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 served its first patrons 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

25 comments:

The Curator said...

Tam posted:

I remember that the other end from the Kroger, which my mom shopped at occasionally, was a... Treasure Island? Richway? One of the bigger five and dimes. I think it was a Treasure Island.

The Curator said...

Tam,

Thanks for posting. I'm still wanting to -somehow- find a physical layout of the original (1974-1986) PARKAIRE MALL.....or, at least, create one.

So far, I haven't been able to find any kind of store map or detailed description of how the center was layed out.

Thanks for perusing and posting,

Cheers

Ken said...

I dont' think Parkaire was intended to compete with the bigger malls after its mid-70's completion. I don't recall a discount or 5 & 10 occupying the mall but there was a skating rink. The mall was named for the Parkaire airport, a small single runway airport, which was the previous site occupant. Parkaire Landing converted the center to a traditional strip, as the intersection of Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell Roads is heavy with East Cobb commuter traffic, it not a major regional thorofare.

Additional there are a couple of other "lost malls" in metro Atlanta-Roswell Mall anchored by Richway and Kmart with a small but very mdid-70's mall section. Roswell Mall thrived until the arrival of NorthPoint Mall in nearby Alpharetta, the Richway had become Target and departed for a tract near the new mall and the Kmart survived until the infamous bankruptcy.

The other mall was Buford-Clairmont Mall, later Outlet Center. I'm less familiar with Buford-Clairmont than the others, but by the mid-80's, demographic shifts along the Buford Highwau corridor of DeKalb along with a proximity to Northlake and North DeKalb Malls did the mall in.

The Curator said...

Ken,

Thanks so much for the post. This PARKAIRE MALL certainly is an elusive one....you wouldn't possibly be able to recall its physical layout, would you?

As for the BUFORD-CLAIRMONT and ROSWELL properties. I had considered including ROSWELL MALL in the first incarnation of the "Atlanta's Lost Malls" segment (originally composed -and posted- last April).

Looking at the info, which was -and is- very scarce, it appeared to be a strip -open-air- center. However......it DID have a small interior mall section.

It should have always been included in the "Lost Malls of Atlanta". Now...it is.

I didn't even think to put BUFORD-CLAIRMONT MALL in the original (April 2007 archive) "Atlanta's Lost Malls" section.

I was actually at this one, back in 1986 when it was OUTLET SQUARE. I was unaware that it dated all of the way back to 1968.

So, I have fitted very short descriptions (and two photos) of these malls-no-more into the previously-posted "Lost Malls of Atlanta" section.

Thanks again for the info.

Cheers,

Ken said...

The Kmart had an enclosed sidewalk accross the front linking it to the "mall" while the Richway/Target/Value City was soley accessible from the exterior.
The malls tenants were typical mall shops-video arcade, record store(Record Bar perhaps), a bookstore, card shop, national shoe stores, and clothing as well as Morrison's Cafeteria. It lacked the department store tenants and physical layout typical of a mall.

Buford-Clairmont mall is one I have less familiarity with, but it seems Winn-Dixie was there into the Outlet Square era. I don't recall BCF's predecessor. Kmart was at I-85 and Clairmont and Woolco was up Buford Highway outside I-285 and became a Richway which also had a store at North Druid Hills Rd. Grants/Grant City would be possible or Zayre, I don't recall either along Buford Highway. Nearby Northeast Plaza had passed its prime and was in decay by the late 70's having lost its major tenants before I saw the plaza.

I don't recall Parkaire being very large, I was off the beaten path, but it had a superstore era Kroger and I'm pretty sure a SupeRx, as Atlanta never had many SupeRx locations, this sticks out. I'm thinking one of the cafeteria chains was there, most likely Morrison's, and the skating rink and little else. Morrison's and Piccadilly seemed to be all over Atlanta in those days so I could be wrong on that.

The Curator said...

Ken,

You would possibly be able to draw out a rough site plan for the original PARKAIRE MALL?


My curiosity is piqued here....

Brad said...

There wasn't a Treasure Island or anything like that at Parkaire. I think that there was a Wender & Roberts drugstore there and a movie theater.
What about the old Cobb Center Mall on South Cobb Drive - any info on that one?

The Curator said...

Brad,

I think that you're referring to COBB CENTER...the fourth "Lost Atlanta" mall section here?

Tam said...

"There wasn't a Treasure Island or anything like that at Parkaire. I think that there was a Wender & Roberts drugstore there..."

It was a drug store, all right. (Cut me some slack, I was twelve; I'm getting Treasure Island and Treasury Drugs confused, probably... It was a biggish drug store.)

The floor plan of the mall was a fairly simple rectangle. If you make the long sides the top and bottom, the grocery store took up the whole short side on the right. The top and bottom long sides were lined with small shops. The short side on the left was where the drug store was.

The ice skating rink took up the middle, with a sunken crosswalk down towards the left end separating a sort of concession area from the rink proper. There were arcade games there.

The entrance to the mall we used most often (the only one I really remember) would be in the lower right-hand corner by the grocery store. to the left, immediately inside, was the only store I cared about, a toy store/hobby shop.

The Curator said...

Tam,

Thanks much for the details about the old time PARKAIRE MALL.

I shall use them to redo the site plan.

Deirdre said...

Did you ever get around to re-drawing the shopping center plan? as an adult who skated there till 1985 i am curious to figure out the old layout.

The Curator said...

Deidre,

The circa-1974 PARKAIRE PLAN (the one before the circa-2007 plan directly above) is the mall's old layout...as best as I can figure out.

Thanks much for posting.

Cheers,

NativeTexanInTN said...

Thank you for sharing/posting this interesting information regarding the original Parkaire Mall, for I discovered it after doing a bit of surfing on Google Maps, looking at places I'd lived when I was a kid (thus the search for "Parkaire Mall history" the subsequently followed). We moved to Marietta in approximately 1972 (following two years in Wheaton, IL and a couple of years in my birthplace of Beaumont, TX) and remained until late 1977 when we moved here (Clarksville, TN). We were only the second or third house built on nearby Sunset Trail and Marietta had yet to be visually-absorbed by Atlanta.

As a 7-year-old Eastside Elementary school student at the time, I can recall roaming the new neighborhood and surrounding woods a LOT (something parents wouldn't dream of allowing today, though I probably went much farther then than I should have lol), as far as the Chattahoochee and an old homestead/cabin (which appears to still be standing). These adventures also included the site of the old Parkaire airport and I can recall quite well finding the remains of several junked general aviation aircraft in the weeds there before the mall was built.

Thanks to those who have shared the store information, as well. I was discussing this with a younger sister and my parents a few weeks ago after we'd gotten together for dinner and could only recall the theatre, an unknown (to me) grocery store (I dont' think we shopped there, for I recall us going to an Ogletree's instead), the cafeteria (pretty sure it was Morrison's), certainly the hobby/toy shop (twas highly important at the time {chuckle}) and, of course, the central skating rink. I remember well the sunken area at the end of the rink where one could rent skates and find seating, etc. I faintly recall skating but may have selectively blocked a lack of talent on the ice!

I haven't much additional insight to add, unfortunately. I only realized when looking at the aerial Google Map view that it appeared to be an entirely different layout/floor-plan than what I recalled and am happy I found this interesting information as a result.

Thanks again for sharing a bit of enlightenment.

Johnnie
Clarksville, TN

The Curator said...

Johnnie,

Thanks so much for posting. I can say for pretty certain that the supermarket at the old PARKAIRE MALL was a Kroger. Other than what I have accumulated here, there's not a whole lot of other info about it.

I once drove by the place and didn't even stop in.....Sheesh!

Robert Smith said...

Johnny, this is AMAZING! I also lived on Sunset Trail (5240, to be exact).

I remember Parkaire Mall due to the skating rink and the drug store and I think they had a "Yogurt on a stick" place - that was the first place I ever tried yogurt.

We lived there from approximately 1973 - 1978, but I was too young to remember specifics of the mall as I was aged 3-8 at the time.

Anonymous said...

On the upper level was a nice little Pub called " Maxwell's ", it looked down onto center ice. A gentleman named " Johnny Perkins " owned the property, from the airstrip days until sold to become Parkaire Mall. My father was a test pilot at Lockheed, we kept out private plane on site, it was handy & zero traffic.

The Curator said...

Anon,

Thanks much for perusing & posting at the Mall Hall of Fame.

And have a Happy New Year!

George Bell said...

In the seventies, my band "Home Juice Company" was the house band at Maxwell's. Jim Miresse (spelling?) was the owner. We were a show band doing dance music and a 50's show in costume. I remember lines of people outside waiting to get in. Maxwell's had a beautiful tin ceiling and served King Crab on a buffet line in the dining room.

Anonymous said...

The band "Starbucks" also played at Maxwell's several times at Parkaire mall - the ice skating rink with the Zambonis...

LJ said...

Hello,

In regards to the original Parkaire Mall, my mother had one of the first stores there when it opened. To my recollection, I was eight years old at the time, it was a two story level mall. My mother's business was "bj's" a gift shop. I remember a drug store, a sporting goods store, an arcade, and a sports bar among others that surrounded the ice rink at the center. Sorry to hear it was razed. Thanks for posting the mall's history.

LJ

Sarah K said...

Here is a great video that shows Wender & Roberts, Kroger and Mademoiselle in addition to the rink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLRTyLQ-7NI

The Curator said...

Sarah,

Thanks for posting. The video does show a bit of the mall's interior.

Art said...

There was also an exotic pet store I remember very well. They had an aquarium in front with eels. I think I also remember a box with tarantulas or a similar big spider. Definitely remember the eels!

MJY said...

I moved there in early 1981 (and left mid 1985), and Parkaire was pretty dead even in 1981. Very dark, nobody ever seemed to be skating. Not sure if it was poor design, the location, or they built it before the real East Cobb population boom, but it always seemed kind of sad and empty - maybe it was different in the 70's. The theater was or became a dollar theater by at least 1982 or so - I remember seeing some truly awful horror movies there in my high school years.

Michael Hord said...

I remember in 1978 that there was a bottle shop liquor store near johnson ferry. There was a hobby shop upstairs. There was a wender roberts drug store nearer to the movie theater. Big Apple grocery was across the road with a drug store next to it, there is still some built in brick work remaining of it today.
Treasury Drug was next to ogletrees about 2 miles north in front of merchants walk.