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Charles Mack Citizen Center
Today the Charles Mack Citizen Center is a premier event venue hosting over 1,000 events each year for the community and visitors, however; the building’s past is one rich with Mooresville history. The building that was originally built on the site in 1925 was opened as Belk’s Department Store. Belk’s was a staple in downtown Mooresville, providing essentials for the community.
After Belk’s closed in 1990, Duke Power, now Duke Energy, purchased the property and gifted it to the Town of Mooresville. Lowrance Hospital had been sold by Iredell County to HMA; the funds were escrowed by the county for the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Southern Iredell County, with the emphasis on seniors, and ultimately were used to build the Mooresville Citizen Center which opened in 1995. The center served the Mooresville community with meeting spaces, water exercise classes and more.
This image shows the front entrance to Belks from 1943. Today this is the courtyard entrance of the Citizen Center.
Mack Family Ties
In 2001, the center began a $4.5 million expansion with funding from Christy and John J. Mack through the CJ Mack Foundation. The building was then named for John’s father who had been a merchant and longtime resident of Mooresville.
John Mack, father of Charles Mack and grandfather of John J. Mack, immigrated to America from Lebanon in 1903. He purchased merchandise and for several years sold it walking throughout the area carrying goods in large leather cases. In 1907, he returned to Lebanon to see his family. In 1908, he returned to the United States with his second son, Charles, and a daughter, Nora. On October 4, 1909, John bought a store in Charlotte; the store burned on February 22, 1910. After working to pay all of his debts from the store that had burned, Mr. Mack came to Mooresville and opened a business on Main Street on December 24, 1912. Charles remained in the business with his father until 1915 when he left to open a shoe store and then a confectionery store making gourmet candies and selling ingredients wholesale to other companies.
In 1937, Charles purchased the building at 132 East Center Avenue, which housed Chas. Mack Confectionery and later Chas. Mack and Sons Wholesale. The Mooresville Museum is currently located in the building where Chas. Mack and Sons Wholesale was until the early 1980s. Over the years, the Mack family has served the Mooresville community in many ways.
Past, Present, Future
The renovations in the early 2000’s included the addition of the back portion and lower level of the building. The lower level became the South Iredell Senior Center, serving Mooresville’s senior population by offering programming, services and resources. Three banquet rooms were added to the main level to meet the community’s growing need for event space. The three additional banquet rooms, Peddler, Merchant and Cedars, were named to pay tribute to the Mack Family’s heritage. Original tile from Belk’s Department Store was preserved during demolition and remains at the Main Street entrances of the building. The Town of Mooresville was honored to dedicate the newly renovated center as the Charles Mack Citizen Center in May, 2005.
The Charles Mack Citizen Center continues to evolve to meet the needs of the Mooresville community and out-of-town visitors, offering services and amenities that attract patrons from all over. The center has become a hub in Downtown Mooresville’s growing business district, providing a place for individuals to connect with one another. While keeping a strong sense of its past, the Charles Mack Citizen Center is an important part of Downtown Mooresville culture, providing a place to meet, work and play.
Aerial view of Belks from the 1980s. The image shows the entire site that is now the Charles Mack Citizen Center.