Crabtree Valley Mall

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Crabtree Valley Mall
Crabtree Valley Mall.png
Location Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Opening date August 8, 1972
Management Plaza Associates, Inc.
Owner CVM Holdings
No. of stores and services Over 220
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1,326,000 square feet (123,200 m2)[1]
No. of floors 2

Coordinates: 35°50′N 78°41′W / 35.84°N 78.68°W / 35.84; -78.68

Crabtree Valley Mall is a regional mall located in Raleigh, North Carolina. At 1,326,000 square feet (123,200 m2), it is the largest enclosed mall in the Triangle. Crabtree Valley contains over 220 stores and is anchored by Belk, Sears, and Macy's. Higher-end restaurants located in the mall include The Cheesecake Factory, P. F. Chang's China Bistro, Kanki, Brio, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and McCormick & Schmick's. It is the site of the first H&M store in North Carolina, which opened in spring of 2010.[2]


Crabtree Valley Mall of Raleigh, NC

Crabtree Valley Mall opened in August 1972 at the intersection of US 70/NC 50 (Glenwood Avenue) and the I-440 Beltline. Original anchors were Hudson Belk, Sears, Miller & Rhoads and Thalhimer's. The mall also included G.C. Murphy, Treasury Drug and Piccadilly Cafeteria.

From the start, the mall pulled shoppers from all over central and eastern North Carolina. Many of them came to the 251,000-square-foot (23,300 m2) Hudson Belk, which is still the largest store in the complex and serves as a Belk flagship.The mall was remodeled in the mid-1980s and added many upscale specialty stores and a food court. It faced remarkably little competition in its market until the 1990s, when Cary Towne Center in nearby Cary doubled in size and spawned a companion mall, Crossroads Plaza.

To combat the threat of an expanded Cary Towne Center stealing business, Crabtree embarked on a major expansion starting in 1993. G.C. Murphy, Miller & Rhoads, and Piccadilly all closed down during this period. Thalhimer's converted to Hecht's, and began planning for a new, larger location at the mall. In 1993 a 40 by 110-foot (34 m) section of the parking deck collapsed just three months after it had been completely rebuilt.[3] Sears closed its Crabtree store in 1994 and opened a new location adjacent to it in August 1994. The old Sears became small shop space and connected to a new, larger Hecht's which opened in August 1995.

The final piece of Crabtree's 1990s renaissance was the opening of North Carolina's first and only Lord & Taylor in November 1995 in the former Thalhimers/Hecht's. However, the store was closed in February, 2006, as part of the reorganization of May Department Stores that began in 2003.[4] A separate Hudson Belk Men's Store filled the upper level of the former Lord & Taylor, and the lower level has been converted to small store space and new entrance.

A new parking deck east of Hudson Belk was completed in 2008. Part of the deck supports three new sit down restaurants that opened in late 2008. These were McCormick and Schmick's Seafood, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Bar and Brio Tuscan Grille.


  • Belk - 320,000 sq ft (30,000 m2).
    • Women's,Children's and Home Store - 3 floors, 251,000 sq ft (23,300 m2), opened August 1972
    • Men's Store - 1 floor, 69,000 sq ft (6,400 m2), on the upper level of the former Lord & Taylor, opened May 2007
  • Sears - 2 floors, 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2)., opened August 1994, replacing store built on adjacent site which opened in 1972.
  • Macy's - 2 floors, 180,000 sq ft (17,000 m2)., opened August 1995 as Hecht's, changed to Macy's in September 2006

Former Anchors[edit]

  • Thalhimer's - Opened in August 1972, closed in January 1992, re-opened as Hecht's in February 1992, moved to new location in August 1995
  • Lord & Taylor - Opened November 1995, closed in February 2006


Parking at the Crabtree Valley Mall is fairly unusual; there is very little at-grade parking. A multistory parking deck surrounds most of the mall, the sole exception being the northwestern side of the mall property, near Sears and Macy's. A surface parking lot serves these stores. The mall's protruding anchor tenants force drivers to take many turns in the parking deck to get to their desired destination. Valet parking is available at the mall's northeast entrance and outside the three restaurants atop the newest parking deck east of Hudson Belk.

The various sections of the deck have been known at times by color-coded names. These names are currently in use on the mall's website and on some signage:

  • The Blue Deck is on the north side of the mall property, bounding the main Hudson Belk and Sears.
  • The Red Deck is on the southeast side of the mall, bounding the main Hudson Belk store and the Hudson Belk Men's Store.
  • The Gold Deck is on the southwest side, bounding the Hudson Belk Men's Store, the food court, and Macy's. The Gold Deck is the only section to have four levels, all the others having three.
  • The Green Deck is the newest section of the deck, east of Hudson Belk.

When this color-coding system was first used in the mid-1990s, the current Blue Deck was then known as the Green Deck. This changed in the early 2000s, prior to construction of the current Green Deck.

For a time in the later 1990s, the sections of the parking deck were also known by the adjacent road. The then-Green Deck was known as the Glenwood Deck; the Red Deck, the Blue Ridge Deck; and the Gold Deck, the Creedmoor Deck.

Flooding risk[edit]

Crabtree Valley Mall is situated next to Crabtree Creek, a tributary of the Neuse River that begins near Morrisville and winds through Umstead State Park as well as western and north central Raleigh. As the watershed around the mall become increasingly covered with impervious parking lots, the creek floods easily following major storms. Such floods occurred frequently in the mall's early years, but diminished with the construction of Lake Crabtree and large retaining basins upstream of the mall. However, lower levels are still likely to flood during heavy rains in the summer months.

Heavy rains caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto flooded the lower level parking lots of the mall on June 14, 2006, as well as a great deal of the bottom level of anchor store Sears, forcing the mall to close for the day. A similar situation occurred with Hurricane Fran in 1996, when flood waters flowed through the first floor of the mall and caused a few stores to remain closed for nearly two months.

The lower level of the parking structure along with small parts of the main building have also flooded in 2013, March 2016 and, on July 16, 2016[5] when during an intense storm Crabtree creek rose 8 feet, closing some roads that surround the mall and flooding parking lots.[6] The storm left dozens stranded and cars flooded.

Weather Damage Controversy[edit]

Following the harsh weather that causes the mall to temporary close in 2006, a controversy began to arise over the malls handing of flooding within its lower parking structure adjacent to Crabtree Creek. Crystal Piol who's new car was totaled after it was submerged under flood waters; Talked to local news bureau WRAL said "Why'd they let people park there? I don't understand." She also said "They were just saying 'It's your fault. You parked down here. You didn't hear us say get your car out?" A representative from Crabtree also talking to WRAL said that the mall was closed before the water got in the parking lot. The representative also said that the rainfall was unusual, and the mall would handle reports of flooded cars on a case-by-case basis.[7]

Shortly after The City of Raleigh along with Crabtree official's changed the guidelines for new construction and renovation of current buildings, along with when and if the mall closes the low level of the parking structure adjacent to Crabtree Creek.

Crabtree Special Police[edit]

Crabtree Valley Mall is the only mall in The Triangle that has its own private police force.[8] The force is sworn in under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 74E,[9] more commonly known as the Company Police Act, which gives them the power of arrest. But due to the mall focusing on retail and customer service, Crabtree officers are not allowed to carry firearms while on duty.[1]

Safety Scares[edit]

In late October 1999, the mall was closed for nearly three hours after Crabtree Special police along with the Raleigh Police Department evacuated the mall to investigate a suspicious-looking black briefcase.

Mall police were alerted by a bystander who saw a person leave a black briefcase outside the lower level of the Glenwood Avenue entrance now known as the Red Deck before running away. After RPD cleared the briefcase by using a robotic device the mall was reopened. The owner of the briefcase was never found.[10]

On May 27, 2000, Mall was closed after someone smelled the odor of natural gas. The mall closed around 7:30 before the Raleigh Fire Department began investigating the scene to locate the cause of the leak. The mall reopened the following morning after The RFD found the source of the leak which was a bank of gas boxes outside of Sears. The Boxes are used for heating, so they are were not being used at the time. They were shut down and repaired.[11]

In December 2014, three men armed with hammers smashed the glass at Sidney Thomas Jewelers before grabbing the jewelry that laid within them and ran out of the mall leaving walking on the grand behind them[12]

In December 2015, a Crabtree officer was the victim of an attempted assault after he stopped a man from breaking into a car in the mall parking garage.[13]

2016 Lockdown[edit]

At 2:45 p.m. on August 14, 2016, the Raleigh Police Department received multiple 911 calls, reporting that shots had been fired near Lush. The mall was placed into lockdown. Several roads around the mall, including Glenwood Avenue and parts of NC 50 known in the area as Creedmoor Road were closed. Eight people were sent to the hospital for injuries sustained while trying to flee the mall. GoRaleigh Buses were deployed to help evacuate people from the immediate area of the mall, while those who couldn't board buses were forced to wait in the parking lot of a nearby Marriott. Those who couldn't leave the inside of the mall were told to shelter in place in stores like GameStop, H&M, and Macy's. As of 6:20 pm August 14, 2016, no shooter, shell casings or weapons have been found, though what's thought to be bullet holes were found in the ceiling by the upper floor food court.[14]

Interesting Events[edit]

In November or 2011, six protesters with connections to the anti-Wall Street group "Occupy" were arrested for protesting in the mall's food court. Earlier in the day, Crabtree officials told the group that they could not demonstrate on mall property; The Raleigh Police offered to watch oversee a protest on public sidewalks next to the mall.[15]

In April 2012, Producers from Iron Man 3 held an open casting call for the movie. Thousands showed up to Crabtree to get their chance to be in the final chapter of the Iron Man trilogy.[16]

Starting in 2012 popular Fox shows The X Factor and American Idol held auditions at Crabtree. The practice stayed in place until the end of the shows in 2013 and 2015.[17][18]


  1. ^ Triangle Business Journal - Largest Shopping Centers 2011
  2. ^ "A shopaholic's joy! H&M in store at Crabtree Valley Mall - Triangle Business Journal". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  3. ^ WRAL. "Concrete Company Connected With Collapses Has Triangle Ties ::". Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Lord & Taylor To Close Raleigh Store". WRAL-TV. 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  5. ^ "WRAL". 
  6. ^
  7. ^ WRAL (2006-06-15). "Flooding Brings New Questions About Mall's Preparedness ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  8. ^ "Crabtree Valley Mall Security & Police | Security Jobs in Raleigh NC". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  9. ^ "North Carolina General Assembly - General Statutes - Chapter 74E: Company Police Act.". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  10. ^ WRAL (1999-10-25). "Crabtree Valley Mall Reopens After Suspicious-Looking Package Found ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  11. ^ WRAL (2000-05-28). "Crabtree Valley Mall Reopens After Gas Leak Forces Evacuation ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  12. ^ WRAL (2014-12-15). "Crabtree jewelry store victim of 'smash and grab' robbery ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  13. ^ WRAL (2015-12-28). "Attempted theft, stabbing lands Raleigh man in jail for Christmas ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  14. ^ WRAL (2016-08-13). "Shots fired? Search continues but mall will reopen ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  15. ^ WRAL (2011-11-25). "'Occupy Raleigh' protesters arrested at Crabtree Valley Mall ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  16. ^ WRAL (2012-04-14). "Thousands turn out for 'Iron Man 3' casting call in Raleigh ::". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  17. ^ WRAL (2012-04-16). "Win a guaranteed X Factor audition :: Out and About at". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 
  18. ^ WRAL (2012-07-02). "Are you the next American Idol?  :: Out and About at". Retrieved 2016-08-14. 

External links[edit]