Local News

Washed-up Morrisville outlet mall to get Chinese makeover

Posted February 6, 2012

— A big renovation is in store for a Morrisville mall near Raleigh-Durham International Airport, thanks to a Triangle developer who hopes to transform the struggling outlets into North Carolina's premier Asian-themed destination.

Four retail stores and a food court are the only businesses still open at the Morrisville Outlet Mall, at 1001 Airport Blvd., but Mark Herman of Panda Properties Sino said that will change by this time next year.

He plans to open the state's first China Town, filled with Asian-owned or Asian-theme businesses, and he hopes it will attract tourists from across North Carolina.

"It will be a place of civic interest, a place to learn Chinese culture (and) to enjoy the food and businesses," Herman said.

The food, Herman promised, will be authentic.

"We're bringing in (restaurants) from China and New York," he said. "Restaurants that aren't Americanized."

Morrisville Outlet Mall to transform into China Town Morrisville Outlet Mall to transform into China Town

Panda Properties Sino takes over the property in April, Herman said, and demolition and construction are slated to begin in May. He said he already has commitments from businesses for 60 percent of the mall.

Outside, the mall will take on a Chinese pagoda theme. Inside, with red and gold decorative accents, Herman plans to put in an Asian bank and supermarket, and, by 2015, a Chinese cultural center and 5-star hotel.

Timothy Lee, a member of the Triangle Area Chinese American Society, said the mall idea is "monumental" in the Triangle, especially with its growing Asian-American population.

"It's awesome," Lee said. "I think it will bring in a lot of potential, big potential to the area and to Wake County. (It) benefits everybody."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • nospammelika Feb 7, 2012

    The communist Chinese government owns EVERYTHING, including businesses. This means that the "Investors" ARE the Chinese government. China is about to own another piece of American soil. Herman is selling his soul and our country to the communist overlord for money. Shameful.

  • proudtobetaiwanese Feb 7, 2012

    This is why our 1st amendment right is great. The media is wonderful, we don't have censorship and media can post what they want. Everyone has their own angle. Do more research on other news venues and you will see more information. I also didn't say ALL came from RED China.

    "raised the necessary cash from investors in China and in North Carolina. We're not going to a bank"

    "commitments from businesses in China that would fill 60 percent of the mall"

    "Much of the mainland China financial support for the project comes from Hunan Province, which has signed a letter of intent to become a sister state of North Carolina."

    BTW, if you can name clean, safe, not exclusive to only Asian attendees that actually promote cultural awareness, I am open to suggestions and will go and visit.

    This is not the forum or place to discuss Taiwan/China politics and I am going to end my thoughts with that.

    I hope it is successful and culturally inclusive and really does have an educational purpose.

  • gunny462 Feb 7, 2012

    Proudtobe, nowhere in this article did I read that these investers were all Red mainland. Also, to call a place 'Chinatown' because of one or two buildings is ridiculous. I to am Taiwanese but consider myself also a true Chinaman. Carter go go to heck for what he did to our people.

  • proudtobetaiwanese Feb 7, 2012

    gunny462 if you read, I said in NC. There is not one in the Raleigh/Cary/Morrisville/Durham area, however, I am from the Charlotte area where there are small attempts at some "Chinatowns" the areas where these are, are not in the best of neighborhoods and the exterior is not that clean or kept up with.

    I am truly Taiwanese and am proud to be one though I was born and raised in the US. I am NOT Chinese and do not agree with the 1 China policy, I believe in democracy and not a communistic rule. This is why I call myself Taiwanese NOT Chinese. If you want to go down the core, this mall is bringing in MAINLAND Communistic money, there are no Taiwanese investors or American investors. Notice Mr Lee is a member of the Triangle Area Chinese American Society, not Taiwanese Association of America. So yes, I stand by my question why just "Chinese", and not a collective Asian theme.

  • gunny462 Feb 7, 2012

    "Most of the "Chinatowns" in NC are also run down and the area that surrounds them are unsafe, do we want that next to our airport"

    Please name ONE Chinatown here in the Raleigh/Cary/Morrisville/Durham areas. Are you really Taiwanese or just another troll? Read up on Chinatowns and how/WHY they were created. No area around here is any more safe or unsafe, please provide the stats on your logic.

    "why just Chinese, why discriminate against all "other" Asians, it should be an All Asian cultural center...not just Chinese. The last thing we need is more MADE in China stuff"

    Bingo! You're not Taiwanese nor Chinese for that matter. How is it being dicrin=minating to start a biz with a theme? As stated before, Chinatowns have been around since the early 1800s followed by the Japanese in the late 1860s, 60 years difference.

  • gunny462 Feb 7, 2012

    "Does anyone have insight into why the previous outlet mall concept did not work here, and why the Asian theme will success where others have failed? readme"

    Ever been around that area? No signs to speak of. Creating a Chinatown would be unique to the state and if done properly should bring in $$$ even without signs.

  • proudtobetaiwanese Feb 7, 2012

    Most of the "Chinatowns" in NC are also run down and the area that surrounds them are unsafe, do we want that next to our airport. Another news report indicated that this project is funded in cash from the communistic country. Cash, how does one come up with that much cash? The factors that I am afraid of are food sanitation, are they really going to report their earnings to the state for the state to benefit from (there is a lot of under the table cash paid to several illegal immigrants, go to lots of Chinese restaurants in the area...the employees are paid in cash), the increase of illegal immigrants, and yes...gang activity. I also agree with the other posters., why just Chinese, why discriminate against all "other" Asians, it should be an All Asian cultural center...not just Chinese. The last thing we need is more MADE in China stuff.

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Feb 7, 2012

    No more Panda Express?

  • Scubagirl Feb 7, 2012

    I think this is a great idea! The mall is pitiful right now. I do like the floors as another mentioned.
    As for 'real' chinese food I think that is awesome as most of what we get is truly 'americanized' chinese food. There is one authentic restaurant-Peking Garden on Millbrook/6 forks that is really good but that's the only one I know of.

  • dwntwnboy Feb 7, 2012

    I've said for a long time that to be a real success, don't learn spanish, learn chinese. Could be an interesting place if done right, if not it will look cheap and trashy. With the technology and medical research and the infuence of the far east- can be a nice piece of bait to lure tourists and business to the area.