Cary Towne Center
|Location||Cary, North Carolina, USA|
|Address||1105 Walnut Street|
|Developer||Seby Jones and J.W. York|
|Management||CBL & Associates Properties|
|No. of stores and services||100|
|No. of anchor tenants||5 (3 open, 2 vacant)|
|Total retail floor area||1,004,210 sq. ft.|
|No. of floors||1, some anchors 2|
Originally planned in 1972, the mall was first proposed as the adjacent Cary Village Mall and Cary Village Square projects, part of a $25 million Village Center by local developers Seby Jones (who built Crabtree Valley Mall and J.W. York (who built Cameron Village). Village Center was to be a 78-acre (320,000 m2), 75 store project including 3 office buildings as well as a (never built) motel. Cary Village Center fills the intersection between Maynard Avenue (a loop around central Cary), Walnut Street, and Cary Towne Boulevard (originally Western Boulevard Extension), the latter two of which continue to nearby freeways. The enclosed mall was built on the eastern part of the site, with office buildings at the center and two open-air retail pavilions on the north, separated by Cary Towne Boulevard.
The request to rezone the area to allow construction of the mall drew much controversy from nearby residents calling themselves "Citizens for the Better Direction of Cary" who worried about increased traffic as well as the property's proximity to Cary High School, Henry Adams School and East Cary School. The group hired an attorney and pressured the town council to closely monitor the development causing York to complain that everything had to be approved "10 times".
Cary Village Mall opened on February 21, 1979, with 325,000 square feet (30,200 m2) of retail space anchored by Ivey's (purchased by Dillard's in 1990) and Hudson Belk (now Belk) as well as outbuildings occupied by Big Star Markets (later Harris Teeter). The mall's design was a modified pinwheel with four wings, three either parallel to or facing the three streets around it, and a fourth facing to the rear of the mall where additional land remained for a future expansion. At the center of the pinwheel was a sunken, triangular food court. A large Southern Red Oak tree on the expansion land became an unofficial mascot of the mall, and was retained at considerable expense even after the mall grew around it.
In 1988, the mall applied for a zoning change for a major expansion, perhaps spurred by proposals for a "mega-mall" at Crossroads Plaza emerged only a mile away. In 1991, the mall completed its expansion to 1.1 million square feet and was renamed Cary Towne Center by then-owners Richard E. Jacobs Group. Unusually for a mall of its size, the mall remained single-story.
The new mall included a food court adjacent to the oak tree, a Center Court with palm trees, and three new anchors: Thalhimers (now Macy's), JC Penney, and Sears. Dillard's opened a new, larger store one year later adjacent to its original building, which became inline shops. In 2001, the mall was sold to CBL & Associates Properties as part of a portfolio of 21 properties in nine states.
Thalhimer's became Hecht's in 1992, which became Macy's in 2006. On November 6th of 2013, a Dave and Buster's opened in the mall. Harris Teeter moved across the street in October 2014 to a larger location. Sears closed its Cary Towne location in January 2015, citing continual financial struggles on the corporate level. In 2015, TopGolf sought zoning approval from the town to open in what had been the Sears space, however plans were later withdrawn due to concerns over lighting and noise issues with a nearby neighborhood. Despite the setback, the mall is filling Harris Teeter's former space with Jumpstreet, an indoor trampoline, bounce house, and entertainment complex. Macy's closed its Cary location in early 2016 due to disappointing sales and earning performance. The Sears space was filled in May 2016 by a local furniture store, Cary Towne Furniture, which boasts itself to be the largest furniture retail store in the region. However, the store closed in December 2016. 
Plans are in the works to transform Cary Towne Center from a traditional mall to a mixed-used development. Spurred on by an announcement made by IKEA to open a 350,000 square foot store in 2020 where Sears and Macy's were once located, CBL will begin the rezoning process alongside the Town of Cary to redevelop the property. The submitted mixed use proposal includes retail (352,000 SF), residential (800 dwelling units), office (600,000 SF), hotel (600 rooms) and community spaces. However, in late-May 2018, IKEA reversed its earlier plans and publicly announced the retailer is no longer coming to Cary because of the Retail apocalypse.
- "Mall Statistics". CBL and Associates Properties. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- Byrd, Tom (1994). Around and About Cary (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers. pp. 140–143. OCLC 32207886.
- "Group Opposes Mall Development". The Cary News. Apr 17, 1974. p. 1.
- Cary, Town of (1990). "Cary Village Mall Zoning Conditions" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- Town of Cary. "Cary Village Mall - 0105". Site/Subdivision Plans. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- "Thalhimers to become Hecht's". News & Observer. November 13, 1991. pp. C9.
- Town of Cary. "Cary Village Mall – Dillard's".
- "CBL Shareholders Approve Jacobs Purchase". Business Wire, via The Free Library. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
- "Sears in Cary to close in January". WRAL.com. October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Specht, Paul (20 March 2015). "Cary Towne Center seeks path for TopGolf". The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Trogdon, Kathryn (17 August 2015). "TopGolf no longer pursuing Cary Towne Center plans". The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Macy's to close its store at Cary Towne Center". The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). 6 January 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- Papich, Michael (23 May 2016). "Biggest Furniture Store Comes to Cary Towne Center". CaryCitizen. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
- "Ikea to catalyze Cary Towne Center's change to mixed-use, company says". CBS North Carolina. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Cary Rezoning proposal phase 2". Town of Cary. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- "IKEA announces it is no longer coming to Cary Towne Center". WRAL-TV. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2017.