Renovated North Hills Amphitheater sparks celebration

Crisp green grass. The beaming spring sun. Smiling faces all around. Stalls line the sides of the park, offering everything from free dog treats to sushi samplers.

Sunday, April 27, was a gorgeous day at the commencement celebration for the Midtown Park and amphitheater.

The $10.5 million project, funded exclusively by Kane Realty Corporation, is the most recent addition to the expansive North Hills shopping center.

“We aim to provide a community space that can cater to every type of person,” said Ashley Stallings, events and community relations specialist for Midtown Events, a division of Kane Realty. “North Hills is a wonderful compliment to the events that are going on in the Raleigh area.”

Kane Realty owns the North Hills region and has been working for the past 14 years to transform North Hills from the fledgling mall it purchased in December 2000 into the local mecca of shopping and social life that it is today.

Located behind Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant, the park includes a gently sloping one-acre green, overlooked by a minimalist open-air stage.

“So far it’s been great,” said Terry Spigelmyer, manager of Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant. “We’ve got a patio one-third the size of our restaurant overlooking the park. There are beach concerts every Thursday and bluegrass concerts every third Sunday.”

Chuy’s is not the only local business hoping to take advantage of the social activity surrounding the new park and amphitheater. Kane Realty envisions North Hills as a walker-friendly area and encourages pet owners to walk their pets through the park.

“Because of how dog friendly it is here, we’ll probably start doing events at the Midtown Park,” said Michael Morales, owner of Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming, a local pet store in North Hills.

“It’s just as much a green park space as it is a space for people to hang out in,” said Thomas Sayre, designer of the park, in an interview with The News & Observer. “We knew that if we could make this a cool place for kids, it would almost guarantee its use for all seasons.”

The emphasis on creating a green, walker-friendly space for the community has paid dividends. According to their website, Kane Realty currently boasts awards ranging from “Most Creative Land Use” awarded by the Triangle CREW Network to “Best Midrise Multifamily Project” awarded by Multifamily Executive Magazine.

Midtown Park defines the unusual business strategies that appear to be pushing Kane Realty to the frontline of commercial innovation in North Carolina.

“It’s one of the only privately owned parks in Raleigh,” said Spigelmyer.

Located only 90 minutes away from Guilford College, the North Hills shopping center presents a unique experience for students and faculty interested in trying new food options, listening to local music groups perform and enjoying a relaxed spring afternoon with company.