Originally Posted by David B
I just drove through Kannapolis this weekend, looking for a place for a retirement home. The downtown looked like a ghost town. Why are there so many vacant store fronts?
So far as I understand, the town area was built in the 80s when Murdock bought the Cannon Mill. The town area (known as Cannon Village) was built as a furniture and decorating outlet area, and supposedly the stores were filled and it did well. When the mill closed in 2003 about 7,000 people were laid off. Without the mill there and with such massive unemployment, stores began to shut down.
Starting in 2005, Murdock began building/opening a huge research campus (focused on nutrition and agriculture) on the site where the mill used to be. However, the recession and budget cuts with universities has seriously slowed the development of the research campus.... it's coming along, but slower than expected since there's not as much money for doing research now.
The research campus has brought some jobs, but with unemployment still high there's not a lot of demand for retail. Without the mill & textile outlet, the concept of Cannon Village as a furniture/textile destination didn't make much sense and most of those stores have closed. They are now hoping to open more stores & restaurants and make it just a regular town area. A coffee shop opened recently, there's plans for a pub, etc.
It's sad, because when the town hosts specific events there like classic car nights or the annual film fest the town is bustling & you can tell people here want stuff to do there! I think it will come along, but as with everything since the recession very slowly.
I do highly recommend trying Restaurant 46 though.
My husband swears their filet is better than any he's had in any of the famous steakhouses of Charlotte, Chicago, or NYC. It's a little pricey but the service & food are excellent and if you live in Cabarrus easier than going into Charlotte!