Major changes are taking place in StoneCrest at Piper Glen, one of the south Charlotte area’s premier shopping centers, located off Interstate 485 at Rea Road.
In 2014, four of the center’s restaurants were closed or replaced, causing shoppers and business owners to question the future of StoneCrest.
The mixed-use retail center occupies 419,914 square feet and is anchored by Target, Harris Teeter, Michaels craft store and Regal 22 Cinemas, along with a variety of clothing stores, specialty stores and 17 restaurants and eateries. Charlotte-based Jones Lang LaSalle manages StoneCrest, and the Shopping Center Group handles the center’s leasing.
Within the last year, StoneCrest restaurants JoJo China Bistro, Miro Spanish Grille, City Tavern and Qdoba have either relocated or closed their doors permanently.
Jo Jo’s China Bistro was the first dining establishment in StoneCrest to close in 2014, shutting its doors at the end of January after its lease expired. The nearly 5,000-square-foot location did not relocate, and the space is now home to Basil Thai, a business-casual, Asian-fusion restaurant which also has an uptown location.
City Tavern closed after its lease expired on Sept. 1, 2014. The restaurant occupied the space adjacent to Michaels and Jersey Mike’s. The building has not yet been leased, and City Tavern has since opened a new location in Waxhaw.
Qdoba’s StoneCrest location closed its doors on Nov. 1, 2014, after 15 years in the shopping center. The casual Mexican eatery’s lease expired, and owner Mike Bradley was denied the opportunity to renew, according to director of catering Mitch Mitchell.
Mitchell said StoneCrest’s property management company is looking to make the open-air shopping center “more like SouthPark,” which resulted in the restaurant closures.
“We were most definitely ready to renew,” Mitchell said. “The landowner isn’t renewing leases and from what I hear, they’re trying to make it more upscale, like SouthPark. They’re trying to get nicer places out there.”
Mitchell added that he and Bradley received several complaints from regular customers stating they were “very unhappy” with the restaurant’s closure, but Qdoba has plans to open a new south Charlotte location within the upcoming weeks. The new location site has not been announced, and the former Qdoba building has not been leased.
Miro Spanish Grille closed its doors on July 11, 2014, after a 15-year run.
The 3,100-square-foot restaurant’s lease expired in July, and owner Tri Luong and business partner Phong Luong were denied an extension. The restaurant relocated to Torrington Market Shopping Center – just over a mile from its former location.
“Our lease expired, and our property manager decided not to give us an extension,” Phong Luong said. “From their point of view, they said they wanted to refresh the shopping center. We loved StoneCrest and wanted to stay there. Unfortunately, they wanted something different.”
Jones Lang LaSalle and the Shopping Center Group did not return South Charlotte Weekly’s phone calls before press.
“Retail and restaurant turnovers are a common, cyclical occurrence in the retail sector, and it’s normal evolution for retailers to be changed over a period of time,” said Laura Griffin, senior property manager of Jones Lang LaSalle, in an email. “The goal for shopping center ownership is to evaluate and enhance the retail offerings at their centers to better meet the needs of their customers.”
Luong said he expects other restaurants in StoneCrest to relocate in the coming months as the property management company looks to refresh the center.
“All I can say is they want to do something different and bring something different to the shopping center,” he said. “We aren’t in that mix. I don’t know their direction – I thought we were adding a dynamic mix and we proved that for 15 years, so I’m not sure what they’re going for.”
Charleston, South Carolina-based restaurant Pearlz Oyster Bar has taken over the former Miro site. The restaurant offers a raw bar with seasonal shellfish and a mix of low-country classics like gumbo, shrimp and grits and fried oysters. The StoneCrest location will be the first in North Carolina, joining two locations in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina.
The restaurant was originally slated for a November opening date but has since been postponed.
Miro Spanish Grille’s new location at 12239 N. Community House Road, next to EarthFare, opened in October 2014. Luong said despite resistance to relocating, the change has proved to be a positive one, as the restaurant has seen a 25-percent increase in business.
“Like they say, when one door closes, another opens,” he said.
Original article appeared here.