Local News

Belk, Nordstrom Commit to Controversial Durham Mall

Posted May 21, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Plans for a new mall in Durham have not come without controversy. Now developers say they have got something to brag about.

Five major retailers have committed to the controversial Southpoint Mall project. The 1.4 million square foot shopping center will be located at I-40 and Fayetteville Road.

Saturday, developers and Durham city officials announced the names of the anchor store that will set up shop.

"Today I'd like to publicly announce thatBelk, Hecht's,JC Penney,SearsandNordstromhave all reached preliminary agreements to be anchor department stores," says developer Jim Farrell.

Nordstrom will open its first North Carolina store at Southpoint.

Public uproar over the location nearly derailed the project. Once it was approved, many doubted it could attract major retailers.

City leader now say they feel vindicated.

"This community believed it could, it believed that it deserved it and once again, we have validations from a big flagship, like all of these retailers," says Lamont Ewell, Durham City Manager.

It is not clear whether Belk or JC Penney will leave its current locations at Durham'sSouth Square Mall. Managers fear that Southpoint could cut into their business.

City leaders are focusing on the 3,000 jobs and the $250 million impact they believe Southpoint will have.

"It will represent the quality and type of development that will really distinguish Durham, serve as a real drawing card and should be the quality of development of which we can all be proud," says councilman Floyd McKissick.

South Square Mall managers could not be reached for comment Saturday. City leaders say they have been outspoken in their opposition to the project, as well as Durham residents who do not want the development in the Bull City.

The Southpoint Mall is scheduled to open in 2000; Nordstrom is slated to open in the spring of 2001.