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Real estate sources have confirmed that the New Jersey-based grocery chain H Mart – a grocer that specializes in Korean and other Asian foods – has signed a contract to open its first store in North Carolina at a Cary retail center.
H Mart will be moving into the former Lowes Foods-anchored space at the Cornerstone Village shopping center at 1961 High House Road after signing a lease deal for the entire 45,436-square-foot vacant space.

Lynda Lang with Centrex Properties, representing the owner of the Cornerstone Village retail center, says the store could be open within the next nine to 12 months once financing for the renovations is approved.

Lowes Foods had closed its location at Cornerstone in September 2013, along with another Lowes Foods location on Capital Boulevard in north Raleigh. Its lease at the Cary retail center was set to expire in September.

Charlie Coyne and Reagan Crabtree of CBRE-Raleigh had pitched the Cary retail location to H Mart when they heard the grocer was seeking to expand into North Carolina.

Crabtree says H Mart was looking for locations that have at least a 25 percent Asian population – its core customer base – living within a three-mile radius of the store. Census data around the Cornerstone location in Cary, he says, shows that is has about a 23 percent Asian population surrounding it.

H Mart, a subsidiary of Hanahreum Group, has more than 40 store locations in the U.S., most of which are concentrated in the northeastern states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, but H Mart has also been expanding in the Atlanta metro area with five stores, so far.

Another former Lowes Foods store in Cary will also be replaced by a new grocer tenant in late 2016. A former Lowes Foods at the Millpond Village shopping center on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary is being replace by a Publix Super Market.

Triangle Business Journal 6/23/15 by Amanda Hoyle