by: Greg Suskin Updated:
FORT MILL, S.C. - The Plaza Fiesta Mall, next to Carowinds, is closing after more than 20 years, a name change, several ownership changes and a foreclosure filing.
The mall will be leveled in 2014, and in its place, a massive outdoor retailer called Cabela's will open.
The official announcement was made Wednesday after more than a week of rumors swirling across York County
"I think it will be great and will really revitalize that whole area up there," said Mark Farris, head of York County economic development.
The Cabela's name may not be familiar to many people in the Carolinas.
The chain operates 50 stores nationwide, mostly in the far west and upper Midwest of the country.
The Fort Mill location will be the second in South Carolina. The other store is under construction now in Greenville.
The store will be a nearly 100,000-square-foot retailer selling hunting, hiking, camping, fishing and outdoor gear and clothing.
It will feature an indoor mountain and several aquariums.
A Cabela's spokesperson said the store will create 225 jobs and should open in the spring of 2015.
Channel 9 spoke with shoppers at Plaza Fiesta Wednesday afternoon. Some were glad for good economic news but will miss a very unique mall.
"I always shop here," Daneen Beverly said. "There's different diversity here, and it will be sadly missed."
Plaza Fiesta, once called Crossroads Mall, has about 40 stores left, along with a lot of empty spaces.
Some shoppers, like Mollie Moree, said it's the right time and place for something new.
"You've got families that have kids that would love to have a place like this that's local and close to come to," she said.
Long-time anchor store Hamrick's announced on Dec. 3 that it was told by mall management that its lease would not be renewed. The clothing store is now looking for a new home.
Some loyal shoppers called that a disappointment.
"We're going to miss Hamrick's," said Doris Raynard. "The place has been going downhill since what, 10 years ago? All the stores moved to the mall areas."
Officials with Cabela's told Channel 9 that the retailer plans to set aside four-to-six lots on the property with the goal of attracting restaurants and other smaller shops.
Channel 9 also asked Carowinds for a comment about the development.
The theme park's spokeswoman Julie Whitted sent this e-mailed statement late Wednesday.
"We are excited about today's announcement and welcome Cabela's to the neighborhood,” Spokesperson Julie Whitted said in an email. “The charlotte- Fort Mill area is vibrant and growing, our parent company Cedar Fair saw the potential for growth and announced a $50-million multi-year investment in August, along with Cabela's, we look forward to being a part of continued growth and development in the area."
York county officials said the permitting process for Cabela's is not complete.
However, they don't see any red flags that would derail or delay the demolition of the mall and construction of the new store.
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