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Feb
07

Outlet Mall Becoming China Town

In the most bizarre announcement in area real estate history, WRAL is reporting that plans are on the board to transform the failing outlet mall near the airport into a China town. The mall will include a cultural center, a hotel, restaurants, and businesses that are Chinese with out being “Americanized”. Learn more from the link.

Washed-up Morrisville outlet mall to get Chinese makeover (via WRAL)

4 Comments

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  • Chris Said:

    Why is this bizzare? The outlet mall is completely failed (odd in a time that outlet malls have seen great success, but the indoor aspect and store footprints are not optimum compared to new outlet mall constructure) despite it being in a very central location, with easy access from I-40.

    The N&O article notes that 15,000 Chinese-Americans live in the area, and it is probably a safe assumption that many work in or near RTP. Funding is coming from China, where they have all our dollars anyway, and one can imagine influence from Lenovo whose U.S. headquarters is right around the corner, and other tech companies in RTP. This should help get the project off the ground.

    Many ethnic markets often sublease areas of their stores to other related businesses, or other related businesses aggolermate nearby. The area continues to become much more adventurous food-wise and media attention continues to focus on the “asian street-food” fad (its not a fad in Asia, it has been in the culture there for decades or more) and if the food court is good it will draw lots of people – including the RTP lunch crowd and beyond.

    The only bizzare part is the proposed pagoda-style design element which are extremely kitschy in a time when China itself is promoting forward-thinking architecture (think Beijing Olympics).

  • Aaron Said:

    This may be a bit corny, but I think I’m totally down with this. As long as the kitsch is kept to a minimum. The Asian and Chinese culture runs so deep and I’m hopeful this will be an authentic venture.

  • raleighrob Said:

    What’s bizarre is that when people think of a “China Town”, they visualize street vendors, sidewalks, outdoor markets, and a urban grid-pattern to the city blocks.
    Not a sprawling suburban mall locale. That’s not what anyone would think of as a “China Town” by no means.

  • Chris Said:

    RaleighRob – and that style of development would make sense in what part of the triangle, exactly??? What you are describing is now mostly desired by young professionals … In the meantime, we will see more and more of the overdeveloped and after 20 years severely underused suburban development repurposed in all sorts of ways we haven’t seen yet. This is just one experimental example.

    No, the development in Morrisville will clearly not be what a “Chinatown” was in the 20th century. It will not be a Chinatown like NYC (which was once mostly Little Italy and is now migrating to Queens), DC (which got pushed out when the MCI/Verizon Center was built and is now mostly in various parts of Northern VA), Boston (again, a few blocks in downtown, but a lot of Asian ethnic activity in other suburban areas around the city). West Coast Chinatowns are more or less still intact, although in LA a large focus of Chinatown has moved to the suburban style Alhambra neighborhood (and there is a distinct Koreatown and Little Tokyo). I guess my point is this model is already becoming outdated in places where it has been established for decades.

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