On the eve of its 60th anniversary, Parkland Plaza in Cayce is getting a new look, some new stores and a new direction.
The shopping center started out in 1955 with a grocery store that had a drive-up for loading groceries. Through the years, it has had popular outlets including ACE Hardwarehouse, Howard’s Department Store and The Kingsman restaurant.
In recent years, however, the center has gone through transitions, especially during the recession when the hardware store closed. But a revival in downtown living and a push by the University of South Carolina toward the Congaree River has the center poised for a resurgence. That rebirth started last year, when Jewelry Warehouse opened a 14,000-square-foot flagship store in the shopping center.
“The tide has risen back around it,” said Rox Pollard, vice president and director of retail services for Colliers International in Columbia, the property’s landlord.
Jewelry Warehouse moved to the center in part because of USC’s growth. The school opened a baseball stadium on the banks of the Congaree in 2009, just a bridge away from Parkland Plaza.
Also, thousands of students are expected to move into several nearby student housing projects in the next couple of years. A traditional apartment complex is being built on the Cayce side of the river, across the street from the shopping center.
Jewelry Warehouse, a jewelry store and collegiate gear retailer, revamped the corner of the center that previously had the drive-up for the grocery store. A new plaza with landscaping, sidewalks and parking in front of the retailer’s main entrance replaced the drive-up.
Other retailers new to the center include:
• Monterrey Mexican Restaurant. The eatery had to close its longtime location across Knox Abbott Drive to make way for the new apartment complex. It should be open within the next couple of months, Pollard said.
• Catch & Release Sportsman Consignment. This 6,000-square-foot store selling new and consigned outdoor sports equipment opened earlier this month.
Pollard said interest from retailers has been high since Jewelry Warehouse opened. He expects more announcements about store openings soon.
Cayce ACE Hardware opened near Bi-Lo in 2010 to replace Hardwarehouse. But the Howard’s space has remained largely vacant. Pollard said he expects that 32,000-square-foot space will be redeveloped, adding it could be split up to accommodate multiple tenants. Besides the Howard’s space, the 175,000-square-foot center has 10,000 square feet of vacant space left.
The shopping center is owned by members of the Guinyard family, which has owned large chunks of land around the river for generations.
With the new additions, the center is becoming more of a neighborhood plaza rather than just a place consumers might stop out of necessity to pick up an item, Pollard said. Consumers make a point to go there, even driving a few minutes from downtown to eat and shop because parking is easy or to eat and then walk across the river to a baseball game, he said.
“You can just kind of feel the energy that’s in this area,” Pollard said.