Among Durham's retail rumors in recent months, few have been more intriguing than the suggestion that grocer Harris Teeter might end up expanding not at the old Loehmann's Plaza off I-85 as had been long rumored, but that a close-to-downtown site just off Ninth St. could be in the works instead.
A December article by Monica Chen in the H-S noted that H-Teet wasn't ready to commit to Loehmann's, leading the site developer to look at other options -- but added that the old Erwin Mills complex where a hotel and apartments are planned might also get the Charlotte area-based grocer:
Harris Teeter, which has one other location in northern Durham -- across from the Willowdaile Shopping Center on Guess Road -- has reportedly also been in talks on the Erwin Square apartments project near Ninth Street.
When reached for comment, Harris Teeter spokeswoman Catherine Reuhl said only that the company has not signed a lease for either location.
Interestingly, we got a report a couple of days back from BCR reader who lives in North Durham and got a phone call (we're not sure who made it) asking questions about their grocery habits. Reports the reader:
There were a lot of hypothetical questions, but they then switched to say that a Harris Teeter would be built [at] Ninth and Hillsborough near Markham, and asked how likely I would be to shop there.
Of course, the question of whether a Harris Teeter will really go to the Ninth St. area seems hypothetical, too, given that one wouldn't seem likely to do a market demand study on a committed location, only a location up for consideration.
Still, it serves as more confirmation that there definitely seems to be something going on with this rumor. Stay tuned.