Say Goodbye to Sundome in SCW

July 31, 2013 at 13:13

Margaret Stephens

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The Sundome in Sun City West will soon be a distant memory, only to be remembered through historic photos.

It was built by Del Webb in 1980 as an attraction to help sell homes there. In its heyday the 7,000 seat performing arts center hosted big name stars like Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Lawrence Welk, Don Rickles as well as many other plays and performances throughout the years. But even with big name entertainers and a huge subsidy from Del Webb, the venue has never turned a profit in its entire 33 years of existence.

The Sundome was owned by ASU’s Performing Arts division, who tried to sell it to the city for $10 in the 1990s, but the city could not afford to incur the huge losses and gave it back to ASU.

Some estimated that the land alone was worth about $7 Million, but ASU could not continue to fund the huge losses and carrying costs on the project, and nobody else was interested in spending the $10M – $12M it would take to upgrade the Sundome into something that would compete with other modern performing arts venues.

Long ago stripped of its lighting and sound equipment, the Sundome has been a white elephant for many years now.  ASU sold it in Feb 2013 to a Scottsdale development company for $2 Million, and demolition is currently underway to make room for a new shopping center. The new retail center will be anchored by a Fry’s Market and demolition is expected to be completed in September.

The new Fry’s Market and shopping center will pay tribute to the historic site by using similar arches in their architecture and by using some of the old iron gates and other items from the original structures.

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