REBusinessOnline

Epic Games Acquires Metro Raleigh Mall for $95M, Plans New Headquarters Campus

Cary Towne Center, a distressed mall in the Raleigh suburb of Cary, will be the new headquarters campus of Epic Games, developer of the popular online video game 'Fortnite.' (photos courtesy of Epic Games Inc.)

CARY, N.C. — Epic Games Inc., a global gaming company whose products include the hit video game “Fortnite,” has purchased a distressed mall in Cary for its new headquarters campus. The property, Cary Towne Center, spans 980,000 square feet and in recent years lost three of its five anchor tenants, with only Dave & Buster’s and Belk remaining.

Epic purchased the 87-acre site from Turnbridge Equities and Denali Properties for $95 million. Stephen Porterfield of Capital Associates represented Epic in the transaction.

Founded in 1991, Epic has had its headquarters in Cary for more than 20 years and will continue to operate from its offices at 620 Crossroads Blvd. until completion of the redevelopment, which is estimated to be in 2024.

Epic plans to break ground on the adaptive reuse project this year, thanks in part to Turnbridge and Denali getting Cary Towne Center rezoned in late 2019. The developers purchased the distressed mall in January 2019 for $31 million, according to Triangle Business Journal. Turnbridge and Denali had planned to transform the mall into a 4 million-square-foot project dubbed Carolina Yards, but ultimately decided to sell the property to Epic.

“Epic shares our vision for transforming Cary Towne Center into a vibrant community space,” says Jason Davis, managing director of Turnbridge Equities. “After years of shifting development plans for the center, we are thrilled the space will be utilized to its full potential and turned into something the town and community of Cary can be proud of.”

The development is still in the design stage, but Epic plans for its campus to include both office buildings and recreational spaces that are customized for its employees. The gaming company is also working with the Town of Cary to ensure the project is accessible to the local community.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely and collaboratively with the Epic team as they conceptualize their new campus, and we’re honored to partner with them on this exciting new development,” says Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht.

The Cary Towne Center site will include the previously announced Cary Community Recreation and Sports Center, according to Triangle Business Journal. The $193 million civic project will be located on the east side of the campus upon completion.

Epic Games has more than 50 offices worldwide and roughly 2,200 employees, according to the Triangle Business Journal. The gaming company’s decision to keep its headquarters in Cary stems in part from the local talent graduating from nearby Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

In addition to the online game “Fortnite,” which has approximately 350 million registered accounts, Epic develops the Unreal Engine gaming platform that other industries utilize, including film and TV, architecture, advanced manufacturing and simulation.

Epic plans to work closely with Turnbridge and Denali on the transfer of ownership of Cary Towne Center, and no timeline was disclosed on the vacating of the mall’s current retailers.

Turnbridge Equities is based in New York City and has $1.7 billion of assets under management. The company’s recent activity in the Raleigh area includes the purchase of Tower at Mutual Plaza, a 15-story office tower in Durham.

Founded in 2016, Denali Properties is a Dallas-based commercial real estate developer and owner, specializing in mixed-use assets. The company has been involved in more than $500 million of transactions and developments since its inception.

— John Nelson

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