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ncwebguy

Cameron Village

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I couldn't find a thread on Cameron Village, though it is indirectly mentioned in several other threads.

This Barry Saunders column about the closing of the Belk Express store kinda ticked me off. Is the Hudson Belk Express "old Raleigh"? No, it replaced it, specifically, the Hudson Belk on Fayetville Street Mall that closed a year or so before it opened in 1993. Before that, Thalhimers was open on the same block Hudson Belk eventually moved in. They offered even more of a selection than Hudson Belk Express, but could not make a go of it in Cameron Village. Now HBE is meeting a similar fate.

Cameron Village is considered "good" because of how close you can park to the stores, not how many people can get there without driving. Or how few people are willing to walk from Harris Teeter to the library.

Belk's arrival was the beginning of the end of "Old Raleigh" in Cameron Village. The movie theater, model train/hobby shop, fabric store, etc. were replaced by Blockbuster Video, Victoria's Secret, Pier One, Chicos, Athlete's Foot, etc. With increasing rents, locally owned stores have had to move to a smaller space (the frame shop) or move away (Galatea's move to Seaboard Station).

I'm sure the women who shopped there were more than happy when it opened. Did they feel bad for downtown losing an institution? Probably not. When they York family cut down a forest to lure retail away from the Central Business District and put a few buildings in a parking lot (and eventually parking deck), it was the first shopping center of its kind in the Southeast. Instead of being an alternative to shopping downtown, it replaced it.

It has survived by going upscale, and there seemed to be enough of a market to support that. There is a lot of changes going on right now, with Supercuts moving, the Village Deil expanding, and Cameron's replacing the Figs space. But other than the barber shop and Medlin-Davis cleaners, the "old Raleigh" feel left a long time ago.

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Good points.

I guess when I read the article, I saw it more as a discussion/lamentation of how it sucks that you can't go to pretty much any department store anymore without having to go to a big mega shopping mall. (The JC Penney at North Hills being an exception.) And they really do have a point about that.

On the other hand, one of the things they liked about that store was parking near the door and just going in. But really...you can pretty much do that with any Belk that I know. Most department stores at malls have an entrance that faces right up to a parking area. I dunno.

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This is off the topic of the article, but I'm glad someone started the topic...

Maybe it's just me, but in the context of the more "urban" redevelopment of N Hills, and some other 1st or 2nd ring suburban shopping centers, it's hard not to look at Cameron Village as a huge missed opportunity for York. I seem to recall they redid all the facades within the last 2-3 years to update everything (probably as a result of Jolly's and a few other tenants packing their bags). Wouldn't CV have been so much nicer if they completely redeveloped it as a true mixed-use center, with some 4-6 story condos or apartments, maybe some office space, and of course all the shops facing the streets on the ground floor, including the HT, with deck parking tucked away on the interior of the blocks... a nice, walkable, urban village. How much better a use of those blocks would that have been? They could even stage construction one block at a time to keep rent coming in as the new phases advanced.

Maybe it would be a bit controversial to go multistory in that area, but I'm not talking Coker Towers-type density--maybe 6 stories max. Certainly the Oberlin Court area is already becoming more dense, so the precedent has been set in that area, and the traffic wouldn't be very bad with the grid that exists there. Frankly, isn't it just a matter of time before this happens anyway? I would think as property values downtown continue to rise as new development comes on board, that will put more pressure on fringe properties esp. to the north and west like CV to build upward. Just a random thought...

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I agree that that CV eventually will go upward. It is only a matter of time with what little undeveloped area is left in that area. In fact, really if you want to build anything new around CV, you would probably need to tear something down. It's going to happen eventually. There are quite a few apartments/condos, but they are really aging. Some developer is going to take the risk and put the money down to do it.

What I would like to see at the very least is if they could time all those bloody lights correctly. I drive past CV every day to get to NCSU on Oberlin. Those two lights are synced so that if one triggers for cross-traffic coming out of CV, the other will. It's annoying as hell at 2am when you get stuck in between them and have to sit there. They should be independent at certain times of day. I understand during peak hours to control traffic flow, but really, at 2am? Make them flash yellow-caution or something like the one at Oberlin and Wade at night.

[/rant]

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^The lights on Oberlin near CV are very old, indeed. I don't think any of them run on sensors of any type, or a clock. They just have a regular rotation regardless of any other factors.

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I couldn't find a thread on Cameron Village, though it is indirectly mentioned in several other threads.

This Barry Saunders column about the closing of the Belk Express store kinda ticked me off. Is the Hudson Belk Express "old Raleigh"? No, it replaced it, specifically, the Hudson Belk on Fayetville Street Mall that closed a year or so before it opened in 1993. Before that, Thalhimers was open on the same block Hudson Belk eventually moved in. They offered even more of a selection than Hudson Belk Express, but could not make a go of it in Cameron Village. Now HBE is meeting a similar fate.

Cameron Village is considered "good" because of how close you can park to the stores, not how many people can get there without driving. Or how few people are willing to walk from Harris Teeter to the library.

Belk's arrival was the beginning of the end of "Old Raleigh" in Cameron Village. The movie theater, model train/hobby shop, fabric store, etc. were replaced by Blockbuster Video, Victoria's Secret, Pier One, Chicos, Athlete's Foot, etc. With increasing rents, locally owned stores have had to move to a smaller space (the frame shop) or move away (Galatea's move to Seaboard Station).

I'm sure the women who shopped there were more than happy when it opened. Did they feel bad for downtown losing an institution? Probably not. When they York family cut down a forest to lure retail away from the Central Business District and put a few buildings in a parking lot (and eventually parking deck), it was the first shopping center of its kind in the Southeast. Instead of being an alternative to shopping downtown, it replaced it.

It has survived by going upscale, and there seemed to be enough of a market to support that. There is a lot of changes going on right now, with Supercuts moving, the Village Deil expanding, and Cameron's replacing the Figs space. But other than the barber shop and Medlin-Davis cleaners, the "old Raleigh" feel left a long time ago.

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I can't say that Cameron Village doesn't have issues, but I don't have any issues with the place.

It's true that it shifted the retail emphasis from downtown to the suburbs. At a basic level, it could be considered sprawl. But, putting that aside for a second, it was a revolutionary idea for its time, helped put Raleigh on the map as a progressive city, and amazingly, is still relevant as a retail destination and neighborhood anchor some sixty years after its conception, without any major shifts in design. There are very few shopping centers that can remain relevant for twenty years, much less sixty.

The renovation didn't advance the urbanity of the place, but it did at least bring it up to date, eschewing the old blue awnings for something more sophisticated that still has its basic elements of community building: grocery retailers, a post office, a library, even, along with the usual upscale litany of retailers.

As for whether it's "old Raleigh?" Yeah, it is. How can something that's existed for that long and played a part in as many people lives not be?

Oh yeah, Hudson Belk is making a horrible mistake, but that's more about some disgruntled old ladies and Belk homogenization as a retailer than whether Cameron Village is a good development or not.

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Cameron Village as a *space* is Old Raleigh. Their tenants? Not as much as they used to be. Other than the drug store, grocery store, library and cafeteria, CV is more upscale now than it ever has been. Mostly due to its ITB location and lack of other nearby retail options. The anchors have changed from Sears and JC Penny to Harris Teeter and Eckerds/Rite Aid. They didn't mind having "Confederate House" there until the mid/late 90s. The office space -- hidden near Baskin Robbins, below Eckerds, and behind the McDonalds, is nothing compared to the stretch of 3 story buildings on Oberlin to Wade, solidifying the barrier between residences and shops.

With the recent wave of updates, building up isn't likely in the next 5-10 years, if not longer. The blue awnings were bad the day they went up but a slight improvement over the part of the deck that was removed around the Blockbuster/Village Tavern block. I can understand their "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality, but it does still seem like a missed opportunity.

The Crabtree Belks location has five exterior entrances -- three on the first floor and now two on the second with the wrap-around deck. Other area locations -- TTC, Cary Town Center, Southpoint, etc. have at least two exterior entrances as well. The CV location had a few spaces directly in front of the store, instead of an access road, but the size of the market that can drive themselves but not cross a street must be very small.

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The thing about Cameron Village is the Yorks have not owned for it years. They manage it through thier managment company but that leaves little runway to do with it as you would like. It has been sold several times since the Yorks owned it.

It has proposed to have apartments and such, especially up on the dead corner where Ballintines was. In fact, my family talks to a person who rents near that corner and they are not on a lease that I know, they know they will be leaving, just waiting on the news.

I think if the Yorks still owned it, something would have been done, but right now, the people in Dallas or Australia or whoever owns it now, a large investment must be made to add condos and with the condo marketplace just opening up in the last couple of years (and that is DT) why do that when the entire site needed a "paintjob and a bunch of new screen doors".

I also think they would have done something but after seeing what happen to Neal Coker and the campaign agaisnt him, why take the chance of ruining your good name since that war would be bloody if someone or powerful group decided to fight (like a Cameron park neighborhood)

Something one day will happen but I just don't think some guy in Dallas or Australia is thinking too hard about how condos and apartments would look great unless it is from minimal investment and big enough to make a lot of money....at least not while the current upgrade just basically happened.

JMHO

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Cameron Village as a *space* is Old Raleigh. Their tenants? Not as much as they used to be. Other than the drug store, grocery store, library and cafeteria, CV is more upscale now than it ever has been. Mostly due to its ITB location and lack of other nearby retail options. The anchors have changed from Sears and JC Penny to Harris Teeter and Eckerds/Rite Aid. They didn't mind having "Confederate House" there until the mid/late 90s. The office space -- hidden near Baskin Robbins, below Eckerds, and behind the McDonalds, is nothing compared to the stretch of 3 story buildings on Oberlin to Wade, solidifying the barrier between residences and shops.

With the recent wave of updates, building up isn't likely in the next 5-10 years, if not longer. The blue awnings were bad the day they went up but a slight improvement over the part of the deck that was removed around the Blockbuster/Village Tavern block. I can understand their "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality, but it does still seem like a missed opportunity.

The Crabtree Belks location has five exterior entrances -- three on the first floor and now two on the second with the wrap-around deck. Other area locations -- TTC, Cary Town Center, Southpoint, etc. have at least two exterior entrances as well. The CV location had a few spaces directly in front of the store, instead of an access road, but the size of the market that can drive themselves but not cross a street must be very small.

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I can agree with most of that.

Two things stand out that explain why things are the way they are:

Lack of vision when vision would have helped: Various sections of the center have emptied out over the years, and instead of taking the opportunity to increase density, the goal was just to fill space. the way it is now, there no way to make major changes without eroding business for existing tenants in the same block. The Harris Teeter relocation in the mid '90s is a prime example of this. Neither the old or new spaces changed much other than aesthetics.

The rent structure of malls: Typically, when a center is so successful that national retailers take notice, the rents become too high for local tenants to stay. Rather than establish a hierarchy of rents, most centers jack up the base rents to the level that national retailers are willing to pay, and fail to renew cheap rents. The cycle only reverses if the mall starts becoming less popular.

Hudson Belk Crabtree isn't a hard store to shop, but the most loyal customers are often the least hospitable to change. It's like when they closed the cafeteria. It was a public relations disaster. Sales recovered and most people don't miss the Capitol Room enough to stop shopping Belk, but changing things tends to cause problems with the big fans.

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The local media love the dote on the Yorks as some sort of revolutionary heroes but I have always thought they messed up what Raleigh once was beyond repair. The beginning of white flight.

recent articles on CV have discussed lots of possibilities mulled over such as splitting Cameron Ave and making a one way pair out of the lanes with with stores in between, putting multi-story apartments along Oberlin where the temporary library space was and a hotel where Eckard is. None of this ever happens though as the status quo lines the pockets of out of town owners nicely....

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I couldn't find a thread on Cameron Village, though it is indirectly mentioned in several other threads.

This Barry Saunders column about the closing of the Belk Express store kinda ticked me off. Is the Hudson Belk Express "old Raleigh"? No, it replaced it, specifically, the Hudson Belk on Fayetville Street Mall that closed a year or so before it opened in 1993. Before that, Thalhimers was open on the same block Hudson Belk eventually moved in. They offered even more of a selection than Hudson Belk Express, but could not make a go of it in Cameron Village. Now HBE is meeting a similar fate.

Cameron Village is considered "good" because of how close you can park to the stores, not how many people can get there without driving. Or how few people are willing to walk from Harris Teeter to the library.

Belk's arrival was the beginning of the end of "Old Raleigh" in Cameron Village. The movie theater, model train/hobby shop, fabric store, etc. were replaced by Blockbuster Video, Victoria's Secret, Pier One, Chicos, Athlete's Foot, etc. With increasing rents, locally owned stores have had to move to a smaller space (the frame shop) or move away (Galatea's move to Seaboard Station).

I'm sure the women who shopped there were more than happy when it opened. Did they feel bad for downtown losing an institution? Probably not. When they York family cut down a forest to lure retail away from the Central Business District and put a few buildings in a parking lot (and eventually parking deck), it was the first shopping center of its kind in the Southeast. Instead of being an alternative to shopping downtown, it replaced it.

It has survived by going upscale, and there seemed to be enough of a market to support that. There is a lot of changes going on right now, with Supercuts moving, the Village Deil expanding, and Cameron's replacing the Figs space. But other than the barber shop and Medlin-Davis cleaners, the "old Raleigh" feel left a long time ago.

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You have heard that Eckerd is being kicked out of their location when their lease is up and HT is moving to their space, right?

That was reported at least a year ago.

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You have heard that Eckerd is being kicked out of their location when their lease is up and HT is moving to their space, right?

That was reported at least a year ago.

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I couldn't find a thread on Cameron Village, though it is indirectly mentioned in several other threads.

This Barry Saunders column about the closing of the Belk Express store kinda ticked me off. Is the Hudson Belk Express "old Raleigh"? No, it replaced it, specifically, the Hudson Belk on Fayetville Street Mall that closed a year or so before it opened in 1993. Before that, Thalhimers was open on the same block Hudson Belk eventually moved in. They offered even more of a selection than Hudson Belk Express, but could not make a go of it in Cameron Village. Now HBE is meeting a similar fate.

Cameron Village is considered "good" because of how close you can park to the stores, not how many people can get there without driving. Or how few people are willing to walk from Harris Teeter to the library.

Belk's arrival was the beginning of the end of "Old Raleigh" in Cameron Village. The movie theater, model train/hobby shop, fabric store, etc. were replaced by Blockbuster Video, Victoria's Secret, Pier One, Chicos, Athlete's Foot, etc. With increasing rents, locally owned stores have had to move to a smaller space (the frame shop) or move away (Galatea's move to Seaboard Station).

I'm sure the women who shopped there were more than happy when it opened. Did they feel bad for downtown losing an institution? Probably not. When they York family cut down a forest to lure retail away from the Central Business District and put a few buildings in a parking lot (and eventually parking deck), it was the first shopping center of its kind in the Southeast. Instead of being an alternative to shopping downtown, it replaced it.

It has survived by going upscale, and there seemed to be enough of a market to support that. There is a lot of changes going on right now, with Supercuts moving, the Village Deil expanding, and Cameron's replacing the Figs space. But other than the barber shop and Medlin-Davis cleaners, the "old Raleigh" feel left a long time ago.

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Wait, what? Where's this source?

I know it's illogical, but I'd like the info anyways.

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It was in the N&O about a year ago,, HT confirms it.

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I think I remember reading that Eckerd would move into the HT space, and HT would build a new store at the Eckerd site.

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It was *because* of the second half of that quote that I wrote the initial post:

The store and Cameron Village both represent an old Raleigh sensibility, where customer satisfaction and convenience take precedence over stockholder shares and market research.

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^ Can't dispute any of that, ncwebguy.

If HT moves to the Eckerd site, it'll revisit the same location they had before they moved in the mid '90s. Very ironic.

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Yeah, I was going to point the "back to the future"-ness of HT moving back to the original location. I think they left there either because the old space was "too small" or maybe not well configured with a truck dock to handle deliveries. There will have to be some retooling.

I bought a pair of shorts at the CV Thalhimer's going out of business sale, but that might have been the only time I went in there. When the current HT opened, it was a huge step up. HT did some serious rennovations on its current space just over a year ago.

Eckerds/Rite Aid closed their Hillsborough Street location, so if they lose their Cameron Village space in a few years, the next closest location will be on Lake Boone. Unless they shuffle down the street to Oberlin Court (or the other direction closer to Glenwood South) but I don't know if either of those options would be a good move.

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^For Eckerd...ahem, Rite Aid, there's also Ridgewood and Five Points. But yeah, I think it'd be a dumb move for them. Especially for what's practically their local "flagship" store. They're also probably very happy with the near-monopoly they've got in west Raleigh. :D

With Eckerd and HT both doing some renovations in the last year or two, it seems silly either would move any time soon.

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I don't know if anybody knows, but if HT is moving back to the Eckerd pad, are they going to build a new, larger building (two stories maybe) or are they going to shoehorn the new store into the old building?

Anyway, I never got to see Thalhimers at Cameron Village, but it would stand to reason that a department store might work there again. Then again, there are no department store chains left that would both consider a space that size and fit into the demographics of CV. Oh well.

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I don't know if anybody knows, but if HT is moving back to the Eckerd pad, are they going to build a new, larger building (two stories maybe) or are they going to shoehorn the new store into the old building?

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