Ikea to catalyze Cary Towne Center’s change to mixed-use, company says

Cary Towne Center in a file photo. (CBS North Carolina)

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Cary Towne Center will transform into a mixed-use development, CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. announced Monday.

The news comes days after IKEA announced its plans to open a 350,000 square feet store in 2020 Cary Towne Center. IKEA will serve as a “keystone attraction” and a “catalyst for its redevelopment,” according to a news release from CBL.

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The company’s statement said it has worked for several months with the town of Cary to start the rezoning process to create a “flexible land use that will facilitate a creative, modern, multi-phase and multi-use redevelopment.”

The company’s statement said it is evaluating different scenarios, which could include a mix of premier retail, dining and entertainment options plus residential, grocery, office and green space.

CBL did not immediately provide a timeline for the changes.

RELATED: IKEA submits plans for massive Cary store that could open in 2020

CBS North Carolina spoke with some shoppers who said that in its heyday, The Cary Towne Center was a great place to shop.

“I feel like this mall has been struggling,” said shopper, Conor Graves. “There aren’t as many people that used to be coming here. Back in the day there used to be plenty of people that would come to this mall.”

Now they say it’s one of the saddest malls around.

“I was in here last week and I saw a lot of the suit stores closing down having a big going out of business sale,” said another shopper, Joyce Spitler.  “A lot of the spaces are empty when you walk inside and it probably turns people away and makes them want to go to Crabtree or Triangle Town center.”

Shoppers say they’re looking forward to the redevelopment.

“With this mall losing a lot of its anchor stores in the past couple years,” said Spitler. “I think it’ll be good for the community, give kids a safe place to go.”

Town officials say it fits with their vision for the area too.

“It’s perfect timing,” said Russ Overton, Assistant Town Manager of Cary. “Glad to see private development come in and kind of step up and want to meet the vision the councils adopted.”

Ikea submitted for rezoning already. Overton says he believes the mall plans on applying for rezoning by this summer.

“We’ve got a mall that’s had some turnover and some vacancy,” Overton said. “To see the revitalization of that is very exciting.”

Overton says the approval process will take anywhere from six months to a year.

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