CHARLOTTETOWN MALL
South Independence Boulevard / US 74 and South Kings Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina

The first fully-enclosed shopping center in the Southeast, and fourth major interior mall in the United States, opened in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 28, 1959.

CHARLOTTETOWN MALL was situated on a 10 acre parcel, on the southeastern fringes of Charlotte's center city, or "Uptown", area. The mall was designed by A.G. Odell, Jr. and was the third mall-type retail complex built by the James W. Rouse Company (under the auspices of its Community Research & Development subsidiary).

The complex encompassed 250,000 leasable square feet and was anchored by a 2-level (45,000 square foot), Asheville-based The Bon Marche department store (this North Carolina chain having no connection with the Seattle-based retailer of the same name).

Forty tenants were situated around a 2-story Central Mall, which featured a fountain, S & W Silver Grill snack bar, several rocket ship-shaped bird cages and planters filled with tropical foliage. The first floor included a Colonial supermarket, Eckerd Drug, Western Auto and P.H. Rose variety store. The second level had a Community Hall, S & W Cafeteria and several leased office spaces.

On November 6, 1963, the General Cinema Corporation Cinema I & II opened, which occupied a 6 acre tract located across Independence Boulevard from the mall. This was the nation's third twin-screen, shopping mall-based motion picture venue. The first had opened, in May 1963, at Greater Boston's NORTHSHORE CENTER. The second began business, in July 1963, at Kansas City, Missouri's WARD PARKWAY CENTER.

Meanwhile, The Bon Marche at CHARLOTTETOWN MALL had been shuttered. A Charlotte-based Ivey's assumed the vacated space in 1964.

The dedication of SOUTHPARK MALL (in 1970) and EASTLAND MALL (in 1975) diminished commerce at CHARLOTTETOWN MALL. These shopping centers were built within 5 miles of the older mall, and were much larger. Soon, CHARLOTTETOWN began to decline. It is thought that the completion of the John Belk Freeway / Interstate 277 Loop, in 1981, also had a negative effect on CHARLOTTETOWN MALL.

The center's first renovation was done in the 1970s, when two parking garages were built. In 1981, the mall was remarketed as the value-oriented OUTLET SQUARE. This reinvention was unsuccessful. In 1989, the still-struggling complex was renamed MIDTOWN SQUARE. This revitalization also failed.

The Ivey's store had been reduced to a clearance center some years before. Eventually, its space became a Burlington Coat Factory. The Colonial supermarket had rebranded as a Big Star in the early '70s and operated under the Harris-Teeter nameplate until closing in 1988.

In 1993, the cinema was shuttered. After languishing as a dead mall for several years, MIDTOWN SQUARE also closed for good. Demolition of the structures commenced in September 2005. They were replaced by mixed-use, retail, condominium and office buildings.

The 264,000 square foot MIDTOWN CROSSING took the place of the cinema. It housed a (128,000 square foot) Home Depot Design Center on its first level and (136,000 square foot) Target on the second. An adjacent multi-level parking garage was included in the project. Target held its grand opening October 14, 2007.

Across Independence Boulevard (which had recently been renamed Charlottetowne Avenue) was the 225 million dollar METROPOLITAN project. This 412,200 square foot complex was built on the former mall site. It was developed by a joint venture of Charlotte-based Pappas Properties and Collette Associates and the Birmingham-based Colonial Properties Trust.

Stores in the multi-level METROPOLITAN complex included a (30,000 square foot) Best Buy, (20,400 square foot) Staples and (32,900 square foot) Marshalls; the latter beginning business August 7, 2008. A (12,900 square foot) Trader Joe's opened its doors October 10, 2008. METROPOLITAN also housed 170,400 square feet of office space and one hundred and one residential units.

The Home Depot Design Center at MIDTOWN CROSSING went dark in April 2009. It was replaced by a (100,000 square foot) B.J.'s Wholesale Club and (14,000 square foot) Petco. B.J.'s welcomed its first shoppers on November 14, 2015.

Sources:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
Malls Of America Blogspot
Urban Planet.org / North Carolina / Charlotte / "Uptown Living" [Metro.M]
www.cinematreasures.org
Groceteria website "Charlotte: The 1960's" article /David Gwynn webmaster
http://www.pappasproperties.com
Colonial Properties Trust press release / October 3, 2005