Carolina Place Mall was planned over 30 years before its opening in 1991, as the original location of SouthPark Mall. The Belk and Ivey's families bought the land for $8.5 million, but decided it was too far away from town. Ivey's eventually sold all the land to Belk after SouthPark was built, and in the mid 1980s the planning of Carolina Place, as it is known today, began.
The mall opened in 1991 with four anchor stores, Belk, Dillard's (Ivey's had just been bought out by Dillard's), J.C. Penney and Sears. Several years previously, Belk closed its 75+ year-old store in uptown Charlotte, and JC Penney closed its 35-year-old store at Park Road Shopping Center. There were two more anchor pads available, one for Rich's and the other for Miller & Rhoads. However, neither of these stores joined the mall. In 1993, Hecht's (now Macy's) opened its doors as the 5th anchor store to the mall, making Carolina Place Mall the only mall in the region with 5 department store anchors at that time.