SouthPark Mall (Charlotte, North Carolina)
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|Location||4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA|
|Opening date||February 12, 1970|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|Owner||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||145+|
|No. of anchor tenants||5|
|Total retail floor area||1,621,000 square feet (150,600 m2)
|No. of floors||1 (Belk has 4 floors; Dillard's has 3 floors; Dick's Sporting Goods, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom each have 2 floors)|
SouthPark is an upscale shopping mall located in Charlotte, North Carolina. With 1,621,000 square feet (150,000 m2), SouthPark is the largest mall in Charlotte and the Carolinas, as well as one of the most profitable malls in the country with sales at over $700 per square foot. It is the 10th largest on the East Coast and is the 28th largest in the United States. SouthPark is the most congested shopping area in the United States during Black Friday weekend. The mall is located approximately five miles (8 km) south of Uptown Charlotte at the corner of Sharon and Fairview Roads in its eponymous neighborhood.
SouthPark opened on February 12, 1970 with anchor stores Belk, Ivey's and Sears. The area where SouthPark is today was considered to be the on the outskirts of Charlotte at the time it opened; people were skeptical about a big shopping mall in the middle of pastureland. The mall was developed by the Belk and Ivey families, owners of the eponymous department stores, who jointly owned and operated the mall, and included a Sears store as a complement due to its focus on homewares. The mall had approximately 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) when it opened, and the design of the shopping mall was starkly modernist, with an underground parking deck, a signature white brick facade and tinted windows. The inspiration for the mall's original architecture reportedly was Dallas' NorthPark Center. A strip mall opened behind Sears in June 1970 with a Colonial Stores grocery store (later a Big Star food market, then acquired by Harris Teeter in the 1980s) and the SouthPark Cinemas I & II.
The mall did not face any real competition until the two-story Eastland Mall was built about 6 miles (10 km) northeast. Eastland had the same anchor lineup as SouthPark, but also included a JC Penney store and an ice skating rink giving that mall a competitive advantage.
In 1986, a major expansion and renovation was announced. The plans called for bringing department stores Thalhimer's and May Company's Lord & Taylor to the mall, in addition to a new food court. The food court and Thalhimers department store joined the mall in a new wing; however the addition of Lord & Taylor never materialized, although it was rumored for years that they'd take the Sears space. The new wing opened in 1988. In 1990, Dillard's bought out, and subsequently renamed, Ivey's department stores, and in 1992 Thalhimer's was converted to Hecht's as a result of May Company's buyout. After this, Belk, Dillard's, Hecht's and Sears were the mall's anchor stores throughout the next decade.
In the 1990s, SouthPark standbys such as Woolworth's, The Intimate Bookshop and Morrison's Cafeteria left, and many changes resulted from the new competition of Carolina Place Mall, located several miles to the south, in Pineville. The strip mall's Cinemas 3 closed after the new Phillips Place Cinemas opened, and the Harris Teeter moved to Morrocroft Shopping Center across Sharon Road, becoming the company's flagship store.
In the late 1990s mall owners announced that upscale retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom would join the mall in SouthPark's biggest expansion yet. In 1995, Belk Brothers Co. became the sole owner of SouthPark by purchasing the remaining 50 percent ownership stake from Ivey Properties. The next year, Belk sold the mall to Rodamco, a Dutch real estate investment fund. The mall was briefly managed by Trammell Crow after the sale. Rodamco soon sold the mall to Simon Property Group. In 2001 and 2002, Belk renovated and expanded its flagship store and Hecht's renovated and expanded their store in 2003 and 2004. The site of the former convenience center and movie theater has been redeveloped into Symphony Park, an outdoor amphitheater and pond home of a summer concert series called "Pops in the Park." In 2003 Sears, citing under performance, closed their store in the summer of that year, which was eventually demolished to make way for a new outdoor plaza that included a Joseph-Beth Bookstore and a new Galyan's Store (which opened as a Dick's Sporting Goods as a result of a buyout). Saks Fifth Avenue pulled out of the expansion, and as of 2011 the company still does not have a Charlotte location, but Nordstrom opened its doors in 2004. This luxury expansion brought exclusive and upscale stores to the area such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Tiffany & Co. In late 2005, Simon Property Group announced that Neiman Marcus would be the tenant of the former Saks Fifth Avenue anchor pad, along with another wing of stores & boutiques. Neiman Marcus opened in late 2006. Also, three new parking decks have been added. Dillard's renovated its original 1970s Ivey's facade and interior, the last anchor to update, and Crate & Barrel joined the mall as an outparcel in 2007 in the new Village at SouthPark, which includes street-level retail and restaurants and luxury apartments. Joseph-Beth closed its bookstore in 2010 and The Container Store replaced it in August 2011.
On December 6, 2007 at approximately 12:15 PM EST, a portion of the Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus parking deck collapsed. The collapse of the deck was caused by a car colliding with a retaining wall on the third and highest level. Eyewitness accounts stated an elderly woman may have suffered a heart attack, which triggered the accident; the woman died. Two cars were destroyed by the collapsed section of concrete; no one was in either of the cars. At the time, this was the second American parking structure to collapse in two weeks, leading people to question the structural integrity of such buildings.
On July 20, 2012, portions of the roof collapsed in the Gap and Banana Republic stores during a thunderstorm event that produced warnings for flash flooding in the area, which caused the mall to be evacuated and closed for the remainder of the day. All department stores and restaurants with exterior entrances, with the exception of the food court, reopened the following day while mall concourses and all other stores remained closed. Most of the stores reopened within 2 weeks.
- Belk (336,414 sq ft (31,253.9 m2); opened in 1970; the store is the largest in the Charlotte-based Belk chain and one of its four flagship stores)
- Dillard's (256,984 sq ft (23,874.6 m2), opened in 1970 as Ivey's, renamed Dillard's in 1990)
- Macy's (201,000 sq ft (18,700 m2), opened in 1988 as Thalhimer's, renamed Hecht's in 1992 and Macy's in 2006).
- Nordstrom (144,000 sq ft (13,400 m2), opened in 2004)
- Neiman Marcus (80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2), opened in 2006)
- Dick's Sporting Goods (84,000 sq ft (7,800 m2) opened in 2007 on property of former Sears)
Junior anchor stores
- Arthur's (in Belk)
- California Pizza Kitchen
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Dilworth Coffee (in Belk)
- eBar (in Nordstrom)
- Maggiano's Little Italy
- McCormick & Schmick's
- Marketplace Cafe (in Nordstrom)
- City Tavern
- Chuy's (first in North Carolina)
- The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
- "Ann Taylor Factory opens at Concord Mills mall". Charlotte Business Journal (American City Business Journals). 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "SouthPark Leasing Information". Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- Gibson, Ashley M. (2002-11-25). "Charlotte Business Journal". Sears may exit SouthPark (American City Business Journals, Inc.). Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- Woman Dies After Parking Deck Collapse At SouthPark Mall - Charlotte News Story - WSOC Charlotte
- "North Carolina Parking Deck Collapse Kills 1". Fox News. 2007-12-06.
- "SouthPark Mall: More stores to reopen Wednesday". WBTV. July 20, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
- "SouthPark Mall Directory". Simon Property Group, Inc. Retrieved 2007-02-04.