Checking In On Wilmington Retail Centers

By Cece Nunn, posted Aug 26, 2020
New-to-the-mall stores including Five Below and Dick's Sporting Goods are on the way to Independence Mall, shown Wednesday. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
Shopping centers in the Wilmington area are undergoing changes with or without the coronavirus pandemic, although not all of those changes are evident just by looking at them.

Mayfaire Town Center

Day-to-day operations aren’t expected to be affected by a process announced last week by which Mayfaire Town Center owner and Mayfaire Community Center manager CBL & Associates Properties plans to file for bankruptcy, officials said. The Chapter 11 filing is expected to take place by October.

The center has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in a variety of ways, including the temporary closure of the Regal movie theater as well as another anchor tenant, Flip N Fly trampoline park.

Justice children’s clothing store closed recently at Mayfaire Town Center, and home decor store Pier 1 and clothing retailer New York & Company are in the midst of closing.

But at least two restaurant spaces, including First Watch and Coquina Fishbar, are set to be occupied soon at the Military Cutoff Road shopping center.

Mayfaire officials are optimistic about the future.

“Customers are seeking convenience and mixed-use developments like Mayfaire offer a broad mix of services, retail and dining options. We will continue to work with our leasing team to attract an assortment of uses that will meet the needs of our community," officials said in an email.

Hanover Center 

Plans to develop more of the property that holds Hanover Center at 3501 Oleander Drive in Wilmington are still in place.

"All but two tenants are open at Hanover Center since COVID, and we have two letters of intent for splitting up the old Rite Aid space," said Randy Kelley, principal of Harbour Retail Partners, one of the center's joint venture owners.

He could not say who those tenants are until leases are executed, he said.

"We are actively talking to tenants about Pier 1 and SteinMart [stores that are closing], working on a multi-tenant outparcel addition along Independence Boulevard and proceeding with our 264-unit multi-family development plans for the 7 acres behind the center," Kelley added.

Independence Mall

The mall at 3500 Oleander Drive is undergoing a redevelopment to transform it into an indoor-outdoor shopping destination.

Some spaces inside the mall are empty, but businesses new to the mall whose signs are already up on the exterior-facing storefronts include a Lidl grocery store, discount retailer Five Below and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“The DICK’S Sporting Goods location coming to 3500 Oleander Drive in Wilmington, NC is scheduled to open this fall,” a Dick’s spokesman stated in an email Wednesday.

In a news release Tuesday, Lidl US announced plans to open 50 new stores, including the location at Independence Mall, by the end of 2021.

The redevelopment project overall could be finished by the holiday season this year, mall officials have said.
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