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Northgate Mall in Durham will soon be torn down. Here’s how you can get a piece of it.

Aaron Sánchez-Guerra
·2 min read

Nearly everything inside the shuttered Northgate Mall is up for grabs before its 900,000 square feet are demolished and gone for good.

The mall is auctioning off virtually all of its remaining physical goods — things like food court menu boards, furniture, store fixtures and even Christmas decorations — at discount prices to online bidders before the mall is torn down later this summer.

“If it’s here and it can be moved, it’s going be sold,” said John Martin, chief operating officer of Wester Auction & Realty, a Smithfield-based company in charge of liquidating the Durham mall’s assets.

“It’s a little bit of everything. We’ve got tables in the food court, we’ve got light fixtures, we’ve got storefronts. Anything you see in the mall ... kiosks, big planters outside.”

The liquidation process started Monday. Different groups of items will be auctioned off online about every 10 days through June, Martin said in an interview.

“A lot of people are seeing it as (an opportunity) to open up their business,” he said. “A lot of (the buyers) are small business owners that are coming here, and they’re fulfilling their dreams by being able to buy items at a much reduced cost and going to get in business a lot faster.”

Pizza ovens that normally sell for over $20,000 have been sold for a fifth of that price. Hot food steam tables have been sold for $500, down from original prices of around $3,500.

“A lot of this restaurant equipment is very costly,” he said.

Gwendolyn Gies of Greensboro said the auction offers her a chance to grow her online vintage clothing business, Vintage Gwendolyn. She is looking to buy mannequins to show off the clothing.

“To have a quality articulated mannequin shipped would be upwards of $300,” she said. “I usually look on (Facebook) Marketplace, but negotiating and meeting people rarely works out, and I work full-time. Liquidations like these will always be cheaper than any other option.”

Transforming Northgate Mall space

In 2018, Northwood Investors bought Northgate Mall — once a retail fixture north of downtown Durham — for $34.5 million when foreclosure loomed for the mall property.

They kept it afloat until it finally closed in May 2020 under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

In January, owners Northwood Investors announced plans for redeveloping the 55 acres into a mixed-use office, housing and retail development.

The mall’s demise could have resulted in its contents just being thrown away, but the auction of the mall’s assets is an economy-stimulating alternative, Martin said.

“Your biggest accomplishment here is that everything has a repurposed use, versus just throwing it in a landfill,” he said.

The available items for auction can be bid on at westerauction.hibid.com for pick-up only.