CRABTREE VALLEY MALL
Glenwood Avenue / US 70 and Creedmoor Road
Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina's Triangle region stretches between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The first enclosed shopping center in the area, Raleigh's NORTH HILLS MALL, evolved from a circa-1960 strip center that had been expanded into a 2-level interior mall in 1967.

Plans for a second interior mall in the "Tar Heel Triangle" were underway by the late 1960s. A 67 acre site, situated 4.5 miles northwest of the State Capitol, was acquired and developed by Sam Longiotti, under the auspices of Chapel Hill-based Plaza Associates. "CRABTREE MALL", as the project was originally known, was designed by Construction Engineers, Incorporated.

An open-air Convenience Center was built on the east end of the site. It housed a Big Star supermarket, US Post Office, five smaller inline stores and the Schneider-Merl Theatres Valley Theatres I & II. This venue showed its first features on February 9, 1971.

The superregional center to the west, or CRABTREE VALLEY MALL, was dedicated August 8, 1972. It encompassed 2 retail levels and approximately 1,014,300 leasable square feet. Although promoted as the state's largest enclosed mall, it, and Charlotte's SOUTHPARK (1970), both housed approximately the same amount of leasable square footage.

CRABTREE VALLEY MALL was anchored by a 2-level (150,000 square foot) Sears, 2-level (86,000 square foot) Richmond, Virginia-based Thalhimers and 3-level (251,000 square foot), Triangle-based Hudson Belk. As a footnote, North Carolina's Hudson Belk was a different "merchandising partnership" than the Belk Hudson division of Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

The junior anchors at CRABTREE VALLEY MALL were a Richmond-based Miller & Rhoads, G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 and Treasury Drug. Charter inline stores included Dunkin' Donuts, Sam Goody Music, Daphne's Hallmark, a Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio and Piccadilly Cafeteria.

Large parking decks were attached to the north and south sides of the complex. Moreover, there were six outparcel structures, in addition to the Convenience Center. These included two banks, a service station and Goodyear and Sears Auto Centers.

Commercial competitors included the aforementioned NORTH HILLS MALL {1.7 miles east, in Raleigh}, UNIVERSITY MALL (1973) {21 miles northwest, in Chapel Hill}, NORTHGATE MALL (1974) {19.2 miles northwest, in Durham city} and CARY VILLAGE MALL (1979) {6.2 miles southwest, in Cary}.

The first renovation of CRABTREE VALLEY MALL was completed in 1985 when a Food Court was installed in previously-existing space on the Upper Level.

Thalhimers became the first anchor store to change nameplates. It was shuttered January 25, 1992 and re-opened, as an Arlington, Virginia-based Hecht's, February 2 of the same year.

In 1990-1991, a renovation and expansion had been done to CARY VILLAGE MALL, with the complex morphing into the 1.1 million square foot CARY TOWNE CENTER. News of a prospective CROSSROADS PLAZA mega mall, to be built in Cary, convinced the owners of CRABTREE VALLEY MALL to announce a major expansion in February 1992. This got underway in July of the following year.

The southern parking deck was expanded toward Creedmoor Road. The north deck was partially demolished, as was the freestanding Sears Auto Center. Sears built a new 2-level (167,800 square foot) store on the existing mall's northwest corner, which opened August 3, 1994.

The original Sears, now vacant, was sectioned into 2 levels of inline stores. These began opening for business in July 1995. Hecht's also built a new store on the east end of the existing mall. Their 2-level (180,000 square foot) operation debuted August 6, 1995. The Hudson Belk store was given an interior facelift and was rededicated September 27.

The renovation continued with the expansion of the upper level of the vacant Thalhimers / Hecht's. The new store encompassed 120,000 square feet. It opened, as North Carolina's first (and only) Lord & Taylor, November 10, 1995.

As a final facet of the 80 million dollar expansion, the circa-'72 mall was given a face lift, with brass rails and marble floors installed throughout. Moreover, the culinary complex, renamed Pavilion Food Court, was enlarged into a 16-bay facility. CRABTREE VALLEY MALL now enveloped 1,366,100 leasable square feet.

2002 brought two new retail rivals; TRIANGLE TOWNE CENTER {6.2 miles northeast, in Raleigh} and STREETS AT SOUTHPOINT & MAIN STREET {19.4 miles northwest, in Durham County}. In order to remain on top of the retail game, expansion was, once again, planned for CRABTREE VALLEY MALL.

Initially, a third retail level for the mall was envisaged. A large lifestyle wing was also plotted for the area lying between Hudson Belk and the Convenience Center. These plans were scaled down considerably, with only a small lifestyle expansion and new parking structure being built.

18 million dollars were invested in these additions. The new parking structure, referred to as the Green Deck, was completed in late 2007. It was accompanied by a 2-level, open-air structure which included three sit-down restaurants. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood served its first meals June 25, 2008. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Bar debuted October 31st.

The Convenience Center had gone through various permutations since 1971. The twinplex and Big Star gave way to Toys "R" Us (1988-2006), Barnes & Noble (1994), Pier One Imports and Best Buy (2006).

Lord & Taylor announced the closing of their CRABTREE VALLEY MALL location in 2003. The store held on until February 28, 2006. Hudson Belk renovated its Upper Level and opened a Men's Store on May 6, 2007. The Lower Level became additional inline store spaces.

The most recent nameplate changes at the mall involve Hecht's, which was "Macy-ated" September 9, 2006, and Hudson Belk, whose official name was truncated to simply Belk on October 12, 2010.

CRABTREE VALLEY MALL has been owned by Raleigh-based CVM Holdings, Limited Liability Company since 2002. Plaza Associates, also based in Raleigh, is the mall's leasing and management agent.

In August 2015, construction started on a 60,000 square foot Streetscape addition. This was built on the mall's north-facing facade, between the Main Entrance and Sears. It added six retailers. At the same time, a ramp was attached to the Blue Deck parking structure. These projects were completed in February 2016.

Sources:

"Crabtree Valley Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://www.crabtree-valley-mall.com
http://livemalls.blogspot.com
Malls of America Blogspot
www.cinematreasures.org 
Triangle Business Journal
The News Observer
Wake County, North Carolina tax assessor website