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'Redevelopment' breathing new life into Cary shopping center

Posted September 18, 2013
Updated September 19, 2013

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— If you haven't been to Cary in a while, you might think Waverly Place is still fairly deserted.

Just two years ago, there were only three stores in the shopping center, which sits at the intersection of Kildaire Farm and Tryon roads.

"We were sort of the lone wolf out here for a while," said Renee Spell, who co-owns Elegant Stitches.

But that's hardly the case now.

Cary shopping center turns itself around Cary shopping center redevelops and revives

Seventy percent of the complex – nearly 2 dozen shops and stores – are now under lease as part of a revitalization project in the area.

Since it opened in 1988, the Cary shopping center changed very little until 2007.

That's when a Durham developer planned to tear the shops down and rebuild. The company stopped renewing leases, but the economy tanked, and financing wasn't available.

New developers took over in 2008, remodeled and reopened last year.

An improved economy, a new look and a new concept of boutique shops are helping bring in businesses like Whisk, an upscale kitchen supply store.

"Waverly Place has transformed in a way that I have never seen another place transform," Whisk owner Dan Saklad said. "We feel like this is going to be a successful business and that Cary is the right place to be and that Waverly Place is the right place for us to be."

And it's filling up fast. Developers just announced that a new high-end dine-in theater will open next year and say more restaurants are on the way.

The new stores are breathing life into the ones that stayed through the transformation – the ones that relied on a dedicated clientele to keep them in business.

"We have people pop in and go 'We didn't know you were here,'" Spell said, "which is odd to me because we've been here, but they are finding us."

With nearly 90 percent of land in Cary already developed, town leaders say redevelopment will be the trend for the business future.

Howard Johnson, president of the Cary Chamber of Commerce, says redevelopment is happening all over Cary with new businesses moving into old spaces.

He credits a low unemployment rate and jobs coming to the area.

"It is a confidence level, and people seem to be in a better mood, and that translates in retails," Johnson said.

Elsewhere in the town, a Bass Pro Shops is planned for North Harrison Avenue. Carolina Pottery will open in the old Kmart at the corner of Kildaire Farm and Maynard roads.

"I think it's just the start of what we're going to see," Johnson said. "When you make announcements, like MetLife coming to Cary with 1,000 jobs-plus, it just creates this energy that we are very fortunate to be in this market."

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  • edtomjr Sep 24, 2013

    It seems they did an excellent job with Waverly. I always thought it was a cool shopping center, but since I've lived in the area, there was little going on there. It seemed a bit too modern and out of place there. I new color scheme, some great landscaping, and other additions (along with businesses!) seems to have come together well.

  • NotFromHere Sep 20, 2013

    "I worked in real estate development when Waverly was built. Those "in the know" knew it was doomed to fail because they were charging $51 a square foot and there was no big box or grocery anchor store planned to be in it which was ludicrous." - IWontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves

    Really? Well then you must not have been very good or you would have known that Harris Teeter and Kerr Drugs were in Waverly Place when it opened. Harris Teeter wanted a larger store so they moved across the street to the Walmart shopping center and Whole Foods moved into the Harris Teeter location. There has always been grocery store in Waverly Place.

  • mmtlash Sep 20, 2013

    "At some point, someone there realized it and got Whole Foods to sign. That helped, but it was too little, too late for the vendors that signed on at the beginning." -IWontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves

    I've heard the Whole Foods was originally Harris Teeter. In the mid '90s Harris Teeter jumped across the street to be in the (at that time brand new) Walmart shopping center. Once Harris Teeter moved out Whole Foods moved in...

  • JenniWest Sep 20, 2013

    I've always loved Waverly Place. It seems like one of those multi-use spaces that everyone wants in their town. I am happy it has been redeveloped. Now if I retire to a condo nearby, I'll have an awesome walkable center.

  • Get your IDs Sep 20, 2013

    Guess you don't love them enough to drive to Falls of the Neuse Rd in Raleigh.

    GravyPig

    Traffic is nightmare up there.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 19, 2013

    NeilNBob - "Wasn't shut down by road work, there was no road work when it shut down. Just like Darryl's before that, no one on that corner, except maybe Player's Retreat, gets enough business cause it's a pain to park and location stinks."

    I worked in real estate development when Waverly was built. Those "in the know" knew it was doomed to fail because they were charging $51 a square foot and there was no big box or grocery anchor store planned to be in it which was ludicrous.

    At some point, someone there realized it and got Whole Foods to sign. That helped, but it was too little, too late for the vendors that signed on at the beginning.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 19, 2013

    Glad to hear it. Seems the tearing down of the old stores was VERY premature and the stores that stayed there like Whole Foods, etc. was suffering because of the chaos all around.

  • URKiddingMe Sep 19, 2013

    Luckily if you don't like a Cary ordinance no one is forcing you to live there or open a business inside the town limits. If trashy signage, run down buildings, and poorly maintained landscapes are what you want then just venture on over to Capital Ave and/or Hwy 70. There is something for everyone in the Triangle!

  • chippers Sep 19, 2013

    I still miss Red, Hot, and Blue too. Falls of the Neuse is an awful drive from Cary.

  • pooodaddy Sep 19, 2013

    Wish Raleigh could redevelop Mini City and Brentwood!

    Unfortunately I think it is too late for this area.

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