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

Construction started on Atlanta's ring road expressway in 1957. The first sections were in service by 1962, with the completed Interstate 285 "Perimeter" being dedicated in October 1969. Plans for the 500-acre Perimeter Center were announced in November.

This would be built 13.8 miles northeast of Atlanta's Five points, in a section of unincorporated Dekalb County known as Dunwoody. Perimeter Center would include low and high-rise office towers, high-rise apartment buildings and a regional shopping mall. Grading work was soon underway on a 90.6-acre parcel.

PERIMETER MALL was built by a joint venture of Maryland's Rouse Company, Atlanta's Rich's, Incorporated and JCP Realty, of New York City. The 2-level, fully-enclosed shopping hub was designed by Atlanta's Katzman & Associates and Marietta's Stevens & Wilkinson.

The 30 million dollar shopping hub encompassed approximately 836,000 leasable square feet and housed 102 stores and services. Its architecture was decidedly ultra-modern. There was a double-decked -600-foot-long- shopping concourse, with an anchor store on its north and south ends. On the interior of the mall were 600 weeping birch, magnolia and ficus trees, 2,000 bushes and several fountains and pools. Natural lighting was provided by a network of large skylights and clerestory windows. A vast parking area could accommodate 5,000 autos.

An official grand opening was held on August 11, 1971. A 3-level (280,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's opened for business. Charter stores and services included Spencer Gifts, Tinder Box Tobacconist, B. Dalton Bookseller, Franklin Music, The Horse With the Yellow Umbrella (gourmet cooking utensils), a (15,000 square foot) Regenstein's and (12,000 square foot) Muse's. A 2-level (186,100 square foot) J.C. Penney would be inaugurated on November 10, 1971.

The General Cinema Corporation Perimeter Mall Cinemas I-II-III, a northeast parking area outparcel, made its debut on December 21, 1973. It would be reconfigured as the General Cinema Perimeter Mall 4-plex in 1976.

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 PERIMETER MALL was announced in September 1981. A 20 million dollar West Wing would be built, anchored by a 3-level (233,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Davison's. Sixty stores were dedicated on September 30, 1982. Among these were Happy Herman's Gifts & Gourmet, F.A.O. Schwarz, Parfumerie, Ronna's Handbags, The Athletic Club, Glass Oven Bakery, Raffles and a Ruby Tuesday restaurant.

In the following year, a 23-bay Food Court was installed on the lower level of the original mall, taking space previously occupied by the Airport boutique. The food facility, which was the largest mall food court in Greater Atlanta, was dedicated on September 29, 1983. Some of its original vendors were Wong's Wok, Lazzoli's, Calloway Gardens Country Store, S & W Seafood and Haagen Dazs Ice Cream.

Plans for a second mall expansion were divulged in December 1985. A 2-level (94,500 square foot) structure would be added to the south side of Rich's, that would consolidate furniture departments of the PERIMETER and LENOX SQUARE stores. The new Rich's Furniture Showroom opened in January 1987. With its completion, the PERIMETER MALL Rich's encompassed 334,000 square feet. The mall now spanned approximately 1,446,000 leasable square feet and contained 175 stores under its roof.

Anchor rebrandings at PERIMETER MALL commenced 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.

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 180 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 was conceived to give the complex a competitive edge over LENOX SQUARE, Georgia's preeminent shopping venue. The PERIMETER addition included the first Nordstrom in Georgia and the entire Southeastern United States. Part of a 20 million dollar extension of the West Wing, the 3-level (230,000 square foot) Nordstrom was christened on February 20, 1998. The expansion brought a large, multilevel parking garage and inline stores such as J. Crew, The Civilized Traveler, 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.

Anchor rebrandings resumed 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 Macy's nameplate on March 6, 2005.

Meanwhile, 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 on March 23, 2005.

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 195 inline stores. It was now the state's second-largest enclosed shopping mall. Buford, Georgia's 1,823,000 square foot MALL OF GEORGIA (1999) occupied the top spot. The PERIMETER property was given an interior refurbishment in 2017. New flooring, ceilings, seating and lighting were installed.

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 Constitution
The Dunwoody Crier
http://www.therousecompany.com (Website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
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