Traditional malls are struggling in Charlotte, and Northlake's troubles are just the latest example
It's been a really tough decade for malls in Charlotte, starting with the demolition of Eastland in 2013. And there have been 11 reported shootings at Charlotte area malls since 2019, including three over the past three months at Northlake Mall. After the last shooting there a week ago Wednesday, Apple abruptly closed its Northlake store. On top of that, major department store anchors are struggling, with some locations closing and leaving malls conspicuously empty spaces. WFAE reporter Kenneth Lee visited Northlake one afternoon early this week.
Few shoppers were around and the sound of construction in the recently closed Apple Store could be heard. Several shoppers said they don't feel as safe in the mall these days because of the recent shootings. Alexis Toland's suggestion for security: "Probably metal detectors. I know in D.C. and in Atlanta they have at certain entrances people checking bags and stuff like security. So that makes me feel more safe."
But while safety is a major concern, it's far from the only thing driving the decline of malls. Chuck McShane, director of market analytics for the Carolinas for CoStar, a commercial real estate data analytics company, talks about the bigger picture for local malls. Listen to hear more about:
- Why smaller neighborhood shopping centers, those that are closer to where people live and have mixed uses and other activities, are faring better than enclosed malls.
- What sets SouthPark mall apart from struggling centers like Carolina Place and Northlake Mall, and how those struggling malls might break out of their downward spiral.
- What's driving retailers to want smaller spaces than they did two decades ago, when Northlake Mall was built.