Fayetteville, N.C. — The new owners of Marketfair Mall plan to raze part of the struggling Fayetteville shopping center to create an upscale dining and shopping destination.
The center, off Skibo Road, has shopped around for ideas to stay viable. The 28-year-old center has had difficulty competing with the older, larger Cross Creek Mall, and many of its smaller storefronts are vacant.
"(There's) kind of a creepy feeling here," shopper Suzanne Horvatich said Thursday.
Westport Capital Partners, which bought Marketfair Mall last November, plans to knock down the two wings that extend from Carmike Cinemas, the mall's main attraction. The owners would then create an outdoor courtyard setting lined with more upscale shops and restaurants.
Carmike Cinemas would be renovated, and the other two anchor tenants, outdoors retailer Gander Mountain and appliance store H.H. Gregg, would remain open during the redevelopment.
"I think that's a great thing because, right now, we don't have a restaurant," said Debbie Hanks, manager of Ashby's Menswear, one of the few smaller tenants in the center. "A lot of people like to go to the movies and go out to eat."
Hanks said the new design will give the menswear shop a higher profile.
"It's long overdue to have something done to the mall," she said. "It's been here for so long, and nobody's done nothing with it."
Westport executives say they have considerable experience revamping distressed and mismanaged property, and they hope to have the renovations completed by Christmas.