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Linder eyes changes at Carolina Circle Mall site


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Linder eyes changes at Carolina Circle Mall site

Paul Davis

The Business Journal

GREENSBORO -- Don Linder is again making changes in his quest to redevelop the old Carolina Circle Mall property, this time at the request of retailers interested in the site.

The retired anesthesiologist has spent more than two years working to turn the vacant mall into a sports and fitness mecca. In recent months, he has been looking to adjust certain parts of that plan, while apparently downplaying the community sports aspect of the project which had been its centerpiece.

Linder said he is looking to remove the state-of-the-art artificial-turf soccer fields he installed last year, at the request of prospective retailers. He declined to comment on potential tenants, though several sources familiar with the site say a number of large retailers are interested in the property.

Linder, who has invested more than $14 million in the project, also has backed away from diehard plans to open a Pyramids Wellness Center on the site, saying now that he could "possibly" open such a facility there. He already has divested one fitness component of the project, selling his 108,000-square-foot Sportscenter to the city of Greensboro last year for $6 million.

"The retailers we have talked to have requested certain changes," said Linder, who owns Pyramids. "Some of the people we have talked to have requirements that (mean adjusting) for things such as parking."

Having invested about $1.5 million in the soccer fields, Linder said he has talked to the Greensboro Youth Soccer Association about moving the turf to Bryan Park. Greensboro City Manager Ed Kitchen, however, said he has not been informed of Linder's plans.

"I haven't been approached with it," Kitchen said. "I wasn't aware that it was proposed. We don't know what the price would be (so it would be) really difficult to respond."

Mark Bush, manager of special facilities and operations for the city's parks and recreation department, said he is intrigued by the plan, though it is unlikely that the city at this time could buy the fields.

"I certainly would be interested in finding out more," Bush said. "We would not be in any position financially to buy and move those fields. And I don't know if it's possible to do it and retain some semblance of a warranty

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The mall is located in northeast Greensboro off of Hwy 29. It had 3 department stores (Dillards, Belk, and Montgomery Wards). Over the years crime has plague the mall causing its down fall. There have been shoot outs in that mall. Also Carolina Circle couldn't compete with the expansion of Four Seasons. In 1986, Four Seasons had remodeled the entire mall and added a 3rd level. But there was a time when It was as popular as Four Seasons Town Centre. Both Carolina Circle and Four Seasons mall opened in the 1970s. Carolina Circle use to have an ice skating rink in the center of the mall. Some years later they remove the rink and added a food court and a merry-go-round. I guess one reason why retail is wanting to come back is because of the northern I-840 beltway that will be nearby

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I had heard Carolina Circle had closed, but I didn't believe it. When I was growing up in Danville, we loved that mall because it was on the Danville side of Greensboro, maybe 45 miles from my house. When it first opened there was an Iveys store, and that whole area on 29 was a bustling retail center. I think I bought my first pair of Levis at Carolina Circle! I hope something innovative can be done with this area. And I wish NCDOT would hurry up with I-785 to Danville!

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Don't forget, at one time Greensboro technically had 3 malls. There was also the forum 6 enclosed mall in friendly Shopping Center. The mall didn't have any department store anchor because Friendly Shopping Center already had freestanding department stores. Forum 6 was like a mall within a mall but eventually it closed and now its an office building with a K&W Cafeteria on the first floor. If you want to get really technical, Greensboro had 4 malls because the Cotton Mill Sqaure had all the stores that you'd find in a typical mall. basically that was a shopping mall that was converted from an old textile mill. More recently, they tried to build a major regional mall in Northwest Greensboro near the Bryan Blvd. expressway but the NIMBYs cried and scared the mall developer away. They same guy that tried to stop the downtown ballpark helped stop that mall from getting built.

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  • 1 year later...

Cool information. I've seen the scary shell of the mall... its too bad it had to close.

Some new information... WAL-MART SUPERCENTER and LOWE'S HOME IMPROVEMENT will be the 2 new anchor tenants for the new shopping center that will be coming there once the mall is *DEMOLISHED* in 2005 :'(

Think of it like Whitehall Commons in SW Charlotte i guess

By the way - Do u have any more info on that mall that was going to be built on Bryan Blvd but never happened?

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  • 2 months later...

I wrote a blog post on Carolina Circle the other day. We used to shop at Montgomery Ward once a year or so. I have a great picture of the mall entrance after they remodeled in the '80s, lots of pink neon; it looked like they might come back for a minute, but no.

Also I found a webpage on it in a Google search here They had a timeline that I pasted in:

1958: Developer Joe Koury starts talking about building a shopping center in southwest Greensboro. He expands his plans several times during the 1960s but doesn't start the project. While he waits, other developers make plans of their own.

1972: Alpert Investment Corp. of Atlanta proposes building a mall off U.S. 29 in northeast Greensboro. Then, in October, Koury's Imperial Corp. breaks ground on Four Seasons Mall.

April 1974: Alpert breaks ground on the Carolina Circle Mall in the city's northeastern outskirts. The owners figure the location will attract shoppers from Reidsville,Eden, Burlington and even southern Virginia. The site is difficult to reach by car, but Mayor Jim Melvin and other city leaders push successfully for public money for street improvements.

February 1975: Koury's Four Seasons Mall opens off High Point Road. The two-level mall features about 95 stores and 900,000 square feet of retail space. It's the city's first enclosed mall.

February 5, 1976: Belk opens at Carolina Circle. It's the mall's first store.

June 1976: The mall's ice skating ring opens.

July 30, 1976: The mall sponsors a gala ball benefiting the Carolina Theatre. More than 1,200 people dance to Glenn Miller and other Big Band music. There's talk of making the ball an annual event.

Aug. 4, 1976: The mall holds its grand opening. Mall manager Ray Brantley says the special features like the ice rink will appeal to children much as Ronald McDonald and McDonald's playgrounds help sell hamburgers. ``The housewife spends most of the disposable income in the family,'' he says. ``And who controls the housewife? The kids. It's true. We want this to be a pleasant place for kids to be.'' Twenty-two stores opened, with another 50 to follow within a few months. Visitors also notice the smell of the city's nearby sewage treatment plant. Equipment is later added to the plant to reduce the smell.

November 1976: Piccadilly's cafeteria and the mall's six-screen cinema open.

December 4, 1977: At 10:30 on a Sunday morning, three deer,apparently startled by cleaning equipment churning through the mall parking lot, panic and run through two plate glass windows. The deer then fall 18 feet to the mall floor, near the ice rink. One doe breaks its neck and dies. The other two are captured and released. Deer are a common site near the mall, which is still on the outskirts of town at this time.

August 1986: An Australian firm buys Carolina Circle through its U.S. subsidiary, Sunshine Properties Inc. of Dallas. The new owner promises to renovate the mall to keep up with Four Seasons. At the time, Carolina Circle's vacancy rate is 10 percent, compared to 1 percent at Four Seasons. Shopper traffic is sagging.

April 9, 1987: Four Seasons opens its new third floor after 18 months of construction. That brings the mall's repertoire to 200 stores.

June 1988: A $6 million renovation project is completed and Strouse Greenberg unveils the new Carolina Circle Mall.Changes include a new logo, brighter lighting, and a $250,000 custom-built carousel. The owners eliminate the mall's most distinctive feature: the ice rink. Merchants and skaters are incensed. It was the only ice rink in Greensboro.

Jan. 15, 1991: Robbers shoot and wound a 54-year-old man while he walks out of the mall's Montgomery Ward store with his two daughters. The incident fuels a perception that the mall is dangerous.

Sept. 11, 1992: Greensboro police open a satellite station at the mall. The city pays $1 a year for the space. City leaders say they hope the station will make shoppers feel more secure. Some Carolina Circle merchants complain that having a police station is a bad thing because it gives visitors the impression that the mall needs a police station.

Sept. 30, 1993: George D. Zamias Developer, buys the mall for $16 million in cash and agrees to take over the $21.17 million mortgage. Company president George D. Zamias promises to market the mall aggressively.

February 1994: The U.S. Postal Service signs a 10-year lease to put a mail facility in the first floor of the Carolina Circle Belk's department store. Belk keeps the top floor open as a store.

July 1996: Some of the mall's bread-and-butter stores -Camelot records and Waldenbooks, for instance - already are gone as Piccadilly Cafeteria says it will close its doors at the end of the month. A few days later Radio Shack says it, too, will move soon. Remaining merchants worry about how they'll survive.

1998: Belk and Dillard's finally close their stores, leaving Montgomery Ward as the sole anchor.

Fall 1999: Guilford County has tentative plans to purchase the mall and convert in to offices and a community college campus.

January 2002: Carolina Circle Mall is now pretty much completely deserted. All the retailers have moved out, and the plan is that the center will eventually be converted into a new sports and retailing facility. I have my doubts...

July 2003: There is a sports center, of sorts. Several parking lots are now tennis courts and soccer field. Many of the surrouding banks and other buildings have been converted to storefront churches. The mall building is in a rather sad state of decay.

July 2004: Carolina Circle Mall is to be demolished and replaced with an entirely new retail development anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

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  • 3 months later...

Hey I'm new here and my name is Billy Coore a roadgeek. I like roads. I live 10 minutes away from ccm and I have developed an interest for the mall. I used to go there a lot during the 90's. It's my favorite mall and it's still is even though it's passed on. If anyone has any pictures from the mall while it was opened, send them to me.

CCM Fun Fact: Before the mall was built, it was a cattle farm owned by a dentist.

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  • 7 months later...

wow this is an old CCM post..lol

I'm glad I found this old thread. It was so interesting and brought back such good memories! I had to join just so I could chime in. :P

My best friend and I use to skip school and go to CCM to go ice skating back in the good old days. We lived in Burlington, and I remember one time we got there before the mall opened so we just drove around the parking lot to pass the time and the mall security guy pulled us over. lol

I can't wait to read the blog the other member has about CCM. :)


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