Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2000s in Review (Carolina Circle Mall’s Decade of Doom)

The date is now officially December 31, 2009. Yet another decade is now coming to a close. The 2010s are drawing close.

Ever since 2009 began, I’ve done quite a bit of remembrance of this decade. My regular followers may already know that I have never been to fond of the the 2000s. Pop culture just hasn’t been the same and I’ve had to deal with quite a lot of personal hardship (particularly the past year).

Although, this decade has brought me many new friends, semi-fame due to Carolina Circle City and Home of Carolina Circle Mall, and most recently, a girlfriend.

But what did this decade bring to Carolina Circle Mall? Let us take a look back at Carolina Circle Mall in the 2000s.

At midnight on January 1, 2000, the crystal ball in Times Square reached the bottom of the flagpole, announcing the new year and the new decade. The much feared Y2K computer bug had passed without any problems.

At midnight on January 1, 2000, a party was going on at Carolina Circle Mall. A party celebrating the new millennium was hopping at Carolina Circle Mall (that is, if you do believe the new millennium began in 2000 and not 2001). This would also be, the last major event to take place at the mall.

On January 1, 2000, the mall was going through quite a hardship. In 1997, Belk had closed up, and in 1999, Dillard’s had closed as well. In the year 2000, the only major store left at the mall was Montgomery Ward. The mall had also been up for sale for less than a year.

This was how much of the year 2000 was for Carolina Circle Mall. The corridor was open, but only about 3 or 4 (maybe less) stores were still open. Inside, the mall was still lit up. The fountains were still splashing and the mall was still lit up in its late ‘80s neon colors. However, the lights were on, but nobody was home.

In March of 2001, at age 11, I took my last walk through the mall’s corridor. My mom was shopping at Montgomery Ward so my dad took me through the mall’s corridor to see if anything was left. From what I recall, only Montgomery Ward and some other small store were the only stores still open. The mall looked creepy and dark, yet the lights were still on and the fountains were still running. I thought for sure that my old favorite restaurant Subs & Spuds was still open. I made it as far as the food court when we turned around. Subs & Spuds, including every other restaurant, was closed. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I ran back to Montgomery Ward. It was then I realized that Carolina Circle Mall wasn’t going to last much longer.

That same year, Montgomery Ward announced the closure of all of its stores nationwide, including Carolina Circle. Seeing that it was the only store left at the mall, and the mall entrances being sealed off, this would mark the bitter end of Carolina Circle Mall.

The end came in January 2002. Montgomery Ward closed up, leaving Carolina Circle Mall, out of business forever.

Aerial ShotSoon afterwards, rumors began to spread about what would happen to the mall building. Before the mall closed, GTCC was in talks about buying the building and converting it into a campus. This, however, fell through. In stepped a man named Don Linder, who bought the mall and decided to convert the mall into a sports and retail center known as “Pyramids Village”. The picture on the left was taken circa 2002.

Sometime around late 2002/early 2003, crews began to tear up parts of the parking lot. Soccer fields and tennis courts were installed.

A sign was put up by Cone Blvd saying “Coming Soon: Pyramids Village Opening Fall 2003”. The sign was eventually changed to “Fall 2004”. Eventually, Linder gave up. It just wouldn’t work.

In the summer of 2004, Linder returned with plans to tear the mall down and build a new Wal-Mart shopping center in its place. This, as you know, was the final plan.

Carolina Circle Mall Before Demolition 006 I finally stepped back into the picture in February 2005, at age 15. I had known about the demolition plans for awhile and had decided to finally ride by the mall and shoot some final pictures.


Carolina Circle Mall Before Demolition 008 I then pulled up to the former main entrance and noticed that the plywood covering the doors had been partly removed, due to the vandals. What made the trip interesting was that I was able to take a look inside the mall through my car. I was struck by how much of the mall hadn't rotted away, due to the fact that it had already been abandoned for the past 3 years.

At school the following morning, my teacher turned the radio onto 99.5 WMAG. The radio then began playing my old Carolina Circle Mall theme song, Two Hearts by Phil Collins. This, combined with the fact that I had just been at the abandoned mall snapping pictures, immediately caused a chain-reaction, causing all of the memories I had ever had of Carolina Circle Mall to activate in my mind. I now realized that Carolina Circle Mall was definitely something worth remembering, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity.

First Floor Near Montgomery Ward That evening, I got on the Internet and did a Google search for “Carolina Circle Mall”. I came across a website, which is no longer on the web, which had recent pictures taken inside the mall. Each picture showed the mall in a somewhat sad state. Every wall seemed to have graffiti written on it, glass was broken, and the ground was completely trashed. However, the mall still seemed to be in fairly good shape, seeing that the light fixtures, signs, and several other features were still intact.

You probably are already aware of that incentive controversy Linder ran into with the Greensboro City Council in May/June of 2005. It’s too complicated for me to explain, but Linder stepped out of the picture completely and Wal-Mart stepped in and bought the property.

Carolina Circle Mall During Demolition 008 On June 30, 2005, EME Demolition began tearing the mall down. For two months, demolition crews tore the mall down, piece by piece. Dillard’s was the first to go, then Montgomery Ward, and finally, Belk (which coincidentally, was the first store to open at the mall in 1976). Construction on the new shopping center began immediately.

In September of 2005, I started this blog, Carolina Circle City. For over 4 years, this blog has been the source of Carolina Circle Mall’s unofficial Internet world, which led to Home of Carolina Circle Mall in 2007, and the very successful Facebook group in 2009.

Grand Opening 2006 001 On August 16, 2006, almost 30 years after Carolina Circle Mall had officially opened, The Shoppes at Pyramids Village officially opened to the public (although Wal-Mart was the only store open at the time).


The rest, as they say, is history. In 2007, the rest of The Shoppes at Pyramids Village opened, as well as the demolition of the nearby Kmart and the opening of the Lowe’s Home Improvement, which took the Kmart’s place.

As you can see, the 2000s brought the bitter end of Carolina Circle Mall’s life, with the 2002 closure and the 2005 demolition. In 2009, there is no more evidence that a mall once existed where The Shoppes at Pyramids Village is now located (other than the still remaining Montgomery Ward Auto Center building).

So, what will the 2010s bring for the Carolina Circle Mall/Pyramids Village area? There’s absolutely no telling. There’s still a huge empty lot across from Wal-Mart that could be used for anything, such as a Home Depot or another shopping center strip. Check back with me in 2019.

For now, I wish you a very happy New Year as well as a very happy new decade. Billy Coore signing off from Carolina Circle City for the last time in the 2000s.

Carolina Circle City Final Post Count for the 200s Decade: 348

1 comment:

Tommy Thomas said...

Hey Billy!

This was a wonderful article! It captured your thoughts of CCM perfectly! This is a wonderful site you're running! Keep the memory of CCM and by extension, other malls that are sadly dying or have already died alive! :)

Your friend,