It’s been five years since the first stores at Mayfaire opened their doors to customers. Despite the recession, the developer says he’s not done building on the property yet.
Williams and Sonoma, World Market, and Pier 1 were among the first stores to open at the Mayfaire Town Center. Other stores like Linens ‘n Things have come and gone, but additions like Barnes and Noble and a movie theater have helped the retail center grow.
“Oh yeah it’s grown so large, it really has, and it’s just so quaint,” said shopper Jean McLean.
On March 25, 2004, ten stores at Mayfaire opened their doors for the first time. Five years later the complex has more than eighty tenants. During the summer months Mayfaire employs more than 2,000 people.
Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Chairman Vinton Fountain said Mayfaire also helps draw other North Carolinians to the area. “It’s a regional retail hub, so it sort of acts as an economic engine to bring people to Wilmington, to New Hanover from really probably six or seven counties away.”
Developer HJ Brody said he expects Mayfaire to continue its growth. There are plans for an additional 100,000 square feet of retail space next to the movie theater, and a new hotel to accompany the Hilton Garden Inn.
Shoppers said what makes Mayfaire so appealing is that they can get their shopping done while getting some fresh air at the same time. “It’s a beautiful shopping area and it’s different, and I love shopping outdoors. It’s a change from the mall, the usual,” said Rita Tobia.
Experts said Mayfaire’s success has started a trend in our area. Economist Woody Hall said people are attracted to places where they can find shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
Hall called places like Mayfaire, the Forum and Lumina Station self-contained communities. Having available resources within walking distance allows local residents to become more familiar with their neighbors and storeowners. “I think it does create a sense of community. In fact we would suggest that Mayfaire is a model for a lot of other things that will take place in the not to distant future.”
One of those communities is already underway at Autumn Hall. The development will include private residences, eleven parks, a nature trail, several fitness facilities, and retail stores.