Saturday, May 10, 2008

Northlake Mall Has Come Into Its Own

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/10/2008 No comments
This is a first for me: I'm blogging live on location. I know. It's no big deal, considering that I'm just at Northlake Mall. But I have a little time to kill. And being at this mall gave me the idea to blog about it.

Northlake Mall opened in September 2005, a month after I moved to Charlotte. I remember receiving press releases and media invites at the time, but thinking what's the big deal, it's just a mall. But little did I know then that new shopping malls are a big deal nowadays. Not only is this Charlotte's newest mall, but it's likely the last one to be built here. Charlotte, like most big cities around the country, are preferring to develop their downtowns and center city areas rather than contributing to the urban sprawl we've seen for decades. (Urban sprawl is considered to be bad for the environment because it's said to lead to more pollution from commuting, and the low density kills a whole lot of trees for not a whole lot of residents). Shopping malls are being replaced by those shopping centers you see on just about every corner in urban areas. You know, the ones that always seem to have a Panera Bread, a cell phone store, a spa, a FedEx/Kinkos, a Harris Teeter, and so on.

I moved from south Charlotte to north Charlotte exactly one year ago, and before then I had only visited Northlake Mall a couple of times. But now that I live on this side of town, I come here more often. And by more often I mean about once a month, if that. I've never been a big mall person. So when I do come I usually go to a couple of my favorite stores and get what I came for. Then I'm out. I save time by not trying anything on. Man Law.

But I've been to this mall a little more often lately, having to shop for myself (had to get some spring gear), and a couple of birthdays. And I can now say that Northlake Mall has an identity. When I would come here last summer, I would be surprised that the crowds weren't larger, especially on Saturdays. But today, as was last Saturday, it's packed. Everybody from tweens, teens, young couples pushing strollers, and fashionistas rushing in to buy that outfit for tonight are here. As are the guys who come to get there mack on in the Food Court (bet you haven't heard that word in a while). These are all the people that are needed to make a mall successful.

I think it took a little while for locals to put Northlake on their radar, for it to become an option among SouthPark and Concord Mills (Eastland Mall is not really any option for most people any more). Plus many more stores and restaurants have opened around the mall, as usually occurs around malls. The P.F. Chang's seems to always be full. And across the street from the mall is a new Best Buy with a Super Target soon to be completed. I only live a little more than ten minutes from all of this and I'm really happy to see the Target coming. There are also new apartment buildings and I think maybe some condos or townhouses going up.

Well, that's all I have to say about that. Plus, I don't think I look too cool on my laptop in the Food Court. Now I'd look cooler if I was doing this at some downtown bistro or cafe, right? Yep, urban sprawl.


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