Epic Games announced on Sunday that it has reached an agreement to buy the Cary Towne Center and plans to make the mall its headquarters by 2024.
Records filed with Wake County on Dec. 31 indicate that the sale price was $ 95 million. Turnbridge Equities and Denali Partners bought the 87-acre property in February 2019 for $ 31.5 million.
Epic plans to begin developing the new headquarters later this year, according to the company’s release. Meanwhile, Epic will keep its headquarters near the intersection of Crossroads Boulevard and Jones Franklin Road.
In a prepared statement, Jason Davis, CEO of Turnbridge Equities, said, “After years of changing development plans for the center, we are excited that the space will be utilized to its full potential and turned into something the city and community of Cary can be proud of. ”
Cary Towne Center is struggling
The Cary Towne Center was built in 1
Turnbridge applied earlier and was granted a reorganization for mixed use for the property. In October 2020, the company announced plans for a project called “Carolina Yards” on the mall property that would have seen the demolition of the mall.
Carolina Yards is expected to have 1,800 residential units, three hotels, seven six-story office buildings and 360,000 square feet of retail, The News & Observer reported. Both the Belk and Dave & Buster department stores would be renovated.
Previous plans for the mall property included a 380,000-foot IKEA that would have replaced the vacant Sears and Macy stores. N&O reported that IKEA had been a key part of the then owner of CBL Properties to make the shopping center a center for mixed use.
After announcing the project, IKEA moved strategies away from large box sales in the suburbs and towards showrooms in metropolitan areas with a focus on the online store.
In 2015, Topgolf had also proposed opening a facility on the Cary Towne Center area, a plan that was not fulfilled after residents expressed concern about noise and lighting.
Epic was founded in 1991 and built its reputation on games such as “Gears of War” and “Shadow Complex.” In 2017, it released “Fortnite”, a fighting king game that quickly became one of the most popular in the world, attracting hundreds of millions of players.
The success of “Fortnite” and the company’s Unreal Game Engine helped the company raise $ 1.78 billion from investors last year, The News & Observer reported. At the time, Epic was valued at $ 17.3 billion, a figure that N&O reported made it the most valuable risk-driven company in the state.
In August, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said the new funds would be used to develop 3D technology and the company’s digital Epic Games Store.
However, one week after raising the huge sum of money from investors, Epic started a high-profile legal battle with Apple. Epic has claimed in court that Apple is abusing its monopoly power over the distribution of apps to iPhone users. The main complaint is that Apple forces app developers to pay a 30% fee on all payments made within apps. Epic would like to use its own payment systems, which circumvent the fee.
Epic also argues that iPhone users should be able to download apps directly from developers, instead of going through the App Store.
Meanwhile, Fortnite has been fired by the App Store, and iPhone users have not been able to update to the latest version of the game.
Epic has hundreds of employees at its current headquarters. Last year, the company announced plans to build an extension of 450,000 to 550,000 feet that will allow it to add an estimated 1,750 to 2,000 employees.
On Sunday, a spokeswoman confirmed that the planned expansion would not go ahead, with the company instead shifting its focus to the Cary Towne Center site.
“The plan is to stay at our current location on Crossroads Blvd in the meantime, with the goal of moving to our new campus by 2024,” spokeswoman Elka Looks wrote in an email.
On Sunday night, Looks said it was still too early to decide how many Epic employees would be housed at the new headquarters.
Stephen Porterfield of Capital Associates represented Epic in the acquisition of the site.
Due to the recent reorganization, Epic will be able to start developing the Cary Towne Center website this year, according to the release. The company plans to build office buildings and recreation areas on site, but no further details were given.
Epic’s release also said the company plans to partner with the city of Cary to see if the public can use some of the property.
In a statement, Harold Weinbrecht, the city’s mayor, said, “We are extremely proud that Epic has chosen to call Cary home for their new global headquarters, and we greatly appreciate the company’s recognition of Carry’s existing assets as well as the unlimited potential of area for their growing business. ”
Staff author Zachery Eanes contributed to this report.