Local News

Washed-up Morrisville outlet mall to get Chinese makeover

Posted February 6, 2012 6:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2012 7:54 p.m. EST

— 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."

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."