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DigitalSky

Northgate Mall

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Durham's oldest mall, Northgate, will be losing one of its anchors. Hudson Belk is leaving the mall (the crime in the area has gone up a lot). The space where Belk will vacate, will be demolished and created into an outdoor village concept. It was originally the anchor spot for Thalhimer's (later Hecht's), then Hecht's moved to their new anchor pad in 1994 with the mall's expansion and Belk took the old location of Hecht's/Thalhimer's.

At least this plan is better than demolishing the whole mall. Durham's other old mall, South Square (RIP) is gone... due to competition from the new Southpoint Mall. I think they could have just redeveloped South Square (a la southpark) instead of building a whole new mall and destroying the older mall ... FYI - Today South Square Mall's grounds have a Super Target and Sam's Club (ironic isn't it)

Anyway, heres news from the mall's website northgatemall.com

Northgate is turning shopping inside out! Demolition and pre-construction phases have already begun as Northgate makes a bold move in the marketplace providing the best of both worlds

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PS - After Belk Leaves, it would be one of the ONLY NC malls without a Belk store.

How many malls (traditional malls, not outlet) can you think of that don't have a Belk store in NC?

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That is a good question.  I will have to think about it for a while.  Actually Charlotte's Overstreet Mall no longer has a Belks when they closed their long term flagship store on Trade & Tryon in the late 1980s.  The BofA tower stands there now.  I agree however it really isn't a traditional mall either.

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Actually, there is a Belk express now in the Overstreet Mall.. i think in the Omni

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University Mall in Chapel Hill doesn't have a Belk store anymore though, it used to before Southpoint was built and before South Square mall closed in Durham.

North Hills in Raleigh never had a Belk store because it is so close to Crabtree Valley's Belk store... but it is more of a town center today rather than a mall.

Other than that, i believe most malls throughout NC do have Belk.

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Ok so its been announced a movie theater will be joining the project, 10 screens which will take over the 2nd level of Hudson Belk

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That Hudson Belk store was always a stinker. It never really took off because it was so far away from the rest of the mall's main stores. Replacing it with a theater, which is more needed than a department store at that site, will definately give Northgate a lift, along with the other renovations.

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Great renderings. That mall must have nine lives; whenever it seems like they're down for the count, the developers come up with some other way of making it relevant that works.

Northgate's one of the few large malls still owned by local developers. The same family has owned it for 40 years!

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Northgate Mall is the other mall in Durham. It was built over 40 years ago, and appears to have lost much of its luster since the opening of Southpoint a few yrs back. Unfortunately more then just the opening of the new mall has hurt Northgate. It has steadily gained a reputation of being somewhat riddled with crime. I have a theory about this. Once upon a time there was another mall in Durham, South Square. South Square was a modest 2 level mall with about 100 stores. The only anchor it shared with Northgate was Belks but otherwise the anchors were different and the malls co-existed peacefully. It was not crime riddled but had a bit of a reputation among some people, as did Northgate, but not to the point where either mall suffered from it. Well Southpoint opened, as this huge mega mall on the outskirts of Durham along I-40. This mall is huge, and people actually come from all over the state to shop there. The area around Southpoint has turned into a suburban paradise, on both a shopping and residential real estate level. About 75% of the stuff around the mall has been built since it was approved/built. Crime there is minimal, or is at least percieved to be. I've heard people around Cary and Raleigh say that the only place they'll go to in Durham is Southpoint, b/c they think everywhere else is dangerous in Durham. So basically the other mall in Durham, which is showing it's age compared to it's younger sibling, is in the older part of town, is alongside an interstate which it seems will be under construction for the rest of the century (I know patience is a virtue), and is slowly losing it's A Line tenants. I have serious doubts whether or not putting in a movie theater and converting an already 1/2 dead wing into a Southpoint type outdoor village will really work with this mall, which, unfortunately does not have the high class demographics of the Southpoint area. Northgate is in more of a working class part of Durham, sort of isolated from RTP and the Raleigh burbs a bit. I actually grew up a mile or so from the mall, close enough to walk to it regularly. While northern and western Durham is growing those parts of town have never experienced the population boom that Southern Durham has.

I have an old mall directory from around 2000 that I found recently, and once reading it I was struck with the realization that so many stores aren't there anymore. While not all of these chains exited in mass exodus style, it has been somewhat steady over the past few yrs. More stores have left since then, but once again I listed the more notable ones...

Pre Southpoint Stores Lost

A&W All American Food, American Eagle Outfitters, The Athlete's Foot, Belk, The Disney Store, Dollar Tree, Express, Gadzooks, The Gap, Great American Cookie Company, Gymboree, Harris Teeter, Jersey Mikes, K-B Toys, Kirkland's, Kites Unlimited, Rack Room Shoes, Reeds Jewelers, Things Remembered, Trade Secret, Wendy's, Wet Seal, Wilsons Leather

Post Southpoint Retained Chains

Aeropostal, Ann Taylor, Baskin Robbins, Bath & Body Works, Bombay Company, EB Games, Foot Action, Foot Locker/Kids Foot Locker/Lady Footlocker, FYE, GNC, Hechts, Lane Bryant, Motherhood Maternity, Office Max, Old Navy, Pacific Sunwear, Payless Shoe Source, Radio Shack, Rave, Ruby Tuesday, Sears, Spencer Gifts, Subway, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, Sunglass Hut, Talbots & Talbots Petites, Victoria's Secret, Waldenbooks, Zales

Pre Total Stores/Kiosks: 167

Post Total Stores/Kiosks: 146

Btw, yes Northgate has more chain stores/restaurants then I listed above, I just sort of stuck with the ones that were widely known. The healthiest areas of the mall appear to be from Hechts down to the Food Court, and then around Sears, where old Navy is. The area in between isn't bad, just a mix of local and chains, while the top right "arm" of the mall has definately seen better days....

Any thoughts on Northgate? Whether or not the Southpoint Type thing will turn it around? Will the mall regain some luster once the widening of I-85 is finally completed? Does it really have a future as a mall? Will it eventually be torn down for a big box shopping center, or maybe offices, or mixed use like North Hills?

Northgate Mall Homepage

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Interesting side note: the mall is locally owned and managed by the Rand family who reside in Durham. That's kind of unique nowadays, seems like most malls are part of a huge company that's based in other parts of the country....

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That's sad Northgate lost its Harris Teeter, the same will probably happen at Eastland. And sad it lost Belk, but all the renovations and theater should help out the mall. I want to see it doing well.

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I think Northgate has a strong future, in the long term. I think northern durham county will really take off once 85 is finished and once other parts of the triangle start to fill in with development. It just needs to endure the next 5-10 years and then things should improve, IMO.

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The Belk was originally a Thalhimers, and Belk spent almost no money renovating the space.  It looked old even at grand opening.

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LOL, that's funny it looked old at Grand opening. I went in the store once.. well the one time I went to Northgate early last year and the Belk looked lonely at the end.

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Hechts looks really new from the outside, obvious the store is alot newer then the rest of the mall, although the rest is slowly getting renovated. I'm concened though. The other night when I went to Northgate I cruised around the building and to my horror they are gutting Belks....I'm hoping they aren't going to renovate it into a theater...maybe they have to gut it 1st...but the outside of Belks is still totally intact....dark shiny stone walls and all...

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Hecht's Northgate was built in 1994 or '95, just befre the Crabtree store in Raleigh. Most of the rest of the mall dates from the '60s or early '70s.

The former Hudson Belk will get a theater upstairs. and new shops downstairs. It's going to really change the mall for the better.

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I remember when I was really little, I'm assuming before the mall additions of '87 and the wing where Belks was ended in a large water fountain. It was right where the top part of the "T" turns downward. My grandpa used to give me pennies and let me throw them in that fountain...Who were the anchors pre '87? I only remember Sears being there, and the mall ending with the waterfountain on one side, but I can't recall the Food Court during that time. Was that added on in '87 as well? Maybe Thalhimers was around where the Food Court presently is...

Also I remember before they added the Hechts wing and the mall ended at the Food Court. Right beside where Wendy's was there was a generic Dollar Store, they would add Hecht's and it's wing on behind the store....I think that when the Dollar Store closed the mall added Dollar Tree almost immediately near Sears. There was also a McDonalds across from the caurosel (sp) back when u could smoke inside the mall, and the smokers side was always full of smoke, but they had an indoor play area in the non smoking side and an outside mall entrance...

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I went to Northgate in '95. Seemed like a decent mall.

From personal experience, though, once one anchor in a non-thriving mall closes, if a strong new anchor isn't found, a mall death spiral can easily start, with in-line tenants closing or just hanging on as they age, with no new in-line class A tenants coming, and then other anchors close. McAlister Square in Greenville, SC had this happen; it went from being a nice neighborhood-type mall to a dead mall within the space of about five years. Pitiful.

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At Northgate, Hudson Belk's closing could only help. That whole wing of the mall never recovered from Hecht's moving and taking its business to the other end. It's been dead for years.

The new plan will eliminate some of that excess enclosed space and create a destination on the site of the old Belk/Hecht's/Thalhimers.

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Which mall was onsidered to be the dominant, more popular mall in Durham b4 Southpoint? Was it Northgate or South Square? Aside from different anchors the only difference in stores I recall was South Square having Structure and Abecrombie & Fitch. I'm pretty sure it had Gap like Northgate did. The Sears at Northgate also had a food cart set up by the escalators where they sold popcorn and sodas and stuff that I remember seeing during the '80's. Was South Square more upscale or were they both simply successful regional malls?

Also does any1 else remember going to North Duke Mall at the intersection of Duke St and Roxboro Rd? I remember walking through the mall and seeing Roses at the end. It also had a Kerr Drugs (still there just an outside entrance now) which had 2 entrances, a Mayberry Ice Cream Shop, a used bookstore, a very popular cafateria, I'm thinking K&W, and a Piece Goods store which my mom always used to go to. I recall the mall being quite full of stores and people through the early '90's then sliding downhill, I suppose, as Roses became less and less of a draw. The outside was quite dated as well, brick with a huge sign by the main mall entrance on Duke St that listed all of the stores located within the mall. Sometime around '99ish they closed off the mall and moved the remaining small tenants to the Roxboro Rd side along with a major exterior renovation. The inside of the mall is still in use as offices I believe...

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Do any of y'all remember which of the Durham malls had a Plej's at one point? It was a discount linens store, towels, drapes, etc. I ask because a family member managed that store for two or three months in the mid 90's, but no one can remember which mall it was in.

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