North Hills (Raleigh)
North Hills is an outdoor shopping area located in midtown Raleigh, North Carolina, part of a mixed-use development that includes nearby stores, restaurants, entertainment, commercial offices, residential living and a continuing care retirement community. The Commons area frequently features events such as live concerts, festivals, and a farmers' market.
Anchored by J.C. Penney and Target, North Hills includes nearly 100 stores such as REI, Ethan Allen, Jolly's Jewelers, Learning Express and Plow and Hearth. Restaurants include Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Firebirds, Vivace, Mura, Coquette, Fox & Hound Pub & Grill along with more casual options such as Zoe's Kitchen, Five Guys, Moe's Southwest Grill and Panera Bread. It also features the Regal North Hills Stadium 14 movie theater, a Gold's Gym, Natural Body Spa and other service businesses. The 223-room Renaissance Raleigh Hotel offers 4-star accommodations on the property as well.
North Hills Mall originally opened in 1960 and was converted to an enclosed mall in 1967. It was not only the first enclosed mall in Raleigh, it was also the first two-story, air-conditioned indoor mall between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. It originally opened a few years earlier as a small strip center before being redeveloped into a mall. It had a simple rectangular design with two floors, the upper level opening onto Six Forks Road and the lower level facing a parking deck on Lassiter Mill Road. Anchors at that time were J.C. Penney, Ivey's, and Woolworth. At the opposite end of the mall from Penney, there was originally a large fountain, although this was torn down and the space became part of a restaurant, "Ragamuffin's", in 1979. A K&W Cafeteria was a popular destination at the south end of the mall for more than three decades.
North Hills Plaza, a strip center across Lassiter Mill Road, featured The Cardinal movie theater and a Winn-Dixie grocery store. Five years after North Hills Mall opened, the larger Crabtree Valley Mall opened two miles away, and began to draw shoppers. In 1984, North Hills Mall underwent extensive renovations, with several new stores brought in to fill vacant spaces. In 1990, Ivey's became Dillard's. In 1999, local developer Kane Realty Corporation purchased the deteriorating North Hills Plaza, renovating it in 2001 to create an upscale shopping and dining area now called The Lassiter at North Hills. Harris Teeter was the new anchor for The Lassiter (later replaced by Total Wine), surrounded by Starbucks, Panera Bread and a variety of local shops and services.
In 2001, Kane Realty also purchased North Hills Mall from Nags Head Properties, with the intention of creating a new low-rise, pedestrian-friendly urban development that would make the area Raleigh's new midtown. At the same time, Dillard's moved to Triangle Town Center. The mall was closed in January 2003, with Kane Realty auctioning off everything from parking signs to benches and fixtures to storefronts to the public. The response to the one-day event was so great that it was extended for several additional weekends. In April, the mall was torn down shortly after, except for J.C. Penney and the existing parking deck, to create a mixed-use development featuring a new open air shopping center.
The new North Hills Mall officially opened in November 2004 with a Grand Illumination of holiday lights as well as performances by members of the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Master Chorale and North Carolina Theatre. A new underground parking deck was added, with the lower level flanked to the south by an entrance to J.C. Penney and to the north by a new Target. The Target featured the first shopping cart conveyor in the Carolinas—an escalator for shopping carts so customers could more easily transport purchases to a higher level of the parking deck. A 14-screen, stadium seating movie theater located directly above Target, was originally operated by Eastern Federal but is now owned by Regal Entertainment.
Another phase of the development, North Hills East, opened in 2010 across Six Forks Road from North Hills Mall. It features a new two-story Harris Teeter, Sparians upscale bowling alley, the Captrust Tower skyscraper, as well as more restaurants, shops and residential living.
On December 1, 2011, Jolly's Jewelers announced that they will be closing after the Christmas Holiday shopping season. The jeweler has been at its current North Hills location since the new North Hills Mall opened in November 2004.
Although the original mall has been demolished and replaced with newer buildings, longtime Raleigh residents still remember Memorial Day 1972, when a sniper opened fire and killed three people, wounding eight others, in the North Hills parking lot. The shooter, Harvey McLeod, hid himself between cars and methodically picked off innocent shoppers before turning his .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle on himself and committing suicide. Initially, law enforcement and the media thought the target of the attack was U.S. Sen. B. Everett Jordan, who was campaigning at the mall that day. It was later determined that McLeod's rampage was an act of random violence, although Senator Jordan's press secretary was one of the victims.
Since its redevelopment, North Hills has received much recognition, including:
- The International Council of Shopping Centers, International Design and Development 2007
- Triangle CREW, Most Creative Land Use 2007
- Triangle CREW, Best Office Development 2006
- Triangle CREW, Best Major Retail Development 2006
- Triangle CREW, Best Mixed-Use Development 2005
- Triangle CREW, Best Commercial Real Estate Service 2005
- Triangle Business Journal, Top Retail Redevelopment 2004
- Triangle CREW, Best Redevelopment 2003
- Metro magazine, Best Shopping Center 2006 and 2005
- MetroNC article
- "Jolly's Jewelers to close in Raleigh". News & Observer. December 1, 2011.