Sept. 4: Seven surprising tidbits about Park Road Shopping Center

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And the old Monkey Joe’s at Park Road Shopping Center is going to be

Eventually two restaurants and a bank. No confirmation yet on exactly which restaurants and bank. Demolition is now underway; expect an opening by next summer.

Let’s hope whatever lands there has more long-term luck. In just the time I’ve lived in Charlotte, it’s been home to a Quaker Steak and Lube, Champp’s Americana sports bar (it was huge) and Billy’s oyster bar.

Old Champs Americana building is becoming Billy's sports/oyster bar and fine dining restaurant.
Old Champs Americana building is becoming Billy’s sports/oyster bar and fine dining restaurant.

Despite that tricky spot, Park Road Shopping Center is a Charlotte retail success story. It has just about everything: a post office, bank, grocery, coffee shop, bakery. It’s a commercial eco-system. And it’s a Charlotte landmark. Did you know that Park Road Shopping Center …

  • Is Charlotte’s oldest open air shopping center? When it opened in 1956 it had 32 stores, including a J.C. Penney.
  • On opening day, there was a giveaway of three 1957 Ford cars and 5-pound bags of sugar.
  • The land it’s built upon was once the farm land of Frank Graham, who raised his son Billy there.
  • Woolworth’s used to be an anchor. It was Charlotte’s last one when it closed in 1993.
  • Park Road Books used to be called Little Professor.
  • There used be a Godfather’s Pizza there.
  • Whispers was a disco behind the Center.

IN OTHER HEADLINES

Found after 25 years: The original Lupie’s Cafe sign went missing from the Monroe Road restaurant after mega Hurricane Hugo wrecked Charlotte. A jogger discovered it last week while jogging along a greenway some 10 miles away. Despite being outside apparently for decades, it’s in decent shape.

Carolina won!: If you just LOVE interceptions, you’re a happy Carolina fan. If you hate them, you’re an unhappy Carolina fan. Confused? The SC Carolina beat the NC Carolina last night at Bank of America Stadium, 17-13.

Game changer: The Davidson-UNC Charlotte basketball matchup is moving from Dec. 2 to Dec. 1. Why? Davidson phenom alum Steph Curry is coming to Charlotte Dec. 2 to play against the Hornets. Davidson pride runs deep – but especially for its NBA All Stars.

Earn your I Voted sticker yet?: Early voting opened up Thursday, and strong crowds showed up at the one polling site at Central Piedmont Community College. If you didn’t make it, it continues next week. Election Day is Sept. 15. Make your vote count.

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