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Mayfaire At 10

By Cece Nunn, posted Nov 21, 2014
A decade after Mayfaire Town Center's first anchor department store opened for shoppers, the Mayfaire mixed-use project continues to grow, with the potential for new homes, offices and stores. (Photo by Chris Brehmer)
In the coming months and years, new stores, offices and homes are expected to rise under the Mayfaire banner as the mixed-use project continues to grow a decade after Mayfaire Town Center welcomed its first shoppers.

“The past 10 years have been great for Mayfaire, and I think the next 10 years will be even better,” said Greenville native H.J. Brody, one of the original developers of the project who still serves in that role today.

In addition to Brody, Mayfaire’s current development partners are Herbert, Alan and Jeff Zimmer, Robert Beller and Arlene Zimmer Schreiber.

While Mayfaire Town Center marked its anniversary with celebrations earlier this year, the impact of the Mayfaire development as whole – its town and community centers, residential portions and the Offices at Mayfaire – on the Wilmington area is ongoing. 

THE PAST

A number of businesses and homes were built on Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads before Mayfaire came along, and more have followed the town center’s grand opening.

In 1986, builders completed the first home in Landfall, a neighborhood that would help provide the demographic necessary to attract upscale businesses. Plaza East, now called Lumina Commons, opened in 1970 at 1942 Eastwood Road, and The Galleria, now vacant but at the cusp of redevelopment, opened in 1986.

At 141,000 square feet, Landfall Center opened in 1990, and The Forum, with more than 100,000 square feet of space to hold restaurants and retail, opened at 1125 Military Cutoff in 1998.

One of the most important catalysts for Mayfaire, though, were two letters: MX, standing for the mixed-use zoning classification approved by the Wilmington City Council in 2000.

Coming up with the standards for MX was a private-public effort, with developers and planners working together to create a way to develop an area with businesses in the same neighborhood as homes without “the kind of over development that has crowded Market Street and College Road during the past 20 years,” a May 2001 Greater Wilmington Business Journal story said.

Raiford Trask III, president of Trask Land Co., said a lot of credit for MX should go to former city planner Wayne Clark.

“It was with his leadership that started or created the ability for the Mayfaire group and for all the development after that to with an MX ordinance,” said Trask, whose father was one of the developers of the mixed-use project Autumn Hall on Eastwood Road.

Mixed-use developments continue to be popular in the Cape Fear region.

“We’ve certainly been the poster child for coming in and doing mixed-use development under that ordinance,” Brody said. “I hope that with the economic challenges that the counties and the cities face, they continue to hold developers to that high standard because I think you can do something special.”

LOCAL DOLLARS

Mayfaire’s impact can be felt beyond Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads, officials say.
For one thing, Brody said, Mayfaire has been able to keep shopping dollars and the sales taxes that go along with those in the local area.

“That’s big because that trickles throughout the whole economy,” Brody said.

The project also continues to add jobs and represent tens of millions of dollars in property taxes. 

There’s no doubt, too, that Mayfaire has added value to property nearby, said Cal Morgan, a Wilmington appraiser and co-founder of JC Morgan Co. It has also, through its office space, pulled a lot of white-collar jobs that might have been located in other parts of town to Military Cutoff.

Morgan said the Landfall area, which is the term some researchers use to describe the part of town that includes Mayfaire and Military Cutoff and Eastwood roads, “has the greatest amount of class-A office space in the Wilmington area.”

PRESENT-DAY MAYFAIRE

A Chipotle and PetSmart will be two of the newest additions to Mayfaire. The restaurant was set to open Nov. 18, and PetSmart is expected to open its doors in spring 2015 in the Mayfaire Community Center.

Also in the community center recently, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Marshalls celebrated grand openings in September.

Businesses have come and gone since 2004, when the Mayfaire Town Center anchor tenant was the department store Hecht’s. Macy’s took the place of Hecht’s then swapped stores with Belk, the town center’s current anchor. Coldwater Creek closed earlier this year as its parent company shut down stores nationwide.

Brody said sales at Mayfaire for the stores that have left were actually above average, but “the problem was the parent companies were struggling.”

In addition to finishing Phase II of the community center with the construction of the PetSmart building and other, smaller spaces, Mayfaire has nearly 100,000 square feet available for potential new tenants. The Mayfaire leasing plan also points out areas where future structured parking decks could be built.

On the residential side of Mayfaire, only two out of 84 units built over retail spaces in Mayfaire Town Center were left to buy at the beginning of November. 

Around the same time, of the more than 100 home sites that make up Parkside at Mayfaire, only eight were left, said Jim Wallace one of the developers of Parkside and CEO of Intracoastal Realty.

“It’s the walkability that makes Parkside so successful,” Wallace said.

People in general want to live in or near mixed-use projects “so that they don’t have to drive all over town,” to do the shopping they want to do, he said. 

WHAT’S AHEAD

The future of Mayfaire is expected to include additional office space.

Brody said Steve Anderson, developer of the Offices at Mayfaire, has been a key partner for the project, and Brody and his partners are currently working with him again. Three three-story buildings constructed in recent years are already occupied.

“We’ve got the ability to add three buildings in the office park,” Brody said.

In June, Mayfaire bought 40 acres at 1105 Eastwood Road, on the backside of Mayfaire Town Center, and Brody expects to have a plan in place soon for the property that will be of “the same first-class nature” as the project’s existing components.

“We certainly have the ability in the 40 acres to do residential and some different types of creative product,” he said.

Whatever happens, the ability to change is necessary to keep a project like Mayfaire going and weather financial storms, like the economic downturn in 2008, he said.

“You’re just always evolving,” Brody said. “But we’re continuing to look at what we’ve got and make what we think is the best decision going forward for the Wilmington market and Mayfaire.”



Read more about Mayfaire's decade of growth here and here.
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