As malls struggle, Northgate is getting creative
Posted January 16
Durham, N.C. — As malls across the country struggle, Northgate Mall in Durham is getting creative to keep up with the changing times.
Northgate Mall, at 1058 West Club Blvd., opened in 1960. But now, according to officials, they are stepping away from a traditional mold to become more of a community space.
"In addition to being a place where you can shop and meet your needs, Northgate tries to be a part of the community," said Beth Messer Smith.
Smith, who is part of the group Moms Rising, organized an event Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The event was one example of how Northgate is re-inventing itself.
"I like that because I don't see other malls, which are bigger and maybe sometimes have better stores, they are not doing this kind of stuff," said Stephanie Lynch, who frequents the mall.
Lynch said she likes coming to the mall to shop, so seeing empty store fronts is a worry.
"Yeah. It's sad. I hate that stores are closing," she said.
Erika Wilson echoed that sentiment.
"If you follow the trends, it seems like it is just a matter of time before the mall closes all together," Wilson said.
Aside from hosting community events, Northgate officials said they have exciting plans for new tenants.
Planet Fitness has signed a lease, and Measurement Inc. will lease 21,000 square feet of office space. The Durham Library is also leasing 12,000 square feet of space as the main library is closed for renovations.
Shoppers hope Northgate will stick around.
"I think it serves an important purpose for the community," said Wilson. "A lot of people who might not otherwise have transportation to go somewhere in south Durham deserve to have stores in their community as well."
Northgate officials said they are in talks about what to do with the space once Macy's leaves. Since nothing is finalized, officials could not comment.