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Rufus

Crabtree"s inferiority complex

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Ok OK so we all know about the new malls like Triangle Town Center and the Streets at Southpoint, and then there are the old but rejuvinated malls like Charlotte's Southpark Mall, but what about Crabtree. Right now, it is trying so hard to compete with the aformentioned malls and their high-end retail opportunities like Nordstrom's, Saks, and Neiman Marcus. Now that Lord & Taylor is leaving, there is a report that they are going to tear down the former store, and build small separate stores that will be enclosed by a glass covering, much like what is done at Southpoint, it would face the proposed development across Crabtree Creek and even have a walkway for it. Another report calls for a high-end reatiler much like Neiman Marcus to fill in some of the old store and have other stores fill the rest. This news comes just weeks after the reconstruction plans on the former Four points hotel into a Westin hotel were scrapped and a new building for the Westin was to built with retail.

Do you believe that Crabtree has an inferiority complex and is trying to hard to become a retail destination in NC?

What do you think should be done with Crabtree and the area around the new Westin development?

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I definitely don't think Crabtree has an inferiority complex at all. I think they are adapting to the changing retail environment. Crabtree for years was a retail destination for North Carolina...people from all over would come to shop at Crabtree. Now that Triangle Towne Center and Southpoint have opened, that sort of diminished that, however Crabtree still has exclusive stores. I still shop at Crabtree, in fact I despise Triangle Towne Center. They may have a Saks (and I can't afford to shop there anyway), but they don't have the other smaller stores that I like to shop (J Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, etc...), and who puts carpet in a mall? And Southpoint feels too much like a theme park.

Crabtree got the Triangles first Cheesecake Factory, and I believe that area can be more of a draw for high end chain restaurants than say Triangle Towne Center or Southpoint. The Westin just goes to show that. Furthermore the development on Kidds Hill will also add to the fact that Crabtree will continue to be a major shopping destination for the region.

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Crabtree Valley is still the best mall in the Triangle. The other newer malls simply do not have the critical mass of exclusiveness to make them worthwhile.

I applaud any changes they make to the Lord & Taylor site, though I'd prefer the Neiman-Marcus option. A move like that would solidify the offerings at Crabtree and would usher in some newer and more unique stores to enhance what is new and unique there already.

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Crabtree Valley is still the best mall in the Triangle.  The other newer malls simply do not have the critical mass of exclusiveness to make them worthwhile. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

very true

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To me, the biggest drawback about Crabtree has always been getting in and out of place.  Regardless of what they add or teardown, I cringe when I think about driving Glenwood anywhere near that place.

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Try going there by bike - Crabtree Creek Greenway rules. You hardly even notice the chaos going on above you on Glenwood. The Crabtree Creek trail system covers a sizeable chunk of North and Northwest Raleigh. In addition, the House Creek greenway from the Art Museum to Crabtree Valley Mall is supposedly next on the city's list of greenway projects. That will provide the first significant north-south link between the Crabtree Creek and Reedy Creek-Rocky Branch- Walnut Creek networks, so even people from west and southwest Raleigh can get to Crabtree by bike if they're not too out of shape to handle the 10 mile ride.

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I don't think Crabtree needs much more than an Neiman or Nordstrom to be considered more upscale than Triangle. First off, Triangle has a Saks but not many stores that are even considered to be somewhat upscale. They don't have a Gap, Banna Republic, J. Crew, J. Jill, Lacoste, A Pea in the Pod, Ann Taylor, Crate & Barrell, Coach, White House/Black Market, Smith & Hawken, Oakley, The Limited, Ross-Simmons, Brooks Brothers, and Bombay which Crabtree has ALL of. These are all well know stores each with there own level of "upscaleness." Basically what I'm saying is that Crabtree doesn't need to try and be more upscale than Triangle cuz it already is and it will increase that lead even more if a rumored Neiman is built. As for Southpoint, that is located in Durham while Crabtree is in Raleigh creating great distance between the two to highly decreases the chance of a majority of a population shopping at only one of those two malls. Bottom line... Crabtree and Triangle stay and Raleigh, both do great, but Crabtree remains superior while Southpoint stays sucessful in Durham with its own population of customers.

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What about many small stores but of middle to high-end retail like possibly an Urban Outfitters, locally owned stores like at North Hills, or even a Louis Vuitton and then food joints like a Morton's or McCormick and Schmicks. that may just be the trick to sprucing up the area for the new Westin and the Kidd's Hill development, and even be able to compete with North Hills, which is not far up the road.

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Do you believe that Crabtree has an inferiority complex and is trying to hard to become a retail destination in NC?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No, I think the owners are trying to keep the mall going. I mean, what is happening isn't uncommon in the U.S. Raleigh is no exception. Charlotte isn't particularly special for having SP. No offense to anyone in Charlotte, but there are malls like that all over the country. I don't assume Raleigh is competing with Charlotte having a high-end mall any more than Charlotte is slighting Raleigh by having one. One thing has nothing to do with the other. I promise you, if Crabtree went up for sale, Simon (owner of SP mall) would be one of the companies bidding. It's just business.

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What about many small stores but of middle to high-end retail like possibly an Urban Outfitters, locally owned stores like at North Hills, or even a Louis Vuitton and then food joints like a Morton's or McCormick and Schmicks.  that may just be the trick to sprucing up the area for the new Westin and the Kidd's Hill development, and even be able to compete with North Hills, which is not far up the road.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

All of those things would help Crabtree a lot, but still we're not talking about a mall in distress here.

The Hudson Belk store there is consistently one of its company's top performers, as is the Hecht's. Crate & Barrel is pining for more space, and there is a wating list for tenants to come in. The mall's last renovation was about 10 years ago, but it's not exactly shabby.

Like girly said, if Plaza Associates ever put the place up for sale, it would fetch top dollar without question.

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Crabtree doesnt strike me as a high end mall though. I think its the design and renovations over the years that make it feel sort of hodge podge to me. When you walk through Southpark now, or Triangle Town Center, Southpoint, there is a sense of uniformity to the design. What Crabtree has is a great location that should sustain it for years to come.

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Crabtree doesnt strike me as a high end mall though. I think its the design and renovations over the years that make it feel sort of hodge podge to me. When you walk through Southpark now, or Triangle Town Center, Southpoint, there is a sense of uniformity to the design. What Crabtree has is a great location that should sustain it for years to come.

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The only reason anyone would consider Triangle Towne Center high end is because of Saks...the rest of the store mix doesn't lend itself to that notion. Crabtree, however, does have more high end stores than any other triangle mall - even not having a Saks or a Nordstrom.

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Crabtree doesnt strike me as a high end mall though. I think its the design and renovations over the years that make it feel sort of hodge podge to me. When you walk through Southpark now, or Triangle Town Center, Southpoint, there is a sense of uniformity to the design. What Crabtree has is a great location that should sustain it for years to come.

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I agree, location and tenant mix are what keeps Crabtree powerful.

Crabtree is certainly not as intimate as SouthPark and it's not as flashy as Triangle Town Center or Southpoint. The renovations wern't blended well into the original portion of the mall, and there's an absence of truly comfortable places for guests to sit and people-watch.

That said, the interior materials and details are very nice. The important parts of the mall (entrances, courts) were decently excecuted and it's certainly a ggod-looking renovation to be nearing a decade in age. The stores are as good as SouthPark, though the high-end boutiques just aren't there.

I think on the next go round of renovations at Crabtree, if they do even half of the things rumor has it they're planning, it'll be a changed mall and a better looking place at that.

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