Cary News

Macy’s closing could hinder Cary Towne Center revitalization plans

Officials with Cary Towne Center are seeking to rejuvenate the center after Sears closed and after Macy’s just announced it will close its Cary location.
Officials with Cary Towne Center are seeking to rejuvenate the center after Sears closed and after Macy’s just announced it will close its Cary location. hlynch@newsobserver.com

About a year after Sears closed its doors, Cary Towne Center will lose a second anchor store this spring after Macy’s announced Wednesday it will close its Cary location.

Sears closed its Cary site last January as part of a companywide reduction of stores announced in 2014.

Macy’s announced Wednesday it will cut thousands of jobs this year following disappointing holiday sales. The Cincinnati-based department store chain said sales fell 5.2 percent in November and December at existing stores. Warm weather and lower spending by international tourists hurt sales.

Macy’s had announced it was closing stores in September. The Cary store is the only one in North Carolina to close among the 40 stores that will shut down.

The 107,000-square-foot store at Cary Towne Center has been open since 1991. It’s one of five anchor spots at the mall. Dillard’s, Belk and JC Penney will remain.

Macy’s will close in early spring, according to the company, though an exact date hasn’t been announced. The Cary store employs 63 people, according to Macy’s. Employees may be offered positions at other stores or will be offered severance benefits. Final clearance sales will begin Monday, Jan. 11, and will run for eight to 12 weeks, Macy’s said.

The closure is a blow to the mall owned by CBL & Associates Properties. Mall officials have been working to rejuvenate the shopping center with mixed results.

Officials had hoped to replace the Sears property with TopGolf, a golf and entertainment complex. But neighbors’ concerns about noise and light prompted TopGolf to seek another location in Cary.

At a quasi-judicial meeting Thursday, the Cary Town Council unanimously approved the sketch plan for a one-story 9,420-square-foot multi-tenant retail or restaurant space on mall property as a way to revitalize the mall. A plan for a 9,600-square-foot space already was presented Nov. 5 but mall planners had to tweak the sketch plan after council denied requests for reduced setbacks and streetscapes.

Planners reduced the size of the building, moved it east – away from Southwest Maynard Road – on the site and removed six parking spaces. The council unanimously approved two new modification requests for 14- to 15-foot setbacks and streetscapes – about 50 percent of what town design standards require.

“Today, we are only discussing slightly less than 10,000 square feet of retail for redevelopment on this mall but clearly, we will likely soon be discussing at a minimum more than 200,000 square feet of redevelopment at the site,” said Jason Barron, a lawyer with Morningstar Law Group representing the mall. “An approval of this plan ... will send the message the town wants its older sites to redevelop and to do so in a fashion that is keeping with the longstanding high quality of the town of Cary.”

Meanwhile, Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park is renovating the former Harris Teeter at the mall. The company plans to open its 17th location March 1 in the 26,000-square-foot space.

Staff writer Kathryn Trogdon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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