PERIMETER MALL
Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive
Dekalb County, Georgia

Construction started on Atlanta's bypass expressway in 1957. The first sections were in service by 1962, with the completed Interstate 285 "Perimeter" beltway being dedicated in October 1969.

By this time, Maryland's Rouse Company was developing a suburban shopping center adjacent to the northern rim of Atlanta's new ring road expressway. PERIMETER MALL was built on a 90.6 acre parcel, located 13.8 miles northeast of Atlanta's Five points, in the unincorporated Dekalb County community of Dunwoody.

The 2-level, fully-enclosed shopping hub was officially dedicated August 17, 1971. Designed by Atlanta's Katzman & Associates and Marietta-based Stevens & Wilkinson, it encompassed approximately 865,000 leasable square feet and would eventually house one hundred and twelve stores and services.

A 3-level (280,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's opened its doors as part of the official August 1971 dedication. It was followed by a 2-level (186,100 square foot) J.C. Penney, which began business November 10, 1971.

Charter inline stores at PERIMETER MALL included Spencer Gifts, Chess King, The Limited, B. Dalton Bookseller, Franklin Music, Lerner Shops, Baily Banks & Biddle Jewelers, Wicks-n-Sticks, Muse's, Size 5-7-9 Shops, Singer Sewing Center, Dress Pavilion, The Horse With the Yellow Umbrella (gourmet cooking utensils), Chick-Fil-A and Ollie's Trolley Restaurant. The Airport, a large women's apparel store, was located in the center of the mall. The 3-screen, Perimeter Mall Theatre, a northeast parking area outparcel, made its debut December 21, 1973.

Shopping hubs in the PERIMETER MALL trade area included LENOX SQUARE (1959) {5 miles southwest, in Atlanta}, NORTHLAKE MALL (1971) {6.7 miles southeast, in Dekalb County} and CUMBERLAND MALL (1973) {7.6 miles southwest, in Cobb County}.

The first expansion of the PERIMETER property was dedicated September 30, 1982. A new West Wing, anchored by a 3-level (235,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Davison's, housed sixty stores and services. A Food Court had also been installed on the lower level of the original mall structure, taking space previously occupied by The Airport.

The first major PERIMETER MALL rebranding took place in February 1985, when the west anchor store morphed into a Davison's-Macy's. A full-fledged Macy's nameplate was unveiled November 17 of the same year. In 1986, Rich's was enlarged with an (87,000 square foot) Furniture Showroom; the entire store now comprising 367,000 square feet. The shopping center now encompassed approximately 1,222,000 leasable square feet.

A new commercial competitor came on the scene in October 1993. NORTH POINT MALL {8.6 miles northeast, in Alpharetta} spanned 1,370,000 leasable square feet, with one hundred and eighty inline stores.

PERIMETER MALL became rapid-transit-accessible June 8, 1996, with the completion of MARTA's 7 route mile Lindbergh Center-to-Dunwoody North Line Extension. The Dunwoody station was built adjacent to the shopping center's southwest parking area.

The third expansion at PERIMETER MALL included Georgia's first Nordstrom. A 3-level (230,000 square foot) store, part of 20 million dollar expansion of the existing West Wing, opened February 20, 1998. It included a large, multilevel parking garage.

A fourth expansion of mall space was completed in mid-2000. A 2-level, 20 million dollar, "Lifestyle Village" was built onto the original main mall entrance, facing Ashford-Dunwoody Road. This 78,000 square foot addition included eleven restaurants and retail stores. A (16,400 square foot) Cheesecake Factory commenced operation on May 23, 2000, followed by a (10,000 square foot) Maggiano's Little Italy, which opened for business July 13 of the same year.

A second cycle of anchor rebrandings commenced on February 2, 2003, when Rich's became a Rich's-Macy's. In April 2003, the original Macy's -in the old Davison's space- was shuttered. It re-opened, as a Bloomingdale's October 16, 2003. The mall's Richs-Macy's received a bona fide Macy's nameplate on March 6, 2005.

Meanwhile, the ownership of PERIMETER MALL had changed. Chicago-based General Growth Properties acquired the assets of the Rouse Company in November 2004.

The most recent physical alteration of the shopping center structure began with the August 2001 shuttering of J.C. Penney. The store had been outpositioned as the mall became more upscale. After sitting vacant for several years, the Penney's building was razed. It was replaced by a 3-level (267,400 square foot) Dillard's, which opened in March 2005.

The most recent anchor rebranding at PERIMETER MALL involved Bloomingdale's. The "underperforming" store was shuttered in March 2012 and replaced, by a Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur, on November 10 of the same year.

Today, PERIMETER MALL encompasses 1,564,000 leasable square feet with one hundred and ninety-five inline stores. It is currently the state's second-largest enclosed shopping mall. Buford, Georgia's 1,823,000 square foot MALL OF GEORGIA (1999) occupies the top spot.

Sources:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
Dekalb County, Georgia tax assessor website
http://www.thehudspethreport.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org
"Perimeter Mall" article on Wikipedia