University City area plagued by empty storefronts

University City area plagued by empty storefronts

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by ANN SHERIDAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 7:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 7:20 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- We've all seen them: big box stores that are here one day and gone the next. But in the University City area some of those giant retailers have moved down the road, and in most cases, only a mile or so away to a new shopping area called Belgate.

It's left building, after building, after building empty. Big box retailers like Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart and World Market are all in the new center.

"What the reality is is that we may be overbuilt in the U.S. in retail in general.  And maybe it's showing up here a little bit earlier,” said University City Partners Executive Director Mary Hopper.

University City Partners will release a report on recommendations for some of the now empty storefronts next week. In some cases, Hopper says, the vacant big boxes will need to be razed. Others will be refit for new stores.

It won’t happen soon enough for people who live in the area like Johnny Headen. We found Headen running in a now near-empty parking lot.

“It’s kind of depressing to see all the places deserted in the area. The vacant buildings aren’t being occupied in this area,” he said.

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