As we touched on in our Past/Present/Future post on North Hills, there is a lot of history behind Raleigh’s Midtown. North Hills was originally a mall, developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Interestingly, it was the first two-level, enclosed mall between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

When the mall site was built, it was all the rage in the area, with people driving from east and west to do their shopping at North Hills. But, while the mall thrived for many years, its luster eventually faded as Crabtree Valley Mall was built and began to draw customers away in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite a renovation in 1984 and a temporary resurgence, North Hills Mall could not find the revival necessary to bring it back to what it once was.

Given the ideal location of the property but the unfortunate decline in interest of the old mall, the structure was ripe for redevelopment, or “recycling” as we like to see it. North Hills prides itself on its current sustainable initiatives, but what is seldom spoken of is that the North Hills of today is, in and of itself, a sustainable initiative.

In 1999, Kane Realty Corporation saw the incredible opportunity this property offered, and, instead of looking for an undeveloped location to begin a new project, they chose to recycle the old North Hills Mall. They envisioned creating what is now a mixed-use multi-district, better known as Raleigh’s Midtown.

If you are interested in learning more about the creation of today’s “recycled” North Hills, Metro Magazine’s May 2005 issue includes an extensive, very interesting timeline illustrating the district’s journey from 1960 to 2005.