Statewide: Triad region, July 2014
STATEWIDE Triad Region
Four Seasons’ midlife crisis
Greensboro’s Four Seasons Town Centre mall is facing one of its biggest challenges since opening 40 years ago. Anchor tenant Belk is leaving, joining a national migration from enclosed shopping centers. The Charlotte-based retailer, the nation’s largest privately owned department-store chain, plans to close the 212,000-square-foot store in February and expand one 4 miles away at open-air Friendly Center. Four Seasons opened in 1974 on land that developer Joe Koury started accumulating in the 1950s. With an adjacent hotel and convention center as well as proximity to Interstate 40 and Greensboro Coliseum, it became a Tar Heel retail institution. Koury died in 1998, and Chicago-based General Growth Properties bought the property for $116 million in 2004. Being near a highway matters less these days, with many shoppers preferring the newness and community feel of open-air centers, which usually are in more-affluent neighborhoods, New York-based market researchers Nielsen said in a 2014 report on malls. It’s nothing new for Belk, which replaced its store at High Point’s Oak Hollow Mall with a 75,000-square-foot one at nearby Palladium at Deep River shopping center. General Growth now must focus on retaining Four Seasons’ other anchors, Little Rock, Ark.-based Dillard’s and Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney, and smaller stores.
ASHEBORO — Teleflex will lay off most of the 635 employees at its local Arrow International medical-devices plant by 2017 as it moves production to Mexico. Wayne, Pa.-based Teleflex, which bought Arrow in 2007, also employs 450 in Morrisville, where it announced last year that it plans to invest $20 million.
MOCKSVILLE — House of Raeford Farms will reopen a 64,000-square-foot plant formerly owned by Siler City-based Omtron USA, which closed it in 2011, putting 476 people out of work. The Rose Hill-based poultry processor bought the plant at public auction last year for an undisclosed price and will hire 200 to make cooked-chicken products. House of Raeford employs 2,300 in North Carolina.
HIGH POINT — Steelcase will close its plant here by February 2016 and let go all 264 workers. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based manufacturer of office furniture is consolidating operations in Alabama, Michigan and Mexico.
TOBACCOVILLE — Reynolds American will hire 200 workers over four years to make its VUSE electronic cigarettes at its 2 million-square-foot plant here. Jobs will pay an average of about $40,000 a year, close to Forsyth County’s average of $42,588.
WINSTON-SALEM — A partnership of Philadelphia-based PMC Property Group and San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group paid $7.8 million for the 22-story Reynolds Building. They will convert the 314,000-square-foot building, which served as headquarters of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from 1929 until 2009, into apartments, a hotel and restaurant.