RALEIGH, N.C. — It may seem like
, the Southeast's oldest shopping center, is losing some of its charm, but it is really gaining a whole new look.
Workers are hauling off old blue signs and bubble-topped coverings at Cameron Village one piece at time. They are being replaced with a new upscale look.
"The storefronts are more interesting than they were before and more up-to-date. [They] fit in with the area nicely," shopper Marsha Krosner said.
Developer J. Willie York designed the shopping center to fit in with the area 55 years ago. When Cameron Village opened in 1949, some of the first tenants left downtown stores to serve suburban shoppers. Now, one of those charter members, Nowell's, is leaving Cameron Village to go deeper into surburbia.
Co-owner Schooner Nowell and his family are transforming their own warehouse into a new store in North Raleigh, where they say a majority of their customers live.
"We were at Cameron Village for 53 years and it was 53 great years. Cameron Village has been wonderful to us," he said. "It's very sad to be leaving, but we're sad and glad at the same time."
The parking deck that kept the old Nowell's store in the shade will eventually come down. The few vacant storefronts will be filled with new tenants: a high-end table-top store, a trendy salon and a new eye care center.
By June 2005, the Cameron Village library will begin a 15,000-square-foot expansion with two levels of book space and program areas.
"Even now it's very good. With the expansion plans, it's going to be a super addition," library patron John O'Connor said.
The library will temporarily move to the old Ballantines cafeteria space in June. It will take a year to gut and remodel the existing library.
Management with the shopping center said other new shops and restaurants are coming, but they are not ready to say what those may be.