This has been inevitable for a long time, and I was actually kind of stunned that it wasn’t part of the previous round of closures. I’m in this parking lot occasionally because the batting cage I practice at is next to the KMart. I definitely do see people coming in and out, but nothing like the volume that would be needed to support a store of this space. The KMart usually has a few cars out in front, but otherwise the parking lot is a sea of asphalt.
First off, I do want to emphasize that I genuinely do feel sorry for the employees there who are losing their jobs. I hope they are all able to find new jobs very, very quickly, and I feel quite bad about taking any sort of pleasure in their employer going out business. (I also feel bad for the great folks who work at my batting cage, but I assume they will relocate to a new space and be just fine.)
That aside, this is great news for Raleigh. That’s a huge chunk of badly underutilized space that could be developed in one fell swoop and put to any one of a number of good uses. It’ll be interesting to see what ends up going in that space. I could honestly see retail/residential, office/residential, or office/retail working in that space, although at CX-5 it gets hard to do more than two of those things without a rezone.
What would be even cooler still is if the new development in that space could ignite some further development going north on Blue Ridge, where Blue Ridge 14 movie theater currently is. Residential development at the KMart site could help support retail right next door.
Just a thought here… aren’t they redesigning/upgrading the Beltline between Wade Ave and I-40 in the next few years? The Western Blvd interchange is by far the worst in that stretch. I just wonder if they new plans involve taking any of the KMart property to upgrade/improve that interchange.
The plan for Western is to go to a diverging diamond interchange and live essentially within the existing footprint.
I’m not sure how much the expansion of 440 will cut into the property but I don’t think it will be significant.
I realize that nobody has ever gone broke betting against luxury student apartments being built, but I have to think that given the size of the footprint here and the zoning, there would be an opportunity to do something more profitable.
It’s also worth noting that there is actually a rich architectural subgenre of renovating old KMarts. The one on 401 in Garner is being repurposed into a new headquarters for Baker roofing. An old KMart in Chicago got turned into a school. Here’s a cool story about multiple KMarts that were repurposed just in the Detroit area:
And you can find tons more examples across the country. And, yeah, Raleigh is a hell of a lot different than Detroit, so maybe they tear it down and start from scratch. But it’s entirely possible that the building will get retrofitted into something that, while it will be much more widely used than the KMart was, might not actually add any height.
Given the 5 story CX zoning with no restrictions on density, I am hoping for something a great deal larger and more exciting than a standalone Harris Teeter or a strip mall. I could definitely go for an urban format HT as a part of a mixed use development.
I’m definitely hoping for that, too. I just happen to have read an unusually vast amount about renovated KMarts because I’m bizarrely fascinated by the topic. But this location is a lot different from ones in other cities, or even the one in Garner that was vacant for most of a decade, so I think/hope we’ll get something much more interesting here.
Student housing as a component would be fine by me if it’s implemented right. I think putting something like Stanhope there would be a good fit. But this lot is nearly four times the size of Stanhope so I would hope for more than just that.
It’s on property like this that Raleigh will make its next growth spurt. As strip centers die, they’ll sometimes be replaced with housing and other times with mixed use. Key locations at major intersections will hopefully see the most dynamic change.
That would be huge for Cary. Now that Ikea isn’t coming, I think it’s fair game for that area. If Ikea did come, the energy for that massive development along Cary Towne Blvd might have become too much of a vacuum to enable a similarly scaled project in such close proximity.