Phipps Plaza will be home to the country's third Legoland Discovery Center next summer but with its opening, the mall will lose a number of longstanding tenants. Basically the entire food court as it stands today will be wiped out in the move that brought Legoland to the luxury mall. Already Sbarro Pizza has closed and I'm told others will soon follow. Moe's Southwest Grill, Subway (having just opened late last year) and Nori Sushi will be the lone survivors of the overhaul. A mall representative told me that these eateries will remain open in their current locations until at least the end of May. A "fast casual/quick service restaurant zone" is being planned for the third level to "support the movie theatre and Legoland Discovery Center traffic." My guess would be these restaurants would be located to the right of the AMC theaters in space that once housed Gorin's and a couple of other shuttered tenants.
Chick-Fil-A and Johnny Rockets, my two picks for eateries most likely to stay, were apparently offered no concessions and were given the option to relocate on their own dime or leave.
Original plans had the Legoland opening at Atlantic Station, but it seems Simon Property Group presented an offer Lego was unable to resist. One reader of this blog, seemingly with intimate knowledge of the goings on at Atlantic Station, made the comment below when I hinted at an exciting mystery opening...
"This is too easy...
Regal Cinemas in Atlantic Station will expand by taking over the Ten Pin Alley and Dolce Enoteca spaces. Fox Sports Grill will move to what is currently Geisha House. Lego Land (possibly) will take what is currently Fox Sports Grill."
Visibility from an interstate was said to have been an early prerequisite of Merlin Entertainment (Legoland's parent company) and, as much as I hate to admit it, Atlantic Station would have better fulfilled that requirement. GA 400 ain't an interstate, and as many times as Peachtree Road may change names, and as far as it goes, it's not an interstate either. It would seem as though UK-based Merlin Entertainment opted for the the proven success: Phipps Plaza, and high end atmosphere: Buckhead, over the (transitioning) Atlantic Station, a development plagued by residential foreclosures and an uninspired retail lineup.
Given the mall does have a number of sit down eateries like Davio's and Twist, how critical was the food court? Will you visit the mall less or more once the Legoland opens?