You can soon add Best Buy to the list of retailers that have moved farther out on Independence Boulevard - away from downtown and into Matthews, leaving behind a potentially empty box at an older shopping center.
The Sycamore Commons space is roughly four miles away and newer than the Independence store, which according to property records was built in 1987. And it's also situated in a shopping center full of familiar big-box brethren, including Michaels, Dick's Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond and Old Navy. In fact, Circuit City itself had relocated there from a stretch of Independence near the existing Best Buy.
The loss will likely be a blow for Independence Square, one of many shopping centers along closer-in stretches of Independence Boulevard stung by the departure of big-name tenants. The shopping center is owned by Kimco Realty, which has not yet responded to a request for more information; the Best Buy building appears to be owned separately, by a lawyer in West Virginia. Over the years the center has also lost Michaels and CVS, and the Bi-Lo there closed a little more than a year ago. As those tenants left, more discount-oriented stores have moved in, leaving Best Buy in less familiar company. In that context and given the history of big boxes on Independence, every time I drove by the Best Buy, I got the feeling its days were numbered. Sure enough, they now are. International grocery store Super Global Market, or Super G, is filling the Bi-Lo vacancy.
The Best Buy space opened as a branch of the now-defunct Lechmere electronics chain and later housed a SportsTown store. Best Buy opened there in 1994 and, like the University store, was one of the chain's first locations in the Carolinas, according to Observer archives.