INC backs resolution expressing concerns on Jordan Lake boundary
BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for April 8, 2009

University Marketplace stalled temporarily due to seized-up debt markets

A dose of bad but not surprising news: the redevelopment of the old Kroger-helmed shopping center on 15-501 Business next to the one-time South Square Mall where SuperTarget and Sam's Club sits is on ice due to economic conditions.

Shoffner Allison of Charlotte-based Hawthorne Retail Partners blamed the lack of debt financing in the markets as hindering the developer's plan to build a mixed-use retail and apartment complex on the now-moribund strip center, from which even Sitar India Palace moved its mainline operations some months back.


Poppies Gourmet Market of Brevard, NC has committed to the project, and Allison noted that there remains significant retailer interest, for whenever the market allows the project to move forward.

"The current credit environment is making this more challenging," Allison said, "but we are hopeful things will start to come together this year."

"This is not an issue specific to our project but it has impacted the majority of proposed commercial developments across the country," he added.

Incidentally, if you haven't driven by Hawthorne's other Durham project -- the recently completed renovation of the Post Office-anchored strip center further up Shannon Rd. -- take a trip up to take a look at it, or check out the company's before-and-after project web site.

It's a good example of how a tired old development can be attractively renewed... and a sign of what good may come to a shopping center on 15-501 that needs it, once the economy turns around a bit.



They did an amazing job on that plaza on Shannon Rd. It's amazing how they transformed it from that crappy place to what it is now...


Great, that is one ugly and very large site that is now going to sit there in perpetuity, making the whole area look like crap.

Kevin Davis

@IL3FA: It didn't look that great to begin with, you know. Given the site's location, I would be pretty darned deeply surprised to see it sit vacant for that long.

Even if something happened with Hawthorne (and Allison was very clear that they intend to move forward with this), the overall site location is terrific, given the proximity to downtown and Duke and major highways. Something will end up back there.


@Freddie: Yeah, all they need to do now is fill in the empty storefronts!


What a bummer. Hopefully things pick back up because I really think this would be a nice alternative to Southpoint or ATC/Brightleaf. As for the post office on Shannon Rd everytime I drive by I say "wow". I would like to see what they can do to some of the buildings downtown.


i have it on reasonably good word that poppies may be out


"Great, that is one ugly and very large site that is now going to sit there in perpetuity, making the whole area look like crap."

The problem with written comments is you can't always tell whether someone is being sarcastic or not. I can't think of an uglier area than the former South Square area...I get depressed every time I have to go by there. Not only is it a sea of parking lots and big box stores, because of the topography, there are LAYERS of strip malls as you drive along 15-501. It's like they're stacked on top of each other.

I can't ever get a good feel of a development by their sunny, colors-that-don't-exist-in-the-real-world, families walking around drawings. But I can't imagine how a mixed-use development in that area could possible make it worse than it already is.

Joshua Allen

I agree with Erik that the former South Square Mall was about the ugliest development I have ever seen. Unfortunately, we were so excited to have the mall replaced after it closed, that we didn't get a very good development with its replacement, SuperTarget/Sam's Club. Now I love me some SuperTarjay, but the development is pretty damn ugly, and not pedestrian friendly even to the people driving there.

On the other hand, University Marketplace looks pretty good in the rendering. I hope that the credit markets free up and the project gets back on track. I'd love to have a good alternative to Whole Foods close by.


I wasn't being sarcastic about the now-abandoned and always ugly strip mall remaining ugly and undeveloped for an unknown period of time. It was ugly enough when Kroger and the other stores were open, now it's depressing on top of that. I agree the proposed development looks great in the rendering, but it won't do us neighbors much good if it is never completed or it takes another five years to complete. I guess I am cynical that the positive statement by the developer is worth much. It could now be years before that site is anything but abandoned, ugly buildings. I was looking forward to it being refurbished and now I am very disappointed.

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