Gin Blossom fans and Tempe area residents were given bad news recently. The much beloved and iconic Mrs. Rita’s Spiritual Center has been put on the market for $2.9 million. Originally built in the 1920s, the building became the home to the psychic Mrs. Rita and her spiritual center in 1969. The iconic business has been a staple in Tempe since then, particularly around the campus of Arizona State University, which is close to the property.
Well known for her tarot card and psychic readings throughout the Tempe area and among ASU students and Alumni, Mrs. Rita would draw the attention of a beloved Tempe band that would become known across all of America. The home became known nationally in 1992 when the Gin Blossoms wrote and debuted their song “Mrs. Rita” about Mrs. Rita’s Spiritual Center, and mentioning Mrs. Rita herself in the chorus – “Tell me Mrs. Rita, what’s it say in my tarot? Read my palm and tell me why do lovers come and go.”
Its obvious that the band has kept tabs on this iconic landmark since the song became a hit for them, with one of the original founders/members, Jesse Ventura, guitarist, posting the news of the sale on his Facebook page. The post later also appeared on the Gin Blossoms band Facebook page. However, it has been reported that when Mrs. Rita herself was contacted for a reaction, surprisingly she said she had been unaware that is was going to be listed.
Many fans of the song, the band and the actual business are saddened by the listing, not ready for this era to come to an end. Many have suggested that it would make a good museum for the multitude of bands that came out of Tempe in the 1990s, but that does not appear to be a feasible plan for the future. The home is on a plot of land that is specifically zoned for commercial use, and the area across the street is currently in process of getting a major upgrade, with a luxury apartment complex reaching up nine stories and with a Whole Foods on the ground floor in the process of being built.
Developers are hopeful that the property will sell by year end, but plans for any destruction or development of Mrs. Rita’s remain hidden from our sight for now.