A rare peek inside the LENOX Colonial store. At the time of this 1968 image, it had just been renovated.
Photo from Colonial Stores, Incorporated Annual Report 1968

Meanwhile, by the early 1970s, LENOX SQUARE had fallen behind several newer -and fully-enclosed- malls in its trade area. In June 1972, work commenced on a renovation to enclose and air-condition the Mall Level of the complex. Work was winding down by November 1972, when this ad appeared in the local newspaper.
Advert from Noble Properties 

Along with the mall enclosure project came a third anchor department store. Dallas' trendy Neiman Marcus anchored a new Skylight Mall wing. The store was dedicated in August 1972.
Drawing from Neiman Marcus

The roofing renovation and expansion was formally dedicated in January 1973. On this contemporary layout, the new Skylight Mall appears in medium gray. The previously open-air shopping concourse is now known as the Garden Mall. With these improvements, LENOX SQUARE spans approximately 1.1 million leasable square feet, with ninety-three stores under its roof.

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 Garden Mall concourse.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)

The mall's second major renovation replaced its open Plaza Level with a fully-enclosed Plaza Court. Construction commenced in February 1979, with the new structure being officially dedicated in August 1980. A total of forty-seven restaurants and boutiques were encompassed within the 3-level atrium.
Advert from Corporate Property Investors

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.

In this photo, we see the circa-1986 entrance to the mall's first Macy's (nee' Davison's, now Bloomingdale's). By the way, the Food Court on the lowest -Market- Level was extensively renovated during the mid-'90s (and -again- in the 2010s). 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 image gives an idea of how much the shopping hub had changed 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 at the turn of the century.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)

A circa-2008 physical layout. The center encompassed 1,545,000 leasable square feet and contained 240 stores and services. On this plan, the 1959-1973 mall is indicated in black. The expansion of 1979-1980 is indicated in medium gray. Changes made in 1994-1995 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 2010s face lift.
Photo 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)
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 Noble Properties), LENOX SQUARE was designed by Atlanta's Toombs, Amisano & Wells firm. The open-air complex opened for business on August 3, 1959. William Berry Hartsfield, Mayor of Atlanta, presided over the mall dedication. Instead of being cut, a ceremonial ribbon was tied together. This symbolized "the tying together of the merchants of LENOX SQUARE into a competitive but cooperative group."

Forty-two retailers (out of an eventual fifty-five) commenced operation. There were two Atlanta-based department stores anchoring the mall; a 3-level (189,500 square foot) Rich's and 2-level (111,500 square foot) Davison-Paxon (a.k.a. Davison's).

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 Pet Village, Thompson-Boland-Lee Shoes, S & S Cafeteria, Chandler's Shoes and Zachry 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.

The shopping complex, which encompassed 800,000 leasable square feet, was comprised of 3 levels. The Mall Level, coming off the Peachtree Road parking lot, had the main Rich's entrance, an open court area, and a landscaped concourse. Statues created by Julian Hoke Harris depicted characters in the Uncle Remus stories. Other statuary was produced by Elbert Weinberg. His works included "The Traveling Musicians", "The Cat & The Owl" and "The Magpie's Nest". 

LENOX SQUARE included a 1,100-foot-long truck tunnel. There was also free parking for 6,000 autos in a series of color-coded lots. 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 supermarket. 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 252,600 square feet. The mall's first parking garage was built, adjacent to the south side of Rich's, in 1966.

By the early 1970s, LENOX -still open-air- 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 undertaken in July 1972. A new wing was added, with thirty inline stores and 2-level (120,000 square foot), Dallas-based Neiman-Marcus. This store opened its doors on August 28, 1972. As part of the mall's reconstruction, the Rich's parking garage was greatly expanded. A second parking facility was built on the west side of Davison's.

The new Neiman Marcus wing, known as the Skylight Mall, opened in September 1972. Tenants included Hahn Salon, J. Riggings, Cuzzens, Apogee, Tinder Box Tobacconist, The Magic Pan Creperie, Bailey, Banks & Biddle Jewelers, Nunn-Bush's Brass Boot, Custom Shop Shirt Makers and the El Chico International Restaurant.

The existing Mall Level concourse was now known as the Garden Mall. A formal opening was held for the two malls on January 18, 1973. Jazz music was provided by Charlie Bornemann and Ernie Carson's Dixieland Five. LENOX SQUARE had been enlarged to 1.1 million leasable square feet. There were now ninety-three stores and services.

A new owner came on board in the mid-1970s. New York City's Corporate Property Investors acquired LENOX SQUARE in October 1976. 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 would also be razed. An enclosed 3-level area would be built, which incorporated the previously-existing Market Level. Part of this floor was reconfigured as a Food Court, with retail stores and sit-down restaurants installed on the two levels above.

Work got underway in February 1979. The (100,000 square foot) Plaza Court was officially dedicated on August 20, 1980. Retail tenants included Coin & Stamps and a Time Out Family Amusement Center. Some of the new food service tenants were Coffee Bean Bar, Cozzoli Pizza, The Fish Market, Glass Oven Bakery and Pronto Ristorante.

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 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 welcomed its first customers on 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.


preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
The Southern Isrealite
Memories of Stan Malone                      
Fulton County, Georgia property tax assessor website
Greater Atlanta's Cobb County Center

The original logo of Cobb County's first shopping mall, circa 1963.
Graphic from Food Fair Properties, Incorporated

COBB COUNTY 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 original COBB COUNTY CENTER encompassed approximately 363,500 leasable square feet, with free parking provisions for 6,000 autos. The open-air mall was developed by a joint venture of Philadelphia's Food Fair Properties and Atlanta-based Rich's, although it did not feature a Food Fair grocery (its supermarket was a Colonial Store).


RICH'S (with Beauty Salon, Magnolia Buffet restaurant and freestanding Auto Center) / SAUL'S department store / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / COLONIAL STORES supermarket / Baker's Qualicraft Shoes / Bell Brothers Shoes / Casual Town / Cobb Center Barber Shop / Cobb Center Theatre (single screen outparcel) / Davis House cafeteria / Dunaway Drugs (with luncheonette) / Friedman's Jewelers / Haverty Furniture Company / Hirsch's men's wear / Holloway Card Shop / Johnny Walker, Incoporated / Lerner Shops-National Shirt Shops / Milton Bradley / National Shirt Shops / Pearle Optical / Southern Discount Company / Thom McAn Shoes / Thompson, Boland & Lee Shoes / Young Fahy department store

A freestanding movie house opened at COBB COUNTY CENTER in July 1964. The Cobb Center Theatre began as a single-screen venue. It was expanded into a tri-plex in 1974 and reconfigured as a 4-plex in 1978 and 6-plex in 1986. The cinema was given a thorough renovation in 1995. It was permanently shuttered in the year 2000.
Graphic from the Georgia Theatre Company 

Rich's Cobb County was enlarged in 1968. The store would be in operation at the mall for over 40 years. It was demoted to a Clearance Center before being shuttered in early 2004.
Photo from Rich's Annual Report 1968

Meanwhile, by 1970, the official name of the shopping hub had morphed to COBB CENTER. The complex was soon to loose its exclusive status as only shopping mall in Cobb County.
Graphic from Food Fair Properties, Incorporated  

In 1973, the new shopping center on the block was CUMBERLAND MALL. This superregional complex, which extended for a whopping 1,135,000 square feet, dwarfed COBB CENTER. Cobb County's first mall did a quick "keeping up with CUMBERLAND" renovation, whereby it was renamed COBB CENTER MALL.
Graphic from Amterre Management 

As part of the early '70s makeover, open shopping concourses at COBB CENTER MALL were roofed-in and climate-controlled. The remodeling was completed in November 1973. In this circa-'74 site plan, the Rich's expansion of 1968, and an enlargement of the Colonial Stores market, are indicated in gray. The shopping hub now covered approximately 409,600 leasable square feet.

Competition from CUMBERLAND MALL -and then TOWN CENTER AT COBB- prompted a second renovation of COBB CENTER MALL. It morphed into FOUR SEASONS AT COBB CENTER in 1987. This revitalization was not successful, leading to demolition of most of the complex in early 1998. A small strip plaza, known as COBB CENTER, was built on the site.
Graphic from Four Seasons at 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, Incorporated. The open-air complex was designed by Robert W. Kahn Associates. COBB COUNTY CENTER was built on a 42-acre plot, located 13.5 miles northwest of Atlanta's Five Points, in a section of unincorporated Cobb County. 

Fifteen stores commenced operation on August 15, 1963. These included  Hirsch's men's, Friedman's Jewelers, a 2-level (120,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's, (20,800 square foot) Colonial Stores supermarket, (45,200 square foot) Saul's Department Store and (24,800 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. 

An official grand opening was held on October 10, 1963. New stores included Dunaway Drugs, Thom McAn Shoes, Southern Discount Company, a Davis House Cafeteria and combination Lerner Shops-National Shirt Shops unit. COBB COUNTY CENTER now covered approximately 363,500 leasable square feet and housed twenty-seven stores and services.

The original COBB COUNTY complex included a Japanese Contemplation Garden (in Center Court) and 250-seat Community Auditorium. The Georgia Theatre Company Cobb Center Theatre opened, as a northern outparcel, on July 24, 1964. 

Saul's department store was short-lived. It was replaced by W.T. Grant on November 12, 1964. Four years later, Rich's was enlarged with a 1-level (45,000 square foot) addition, which housed a new Budget Shop and cafeteria. The store, re-dedicated on September 16, 1968, now comprised 165,000 square feet. 

By this time, the official name of the mall was morphing to COBB CENTER (sans "COUNTY"). 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 competitive measure, the open-air concourses at COBB CENTER were enclosed. The "new & improved" COBB CENTER MALL was formally dedicated on November 14, 1973. It incorporated approximately 409,600 leasable square feet.

In October 1976, an Atlanta-based Kessler's opened in a vacant 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 CENTER was done in 1987. 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. The supermarket, which had been rebranded as a Big Star in 1984, had been shuttered. The closings of Kessler's and Woolworth's followed. The mall went dark in late 1997. The structure was demolished in early 1998, leaving Rich's, its Auto Center and the 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 simply 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 Smyrna.


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

The original trademark for Greater Atlanta's very first enclosed shopping center included a depiction of the umbrella that you could now leave at home.
Graphic from Scott Development 

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 posh Rich's North Dekalb fronted on a weatherproof "Fountain Mall" of stores and services. 
Rich's Annual Report 1965

NORTH DEKALB CENTER was formally opened in July 1965. The 8 million dollar complex spanned 447,000 leasable square feet and initially contained thirty-nine stores under its roof.


RICH'S (with Magnolia Room restaurant, The Inn Between luncheonette and freestanding Auto Center) / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / COLONIAL STORES supermarket / Atlanta Lamps / Bell Brothers Shoes / Bennett's Jewelers / Butler Shoes / C & C Rexall Drug (with luncheonette) / Casual Corner / Colonial Cleaners / Colony Gift Shop / Dan's Unique Apparel Shops / Davis House cafeteria / Decatur Federal Savings & Loan (outparcel) / Diana Shops / Flagg Brothers Shoes / Freidman's Jewelers / Gateway Bookstore / Gateway Cards & Candy / Gigi's Restaurant / Halpern's Fabrics / Henderson Furniture / Hickory Farms of Ohio / Hirsch's men's wear / Household Finance Corporation / J & J Shoes / John's Coiffeures / Model Cars Speedway / North Dekalb Theatre (single-screen) / Pearle Optical / Pet Village / Playboy Men's Store / Regenstein's ladies' wear / Rice's Casual Shop / Sigger's Beauty Shop / Stockton's men's wear / Thompson-Boland-Lee Shoes / Vaughn Barbers / Weinberg's ladies' wear / Zachry 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. The revitalized retail complex now spans 635,000 leasable square feet and houses eighty-five stores. The parking lot has room for 3,774 autos.

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

By the time of a circa-2014 layout, the facility 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
Lawrenceville Highway / US 29 and North Druid Hills Road
Dekalb County, Georgia

Georgia's first enclosed shopping complex opened in 1961. As odd as it might seem, WESTGATE CENTER was not located anywhere near the Atlanta metropolitan area, but was built on the periphery of the City of Macon.

Greater Atlanta's fourth shopping mall -and its first fully-enclosed shopping center, 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.

NORTH DEKALB CENTER opened for business on July 29, 1965. Hailed as "the city's first weatherproof shopping center", it was built by Atlanta-based Scott Development and designed by Stevens & Wilkinson of Marietta, Georgia.

The 8.5 million dollar mall eventually housed fifty-four stores and services and encompassed approximately 447,000 leasable square feet. It was anchored by a 2-level (160,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's and 1-level (39,500 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

Charter stores included Regenstein's ladies' wear, J & T Shoes, Diana Shops, a Playboy Men's Shop and (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 (1967) {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 -635,000 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.


The Atlanta Constitution
Dekalb County, Georgia property tax assessor website
"North Deklab Mall" article on Wikipedia
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta's Columbia Mall

In the mid-1960s, there was a rush to build Greater Atlanta's first fully-enclosed mall. Decatur's NORTH DEKALB CENTER opened in July 1965. GREENBRIAR CENTER was completed in September. The third enclosed complex in -or around- Atlanta was originally known as COLUMBIA MALL. It started with freestanding Sears and Davison's stores; both opened in 1964. 

In this photo from August 1964, we see that individual Sears and Davison's department stores are in operation. A mall that will connect the two is yet to be built.
Photo from Sears, Roebuck & Company Annual Report 1964

The inline store section of COLUMBIA MALL was over 3 years in the making. The dumbell plan shopping hub, and its initial twenty stores and services, were officially dedicated in November 1967. At this time, the complex encompassed approximately 350,000 leasable square feet, with free parking for 2,000 autos.


SEARS (with Coffee House, Garden Center and freestanding Auto Center) / DAVISON'S (with Coiffures Americana Beauty Salon and Peppermint Snack Bar) / Barricini Candies / Bond Clothes / Castro Convertibles / Davison's Budget Shop / French Cafe / Golden Key Shop / Hahn Shoes / Holiday Shoes / Jarman Shoes / John's Coiffures / Joiner's Barber Shop / Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio / Parklane Hosiery / Pearle Optical / Yankee Trader Gifts / Thom McAn Shoes / Walter R. Thomas Jewelers / Whitney 

The COLUMBIA complex was an early casualty of the over-malling of Greater Atlanta. By the mid-1980s, the shopping center was in decline. It was renovated, retenanted and re-named AVONDALE MALL. A re-grand opening was held in October 1985, with the shopping venue encompassing approximately 360,900 leasable square feet and thirty-nine stores and services.


DAVISON'S-MACY'S / SEARS SURPLUS STORE / Davison's-Macy's Clearance Center / Barrett Shoes / Cherries ladies' wear / Easy TV & Appliance / Eckerd Drugs / ETC Gifts / Fresh Fruits & Naturals / Frontier Fruit & Nut / Great Expectations / Gussini Shoes / H & R Block / Hahn Shoes / Hats & Handbags / International News Rack / Jewelles / National Automobile Service Association (outparcel) / Kay Jewelers / Lee's Children Shop / Louise Falker Custom Jewelry / M. Larry Gifts / Market Research / Neal's Cookies / Oriental Toys & Gifts / Rainbow Records / Real Jewelry / Sav-on-Pots-n-Plants / Sears Dry Cleaners / Shalimar Jewelry / Six Star variety store / Step Ahead, Incorporated /  Stuarts ladies ready-to-wear / Sunshades 

Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream / Eat & Run Sandwich Shoppe / Joe Field's Delicatessen / Marcille's Hot Dogs / Piece of the Pie Pizza 

The mid-1980s reinvention of COLUMBIA-AVONDALE MALL was not successful. The facility continued to founder. It closed for good in December 2001. In the photo above, we see the past its prime property as it awaited a wrecking ball renovation.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Etittle78"

AVONDALE MALL bit the 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
Memorial and South Columbia Drives
Dekalb County, Georgia

On April 10, 1963, ground was broken at an 8.6-acre site, located 6.8 miles east of Atlanta's Five Points. The land parcel was situated in a section of unincorporated Dekalb County known as Belvedere Park. 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 on August 5, 1964.

It would take over 3 years for the mall section in the middle to be completed. When dedicated, on November 9, 1967, the fully-enclosed COLUMBIA MALL covered approximately 350,000 leasable square feet and housed twenty stores and services. Among these were Barricini Candies, Parklane Hosiery, Bond Clothes and Thom McAn Shoes. 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 NORTH DEKALB CENTER (1965) {3.4 miles north} 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 January 28, 1984. In February, the struggling shopping venue was acquired by a joint venture of Cadillac-Fairview Shopping Centers (US), Limited and Atlanta's D. Scott Hudgens. They initiated a 4.5 million dollar, post-modern face lift. 

As part of the indoor-outdoor renovation, 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 included a 5-bay 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 was held on October 10, 1985. The complex would be known, henceforth, as AVONDALE MALL. The retail hub housed thirty-seven stores and services. These included Rainbow Records, Eckerd Drugs, ETC Gifts, Easy TV & Appliance, Stuarts ladies ready-to-wear and Kay Jewelers. 

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 on July 15. 1994.

Alas, the mid-'80s reinvention of the mall was not entirely successful. By the mid-1990s,  the complex was in another downward spiral. 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 abandoned 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.


The Atlanta 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 fifth mall was also its second fully-enclosed shopping complex. GREENBRIAR CENTER was anchored by Rich's sixth branch. The store is seen on the right side of this image.
Drawing from Edwards & Portman Architects

The 3-story Rich's Greenbriar encompassed 160,000 square feet. It included the posh Magnolia Room restaurant, which overlooked the Rich's Square mall court. A freestanding Rich's Auto Center stood on the southwest corner of the shopping center site.
Drawing from Edwards & Portman Architects

A Piccadilly Cafeteria occupied the northwest corner of the mall. The store covered 12,600 square feet and was decorated in a Mediterranean motif.
Drawing from Edwards & Portman Architects

A vintage view of a court area in the original GREENBRIAR CENTER. The tall structure seen off in the distance is a bird aviary, which was a common fixture in a 1960s shopping mall.
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

GREENBRIAR CENTER encompassed 650,000 leasable square feet on 2 floors; the Mall Level and Hollywood Terrace (or Lower Level). The complex contained an initial forty-seven stores and services under its vaulted ceiling. Its bi-level parking area could accommodate 5,400 autos.


RICH'S (with Beauty Salon, Magnolia Room restaurant and freestanding Auto Center) / J.C. PENNEY (with Beauty Salon and Coffee Shop) / F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / KROGER supermarket / Andrews Hair Styles / Arthur's Men's & Boys Shop / Baker's Shoes / Briarcliff-on-Peachtree, Incorporated / Binder's Gift & Frame Shop / Butler's Shoes / Cole National Key Company / Dwarf House of Gifts / East Point Amusement Company / Greenbriar Theatre (single-screen) / Elson's Greenbriar Book Store / Fabric Center / First National Bank of Atlanta / Franklin Simon / Friedman's Jewelers / Halpern's / Haverty's Furniture / Hirsch's men's wear / Household Finance Corporation / J & J Shoes / J.P. Allen ladies' wear / Jarman Shoes / Kinney Shoes / Lander's Cleaners / Lee's Men's Shop / Lerner Shops / Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio / Muse's / National Carpet / Pair Personnel / Pearle Optical / Pet Village / Piccadilly Cafeteria / Schwobilt Clothes / Singer's Casual Shop / Size 5-7-9 Shops / SupeRx Drugs / Thompson, Boland & Lee Shoes / Thom McAn Shoes / Vaughn's Barber Shop / Weinberg's ladies' wear / Werner's Card Shop / Zachry For Men

By the mid-1980s, GREENBRIAR MALL was in dire need of an upgrade. An 18 million dollar indoor-outdoor face lift was done between January and November 1987. Twenty new stores were introduced to the mall, including a new Uptons (which replaced a vacant J.C. Penney).
Graphic from the Lehndorff Group

With its late '80s renovation, the footprint of the complex remained essentially the same. A Circuit City was added to the northwest corner. One might note how different the names of some of the adjacent roadways are from those indicated on the 1965 plan.

The mall's west anchor opened, in August 1965, as Greater Atlanta's first full-line "Penneys". After this store's September 1985 shuttering, the building housed an Uptons for 5 years. Burlington Coat Factory began business in September 1995 and closed for good in February 2019.
Photo from www.loopnet.com