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mallguy

Small-town malls around Charlotte

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A recent visit to the Salisbury Mall capped off my tour of small-town malls around Charlotte: Monroe Mall, Rock Hill Galleria, Carolina Mall in Concord, Gaston Mall and Eastridge Mall in Gastonia. I'd say that some or all of them are destined to bite the dust, as most of them (except Eastridge) don't have the critical mass to compete with Charlotte's regional malls and Belk and JCPenney are shifting to stores in power centers, and larger and newer Wal-Marts will surely be built near all of these malls, drawing the price-sensitive market away.

Any thoughts? Any recollections of these malls during their heydays? Any memories of shopping in downtown Salisbury, Monroe, Rock Hill, etc. while Belk was still downtown?

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The Galleria in Rock Hill is actually adding stores, and the only mall it competes directly with in Charlotte is Carolina Place, which is run-of-the-mill. I think all of these malls still have a niche to fulfill, as people don't always want to drive to Charlotte to shop (the only exceptions being South Park and Concord Mills).

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The Galleria in Rock Hill is actually adding stores, and the only mall it competes directly with in Charlotte is Carolina Place, which is run-of-the-mill. I think all of these malls still have a niche to fulfill, as people don't always want to drive to Charlotte to shop (the only exceptions being South Park and Concord Mills).

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The Galleria in Rock Hill is not that old of a mall. Certainly not as old as some of the other places you mention as some of those have been there for decades so I don't think it really qualifies to be on this list.

However it is my opinion that the time of the malls has passed and people really are looking for something more like a Birkdale Village than a mall. I suspect that some of these old malls will be torn down and replaced by something more inviting.

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What definition are you using for a "mall?" Does it have to be enclosed? Or does a strip mall qualify? What about places like Sharon Corners, which has been doing quite well and holds some very nice stores...

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It's only a matter of time for the older malls. Their design is so dated that you can't really do much besides watch them decline slowly. Once a mall gains a reputation for being "stale", people move on pretty quickly to other options. In a way, the decline of the middle-income department store was probably the biggest nail in the coffin for older shopping malls.

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It's only a matter of time for the older malls. Their design is so dated that you can't really do much besides watch them decline slowly. Once a mall gains a reputation for being "stale", people move on pretty quickly to other options. In a way, the decline of the middle-income department store was probably the biggest nail in the coffin for older shopping malls.

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The Rock Hill Mall actually has a lot of potential, since it pulls shoppers from Fort Mill, Rock Hill, York, Chester, and Lancaster. It competes, as mentioned before, with the Pineville mall, so store mix is pretty important.

The worst decision they ever made, and the one in my opinion that is fatal, is attaching a damn Wal-Mart to the mall. Short sighted, stupid, and fatal. They're regretting it now as they try to add more high profile tenants. The new owner has shut off the entrance from Wal-Mart into the mall but it doesn't really matter.

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I think it is safe to say that Carolina Mall in Concord is safe. I had my doubts when Concord Mills first opened, but with the number of businesses in southern Kannapolis and northern Concord that rely on this mall, I think it will be healthy for the foreseeable future. It is next to one of the metro's largest hospitals and every time I have been there in the past five years (maybe ten times total) it has been just as busy as Concord Mills (comparing them at the same TODs.) I don't see that mall expanding much at all (as there is not a lot of room to) anytime soon, but for the businesses it currently hosts, they appear to have been quite healthy as far as I can remember. It is no longer the place to go, but plenty of people still go there.

There isn't enough draw to the center city for people to flock there from the suburbs just yet. Malls are a dying breed in general, but only when there is too much local competition. I can't see another Walmart being built anywhere near Carolina Mall as that area is packed very tightly with businesses. There is a Walmart about three miles from it but it is very detached from 29 in that part of Concord and it doesn't seem to have made any impact on that mall.

I can see one of the Gaston county malls closing as they are redundant in many ways. However, given Gaston county's population boom, I still am not sure that will happen. I don't think this is the case in Cabarrus County as Concord Mills does not provide the department stores to "knock out" Carolina Mall.

People will continue to go to malls until there is something more convenient that you can walk around rather than power centers which are more reliant on the automobile to navigate them. You can go to a mall by bus (or LRT in future cases) and get all your shopping done without having to walk a mile to the other side of the strip in the rain, heat, or cold. While shopping outside can be fun, it's not so fun when you're walking next to a parking lot; thus, until more pedestrian friendly "power centers" are developed, I see our suburban malls surviving the next decade.

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The worst decision they ever made, and the one in my opinion that is fatal, is attaching a damn Wal-Mart to the mall. Short sighted, stupid, and fatal. They're regretting it now as they try to add more high profile tenants. The new owner has shut off the entrance from Wal-Mart into the mall but it doesn't really matter.

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I can see one of the Gaston county malls closing as they are redundant in many ways. However, given Gaston county's population boom, I still am not sure that will happen.

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I think the five-middle-of-the-road department store-anchor regional mall is pretty much dead, but lifestyle centers aren't the answer either.

The reason for my outlook on this comes from the continual overdevelopment of retail concepts. Malls took over because they seemed less ordinary than downtowns, and when every corner had one, people started hating them. Lifestyle centers are currently trouncing malls because they seem novel. Their number will soon be up as well, because on every available corner, here comes another one! Expect the backlash to be strong and imminent.

When every corner has the same thing, and people are willing to choose one place over another based solely on convenience and price, the mall or shopping area will only be as strong as its immediate neighborhood. If you got a weak neighborhood financially and better choices are nearby the customers that spend money, you get your Eastlands and Gaston Malls.

No amount of whiz-bang architecture will make an otherwise non-descript shopping area with bad choices survive. There's a constant need to reconfigure and redecorate that means absolutely nothing to the consumer if their favorite stores aren't represented.

If you make a superior product and advertise it right, people will seek you out and spend money with you, but only if it's a fun, unique experience.

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