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NCMike1981

University Mall

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I figure might as well start a thread in regards to University Mall in Chapel Hill, one of the Triangles smallest malls. It's anchored by Dillards, A Southern Season, and Roses. Hudson Belk was formerly an anchor before the opening of Southpoint Mall when it was quickly replaced by A Southern Season, which has been said to have ressurected the mall. Feel free to post your experiences, opinions or comments about University Mall here. Here's a picture I took of one of the malls anchors Dillards (formerly Iveys)...

post-3026-1178484971_thumb.jpg

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The fact that one of its anchors has been Roses' has always struck me as quite different than any other mall around here.

I guess it's a show of contrasts...very upscale store, Southern Season, a mid-scale store, Dillards, and then Roses. You won't see that much economic diversity of shops in hardly any other malls around here.

Edited by RaleighRob

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Where is University Mall, like in relation to UNC?

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Its about 1.5 miles from downtown Chapel Hill between Franklin St. and 15-501 (Fordham Blvd.).

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Head down East Franklin and take a right at Estes after about 1.5 miles. The mall is at the corner of Estes & Fordham (aka 15-501 Bypass).

It's reasonably close to the center of town, but it's in a location that is neither particularly walkable nor urban.

A Southern Season is a regional draw for the mall. However, from what I've observed, most people that go to the mall for Southern Season don't bother with the rest of the mall, and to a lesser degree, vice versa. Southern Season is quite popular. The rest of the mall stays reasonably busy too, and is mostly frequented by locals, not students. Students almost universally prefer to walk to Franklin Street for dining & nightlife, and to drive or ride the bus to Southpoint for clothing and other retail.

It's quite interesting that this little mall has again found itself a niche, in spite of the increased competition from nearby Southpoint.

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It's where US 15-501 meets South Estes Drive. Which would put it roughly 2 miles northwest of UNC's main campus.

Edited by RaleighRob

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There are a few "unique" stores there like A Souther Season, Spice Street, art galleries, and the store packed with nic-nacks, but the rest of it is typical mall fare -- EB Games, shoe stores, Bath Junkie (they closed the Crabtree location but kept this one) etc.

There isn't a traditional food court, but I don't know if that helps or hurts. Size wise, it feels like South Hills in Cary. University Mall has done a better job of keeping up with the times than South Hills, which is anchorched by the Asian market, Burlington Coat Factory and Rugged Wearhouse.

There was also a Roses in Northgate till the early/mid 90s. They anchored malls/shopping centers before Target entered the Triangle in the 90s and Wal-Mart started exponential expansion. Since Chapel Hill probably won't let a Target or Wal-Mart open in city limits any time soon, Roses and University Mall are made for each other. There is also a Roses in Zebulon off 64, though with the 64 bypass and 540 opening, competition may start heading east.

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The Roses in UMall is one of the worst stores I have been in. It makes Wal-Mart look like Nordstrom's.

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Just about all the malls in the Triangle have their own distinct charm, and University Mall is no exception. I really like the mall's merchandise mix, though the proportion of art galleries compared to other categories is a little excessive.

Losing Hudson Belk was the best thing that could have happened to this place. A Southern Season is a much more interesting anchor and it's drawing more frequent shoppers to the mall than Belk did.

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A Southern Season is a regional draw for the mall. However, from what I've observed, most people that go to the mall for Southern Season don't bother with the rest of the mall, and to a lesser degree, vice versa. Southern Season is quite popular. The rest of the mall stays reasonably busy too, and is mostly frequented by locals, not students. Students almost universally prefer to walk to Franklin Street for dining & nightlife, and to drive or ride the bus to Southpoint for clothing and other retail.

A Southern Season is fantastic. I find myself wandering around there whenever I go... if you like hard to find Swiss chocolates, rare candies from Asia, or a hundred different coffees, this is your place. I wish for one in Raleigh...

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BTW, if you ever get a chance to eat brunch in Chapel Hill, check out "Weathervane" at A Southern Season. They have a $7 plate that's fantastic... the best deal going on brunch IMO. Combine that with Elmos, and Carrborro/C-H beats the hell out of Raleigh in quality and inexpensive brunch joints. Sure we have the irish pubs, but they're like $12-15 buffets. Can a brother get some help over here?

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^And don't forget Sunday Brunch at Weaver Street Grocery. :D

But to be fair, Raleigh does have Porters, Irregardless and Humble Pie, which all have good relatively inexpensive (depending on what you order), yet high-quality brunch options.

But then, we're getting off-topic aren't we. ;)

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New Mall Directory

I was just browsing the mall website and saw they have an actual mall map posted now...I've never noticed how empty the section from Roses to A Southern Season is....you'd think there would be more spaces towards Dillards b/c I've heard A Southern Season is such a draw...any thoughts? Anyone think the mall will be able to fill all the empty spaces?

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Southern Season is a big draw, but alot of folks go there and don't go in the rest of the mall. Last time I was there, there were only a fraction of the people using their mall entrance as there was their parking lot entrance. (The cashier at the mall entrance even looked positively bored.) Southern Season's shoppers are often there just for their products, not as mall browsers.

For Dillards, people go there like any other department store...to shop. So they're more likely to spill out and browse the rest of the mall.

I imagine that Dillards has decent business. For one, it's the only Dillards between Greensboro & Cary, and secondly, since Belk left, it's the only department store in all of Chapel Hill.

Edited by RaleighRob

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Dillard's does pretty well. They remodeled recently and it actually looks nice instead of dated for a change.

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I realize I had posted a "picture of a picture" back when the thread was created but I've gotten a scanner and actually have a scanned picture of the Dillards to post now:

University1.jpg

This is the only old school Dillards left in the Triangle area, as well as the only traditional department store in Chapel Hill since Hudson Belk jumped ship over to Southpoint in 2002.

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That's got to be the oldest former Ivey's still operating that looks like it did as Ivey's.

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What did the Belk store look like at this mall? I don't think I've ever seen any photographs of it.

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The Belk definately wasn't well photographed (but then again try finding a pic of the Roses online too lol)...I recall it being about the size of Dillards but with the Belk columns of the era....I'll try and dig up some pics online

Edited by NCMike1981

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^I have searched the web a few times trying to find pics of the former Belk Leggett/Hudson Belk at this mall to no avail. If my memory is correct I recall it looking like a miniature Crabtree store that was about the size of the Dillards on the opposite end of the mall...unfortunately looks like the store wasn't ever really photographed...unless folks happen to have pictures they just haven't posted online.

Edited by NCMike1981

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The Belk Leggett wasn't particularly striking or unique. Kind of utilitarian compared to Dillard's, which is still a really neat looking building. I doubt there are many casual photographs of the place.

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The Children's Store Leaving University Mall

There was an interesting story today in the paper regarding University Mall. Looks like long time tenant The Children's Store is closing the end of this month, along with Bear Rock Cafe (which is being replaced by Red Bull Asian Bistro). What I find most disturbing about the article was the fact that mall owners actually offered to sell the Dillard's anchor space to the city for them to consider building a public library space in hopes that it would generate mall traffic.... here's another article I found online referencing that move:

Chapel Hill Library may take Dillard's space at University Mall

I am kind of suprised that the mall owners may force the department store to close so a public library could open in it's place. I could see them trying to get maybe Roses to close as some folks think that store hurts the malls image but I guess the Roses space isn't big enough for the town to even consider. Having the mall anchored by A Southern Season, Roses and a library can't be good for the traditional inline stores within the mall. As another side note if this Dillard's closes that leaves them anchoring only 2 malls in the Triangle market, out of 6 traditional malls (7 if you consider JCP/Target anchored North Hills), and it would also leave Chapel Hill without any department stores.

Any thoughts on the potential drama at the Triangle's smallest traditional mall?

Edited by NCMike1981

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