PERIMETER MALL
Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive
Dekalb County (Dunwoody), 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, a suburban shopping center was being developed on the northern rim of Atlanta's new ring road.

PERIMETER MALL was envisaged by a joint venture of Maryland's James Rouse Company, Atlanta's M. Rich & Company (Rich's) and JCP Realty, of New York City. The retail facility was to occupy a 90.6 acre parcel, located 13.8 miles northeast of Atlanta's Five points, in a section of unincorporated Dekalb County known as Dunwoody.

The 2-level, fully-enclosed shopping hub was designed by Atlanta's Katzman & Associates and Marietta-based Stevens & Wilkinson. An official grand opening was held on August 17, 1971. PERIMETER MALL 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 included Spencer Gifts, Chess King, The Limited, Lerner Shops, Regenstein's, Tinder Box Tobacconist, The Apartment Store, B. Dalton Bookseller, Franklin Music, 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 ladies' wear store, was located at the center of the complex. The General Cinema Corporation Perimeter Mall Cinemas I-II-III, a northeast parking area outparcel, made its debut on 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, taking space previously occupied by The Airport.

The first PERIMETER MALL anchor store rebranding took place in February 1985, when Davison's morphed into 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 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.

A third expansion of PERIMETER MALL included Georgia's first Nordstrom. A 3-level (230,000 square foot) store, part of 20 million dollar extension of the West Wing, opened February 20, 1998. The addition included a large, multilevel parking garage. Stores in the newly-enlarged West Wing included J. Crew, Jordan Marie, Watch Station, Kenneth Cole Reaction and High Country Outfitters.

A fourth mall expansion 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 on 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. J.C. Penney had gradually been outpositioned as the mall became more upscale. The store was shuttered in June 2001. After sitting vacant for several years, the building was razed. It was replaced by a 3-level (267,400 square foot) Dillard's, which opened in March 2005.

The area surrounding the mall was incorporated, as the City of Dunwoody, on December 1, 2008. An "underperforming" Bloomingdale's was shuttered in March 2012 and replaced, by a Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur, on November 10 of the same year.

With these modifications, PERIMETER MALL encompassed 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.

Brookfield Property Partners, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, acquired a share of General Growth Properties in 2016. In August 2018, Brookfield established 100 percent ownership of the corporation. Hence, PERIMETER MALL became part of the Brookfield retail center portfolio.

Sources:

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