1973 and LENOX SQUARE becomes a (partially) enclosed shopping center. The Mall Level concourse, between the Peachtree Road Main Entrance and Davison's, was roofed-in. A west concourse ("Fashion Wing") and Neiman Marcus were also added. The Plaza Level court remained out in the rain.


An early '70s view of the Plaza Level Court, showing the Delta Kiosk, a fixture there for several years. In front of Davison's is the south end of the fully-enclosed Mall Level concourse.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)

Please pardon the quality. Above and below are two snapshots from one of my first visits to LENOX SQUARE, in 1986. These show the original, 3-level Plaza Court at the rear of the mall. This was a 1979-1981 renovation of the open-air Plaza Level Court seen above.


In this photo, we see the circa-1986 entrance to the mall's first Macy's (previously Davison's, now Bloomingdale's). By the way, the Food Court was extensively renovated during the mid-'90s and -again- in the twenty-tens. It looks nothing like this today.


An early 1960s aerial view of the mall.
Photo from Malls of America Blogspot


And an early 2000s-vintage view. This gives an idea of how much the shopping hub has changed over the years since 1959.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Fsunoles"

A view of the Mall Level and Upper Level concourses. This part of the shopping center was double-decked in 1994-1995.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)


The mall's Main Entrance, which faces Peachtree Road, as it appeared before a 2013-2014 renovation.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)


A circa-2008 physical layout. The center encompassed 1,477,600 leasable square feet, making it Georgia's third-largest enclosed mall. On this plan, the 1959-1973 mall is indicated in black. The expansion of 1979-'81 is indicated in medium gray. Changes made in 1994-'95 are shown in light gray.

The oft-expanded and remodeled LENOX SQUARE was given another makeover between 2013 and 2014! Here we see its Main Entrance, which fronts on Peachtree Road, as it appeared after its twenty-tens face lift.
Drawing from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)


As part of the renovation, the existing Food Court was upgraded into the "Lenox Fashion Cafe". This food facility includes an outdoor patio area (not shown).
Drawing from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)
LENOX SQUARE
Peachtree and Lenox Roads
Atlanta, Georgia

Although often commemorated as Georgia's first shopping mall, LENOX SQUARE was actually the Peach State's second. A virtually forgotten retail hub on the city's south side, known as STEWART-LAKEWOOD CENTER, was dedicated in February 1959...6 months before the first stores opened at LENOX SQUARE.

The LENOX project was first announced in October 1957. A 32 million dollar shopping center would be built on 75 acres, located 8.6 miles northeast of Atlanta's Five Points. The land parcel had once been Joyeuse, the estate of John K. Ottley.

Developed by Edward E. Noble (under the auspices of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation of Oklahoma), LENOX SQUARE was designed by Atlanta's Toombs, Amisano & Wells firm. The open-air complex opened for business August 3, 1959 with fifty-two retailers. There were two Atlanta-based department stores as its anchors; a 3-level (180,000 square foot) Rich's and 2-level (180,000 square foot) Davison-Paxon (a.k.a. Davison's).

The original LENOX SQUARE included several 2-level inline stores; Haverty's Furniture, Muse's, J.P. Allen, Parks-Chambers and an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10. 1-level stores and services included Dipper Dan Ice Cream Shoppe, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, The Cricket Shop, The Hobby Shop, Pet Village, Thompson-Boland-Lee Shoes, Chandler's Shoes and Zachary's For Men. The mall's (31,500 square foot) Colonial supermarket was reputedly the largest grocery store in the South. An outparcel Gulf service station, in the southeast parking area, resembled a spaceship.

Encompassing 800,000 leasable square feet, the shopping center was situated with 3 levels. The Mall Level, coming off the Peachtree Road (upper level) lot, had the main Rich's entrance, an open court area, and landscaped corridor with several statues depicting characters in the Uncle Remus stories. A moving sidewalk was proposed for the Mall Level concourse, but was never installed.

At the southeast end of the Mall Level corridor (in front of Davison's) was an escalator descent onto a second open court, or the Plaza Level, which had tree planters and two fountains. An entrance to Davison's lower level was situated on this court, as were entries to the Colonial supermarket and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10.

The Market Level and a sub-level parking deck were situated beneath the Plaza Level Court and Colonial superrmarket. On June 19, 1963, the Georgia Theatre Company Lenox Square Theatre opened on this floor of the shopping center. The marque of the single-screen venue faced the southern end of East Paces Ferry Road. In 1967, an adjacent indoor golf-driving range was refitted as an additional movie house. Eventually, there were six auditoriums in operation within the mall's cinema complex.

The first of many mall expansions was completed in August 1962, when a fourth level was added to the existing Rich's. It now encompassed 240,000 square feet.

By the early 1970s, LENOX -still an open-air center- was falling behind newer, fully-enclosed shopping venues in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. PHIPPS PLAZA opened in 1969 and was located across Peachtree Road. PERIMETER MALL {5 miles northeast, in Dekalb County} was completed in 1971. CUMBERLAND MALL {6.2 miles northwest, in Cobb County} would be dedicated in 1973.

In response to these new centers, an enclosure of the Mall Level at LENOX was announced in July 1972. An adjacent West Wing was being added, with thirty inline stores and a 3-level (154,000 square foot), Dallas-based Neiman-Marcus. The mall's first parking garage was also being built on the east side of the complex.

Neiman-Marcus opened its doors August 28, 1972. The newly-enclosed LENOX SQUARE held its re-dedication in January 1973. In the mid-1970s, a second parking garage was built on the west side of Davison's.

A second major mall renovation was announced May 1978. The 8 million dollar project, designed by Atlanta's Greenberg Farrow Achitecture, would replace the open-air Plaza Level court. The Colonial supermarket, by then operating as a Big Star, would also be razed. An enclosed 3-level area was built, which incorporated the previously-existing Market Level. Part of the Market Level was reconfigured as a Food Court, with retail stores installed on the two levels above. The new Plaza Court was completed in 1981.

Rich's was expanded again in 1982. A 2-level Men's Department and a Budget Store were added to the Peachtree-facing front of the building. Davison's was also enlarged with a third floor and southeast addition in 1985. This store now encompassed 281,000 square feet. A third parking garage was constructed on the south side of Davison's.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) extended service to LENOX SQUARE in the mid-1980s. Lenox Station, part of an Arts Center-to-Brookhaven North Line extension, opened December 15, 1984. The train terminal was a short walk from the mall's south (Food Court) Entrance.

The Food Court area was reconfigured in 1992. In February 1994, another expansion of the shopping hub was disclosed. The north-south portion of the Mall Level concourse would have a 187,000 square foot Upper Level added, which would house forty inline stores. The addition opened, with an initial thirty-two tenants, on November 9, 1995.

In September 1998, the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group acquired the assets of New York City-based Corporate Property Investors, with Simon becoming the new owner of LENOX SQUARE. The mall's Rich's was expanded, for a third time, in the year 2000. Its Men's Department had a third level added, which increased the size of the building to 433,000 square feet.

Anchor rebrandings at LENOX SQUARE had begun in the 1980s. Davison's became a Davison's-Macy's in February 1985, a full-fledged Macy's on November 17, 1985 and Bloomingdale's on October 16, 2003. The Rich's name remained until February 2, 2003, when stores were rebannered as Rich's-Macy's. On March 6, 2005, the Rich's name was retired, with all stores in the chain rebranded as Macy's.

Yet another renovation of the shopping center came to light in the fall of 2006. It would entail the addition of a 35,000 square foot Upper Level of retail over the existing West Wing. Neiman Marcus would also be enlarged to 205,700 square feet. This "Luxury Wing" project was completed in September 2007.

A subsequent LENOX SQUARE remodeling was announced in September 2012. The existing Food Court was upgraded into the "Lenox Fashion Cafe", which included an outdoor patio. The Peachtree Street mall entrance was also rebuilt with an exterior-entranced Streetscape of casual dining restaurants.

Cheesecake Factory, Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar and True Food Kitchen opened for business in June 2014. An adjacent Crate & Barrel store had been shuttered. A portion of its space was rebuilt into a (23,900 square foot) Nike Store, which served its first customers October 30, 2013.

With its latest renovation, LENOX SQUARE encompassed 1,559,000 leasable square feet and housed over two hundred and fifty stores and services. It held the rank of third-largest shopping mall in Georgia.

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Memories of Stan Malone                      
www.lenoxsquare.com
www.itsmarta.com
www.library.gsu.edu
www.cinematreasures.org
www.cinematour.com
Fulton County, Georgia property tax assessor website
Atlanta's Cobb Center


The original logo of Cobb County's first shopping mall, circa 1963.
Graphic from http://s236.photobucket.com / "Claycrocker"

COBB CENTER was the third shopping mall in Greater Atlanta. It was located in Cobb County, which lies northwest of the city center. The complex was anchored by the fourth branch of Atlanta-based Rich's. The store's main feature was its upscale Magnolia Buffet restaurant.


A circa-1964 physical layout. COBB CENTER encompassed approximately 363,500 leasable square feet, with a 4,000 car-capacity parking lot. The supermarket on the southwest corner, which may have opened as a Food Fair, was short-lived (if it did start out as a Food Fair). It was operating as a Colonial Store by the time of this depiction.

The Rich's at COBB CENTER was enlarged with a northern addition in the mid-1960s. The Colonial Stores grocery was also expanded and rebannered as a Big Star. By the time of this circa-1974 plan, COBB CENTER MALL is fully-enclosed and incorporates around 409,600 leasable square feet.


Rich's was in operation at Cobb County's first shopping mall for over 40 years. The store was demoted to a Clearance Center, before it was finally shuttered in early 2004.
Photos from Wikipedia / "Etittle1978"

Meanwhile, competition from two major malls in its vicinity had prompted a renovation and name change. COBB CENTER MALL morphed into FOUR SEASONS AT COBB in the late 1980s. This retail incarnation was not entirely successful, leading to demolition of most of the complex in early 1998. In this contemporary aerial plan, remaining sections of the original mall are surrounded in blue.
Original photo from www.googleearth.com 


The COBB CENTER Publix, which opened for business in 1999, was shuttered in late 2016.
Photo from http://www.tonetoatl.com (Atlanta Tomorrow's News Today) / Matthews Retail Advisors 
COBB CENTER
South Cobb Drive SE and Pat Mell Road
Cobb County, Georgia

Greater Atlanta's third shopping mall was developed by a joint venture of Atlanta's M. Rich & Company and New York City's Food Fair Properties. The complex was built on a 44 acre plot, located 13.5 miles northwest of Atlanta's Five Points, in a section of unincorporated Cobb County.

COBB CENTER opened for business, with an initial fifteen stores, on August 15, 1963. An official dedication was held October 10 of the same year. The original structure was open-air in format and encompassed approximately 363,500 leasable square feet. A 2-level (120,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's, designed by Stevens & Wilkinson, of Marietta, Georgia, was its primary anchor.

When fully-leased COBB CENTER housed thirty-eight stores and services. These included Dunaway Drug, Radio Shack, a Davis House restaurant, F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10, (45,200 square foot) Saul's Department Store and (20,000 square foot) Food Fair supermarket.

Features of the original COBB CENTER included a Japanese Contemplation Garden (in Center Court) and two-hundred-and-fifty-seat Community Auditorium. The Georgia Theatre Company Cobb Center Theatre opened, as a northern outparcel, on July 24, 1964. This single-screen house would be reconfigured and expanded into a 3, 4 and -then- 6-screen venue.

In 1966-1967, Rich's was enlarged with a 1-level (46,100 square foot) addition. The store now comprised 166,100 square feet. By this time, the Food Fair supermarket had been rebranded by Colonial Stores.

COBB CENTER enjoyed its status, as the county's only shopping mall, until August 1973, when CUMBERLAND MALL {4 miles southeast, in Cobb County} was completed. This new competitor was a fully-enclosed, superregional center.

As a keeping up with CUMBERLAND measure, the open-air concourses at COBB CENTER were enclosed. By this time, the Colonial supermarket had been expanded and converted to a Big Star. The Saul's store had also been retenanted by W.T. Grant (a.k.a. Grants). With these modifications, COBB CENTER MALL incorporated approximately 409,600 leasable square feet.

In 1976, an Atlanta-based Kessler's opened in a vacated Grants space. By this time, competition from CUMBERLAND MALL was taking its toll on the older shopping facility. Another fatal blow came with the opening of TOWN CENTER AT COBB {7.5 miles north, in Kennesaw}, in February 1986.

In order to compete with -yet- another superregional shopping mall in its trade area, a face lift renovation and name change to FOUR SEASONS AT COBB was done. Unfortunately, the newer malls in the county won out.

By the mid-1990s, Rich's at FOUR SEASONS AT COBB had been demoted to a Clearance Center. Big Star had been shuttered, followed by Kessler's and Woolworth's. The mall closed in late 1997. The structure was demolished in early 1998, leaving Rich's, its Auto Center and the mall's cinema standing.

These were joined by a newly-built Publix supermarket on the south, and small strip center on the north. Chuck Camp Park, a complex of softball fields, was built in the rear parking area. The new retail complex, known as COBB CENTER, was dedicated in 1999.

Rich's was rebranded as a Rich's-Macy's Clearance Center in 2003 and closed for good in February 2004. In 2009, the 2-level section of the store re-opened as the Imagine International Academy of Smyrna, a public charter school covering kindergarten through grade 8. The official name of the institution was later changed to International Academy of Smyrna.

Today, the 69,500 square foot shopping center (excluding the Rich's structure) is owned by the Tarrytown, New York-based DLC Management Corporation, who acquired it from Jacksonville, Florida's Regency Centers in November 2007.

Sources:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution
The Marietta Daily Journal
"Cobb Center" article on Wikipedia
Cobb County Georgia tax assessor website
http://skycity2.blogspot.com / "J.T." webmaster
www.cinematreasures.org
Atlanta's North Dekalb Center


Atlanta-based Rich's built their fifth branch at NORTH DEKALB CENTER. The store included two restaurants, the Magnolia Room and The Inn Between, as well as a freestanding Rich's Auto Center.

The original 447,000 square foot NORTH DEKALB CENTER, which was Greater Atlanta's first fully-enclosed shopping complex. The plan above shows the venue as it was situated at its inauguration, which was held in July 1965. (NOTE: although two anchor stores at the nearby COLUMBIA MALL site opened in 1964, the mall structure between them was not completed until August of 1965).


NORTH DEKALB CENTER TENANTS 1965 (PARTIAL LIST):

RICH'S (with Magnolia Room restaurant, The Inn Between luncheonette and freestanding Auto Center) / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / COLONIAL STORES supermarket / Butler Shoes / C & C Drugs (with luncheonette) / Casual Corner / Decatur Federal Savings & Loan (outparcel) / Diana Shops / Dipper Dan Ice Cream Shoppe / Flagg Brothers Shoes / Freidman's Jewelers / Halpern's Fabrics / Hickock Sporting Goods / Hickory Farms of Ohio / J & J Shoes / Milton Bradley Store / North Dekalb Theatre (single-screen) / Orange Julius / Pearle Optical / Pet Village / Playboy Shop / Regenstein's ladies' wear / Spinnaker's Restaurant / The Limited / Thompson, Bolend & Lee Shoes / Zachary Shops For Men

By the mid-1980s, the shopping hub has gone through a metamorphosis into MARKET SQUARE AT NORTH DEKALB. Its western half was gutted and rebuilt, taking in Woolworth in the process. Two new anchors joined the tenant list; California-based Mervyn's and Massachusetts-based Lechmere.


A late '80s view of the new Food Court area, a component of the award-winning reinvention of the center into MARKET SQUARE AT NORTH DEKALB.
Photo from www.nannis.com (Nannis & Associates)

A view of the NORTH DEKALB Rich's, which was sporting a Macy's moniker by the time this photo was taken. The store (while operating under the Rich's nameplate) had been expanded in the mid-1980s. The addition is the single-story portion seen at the front of the structure.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Ettittle1978"


The 1980s reinvention was successful for a time, but the shopping hub was eventually in a downward spiral. A demalling was proposed by Hendon Properties in 2004. It would have demolished the existing Food Court and Main Entrance and inserted a new Costco. An "Ultimate Plan" would have demolished more of the original mall and cut a wide boulevard through the structure. Neither of these plans were carried out.
Plan from www.indecatur.org

A circa-2014 physical layout of the 622,300 square foot complex. It is known -once again- as NORTH DEKALB MALL. New owners came on board midway through the year and announced that the demalling of the center, first proposed in 2004, would soon get underway. Meanwhile, the mall would lose its Macy's and Ross stores (both shut down in 2016).


In the image above, and the two that follow, we have parting views of Greater Atlanta's very first enclosed shopping mall, which will probably not be around for much longer. The AMC North Dekalb 16 was the third theatrical venue to operate at the mall. It showed its first features in December 1996.
Photo from www.sterlingorganization.com (The Sterling Organization)


Burlington (Coat Factory) assumed a vacant Mervyn's / Uptons space in November 2002.  In fact, the retailer plans on becoming part of DECATUR LANDING, an impending redevelopment of the moribund mall.
Photo from www.loopnet.com


Mass-based Marshalls has maintained a presence at NORTH DEKALB since October 2010. They also plan on relocating into a newly-built DECATUR LANDING store.
Photo from www.sterlingorganization.com (The Sterling Organization)


Lastly, we present a diagram of the proposed DECATUR LANDING mixed-use complex. A Costco store, on the drawing board since 2004, will -at last- see fruition. It will join other various retail, residential, culinary and hospitality components.
Original drawing from the Atlanta Business Chronicle
NORTH DEKALB CENTER
Lawrenceville Highway / US 29 and North Druid Hills Road
Dekalb County, Georgia

"Leave your umbrella at home" was the slogan heard when Greater Atlanta's fourth shopping mall opened for business. Upon its official dedication, held July 29, 1965, NORTH DEKALB CENTER was hailed as "the city's first weatherproof shopping center".

The fully-enclosed facility was built on a 65 acre site. This was located 8.7 miles northeast of center city Atlanta, in a section of unincorporated Dekalb County known as Medlock Park. Construction had begun in June 1964.

Built by Atlanta-based Scott Development and designed by Stevens & Wilkinson of Marietta, Georgia, the 8.5 million dollar mall housed fifty-four stores and services. It encompassed approximately 447,000 leasable square feet. NORTH DEKALB CENTER was anchored by a 2-level (160,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

Charter inline stores included Regenstein's ladies' wear, Flagg Brothers Shoes, Hickock Sporting Goods and a (21,000 square foot) Colonial Stores supermarket. The Storey Theatres North Dekalb Theatre showed its first feature August 9, 1965. It was later reconfigured as the North Dekalb Twin, which opened in May 1976.

Commercial competitors of NORTH DEKALB CENTER included COLUMBIA MALL (1965) {3.4 miles south, in Dekalb County} and NORTHLAKE MALL (1971) {2.9 miles northeast, also in Dekalb County}.

By the mid-1980s, the shopping hub, now known as NORTH DEKALB MALL, was in decline. Its owner, Toronto-based Cadillac Fairview Shopping Centers, announced a major renovation in October 1985, which got underway in November. Woolworth, vacant by this time, was gutted along with the entire western half of the mall structure.

A new name was formally announced in April 1986; MARKET SQUARE AT NORTH DEKALB. A completely rebuilt, 700,000 square foot, complex was officially dedicated October 16, 1986. There were now eighty-five stores and services.

Two new anchors joined the tenant list as part of the renovation. A 1-level (63,300 square foot), Woburn ["woo-burn"], Massachusetts-based Lechmere ["leech-meer"] held its grand opening August 31, 1986, followed by a 1-level (75,200 square foot) Mervyn's, which made its debut on October 17 of the same year.

Thirty inline stores had been added, including a 9-bay Food Court and expanded movie house, known as the Cineplex Odeon Market Square 4. Rich's was also enlarged. The store now encompassed 196,700 square feet.

Lechmere was the first anchor store to change nameplates. It became a Phar-Mor Drug in 1992, closed and was used as a part of an expanded movie theater. The American Multi-Cinema North Dekalb 16 showed its first features December 13, 1996.

Mervyn's was shuttered in the summer of 1997. Its space was taken by Norcross, Georgia-based Uptons, which opened in the fall of 1997 and closed in the fall of 1999. Burlington Coat Factory began business in the vacant Uptons space in November 2002.

The mall had been renovated in the year 2000. Existing tenants in the center section were relocated, with most of the vacated space being reconfigured as a (30,000 square foot) Ross Dress For Less. A section of the old Lechmere became a Rhodes Furniture, Shoder Furniture and then K & L Furniture. A (28,600 square foot), Massachusetts-based Marshalls opened there October 21, 2010.

Along with the year 2000 renovation had come a new (well, actually old) name for the shopping center...NORTH DEKALB MALL. In a renewed state of decline by October 2003, the complex was sold to Atlanta-based Hendon Properties. They proposed a second major renovation in 2004.

This was to add a 1-level (152,000 square foot) Costco, which would assume space where the mall's Food Court was located. In a subsequent "ultimate plan" for redevelopment, anchor stores -and the cinema- would be left standing, with the middle area of the mall being demolished. A wide boulevard would have been cut through and all stores reoriented into an open-air format.

The local government gave their approval for a demalling plan in 2008. The best case scenario would have had demolition / construction beginning in early 2009, with completion of the project slated for 2010.

This never happened. Several years passed, with no demolition or construction taking place. In May 2014, NORTH DEKALB MALL was sold to a joint venture of Miami-based Lennar Commercial Investors and the Palm Beach-based Sterling Organization. In the spring of 2016, the mall's Macy's went dark.

A renovation, that would change the mall into an open-air venue, was re-proposed. An all-new DECATUR LANDING would be comprised of 150,000 square feet of inline retail, including newly-built Burlington and Marshalls stores. There would be 59,500 square feet of restaurants, five hundred residential units, a 150-room hotel and 1-level (152,500 square foot) Costco.

Sources:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Dekalb County, Georgia property tax assessor website
www.cinematreasures.org
"North Deklab Mall" article on Wikipedia
www.nannis.com
www.georgiaencyclopedia.com
Atlanta Business Chronicle
www.godekalb.com
www.northdekalbmall.com
http://www.decaturish.com
www.sterlingorganization.com
Atlanta's Columbia Mall


The second fully-enclosed shopping center in -or around- Atlanta was originally known as COLUMBIA MALL. It was anchored by Sears and Atlanta-based Davison's.

In this photo, from around August 1964, we see that freestanding Sears and Davison's department stores are in operation. A mall that will connect the two is yet to be completed.
Photo from www.pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com


The inline store section of COLUMBIA MALL was dedicated sometime around August of 1965. The fully-completed "dumbell plan" shopping hub consisted of a single level of retail. At the time of this 1969 site plan, it encompassed approximately 351,000 leasable square feet.

A site plan from 16 years later shows the complex after its mid-'80s conversion into AVONDALE MALL. The Sears space had been divided into inline stores, with a Food Court installed on its second level.


A latter-day view of AVONDALE MALL, taken after the complex had been shuttered and was awaiting a wrecking ball renovation.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Etittle78"


AVONDALE MALL bit the proverbial dust in 2006. A bitter battle had been fought to keep that well-known Bentonville-based retailer from building a SuperCenter. Eventually, they prevailed. Above, we see the SuperCenter that opened on the old mall site in March 2008.
Photo from www.bing.com
COLUMBIA MALL
Memorial and South Columbia Drives
Dekalb County, Georgia

Georgia's first enclosed shopping complex opened in 1961. As odd as it might seem, WESTGATE CENTER was not located in the Atlanta metropolitan area, but was built on the periphery of the City of Macon. Greater Atlanta's first interior mall, originally known as NORTH DEKALB CENTER, was officially dedicated in July 1965.

On April 10, 1963, ground had been broken at an 8.6 acre site, located 8.5 miles east of Atlanta's Five Points. The land parcel, in a section of unincorporated Dekalb County known as Belvedere Park, was located 3.4 miles south of the NORTH DEKALB CENTER site.

A fully-enclosed "shopper mall" was planned for the parcel. COLUMBIA MALL, designed by Atlanta's Toombs, Amisano & Wells firm, would be built by a joint venture of Homart Development (a Sears subsidiary) and D & D Properties (an R. H. Macy & Company subsidiary).

The first COLUMBIA MALL structure was a 2-level (124,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Davison's. This freestanding store opened for business May 14, 1964. It was followed by a 2-level (116,600 square foot) Sears. Also built as a freestanding structure, Sears was officially dedicated August 5, 1964.

In July of the same year, construction had commenced on the fully-enclosed mall that was being built between Davison's and Sears. It was to consist of a single level of retail and encompass approximately 351,000 leasable square feet.

Apparently, inline stores in the 6 million dollar facility began opening for business in August 1965. When fully-leased, COLUMBIA MALL housed twenty-seven tenant spaces. A Walgreen Drug was dedicated on April 10, 1969.

Shopping hubs in the COLUMBIA MALL trade area included the aforementioned NORTH DEKALB CENTER and SOUTH DEKALB MALL (1970) {3.1 miles south, also in Dekalb County}.

By the early 1980s, COLUMBIA MALL had been outpositioned by the proliferation of shopping malls in Greater Atlanta. The complex was in a downward spiral that was exacerbated by the closing of its Sears, on February 1, 1984.

Atlanta's D. Scott Hudgens acquired the struggling center and initiated a 4.5 million dollar interior and exterior face lift. The first level of the vacant Sears was divided into inline retail spaces, including a (30,000 square foot) Sears Surplus Store. The upper floor became a Food Court. The opposite end of the shopping hub was anchored by its original tenant, by this time operating as a Davison's-Macy's.

A formal dedication celebration was held on October 10, 1985. The complex would be known, henceforth, as AVONDALE MALL. Davison's-Macy's morphed into a standard Macy's on November 17, 1985. This store would be shuttered in August 1992. Its upper floor was, then, reconfigured as the O'Neill Theatres Avondale Mall Cinema 16, which opened for business in July 1994.

Alas, the mid-'80s reinvention of the mall was not entirely successful. By the mid-1990s,  the complex was in another downward spiral that it would never escape from. Its shopping concourse was populated by mom & pop-type stores such as Direct Imports, Gold Plus and Bernard's Records.

AVONDALE MALL was sold to Newnan, Georgia's Thomas Enterprises in December 1999. Under its new proprietor, the shopping center continued to decline. On December 31, 2001, its remaining merchants closed for good.

The vacant facility languished for several years, while a protracted battle was fought between Wal-Mart and Stop Wal-Mart, a consortium of local citizens opposed to plans to raze the mall and replace it with a SuperCenter.

By late 2006, the war had been won by the Bentonville retailer. A wrecking ball was brought in and the mall had been reduced to rubble by early 2007. A 1-level (182,000 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter welcomed its first shoppers on March 7, 2008.

Sources:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution
The New York Times
www.dekalbhistory.org / "Columbia Mall - Avondale Mall Time Capsule"
Dekalb County Georgia tax assessor website
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
"Avondale Mall" article on Wikipedia
Atlanta's Greenbriar Center


Greater Atlanta's sixth shopping mall was anchored by Rich's sixth branch. The store, seen in the upper right corner of this aerial view, included the upscale Magnolia Room restaurant.
Photo from Malls of America Blogspot

GREENBRIAR, Greater Atlanta's third fully-enclosed mall, as it was situated in 1966. A single-screen cinema had opened on the basement level in October of 1965, joined by a branch of the Atlanta Public Library.


A vintage view of a court area in the original GREENBRIAR CENTER. The tall structure seen off in the mallway was a bird aviary.
Photo from Flickr / "Boring Postcards"


A potent of things to come, shopping mall-wise. Chick-Fil-A opened its first mall store, at GREENBRIAR, on June 25, 1967.
Photo from Malls of America Blogspot

A late 1987 physical layout. The mall had just been given its first major redo, with Circuit City added as a mall-adjacent outparcel. Moreover, a Food Court had been fashioned out of a previously-existing middle entrance hall. Chick-Fil-A moved there from its original location on the main mallway. Lastly, a J.C. Penney space, vacated in 1985, had just re-opened as an Uptons.


The mall's west anchor opened, in August 1965, as a full-line "Penneys". It served as the aformentioned Uptons for 5 years. Burlington Coat Factory began business in September 1995.
Photo from www.loopnet.com

A circa-2008 plan of the south side center. Original anchor stores have been rebranded. However, there are now two vacant junior anchors on the mall's northwest corner.


In a more recent physical layout, the vacant Cub Foods and Circuit City spaces have been filled, but the mall's outparcel megaplex cinema has been shuttered.


In 2015, GREENBRIAR commemorated its 50th year in business. We, at the Mall Hall of Fame, always enjoy seeing a mall's history recognized. Some of the less-savvy companies and corporations tend to not care (or even know) when their shopping centers opened for business. To them, it's ALL about the bottom line...
Graphic from www.shopgreenbriar.com 
GREENBRIAR CENTER
Greenbriar Parkway Southwest and Headland Drive
Atlanta, Georgia

Greater Atlanta's third fully-enclosed shopping complex was built on 88.2 acres, located 10 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta, in a section of the city known as Greenbriar. The site was adjacent to the prospective route of the Lakewood Freeway, which would open to traffic in late 1966.

GREENBRIAR CENTER was developed by Atlanta-based Crow, Carter & Associates and designed by the firm of Edwards & Portman. The 650,000 square foot complex consisted of a main retail level and small basement.

A 3-level (160,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's became one of the first stores to open, on September 9, 1965. The mall's 2-level (129,900 square foot) J.C. Penney was dedicated, along with the mall, on September 23rd.

Among the sixty-eight stores and services were Jarman Shoes, Pearle Optical, SupeRx Drugs, Radio Shack, Merry-Go-Round, Frederick's of Hollywood, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Happy Herman's Liquors, a Kroger supermarket and (52,900 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

A 952-foot-long, sunlit mallway traversed the center. It featured large, concrete animal statues, two fountains and a bird aviary. Rich's Magnolia Room, a third level terrace restaurant, overlooked the mall's East Court. The complex also had a 74-bell carillon.

A single-screen venue, the Georgia Theatre Company Greenbriar Theatre, opened on October 15, 1965. This basement level complex was twinned in the mid-1970s and shuttered in 1992.

In its early years, GREENBRIAR CENTER had only one mall-type counterpart on the city's southwest side. STEWART-LAKEWOOD CENTER (1959) {4.6 miles east, in Atlanta} was a small, community-sized venue which was unable to compete with GREENBRIAR, which was more than twice its size.

By the early 1970s, the shopping center was known as GREENBRIAR MALL. It was joined by SOUTHLAKE MALL (1976) {11 miles southeast, in Morrow} and SHANNON MALL (1980) {8.2 miles southwest, in Union City}.

The first major renovation of the GREENBRIAR property was announced in January 1987. The mall's owners, the Dallas-based Lehndorff Group, performed an 18 million dollar remodeling, with nineteen new stores added to the tenant list. A small Food Court was created and (35,000 square foot) Circuit City built on the northwest corner of the complex.

Moreover, new skylights, fountains and fiber optic exterior lighting were installed. A revitalized GREENBRIAR MALL was officially re-dedicated November 12, 1987. Attending the ceremony were U.S. Representative John Lewis (D) and Andrew Young, Mayor of Atlanta. The complex now encompassed 792,000 leasable square feet.

J.C. Penney became the first anchor to receive a new nameplate. The store had been shuttered September 28, 1985. It re-opened, as a Norcross, Georgia-based Uptons, as part of the 1987 renovation. Upton's closed on December 30, 1992 and was replaced by a New Jersey-based Burlington Coat Factory. This store held its grand opening on September 1, 1995.

A second major renovation was undertaken in the late 1990s. A vacated Woolworth's spot was sectioned into five inline stores. New mall entrances were built and the interior and exterior of the complex were updated.

The Sony Theatres / Magic Johnson Greenbriar Mall 12 multiplex was built on a southwest parcel. This new freestanding theater was dedicated November 22, 1996, with the mall being re-dedicated in December 1997.

Throughout its history, GREENBRIAR MALL has had its ups and downs. The venue was the victim of so-called "white flight" during the 1970s and '80s. However, through clever remarketing to the Afro-American community, it went on to eclipse the SOUTHLAKE and SHANNON malls, its first major competitors.

A third, more formidable, rival came on the scene in 2003. CAMP CREEK MARKETPLACE {1.8 miles southwest, in College Park} was an open-air power center. It drew commerce from GREENBRIAR and snatched its Circuit City store.

A second GREENBRIAR anchor rebranding cycle got underway February 2, 2003. The Rich's store (by now encompassing 180,000 square feet) became a Rich's-Macy's. A full-fledged Macy's nameplate was installed March 6, 2005.

Toronto's Dundee Real Estate Investment Trust, who had acquired the GREENBRIAR property in January 1997, placed the mall on the open market in the mid-2000s. Eventually, they decided not to sell the holding but to enter into a 50 / 50 joint venture with Atlanta-based Hendon Properties. The transaction was finalized in June 2006.

Unfortunately, The Great Recession left the mall in foreclosure. Dundee sold their fifty-percent share to Hendon Properties in February 2010, leaving them to deal with the financial situation on their own. In March 2010, an "unidentified foreign investor" came on board and secured the loan.

With the mall's finances back on solid ground, Hendon Properties was able to concentrate on filling vacant spaces. Super Beauty opened a store in the old Circuit City space in April 2010. Everest College dedicated a new West Campus, in a vacant Cub Foods building, in July 2011.

However, this bit of good news was met with bad tidings. The Magic Johnson multiplex had shut down in October 2009, with the theater re-opening, as the Revolution Cinemas Greenbriar 12, in February 2010. This venue showed its final features in December of the same year.

Sources:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution
www.cinematreasures.org
www.georgiaretailmemories.com / "J.T. Webmaster
www.carterusa.com
Fulton County, Georgia tax assessor website
www.mallsofamerica.blogspot.com / Keith Milford Webmaster
Atlanta Business Chronicle
www.shopgreenbriar.com
http://www.cpexecutive.com
Atlanta's Ansley Mall


A circa-2007 photo of the mini-mall's Main Entrance. The shopping hub achieved its 50th year in business in March 2016.
Photo from www.seligenterprises.com

A circa-1978 site plan. At the time, the open-air complex was anchored by supermarkets at both ends; Big Star (originally a Colonial Store) and Kroger. A Woolworth 5 & 10, in the center of the center, was an original tenant.


A more recent version of ANSLEY. The old Kroger space, on the south end, went through various pharmacy nameplates before coming under the CVS banner in 1998. A vacant Woolworth became LA Fitness and the northern supermarket was razed and replaced by a shiny new Publix.