Real Estate - Commercial

New Stores, Eateries Aim To Boost Mall

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 3, 2021
Some new retailers and eateries, including Masa Sushi & Eastern Kitchen, have joined the offerings at Independence Mall in Wilmington. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
The transformation of a portion of Independence Mall continued this year, with new stores and restaurants opening recently.
While the mall at 3500 Oleander Drive in Wilmington still has vacancies inside, businesses with outside entrances and in new buildings in the parking lot have been drawing more customers to the shopping center.
“The redevelopment has done wonderful things for our traffic,” said Helen Lewis, general manager of Independence Mall. “We’ve noticed a significant increase as we continue to complete stores in the streetscape area.”
In an outparcel building, Masa Sushi & Eastern Kitchen recently opened, and breakfast spot First Watch opened in the same area on the mall property last year. Aye! Toro, a Mexican restaurant, is expected to begin welcoming diners in the coming weeks, Lewis said.
Additionally, a second Wilmington location of CAVA, a Mediterranean restaurant, is planned in an outparcel building at the mall.
“The new restaurants have allowed us to feature a variety of new foods and unique menus. Not only do these restaurants bring different options for our current shoppers, but they attract new visitors to the center that may not have visited before,” she said. “The mall benefits from all guests that visit the property, whether they’re dining or shopping, and we’re pleased to have so many new and upcoming tenants to offer.”
Other recent openings include T-Mobile; Windsor, a women’s clothing, shoes and accessories store; and Zumiez, which sells clothing and more for men and women.
“In the Dick’s Sporting Goods area, we expect Spectrum to be open by the end of the year. European Wax Center and F-45 Fitness are both under construction. We will provide a better idea of their opening dates when we have them,” Lewis said.
Although the news is good for some parts of Independence Mall, where the closed Sears store and wing were replaced by a Lidl grocery store and other exterior-facing tenants, the 1,000 malls that still exist in the U.S. face an uncertain future. An oft-quoted report by Moody’s Analytics predicts 20% of all of those malls will be sold or repurposed in the future.
Much of Independence Mall, which opened in 1979, sold in 2017 to Rouse Properties, a subsidiary of Brookfield Properties, after the previous owner defaulted on a $110 million loan.
“Independence Mall has anchored the midtown retail scene on Oleander Drive for the past four decades,” said Hansen Matthews, a partner in Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co. “Judging from the parking lot, the recent addition of new stores facing Oleander Drive has increased customer traffic. Even the parking lot facing Independence Boulevard seems like it has more cars than a couple of years ago.”
Ico insights


Atromitos micheallegady headshot

Small Business Owner: Know Thy Finances

Michealle Gady - Atromitos
Capefearrealtors tomgale headshot

Protect Your Interest By Choosing A REALTORĀ®

Tom Gale - Cape Fear REALTORSĀ®
Natalieenglish headshot


Natalie English - Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

Trending News

If City Seeks New Proposals, Company Has Castle Street Redevelopment Plans

Cece Nunn - Jan 14, 2022

Athletic Shoe Store Opening Second Location In Wilmington

Cece Nunn - Jan 14, 2022

MegaCorp Continues To Expand Office Footprint, Workforce

Johanna F. Still - Jan 14, 2022

Area Home Sales Closed Out 2021 On High

Jenny Callison - Jan 13, 2022

WilmingtonBiz Talk: New Hanover County Transformations

Staff Reports - Jan 13, 2022

In The Current Issue

Top 10 Most-read Stories Of 2021

Check out the top 10 most-read Greater Wilmington Business Journal by online readers in 2021....

What's In Store For Banks In 2022

The new year is likely to bring a continuation of some current banking trends as well as some new developments affecting the industry....

A Closer Look At The Year Ahead

This year, important facets of the Wilmington business scene are set to face significant changes....

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100