One major change for Ninth Street arrives this morning , when Harris Teeter opens its Shops at Erwin Mills supermarket. The store gets into its grocery business right after an 8 a.m. ribbon-cutting.
The store site occupies roughly the northern third of what was formerly a grass lawn stretching from Hillsborough Road to Main Street, between the remaining Erwin Mills building and the Erwin Square/Station Nine block.
HarrisTeeter anchors an 89,000-square-foot mixed-use development that includes a 350-space parking lot and the former George’s Garage/Kerr Drug building at the corner of Ninth and Hillsborough. That building has been renovated for a variety of tenants, among them the relocated Duck Shop, Panera Bread and the Massage Envy spa.
The supermarket itself:
• Encloses 53,000 square feet
• Stays open 24 hours a day
• Includes a pharmacy open daily
• Has eight checkout lanes and four self-scans
Inner Durham has been without a Harris Teeter since 2005, when the Matthews, N.C., chain closed its store at Northgate Mall – dismaying regular customers from nearby neighborhoods and some boosters of inner-city revitalization.
Former Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Reyn Bowman called that closing “a huge mistake” on the grocer’s part. But the chain supermarket’s return, to Ninth Street, also dismayed some neighbors and patrons of the distinctly local, historic, quirky Old West Durham business district. Bowman, in his “Bull City Mutterings” blog ( bit.ly/198qqAB), wrote that it was not a good fit and, even, that “It could kill Ninth Street.”
The developers did, though, meet with concerned citizens and took some of their concerns into consideration in blending their store into their new neighborhood. Among their considerations was moving the store to face east toward Ninth Street; in the original design, it faced north, giving the view from Ninth Street only the parking lot.