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Mall expands, but other Crabtree-area projects stalled

Posted June 25, 2008

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— An $18 million expansion of Crabtree Valley Mall continues on schedule, with the first of three new restaurants in the mall set to open in two weeks, but three other major developments nearby aren't showing any signs of progress.

An extension to the southeast end of the mall is expected to be completed by this fall – before the crucial holiday shopping season – and will include a parking deck, three  upscale restaurants and pedestrian walkways to link the restaurants and parking with other areas of the mall.

McCormick & Schmick's, a national chain known for its fresh seafood, will be the first of the three restaurants to open when it begins serving diners on July 10. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and Brio Tuscan Grill are expected to open in the fall.

"It's going to be electric," said Robert Berbary, general manager of McCormick & Schmick's. "We're putting our footprint down first. We have the buzz around town about us."

Meanwhile, the buzz has faded from the nearby Soleil Center. Developers broke ground on the planned 43-story tower, but little has changed since then. The $175 million project will include a Westin hotel, a spa and high-rise condominiums.

According to the project's Web site, steel was expected to rise on the Glenwood Avenue site "by early 2008" and construction was supposed to be completed by next summer.

Soleil Center developers couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

The promise of new development at the former Kidds Hill site behind the mall also remains stuck in the planning stages.

Weingarten Realty Investors purchased the 12-acre parcel in late 2006 to develop a cluster of buildings with retail, office and residential units. The proposed Crabtree Town Center would include 250,000 square feet of stores and restaurants, 150,000 square feet of offices and 400 to 600 residential units.

Ken Hocker, Weingarten's director of development for the Mid-Atlantic region, said negotiations with a tenant were being finalized, but it's still too early to announce anything.

Nearby, Madison Retail LLC and York Residential plan to build Crabtree Village at the intersection of Blue Ridge Road and Homewood Banks Drive. The 24-acre project would include a 150-room hotel, 160,000 square feet of retail space and up to 749 residences, and developers said they hope to start construction in the coming year.

Crabtree Valley spokeswoman Sandra Geist said mall managers remain confident in the area's potential.

"With the growth we're doing this year, I would think that would help the other businesses come to the area," Geist said.

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  • TheAdmiral Jun 26, 2008

    "he Cheesecake Factory, Kanki and P.F. Chang's doesn't appear to be hurting for business."

    That is because most of the population has a very poor perception of what good food tastes like.

  • TheAdmiral Jun 26, 2008

    I think if the City of Raleigh issues a building permit for that area knowing that the place floods....

    .... The person who approves the permits should be tared and feathered and then bleed to death from 10,000 paper cuts.

    It is ridiculous that they keep handing out building permits like candy and wonder why the prices in that mall is outrageous.

  • awr117 Jun 26, 2008

    I agree that the traffic in that area is high. But bomb due to the heavy traffic? The Cheesecake Factory, Kanki and P.F. Chang's doesn't appear to be hurting for business.

  • Marc3939 Jun 26, 2008

    I have no problem with growth. I will have the last laugh when they bomb because people will be sick of the INSANE traffic at Crabtree.

    I'm already laughing at the Soleil Center Mudpit and the Kids Hill Plaza Dirt Relocation Center.

  • awr117 Jun 26, 2008

    "Seriously, I was just thinking yesterday how hungry I was but there's NOWHERE to go!*rolls eyes*"

    Good thing they're building 3 new restaurants. You don't like growth? Move!

  • Marc3939 Jun 26, 2008

    "I'm happy to see new restaurants. This area needs them."

    Seriously, I was just thinking yesterday how hungry I was but there's NOWHERE to go!*rolls eyes*

  • Adelinthe Jun 26, 2008

    Lot of money for a mall that goes underwater in bad storms. lol

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • john60 Jun 26, 2008

    If that Soleil Center had been as lucrative as we were told, there would be construction people swarming over it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since they aren't, I question how much of a soaking the city is going to take in lost taxes and "giveaways" once it becomes apparent it was never intended to be anything but a tax writeoff by the owners.

    As for Crabtree Valley Mall, holy smokes, how much bigger is that place going to get? I keep expecting it one day to be expanding over both Crabtree Creek and US 70...

  • wxfreak Jun 26, 2008

    I am an employee of the mall....the expansion is great however the traffic is increasingly getting worse and worse...the DOT needs to bring a "flyover" from 440 directly into the mall parking decks to eliminate the 18 light cycles you have to sit through to get into CVM. This concept worked in Birmingham (AL) from their major mall to the interstate...

  • oversleeper Jun 26, 2008

    good to see development in a place i can at least drive too

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