Independence Mall (North Carolina)
|Location||Wilmington, North Carolina, USA|
|Address||3500 Oleander Drive|
Wilmington, North Carolina
|Developer||Strouse, Greenberg & Co.|
The Oleander Co.
|Management||Brookfield Properties Retail Group|
|Owner||Brookfield Properties Retail Group|
|No. of stores and services||142|
|No. of anchor tenants||4 (3 open, 1 vacant)|
|Total retail floor area||997,525 square feet (92,673.1 m2)(GLA)|
|No. of floors||1|
Independence Mall (formerly Westfield Shoppingtown Independence or Westfield Independence) is the only enclosed shopping mall in Wilmington, North Carolina. It opened in 1979 with anchor stores Belk-Beery (now Belk), JCPenney, and Sears. A later expansion added a new wing and Dillard's store to the center after Westfield Group purchased the mall. The mall is located on Oleander Drive (U.S. 76) and Independence Blvd east of downtown Wilmington. The mall has a food court and no longer features a carousel.
Independence Mall was developed by a partnership between Philadelphia-based Strouse, Greenberg & Co. and Wilmington-based The Oleander Co. It opened in 1979 with anchor stores Belk-Beery (now Belk), JCPenney, and Sears. A notable feature of the mall was the mosaic murals depicting Wilmington landmarks and landscapes, designed by artist and retired savings-and-loan executive Samuel D. Bissette.
New owners and expansion
In 1997, the mall was sold to Westfield America, Inc., a precursor to Westfield Group, Westfield’s management would oversee a major expansion, which would add a fourth arm to the mall, anchored by a new Dillard’s store and including a 400-seat food court. The name of the mall was changed to Westfield Shoppingtown Independence in 1998. In 2005, the Shoppingtown name was dropped, however the signs still have the Shoppingtown name in it.
In 2000, Independence Mall Cinemas, a three-screen theater complex operated by Carmike Cinemas, which opened in 1979, was demolished to make way for the new Dillard's wing, which the new store opened in March 16, 2001, while the new wing opened in March 21, 2001.
On May 9, 2006, Westfield sold the mall to Centro Properties Group which its joint venture subsidiary Centro Watt (now Brixmor Property Group) managed the property, and then the name of the mall returned to Independence Mall.
In 2012, It was announced that the carousel in the center court would be removed after eight years of operation.
Financial Issues and Redevelopment
In October 2014, a $110 million loan on Independence Mall went into default after payments were overdue for more than a month. As of July 2016, a foreclosure auction date had been set for later that month, however the date has continuously been moved in efforts to continue discussions with the loan borrower, Centro Independence LLC.  A property appraisal done in December 2015 valued the mall at only $61 million.
On June 27, 2017, Rouse Properties (now Brookfield Properties Retail Group) purchased the mall for $45 million and announced the redevelopment of the mall into a modern open-air shopping center and change the mall's name to The Collection at Independence. However as of 2019, no construction has been started, as the final plans for the redevelopment is awaiting approval by the City of Wilmington.
On April 6, 2018, it was announced that Sears would be closing as part of a plan to close 24 stores nationwide. The store closed in June 2018.
- Belk (175,512 sq ft (16,306 m2))
- Dillard's (159,000 sq ft (14,772 m2))
- JCPenney (112,200 sq ft (10,424 m2))
- Sears (187,027 sq ft (17,375 m2)) (closed June 2018)
- "Star-News - Google News Archive". News.google.com. 1998-07-29. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
- "Centro Watt Enters Mall Business; US Platform Well-Positioned to Continue Growth" (Press release). Business Wire. May 11, 2006.
- "Carousel at mall to be removed". Wilmington Star News. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
- Nunn, Cece (2014). "Independence Mall Loan In Default, Fitch Ratings Says". WilmingtonBiz.com. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- Hoyle, Amanda (2016). "New foreclosure date set for Wilmington's Independence Mall — again". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Wilmington's Independence Mall has sold for $45M, reports say". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
- Staff, Hunter Ingram StarNews. "Independence Mall to be renovated, rebranded". Wilmington Star News. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
- Featherston, Emily. "A year later, slow movement at Independence Mall". WECT. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
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