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Will EpiCentre be more successful than CityFair?

Will Epicenter be more successful than Cityfare?   62 members have voted

  1. 1. Will Epicenter be more successful than Cityfare?

    • No - Same Idea, Same Results
      4
    • Yes - Concept will work now
      51
    • What was Cityfare?
      7

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35 posts in this topic

Poll is self explanatory. Do you think Epicenter will be more successful than the now defunct Cityfare even though both were very similar ideas?

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I was just looking at some of the photos of Epicentre in another thread and wondering the same thing. I thought Citifair was a nice developement when it opened. I was living in Concord at the time and went to it several times. I think it's big disadvantage was its location at the time and Bank of America's construction that really cut it off. Epicentre is in a much better location. But, it seems to be lacking the retail that Citifair had. By retail I mean clothing stores and gift shops, not just restaurants. I hope it is a huge success.

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I remember when CityFair was born. It was a lovely place..... I loved the architecture, and there were wonderful shoppes to browse.

Comparing CityFair and EpiCentre is a little difficult when you consider how times have changed in the years between the two projects. In CityFair days, there were no inner-city condo towers with hundreds of residents nearby. There were fewer Uptown hotels then, and Charlotte's convention industry wasn't as evolved as today. Today, there are just more people Uptown.

I also remember being totally shocked when I heard CityFair had closed. Let's hope EpiCentre is a huge success.:)

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I was not around for Cityfair's quick life and death. I hope Epicentre thrives because of the growing resident population Uptown. I think Muvico will be a big hit. I will definitely go there as opposed to Philips Place or Park Terrace now.

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Honestly, comparing epicenter and cityfair is like comparing an apple and a baseball, they are both round in nature but are different in every other way.

Cityfare was barely more than a foodcourt to overstreet mall, but to my recollection wasn't even connected to overstreet mall. In its infancy and throughout its life, downtown, and especially College was a dreary place to be. There was no Arena, no nameworthy restaurants, hotels or restaurants, no light rail, no fun to be had. The Suburbs were taking over, Ballantyne was on the drawing board somewhere off on the horizon, and people rarely ventured onto the streets of uptown.

Epicenter is a outdoor urbanized lifestyle center, complete with a 5 screen movie theatre, 16 lanes for bowling, 50+ bars restaurants and shops, 400 condos, and 150 hotel rooms. Epicenter has direct access to light rail, 4th, college and trade, as well as the overstreet mall, 150k sq feet of offices and 1100 spaces to park built underneath it. Surrounding it is a state of the art arena, with hundreds of events a year, and a rapidly growing workforce and residential base that Cityfare never even dreamed of in all of its lifetime.

College St is in the process of a major redevelopment, the Ritz Carlton, the winter garden, and the new bofa tower will help breath life into this street, as the inside is turned outwards with street level retail fronting trade, and college where there used to be a parking lot, and the blank wall of Founders Hall. Just down brevard from the Epicenter is charlotte first true urban tourist attraction, NHOF, a shrine to one of Americas most popular sports, which will draw hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Do I think that Epicenter will be successful? YES very much so, I think it will be packed all hours of the day. The lunch crowd will be there everyday experiencing uptowns first glut of affordable dining, the after work crowd will be there taking advantage of happy hour before they hop on their train, bus, or in the car for the ride home. Dinner time will be equally successful as there will be new restaurants of all price ranges, hopefully all of which will be good. There will be a number of nightspots represented, including a bar by one of charlottes biggest celebrities, Dale Jr., and a few noteworthy spots that should be pretty neat. I haven't even gotten to the best part, a movie theatre, something that all the inner ring neighborhoods would love, the closest theatres to downtown are, the manor, park terrace, and phillips place, all of which are great theatres, but lacking in ammenities. Let us not forget the trickle down effect of the events at the arena, which has 150+ events per year, not to mention Imaginon, Discovery Place, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Bank of America Stadium, the Charlotte Convention Center, and all of the venues that bring people in from the suburbs and even other parts of the state, this is the only option in downtown charlotte that will provide exactly what these people need, daytime, weekend entertainment. Heres the biggest suprise of all, we might actually see people downtown on Sunday, and slowly I think businesses around downtown will start taking more chances and opening their doors on the weekend, because there will be more people downtown than ever.

In conclusion, Epicenter will be wildly successful!

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I think the two are terribly hard to compare when you consider the time when CityFair was built to now. Other than location being similar, downtown Charlotte now compared to then is really an entirely different city. At that time restaurants other than daytime lunch stuff and Sluggs and a very short list of others didn't even work downtown. There were no nearby residents other than 4th Ward and the public housing project of Earle Village (now Garden District in 1st Ward), uptown was a fairly scary place after dark to most people, and there were less office buildings even. Back then I didn't know anyone that spent time downtown except for work or to party at Mythos. Now everyone I know spends a lot of leisure time downtown.

Now you have BofA Corp Center, the new Wachovia buildings, many more residents in every ward other than 2nd (and they are coming). You have the attractions that bring thousands into center city constantly from conventions to the dozens of hockey and basketball games and football games. Restaurants, bars, and other venues are thriving downtown now -- few close, but many open. Back during CityFair days you rarely would find people on the streets after dark, now most every night other than Sunday, Monday, some Tuesdays, you'll find people everywhere -- daytime and late into the night.

I think this concept is better as well -- it is private, CityFair was the City of Charlotte trying to open a mini-mall with a private partnership, and the timing now is simply better. I can't say whether I think the individual restaurants will each survive, who knows, but the whole project...i have a hard time seeing it is similar to CityFair really at all, mostly for timing, and for the volume of office workers, residents, and visitors that are now downtown that simply weren't there or weren't there in significant numbers over a decade ago.

Compared, also, to the Overstreet Mall -- as much as many of us don't like it and it's segregation from street life, it has been open and working for longer than I can remember. The businesses there do quite well.

Add in what is coming: more residential and office, The Ritz, Aloft and 210 Trade (attached to the project), as well as the fact that this has a movie theater with no competition downtown -- more consideration for the times and good timing.

In conclusion, Epicenter will be wildly successful!

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To be fair when Cityfare was operating, the Holiday Inn across the street was there with all the ground floor stuff that is there now, there was an extremely popular upscale Chinese restaurant across the street called the Ginger Root and there was a good bit of nightlife on N. College that isn't there now because they tore down all the places where it used to exist. Cityfare was also more than just a food court. If I remember correctly, for example, the only Brookstone in the city was located there at the time and there were numerous other shops to be explored all the way to the top floor. The original plan was to connect it to the overstreet mall and I believe they actually built the skywalk, but Belk announced it was closing it's downtown store and the work was never finished.

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The original plan was to connect it to the overstreet mall and I believe they actually built the skywalk, but Belk announced it was closing it's downtown store and the work was never finished.

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To be fair when Cityfare was operating, the Holiday Inn across the street was there with all the ground floor stuff that is there now, there was an extremely popular upscale Chinese restaurant across the street called the Ginger Root and there was a good bit of nightlife on N. College that isn't there now because they tore down all the places where it used to exist. Cityfare was also more than just a food court. If I remember correctly, for example, the only Brookstone in the city was located there at the time and there were numerous other shops to be explored all the way to the top floor. The original plan was to connect it to the overstreet mall and I believe they actually built the skywalk, but Belk announced it was closing it's downtown store and the work was never finished.

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EpiCentre will be a success. I can see a few of the shops/restaurants struggling in the first couple of years due to all the construction that may be hindering movement to, from, and within the site, but come 2010 the site will be successful as ever.

CityFair was in operation before the whole national urban movement that began around 2000. Back in the CityFair days, it wasn't "cool" to go uptown and hang out (not like Charlotte really had places to go back then anyways), and the perception of crime, decay, and lack of vivacity was prevalent. CityFair was built towards the end of the national trend of decaying downtowns. There is now a national movement to move back to the inner cities (combining with the green movement) and there seems to be at least a modest backlash to suburbs.

I feel like in the future the less wealthy suburbs will become semi-ghetto, while the inner cities will continue to gentrify. There will be fewer inner city slums and more suburban slums. The more wealthy suburbs will continue to prosper, flourish, and sprawl, however.

Think Paris.

The current national movement is why EpiCentre will be a long term success and why CityFair never had momentum behind it to begin with.

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Like most, I agree that they were two different styles for two very different times. I can remember CityFair being a mega food court with some other stores tossed in. There was a record store that stands out on the first level.

CityFair funny story - this happened in Fat City Cafe on the corner of 5th and College with my parents one night. We were in there having a drink and one of the local radio stations was there promoting itself - 95.1. This was the time when they were "Gorilla Radio". There was some poor schmuck dressed up in a gorilla outfit giving away typical junk. I had been given a t-shirt that I should have kept - but between 1990 and now, I think I have tossed it.

Back on topic - being one of those who works uptown, I am more than excited on the expanding lunch and dinner options that we have. There is only so many times one can go to Subway, Chick-Fil-A, College Place, etc.

I think Epicentre will do very well and exceed the expectations of some!

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As many have already said, these two projects are very different animals. CityFair was designed initially to be directly connected to Belk via the Overstreet Mall (which was also connected to Ivey's) and included the rehab of the Carolina Theater which was to become several hot and swinging nightspots. Then trouble hit: Belk sold its land (or leased it, actually) to Bank of America (then NCNB), closed the store, and shortly thereafter came nearly three years of demo and construction. Soon after the demo of the Belk block, the development team, Carly Capital Group, went bankrupt as a result of bad deals in several American cities (Jacksonville, Milwaukee, Baltimore, etc). Upon bankruptcy (1989), construction on the rehab of the Carolina Theater stopped. The subsequent nightclubs (aka "World Mardi Gras) were only opened in CityFair after it closed completely as a retail mall in 1991. There was a Fat Tuesday in the original project, but it had trouble with NC liquor laws (percentage of food vs. liquor sales).

Uptown is now a completely different place. If opened today, CityFair might have been successful, although its design was flawed from the beginning. As I recall, it had the most challenging parking garage I've ever encountered.

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I also remember CityFair as being extremely upscale. When I visited, there were world-class art glass boutiques---I distinctly remember seeing glass lamps that cost $2000.

I'm agreeing with other posters here that perhaps CityFair might have been too ahead of it's time, without wealthy customers in nearby neighborhoods to back it up.

I found an interesting pic of CityFair. Sorry I can't post a link here, but do a google search: The Sharpe Image/Sam Sharpe Photography CityFair Charlotte.

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I also remember CityFair as being extremely upscale. When I visited, there were world-class art glass boutiques---I distinctly remember seeing glass lamps that cost $2000.

I'm agreeing with other posters here that perhaps CityFair might have been too ahead of it's time, without wealthy customers in nearby neighborhoods to back it up.

I found an interesting pic of CityFair. Sorry I can't post a link here, but do a google search: The Sharpe Image/Sam Sharpe Photography CityFair Charlotte.

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This is the first I've ever heard of CityFair/Fare. Can someone please elaborate on what and where this thing was, how it was laid out,how long was it there etc.

This is what I've gathered from reading the above posts; please help to clarify the facts about this place:

It was located approximately where Heart Tower is today (so, Tryon between 5th and 6th). It connected Tryon to College via a ped mall and may or may not have been connected to Overstreet. It had a Chinese restaurant and expensive art store that sold $2k glass lamps. It also had a record store (seriously?) and acted as a defacto food court. It closed in 1991, but was still in operation in 2000. It had a complicated parking garage.

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This is the first I've ever heard of CityFair/Fare. Can someone please elaborate on what and where this thing was, how it was laid out,how long was it there etc.

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The way CityFair was born as a project of the city itself (not a private development) shows that Charlotte has had a can-do attitude about the central city for a long time. When you think about it, it was indeed a ballsy move for the city to attempt something as grand as CityFair at the time. And as others have said, it was developed and built during the American urban blight era.

You have to admire Charlotte's long-time progressive approach to Uptown. CityFair ultimately wasn't successful, but at least the leaders of the day made a damn good try.

Too bad we don't have any more pictures of CityFair, as it really was a lovely place. This thread has drawn an amazing amount of interest, with hundreds of views the first few hours. It shows the high interest in Uptown retail.

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What killed City Fair was the overstreet mall was cut off from it when BOA Tower was built. Now we have Hearst Tower in its place.

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Unfortunately CityFare predates the WWW so there isn't much online about it. There was once a photo of it posted here on UP, but I can't seem to find it now. When it was opened, it was to great fanfare, similar to the recent LRT opening as it got a lot of attention for being something to downtown Charlotte's revival. (it was a partially city funded venture) It was the final act of a number of 1980s downtown projects that started with the Discovery Place, the reconstruction of Tryon into a pedestrian friendly street (ironically it was called the transit mall in the 1980s) and CityFare.

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Part of what doomed CityFair was its attachment to Carolina Theatre. The private group that was part of the public/private partnership was also to restore the theatre but couldn't make it work or raise the money to do so. CityFair actually had good, or decent, daytime business -- the lunch crowd at the food court. The night time part wasn't too bad and the frozen drink place Fat Tuesday actually did pretty well. I worked with a group at the time that promoted concerts and we did a handful of them in the food court (picturing Tiffany?) that were always packed - can't remember them all, but Hootie & The Blowfish, Edwin McCain were a couple -- this was in the mid-1990's. When they used the food court for shows they put up all this decor and called it 'World Mardi Gras' -- it was associated with Fat Tuesday. Both of those, by the way, were projects done and owned by Noah Lazes of NC Music Factory.

The financial anchor of the Carolina Theatre pulled them down, then the site was aquired by BofA (or whatever they were called at the time) and become home to Hearst Tower. Without those two situations we actually might have CityFair today.

One of the reasons we Charlotteans felt it to be a failure was the public investment wasted on it, but it didn't just die because no one shopped or ate there, that just wasn't enough (daytime lunch crowd and a little bit of drinking crowd for frozen drinks) combined with what became a prime piece of property for a larger project.

I think it was a good lesson that the city doesn't need to be involved in food or retail business.

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