Behind the Scenes at SouthPark Mall, Charlotte, NC

The Birth of SouthPark Mall

SouthPark Mall opened its doors on February 12, 1970. The Belk and Ivey families, renowned in the retail sector, spearheaded this venture. They chose a location considered rural at the time, far from the bustling city center of Charlotte, North Carolina. This decision sparked debates and skepticism among locals and business analysts alike.

The mall initially featured three major stores: Sears, Belk, and Ivey’s. These anchor tenants were pivotal in drawing shoppers from across the region.

SouthPark Mall’s design was strikingly modernist, characterized by its underground parking, white brick facade, and tinted windows. This architectural choice set a new standard for shopping centers in the area.

Adjacent to Sears, a strip mall emerged in June 1970, adding diversity with a Colonial Stores grocery store. Later, it transitioned to a Big Star market and then to Harris Teeter in the 1980s.

The SouthPark Cinemas I & II also debuted, offering entertainment options to visitors. This expansion was not just about retail; it was about creating a community hub in what was once pastureland.

The opening of SouthPark Mall marked a significant development in Charlotte’s retail landscape. It was a bold move, transforming an outlying area into a thriving commercial zone.

This venture laid the groundwork for the mall’s future expansions and its journey to becoming one of the key destinations for things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Challenges and Competitions

SouthPark Mall faced its first major competition with the opening of Eastland Mall approximately six miles northeast.

Eastland Mall, which opened with the same anchor lineup as SouthPark, added JCPenney to its roster and featured an ice skating rink, giving it a competitive edge in terms of entertainment options.

Despite the new competition, SouthPark Mall maintained its position in the market through continuous innovation and adaptation.

The mall’s management focused on enhancing the shopping experience and diversifying the tenant mix to keep up with changing consumer preferences.

The resilience of SouthPark Mall became evident as it continued to thrive despite the competitive pressure from Eastland Mall.

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The mall’s ability to adapt to market changes and maintain a strong anchor lineup helped it remain a preferred shopping destination in the Charlotte area.

Tragedy and Transformation

On December 6, 2007, SouthPark Mall faced a significant crisis when a section of the Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus parking deck collapsed around 12:15 pm.

This incident, triggered by a car colliding with a retaining wall, resulted in the tragic death of an older woman and the destruction of two vehicles.

This event marked the second American parking structure collapse in two weeks, raising concerns over structural safety nationwide.

In response to the tragedy, SouthPark Mall took immediate action to ensure the safety and security of its visitors.

The mall management and local authorities conducted thorough inspections and renovations to prevent future incidents.

This event served as a wake-up call, leading to stricter safety regulations and construction standards for parking structures nationwide.

Expansion and Luxury

The late 1990s and early 2000s marked a period of significant growth for SouthPark Mall.

The announcement of upscale retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom joining the mall signaled the largest expansion in South Park’s history.

While Saks Fifth Avenue withdrew from the expansion plans, Nordstrom debuted in 2004, introducing a fresh wave of luxury to Charlotte’s shopping landscape.

This luxury expansion continued with the renovation and expansion of Belk’s flagship store and the transformation of Hecht’s into Macy’s in 2006.

These developments brought exclusive brands such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Tiffany & Co. to the mall, elevating SouthPark’s status as a premier shopping destination.

In addition to luxury retail, SouthPark Mall diversified its offerings by introducing high-end tenants starting in 2020.

Brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Golden Goose, Psycho Bunny, Scotch & Soda, and Aritzia established their sole North Carolina locations at SouthPark.

This influx of luxury brands has enhanced the mall’s prestige and attracted a more affluent clientele, contributing to its continued success and dominance in the regional market.

Current Anchors and Their Stories at SouthPark Mall


Macy’s at SouthPark Mall is a testament to the evolution of retail in Charlotte. Originally opening as Hecht’s in 1998, this anchor has undergone significant transformations to meet changing consumer demands.

In 2006, as part of a nationwide rebranding, Hecht’s transitioned to Macy’s, bringing a fresh array of merchandise and a renewed focus on customer service.

Today, Macy’s continues to offer a wide range of products, from fashion to home goods, maintaining its reputation as a one-stop shop for families, fashion enthusiasts, and home decorators alike.


Nordstrom made its grand entrance into SouthPark Mall in 2004, introducing Charlotte shoppers to a new level of luxury and service.

Known for its exceptional customer service and high-quality merchandise, Nordstrom at SouthPark has become a destination for those seeking the latest fashion and beauty.

The store’s success reflects the growing demand for upscale shopping experiences in the region. It continues to draw customers with its curated collections and exclusive brands.


Dillard’s has a long-standing history with SouthPark Mall, serving as one of its original anchors since the mall’s expansion in 1990.

Replacing the former Ivey’s, Dillard’s brought a wide selection of clothing, accessories, and home decor to the Charlotte market.

Over the years, Dillard’s has adapted to its customers’ evolving tastes and preferences, offering a mix of traditional and contemporary styles that cater to a broad demographic.

Its enduring presence at SouthPark underscores its commitment to the Charlotte community.

Dillard at South Park Mall, Charlotte
Dillard at South Park Mall, Charlotte SunDawn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus, the epitome of luxury retail, opened its doors at SouthPark Mall in 2006. As the only Neiman Marcus store in the Carolinas, it has become a landmark for high-end shopping in the region.

Neiman Marcus caters to the discerning shopper by offering a lavish assortment of designer apparel, shoes, handbags, and beauty products.

The store’s arrival at SouthPark was a significant milestone, elevating the mall’s status as a premier shopping destination.


Belk’s relationship with SouthPark Mall is deeply rooted in history, as one of its founding anchors when it opened in 1970.

This flagship store represents the Belk family’s commitment to the Charlotte area. It offers a wide range of clothing, footwear, accessories, and home goods.

Over the decades, Belk at SouthPark has evolved, reflecting changes in fashion and consumer preferences while maintaining its Southern charm and hospitality.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods is a relatively newer addition to SouthPark Mall, opening its doors in 2004.

Occupying the space left vacant by the departure of Sears, Dick’s brought a new dimension to the mall’s retail mix, offering a wide selection of sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.

Catering to athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, Dick’s Sporting Goods has become a go-to destination for fitness and recreation products in the Charlotte area.

Its presence at SouthPark Mall underscores the growing trend of integrating lifestyle and fitness retail into traditional shopping environments.

Dick's Sporting Goods South Park Mall
Dick’s Sporting Goods South Park Mall SunDawn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Village at SouthPark and Symphony Park

The Village at SouthPark, a mixed-use development, opened adjacent to the main mall, adding a new dimension to the shopping experience.

This 82,000 sq ft area features a curated collection of high-end specialty shops, beauty and wellness services, and local eateries.

Crate & Barrel, which occupies 35,000 sq ft, anchors this unique shopping village and enhances the mall’s luxury offerings.

Above the retail space, The Residence at SouthPark offers upscale living with 150 premier residential units, including 32 two-story penthouse units.

This retail and residential space integration reflects a modern urban development trend, attracting diverse residents and shoppers to the area.

Symphony Park, an outdoor venue located across from Dick’s Sporting Goods, hosts over 80 annual events, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

This space has become a cultural hub in Charlotte, with events ranging from concerts to community gatherings.

Notably, Kelly Clarkson performed here in 2014, highlighting the park’s status as a premier event location.

Expansion Plans at SouthPark Mall

SouthPark Mall, a cornerstone of Charlotte’s retail landscape, is on the brink of further expansion.

Simon Property Group, the entity behind this retail giant, has recently filed for an expansion that proposes adding over 21,000 sq ft to the mall’s extensive footprint.

While specific plans for the new space remain wrapped, the anticipation is building among Charlotte’s shopping fans.

Simon Property Group has also announced the addition of five unique stores set to open in 2024.

These stores, unique to the Carolinas, are expected further to increase the mall’s occupancy and visitor numbers.

This expansion reflects the mall’s ongoing commitment to providing a diverse and upscale shopping experience.

Simon Property Group’s influence extends beyond SouthPark. It owns other significant Charlotte shopping destinations, such as Concord Mills and Charlotte Premium Outlets in Steele Creek.

This expansion is a testament to SouthPark’s success and Simon Property Group’s commitment to enhancing Charlotte’s retail environment.

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