Carolina Circle Mall

  • 1958: Developer Joe Koury starts talking about building a shopping center in southwest Greensboro. He expands his plans several times during the 1960s but doesn't start the project. While he waits, other developers make plans of their own.
  • 1972: Alpert Investment Corp. of Atlanta proposes building a mall off U.S. 29 in northeast Greensboro. Then, in October, Koury's Imperial Corp. breaks ground on Four Seasons Mall.
  • April 1974: Alpert breaks ground on the Carolina Circle Mall in the city's northeastern outskirts. The owners figure the location will attract shoppers from Reidsville, Eden, Burlington and even southern Virginia. The site is difficult to reach by car, but Mayor Jim Melvin and other city leaders push successfully for public money for street improvements.
  • February 1975: Koury's Four Seasons Mall opens off High Point Road. The two-level mall features about 95 stores and 900,000 square feet of retail space. It's the city's first enclosed mall. · February 5, 1976: Belk opens at Carolina Circle. It's the mall's first store.
  • June 1976: The mall's ice skating ring opens.
  • July 30, 1976: The mall sponsors a gala ball benefiting the Carolina Theatre. More than 1,200 people dance to Glenn Miller and other Big Band music. There's talk of making the ball an annual event.
  • Aug. 4, 1976. The mall holds its grand opening. UNCG drama students entertain the crowd in costumes from ``Alice in Wonderland,'' which is the theme of the mall's marketing campaign. Mall manager Ray Brantley says the ads, along with special features like the ice rink, will appeal to children much as Ronald McDonald and McDonald's playgrounds help sell hamburgers. ``The housewife spends most of the disposable income in the family,'' he says. ``And who controls the housewife? We want this to be a pleasant place for kids to be.''
  • November 1976: Piccadilly's cafeteria and the mall's six-screen cinema open.
  • December 4, 1977: At 10:30 on a Sunday morning, three deer, apparently startled by cleaning equipment churning through the mall parking lot, panic and run through two plate glass windows. The deer then fall 18 feet to the mall floor, near the ice rink. One doe breaks its neck and dies. The other two are captured and released. Deer are a common site near the mall, which is still on the outskirts of town at this time. · April 1978: Retired professional wrestler John Powers opens his Hawaiian Surf Water Slide park beside the mall. The park's bobsled-like slides average 450 feet long by up to 70 feet high.
  • Aug. 12, 1978: The mall celebrates its second anniversary. Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger in the 1950s TV series, signs autographs for children.
  • August 1986: An Australian firm buys Carolina Circle through its U.S. subsidiary, Sunshine Properties Inc. of Dallas. The new owner promises to renovate the mall to keep up with Four Seasons. At the time, Carolina Circle's vacancy rate is 10 percent, compared to 1 percent at Four Seasons. Shopper traffic is sagging.
  • April 9, 1987: Four Seasons opens its new third floor after 18 months of construction. That brings the all's repertoire to 200 stores.
  • June 1987: The new owners hire Strouse Greenberg, a Philadelphia-based property-management firm, to oversee renovations and help manage the mall. The firm also says it will study the mall's tenant mix, and develop a marketing plan.
  • June 1988: A $6 million renovation project is completed and Strouse Greenberg unveils the new Carolina Circle Mall. Changes include a new logo, brighter lighting, and a $250,000 custom-built carousel. The owners tout it as a renaissance for the mall. Singers perform ``Hallelujah Chorus'' and ``The Star-Spangled Banner.'' Mayor Vic Nussbaum makes a speech. A weekend-long festival features live music. But the owners eliminate the mall's most distinctive feature: the ice rink. Merchants and skaters are incensed. It was the only ice rink in Greensboro.
  • Jan. 15, 1991: Robbers shoot and wound a 54-year-old man while he walks out of the mall's Montgomery Ward store with his two daughters. The incident fuels a perception that the mall is dangerous.
  • Sept. 11, 1992: Greensboro police open a satellite station at the mall. The city pays $1 a year for the space. City leaders say they hope the station will make shoppers feel more secure. Four Seasons mall officials also talk with police about getting a station, but nothing ever comes of it. Ironicly, some Carolina Circle merchants complain that having a police station is a bad thing because it gives visitors the impression that the mall needs a police station.
  • Sept. 30, 1993: George D. Zamias Developer, a family-owned company from Johnstown, Pa., buys the mall for $16 million in cash and agrees to take over the $21.17 million mortgage.Company president George D. Zamias promises to market the mall aggressively. ``At the heart of our marketing technique is the need to make the general public aware of the retailers that are in the property,'' he tells the News & Record. ``We've got to make people realize that the property is there for them to shop and give them a reason to come out.''
  • February 1994: The U.S. Postal Service signs a 10-year lease to put a mail facility in the first floor of the Carolina Circle Belk's department store. Belk keeps the top floor open as a store.
  • July 1996: Some of the mall's bread-and-butter stores - Camelot records and Waldenbooks, for instance - already are gone as Piccadilly Cafeteria says it will close its doors at the end of the month. A few days later Radio Shack says it, too, will move soon. Remaining merchants worry about how they'll survive.
  • Dec 1999: Mall owners, Zamias Services Inc. seek new owners.
  • Feb 2000: Jeff Anderson, sales and marketing manager for Antronix Distribution and Supply Co., said he is negotiating to buy the mall. His plan is to fill the mall with minority-owned businesses and rename it Freedom Mall. (Anchor store Montgomery Ward, which is still open, is not part of the deal.)
  • Dec 2000: Montgomery Ward, the department-store chain that helped pioneer American retailing, said that it is shutting down after 128 years in business and will file for bankruptcy.
  • Feb 2001: Don Linder, a Greensboro physician and Pyramids and Sportime fitness center owner, announces plans to purchase Carolina Circle Mall. He plans to turn the 800,000-square-foot mall into a recreation and retail center.
  • Apr 2001: Montgomery Ward closes. The mall is now vacant.
  • Dec 2001: Linder’s Pyramids Village Sportscenter opens. ·
  • Dec 2002: The city announces plans to buy the Pyramids sports complex.
  • Jan 2003: The City Council votes to buy the Pyramids sports center for $6 million, a deal that will speed the expansion of the city's parks programs.
  • Jul 2004: Linder cancels plans for a swimming complex, fitness center and other recreation offerings in the mall. Instead, he has agreed to sell 22.5 acres of the 70-acre mall site to Wal-Mart. The mall will be demolished to make room for the Wal-Mart's parking lot.
  • Sep 2004: Wal-Mart pledges to build a supercenter store as part of the project.
  • Aug 2006: Wal-Mart opens and is the first phase of the Shoppes at Pyramids Village.

Source: News & Record archive

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