Cary Towne Center: It’s Not What You Think
Cary, NC — Cary Towne Center, our Cary mall, has been in the news a lot lately. Amidst all the talk about the possible redevelopment on the property, I decided to stop in and just hang out.
Hanging Out in Cary Towne Center
It’s not much like a mall at all I realized as I started walking around.
Cary Towne Center is a place people go to hang out.
Malls are known for shopping – go in, get what you need and leave. For many, though, malls are also places to meet friends, eat lunch, exercise and “people-watch.”
This “Free WiFi” sign was posted in several locations around the mall. Free WiFi in a public place isn’t rare these days, but the fact that it was advertised seemed to say “stay awhile.”
In fact, as I walked around the mall, the atmosphere seemed to encourage strolling, browsing and lounging rather than arriving, purchasing and leaving.
So I listened to the message and stayed.
The People at Cary Towne Center
I saw nurses in scrubs power-walking, parents with baby strollers and young kids strolling slowly and a lot of people just making use of all there is to do at Cary Towne Center.
I saw people eating in the food court alone, senior citizens strolling hand-in-hand and a man sitting on a bench in the sun reading a book.
Horses, Trains & Games
Kids, teenagers and adults were riding the carousel near the old Sears wing and climbing aboard the trackless train that circulates around the mall. It’s a different scene.
I was happily amused to see an adult couple riding the train with no children. Every passenger on the train was licking a lollipop that had been given to them by the man driving the train.
He seemed to know a lot of the riders and high-fived each passenger.
In addition to the carousel and train, Cary Towne Center has a kid’s indoor play space, a Dave & Busters, a secondhand craft store and this old-fashioned station filled with mechanical animals and automobiles to ride. I noticed candy machines and snack kiosks everywhere.
Hanging out at Cary Towne Center made me feel like a kid – so, naturally, I decided to visit the Dippin’ Dots stand before I left.
I’ll Visit Again Soon
Next time I visit Cary Towne Center, I hope to talk to some of the people who work at the mall and the people who choose to spend their day there.
Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.
We’ll sometimes go there to let our kid run around, but not really to shop. There are so many other shopping areas with better stores, restaurants, and ambiance. Other than D&B, I can’t think of anything particularly unique about Cary Towne Center.
I’d like to see something like Rockville Town Center in Rockville, MD. Gridded streets, great retail and restaurants with a good mix of residential.
There is tremendous potential not only in the redevelopment of the mall but also the future development of the property recently sold by the state across Cary Town Blvd. If done properly this combined development/redevelopment could revitalize the entire surrounding area. With its proximity to I-40 & both the Cary & Raleigh downtown’s I can’t imagine this not being highly sought after properties. There should be some consideration of combining forces between these developments. Possibly develop a grand mall entrance that aligns with the boulevard entering the recently sold state owned property providing more prominence from I-40.
While its great for the community… a mall cannot survive on people coming to walk, people watch, read, etc.