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Bordering neighbors impact local economy

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Mexican visitors influence Tucson’s economy. Year round, shoppers come from Sonora, Mexico, to the United States to seek deals and spend money. On average, they spend about $1 billion in Tucson alone, which has a big impact on the local economy. About 22 million Mexico visitors come to Arizona each year with the main purpose to shop, studies show. The number spikes around holidays, such as Black Friday after Thanksgiving and Easter, and back-to-school season, said Felipe Garcia, executive vice president for Visit Tucson. When those holidays hit, parking lots are filled with Sonora license plates, and shoppers spend on average $1,000-$5,000. “The Mexican shopper is particularly a big spender here in our community,”  said Juan Padres, economic development and international trade specialist for the City of Tucson. “We’re the largest metro city closest to the Arizona-Sonora border, so...

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Vacancies threaten shopping malls’ future

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Empty malls from department store closures means a challenge for investors nationwide. Shoppers in Tucson are seeing more big box stores such as Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney and Macy’s closing down, and some local malls are suffering as a result. Brigham Stevens, an analyst for Tucson-based investors, Bourn Companies LLC, which bought the Foothills Mall last December from Schottenstein Property Group, said the group hopes to provide a community center with additional uses other than just retail. Tucson’s Foothills Mall currently looks like a ghost town, but Bourn wants to redevelop it into something that will attract people to the area once again. “We see the trends all across malls, and how they’re under performing and so we don’t see the ideal solution of trying to lease-up the vacancies with additional retailers,” Stevens said. He said his company is focusing heavily...

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