Closed big-box stores in Tucson morphing into gyms, entertainment centers

Closed big box stores, like this former Fry’s Food Store at Grant Road and Alvernon Way, make up 1.1 million square feet of vacant space around town. /Photo by Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star


Former grocery stores around Tucson have morphed into gyms or movie theaters and former department stores and furniture showrooms into entertainment venues.

As shopping centers strive to increase foot traffic, more and more tenants are setting up shop for services that can’t be obtained with a click.

“We now see nontraditional uses in retail centers throughout town, and this trend is expected to continue,” says a retail study prepared for the Pima County Real Estate Research Council.

Users such as charter schools and urgent care centers have kept some shopping centers afloat.


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