After 40 years in business, the Cary Towne Center mall has closed its doors yesterday, in preparation for the redevelopment of the site into the expanded Headquarters for Epic Games, which will create additional jobs in the Triangle when the campus is finished in 2024. Dave & Busters is the only business in the once busy mall that will remain open.
Mall owners sold the site to Epic Games on December 31st, 2020. There have been several other proposals for redevelopment of the site in recent years, such as the most recent plan for the mixed-use Carolina Yards proposal, which was presented in October 2020. Epic Games is the developer of the popular game “Fortnite” and this move would allow them to expand their current Cary headquarters and create an undisclosed amount of jobs when the new campus is completed. Epic Games has also indicated that they will work with the Town of Cary on a $193 million sports and recreation center on-site.
The decline of the Cary Towne Center is not a story unique to this particular mall, as many retail stores and malls across the country, even in markets of high growth have fallen victim to the increase in online shopping, which has no doubt been accelerated by the COVID 19 health crisis.
In contrast, Epic Games experienced unprecedented growth in 2020, reporting that they currently have 160 million users and daily active users are up by 192%. They are continually growing their product offerings and plans are to continue to add more games at a rapid rate in 2021, which in turn means adding more developers and employees to their payroll.
What does this mean for the local residential neighborhoods, like Jameson’s Cove or Villas at Sunset? Employees of Epic Games that like living close to the office will be able to avoid the famous RTP traffic. Neighbors in the close vicinity will also be able to enjoy the larger recreational space and potentially see their home values rise, as more workers will be looking for options closer to the campus when relocating to the area or buying their forever home.
While seeing a staple shopping center close can make neighbors nostalgic with bittersweet feelings, putting this site to use as the home of an impressive employer in the Triangle is not only exciting, but good for the Town of Cary and the property owner’s in the surrounding neighborhoods.