Shopping Centers Today

OCT 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 27 of 59

28 S C T / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 W hen Park Road Shopping Center opened, in 1956, with 32 stores, it was the very rst open-air shopping center in Charlotte, N.C. And its prominence was such that the then-octogenarian James Cash Penney himself cut the ribbon to inaugurate the city's very rst J.C. Penney store there. Park Road is one of those centers that are full of history. Indeed, it occupies part of the farm on which the late evangelist Billy Graham grew up. Local attorney and philanthropist Porter B. Byrum, who died only last year, purchased the center in 1967 and donated it in 2011 to Queens University of Charlotte, Wake Forest University and Wingate University. Žose schools sold the center o' soon a'erward, to Edens, for about $82 million. Lyle Darnall, an Edens managing director, had fallen in love with Park Road as early on as 1989. He was keenly aware not only of the center's history, but also of what it could become if it were to be made over with only a few contemporary touches. "Že location is great, the tenant mix that they had was great, but there was room to improve on it," said Darnall. "We felt [that] if we did certain things to the shopping center, there was clearly an upside from a revenue standpoint. But the opportunity to own something as classic as this was too hard to pass up. I had never been around [any] center that means more to a single community than Park Road does to the communities and residential areas that surround it." Žat a'ection and meaning were in evidence in 2014, when a time capsule that had been buried 50 years before, just outside the center's Regal cinema, was opened as some 1,500 locals looked on. Among the items inside the capsule were newspaper clippings from 1964, when Regal opened the theater there, a letter from then-Mayor Stan Brookshire and a key to the city. Renovating the center required a long, thoughtful process, given the local community's passion for the property, Darnall says. "One of the most important things we did was [that] we waited, because we needed to take time to study it and develop a D E V E L O P M E N T D I G E S T F R O M R E N D E R I N G TO G R A N D O P E N I N G Restoring a beloved classic center requires skill — and tact By Ben Johnson Community gem

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