Plans progress for redevelopment of vacant mall into office space near RDU

Plans have moved forward for the redevelopment of the former Morrisville Outlet Mall near Raleigh-Durham International Airport into nearly 250,000 square feet of Class A office space to be known as The Stitch, a change from earlier plans for the name, The Factory.

CBRE|Raleigh, a commercial real estate services firm, announced that it will be the leasing agent for the property at 1001 Airport Boulevard, which was purchased in May in a joint venture partnership between New York-based Equator Capital Management and OCS Capital.

Redevelopment work has begun on The Stitch with an anticipated completion date of late spring 2020. It will feature open work space as a “collaborative, social office environment.” The project will have new landscaping for outdoor seating areas, a yoga lawn, a food truck court and a central amenity area known as The Ville.

Rendering of The Stitch
A rendering of The Stitch. Courtesy of CBRE|Raleigh

“The Stitch is truly a unique offering in that it is very difficult to find creative office environments in suburban product,” said Mehul B. Patel, CEO of Equator Capital Management, in a press release from CBRE|Raleigh. “It is really exciting to see life being brought back to what has been a ghost town for over a decade.”

Knighthead Funding, a Connecticut real estate lender, provided a $34 million mortgage and a construction loan for the conversion of the former outlet mall.

Wake County records list the sale price of the 25-acre site as $15.5 million and the land value as almost $7.9 million.

The Raleigh office of JLL, another real estate services firm, was handling marketing for leasing for the property when it was called “The Factory,” but is no longer leasing the property, according to Will Boye, a spokesman for JLL.

The News & Observer reported the original plans for the redevelopment in May, noting that this is Equator Capital Management’s fifth purchase in the area. Others include Rogers Alley and City Hall Plaza in downtown Durham and several self-storage properties.

The vacant shopping mall built in 1981 and located near the airport and Research Triangle Park has had its share of attention by developers. Plans to turn the mall into a Chinese cultural center were canceled in 2013.

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Aaron Sánchez-Guerra is the Growth and Business reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers real estate, business, and development in the Triangle area. He previously worked at WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a freelance journalist in Raleigh and Charlotte covering the Latino population and related topics. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, a native Spanish speaker, and was born in Mexico.