When Park Road Shopping Center opened in 1956 with 32 stores, it was the largest open-air shopping center between Washington and Atlanta.
One of the guests at the opening was an 82-year-old man named J.C. Penney.
Now the center is home to some 58 stores and restaurants, and for the past decade or so, the mixed-use development has been under the ownership of Edens, the Columbia-based retail developer that also owns Atherton Mill. The new owners have made several improvements, but there’ve been a few heartbreaks along the way, with a couple of longstanding institutions closing.
Why it matters: Instead of being torn down and repurposed into your typical residential complex with commercial and retail space, Park Road Shopping Center has lived on and grown its tenant base while maintaining its old charm. And it’s been able to weather the pandemic.
Zoom out: Edens managing director Lyle Darnall tells Axios Charlotte that when the team bought the center in 2010, they took time to do a thorough analysis of how it operated, its demographics, and its value to the community.
“We just didn’t want to rush in and start making some changes. But we knew that there needed to be some changes made,” Darnall says. He also said that most of the improvements made to the shopping center were intended to restore its original look and feel.
Where things stand: Edens has spent more than $30 million on improvements and tenant upfits. In the past year, Harris Teeter reopened after an extensive remodel, Chase Bank popped up on the former McDonald’s site, and the retro Park Road Shopping Center sign was restored and reinstalled.
What’s to come: Fitness studio Orange Theory will be opening in the shopping center this spring.
Here’s how we’d spend a day in Park Road Shopping Center.
Hunt for your next read: Browse through the book selection at Park Road Books.
Shop: Go boutique hopping. Julie’s and K|LA Boutique have fun, trendy women’s clothing. Find that conversation-starter piece for your home from Classic Attic, High Cotton Home or Traditions Interiors & Accessories.
Lunch: Dine outside on the patio at Cantina 1511.
Drinks: Head to Dot Dot Dot for afternoon libations in a speakeasy setting.
And for dessert: You can’t go wrong with ice cream from Jeni’s. Non-dairy folks, I highly recommend the frosé sorbet.
Current Park Road Shopping Center tenants:
FOOD AND DRINK
Amelie’s – French bakery and café serving pastries, soups and savories, and of course, coffee.
Bruegger’s Bagels – New York-style bagels.
Burtons Grill & Bar – Upscale American fare.
Cantina 1511 – Mexican cuisine.
Caribou Coffee – Fresh roasted coffee and handcrafted drinks.
Cava – Mediterranean bowls.
Chopt – Salads, warm grain bowls, and wraps.
CO – Contemporary pan-Asian cuisine.
Dot Dot Dot – A members-only, prohibition-style bar setting serving classic as well as innovative cocktails.
Flour Shop – Fresh pasta and bread.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – Artisan ice cream.
Midwood Smokehouse – Slow-smoked barbecue.
Osteria LuCa – Artisan, Italian-style pizza.
Park Road Soda Shoppe – 50s-style diner serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and milkshakes.
Rock Salt – Oyster bar and farm-to-table restaurant.
Shake Shack – Fast-casual burger joint.
Sir Edmond Halley’s – Award-winning pub.
Suárez Bakery – Cuban bakery specializing in pastries and desserts, plus custom cakes.
Subway – Custom subs.
The Flying Biscuit Cafe – All-day breakfast spot.
Your Mom’s Donuts – Donuts made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Aillea – Organic and cruelty-free beauty store.
Bike Source – Bicycle retailer specializing in road, triathlon, mountain and children’s bikes.
Black Hawk Hardware – Full-service, family-owned hardware store.
Bluemercury – Beauty store and spa.
Brownlee Jewelers – Full-service jeweler with selections of diamonds, gold, color stones, and sterling silver.
Classic Attic – Antique and consignment store (they get new inventory every day).
Custom Ink – Custom t-shirts and apparel for your brand or business.
Great Outdoor Provision Co. – Clothing & equipment for an outdoor lifestyle.
Harris Teeter – Regional grocery store.
High Cotton Home Co. – Furniture and home accessories boutique with custom design services.
Howren Music & Sound – Music store offering school instrument rentals, lessons by skilled instructors, and repairs.
J. Crew Factory – J. Crew outlet store with competitive deals.
Jami Masters School of Dance – Dance classes for all ages and levels in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, and tap among other genres.
Julie’s Boutique – Trendy, women’s clothing boutique.
K|La Boutique – Affordable and trendy women’s clothing boutique.
Kid to Kid – Children’s resale store offering kids clothes, shoes, toys, baby gear, and even maternity wear.
McCranie’s Pipe and Tobacco Shop – Full-service tobacco shop with a wide selection and knowledgeable staff members.
Michaels – Arts and crafts supplies, framing, florals and seasonal decor.
Omega Sports – Sports clothing, apparel, and accessories.
Onward Reserve – Laid-back men’s apparel.
Park Road ABC Store – Spirits and wine
Park Road Books – Independently owned and operated bookstore that hosts author events and book clubs.
Traditions Interiors & Accessories – Furniture and home accessories store with interior design services.
SERVICES + MISC
AMC Park Terrace 6 – Historic movie theater with a new and refreshed look.
Carolina Barre & Core – Boutique fitness studio offering barre, yoga, and core classes.
Corepower Yoga – Yoga classes for both the beginner and seasoned yogi.
Corners – Custom picture framing.
Dolce Lusso Salon and Day Spa – Full-service salon hair, makeup, nail, and massage services.
Firestone – Automotive repair services and tires.
King Tiger Tae Kwon Do – Martial arts classes are children, men, and women.
Coming soon: Orange Theory – Heart-rate-based workouts that include endurance and strength training.
Park Road Key Shop – Located in Blackhawk Hardware, Park Road Key Shop specializes in key duplication.
Park Road Shoe Service – Shoe repair shop.
Polished Nail Bar – Modern nail and waxing salon.
Snip-Its – Children’s haircuts.
Walgreens – Pharmacy and convenience store.