and retail space.
In 1990 Arizona State University opened its College of Extended Education in the Mercado. It only leased about 30,000 square feet to house its college, with the rest left to retail business. Arizona State University eventually grew to occupy about half of the space inside the Mercado. However, through all of this the Mercado struggled and failed to live up to the expectations people had for the Mexican-themed shopping center. Due to the lack of marketing and competition many businesses inside the Mercado were forced to vacate.
Arizona State eventually expressed interest in buying the Mercado and agreed to buy the Mercado buildings for 8.8 million dollars in 1999. They also spent 1.8 million dollars to renovate the buildings while eventually turning office space into even more classrooms as the campus expanded after its opening in 2006. Arizona State University now owns the Mercado complex and leases the space it does not use.
Arizona State now uses the complex to house parts of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Nursing programs along with other healthcare undergraduate programs. The complex is now equipped with state of the art technology. The Simulation and Learning Resources Center inside Mercado has simulation suites, labs, and computer library commons especially geared to undergraduates in the health fields. These offer students a great place to study and enhance their education. The Mercado buildings have allowed ASU to cater to increasing population of students at their downtown Phoenix campus.
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"Intersection of E. Van Buren St. and N. Seventh St," McCulloch Brothers Inc. Photographs, CP MCLMB A1679B. Arizona State University Libraries: Arizona Collection.
"Intersection of E. Van Buren St. and N. Seventh St," McCulloch Brothers Inc. Photographs, CP MCLMB A1679A. Arizona State University Libraries: Arizona Collection.
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