RiverGate’s new addition opens in time for holiday

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comNovember 23, 2012 

— Game day, shopping day or any day – they’ll be open.

Buffalo Wild Wings opened Nov. 19 at RiverGate shopping center. The restaurant has about 120 employees and 63 televisions or large screens. The other nearest locations are at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, Gastonia and Matthews, N.C.

Tony Ferguson of Tega Cay came from a Buffalo Wild Wings in Concord, N.C. The menu, he said, shouldn’t surprise guests.

“Wings, obviously,” he said. “Traditional and boneless, flatbreads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, wraps, salads.”

Decor and the ample television program offer a sports vibe, but the restaurant doesn’t just draw the sports bar crowd.

“It’s a mix of both,” Ferguson said. “It’s a lot of families, couples.”

The timing of opening day wasn’t set to coincide with the holiday shopping rush, but the traffic brought in by nearby Target, Book-A-Million and other stores is something Ferguson hopes will help his restaurant from the start.

“It works out good for us,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt.”

Bonnie Little, property manager at RiverGate, welcomed the addition of Buffalo Wild Wings at a time when the shopping center is planning to expand. A year ago, developer Childress Klein rezoned 33 acres near RiverGate to add room for retail, restaurant and office park uses. Little said retailers would be “complimentary to the existing stores” at RiverGate.

The company said national brands and perhaps an apparel or department store, home fashions or arts and crafts stores could move in.

“We don’t have any signed leases yet,” Little said Wednesday. “We have had interest from many national retailers.”

Childress Klein also is developing the planned 350,000-square-foot outlet center at N.C. 160 and I-485 for Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. That center is slated to open in 2014. Little wasn’t aware of what businesses might go in there or how the facility might affect RiverGate.

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