Epic Games has a site for its next headquarters: a shopping mall.
The “Fortnite” developer acquired the 87-acre Cary Towne Center in Cary, N.C., for $95 million and will turn the site into a new headquarters by 2024.
Turnbridge Equities and Denali Partners purchased the site for $31.5 million in early 2019.
With retailers shifting online, malls across the U.S. are struggling. Even prior to the pandemic, legacy anchor stores like Sears and J.C. Penney shuttered hundreds of locations. J.C. Penney alone accounted for 6% of mall space in the U.S.
Early pandemic shutdowns worsened the outlook, with mall-based retailer earnings dropping 256% in the first half of 2020.
Mall owners continue to look for ways to shed or diversify their properties as retailers vacate storefronts.
Major mall owner Simon Property Group invested in Allied Esports in 2019 with extensive plans to open esports arenas in malls across the U.S. Last summer, Amazon also emerged as a potential suitor for Simon’s empty stores.