Saturday, January 7, 2012

Phipps Plaza Loses A Few More Retailers Ahead of Legoland Opening

In the wake of the upcoming Legoland Discovery Center, a 35,000-square-foot kids entertainment center, retailers are leaving  Phipps Plaza, the high-end Buckhead mall.  Theory closed just after the new year, and Williams-Sonoma will close the 15th, to be followed by Brookstone in early February.  To be fair, it was a lilttle odd that both Brookstone and Williams-Sonoma had locations at both Lenox and Phipps.
Brookstone has an existing location on the second level of Lenox Square and Williams-Sonoma has a store on the second level near Bloomingdale's that was was expanded a couple of years ago.

Sources tell me Theory simply up and closed almost overnight without so much as a sign or sale. Willams-Sonoma may have a small liquidation a couple of days before their move, but for now, they are just having their annual "Winter Sale."  Brookstone has yet to receive direction as to what, if any, sale they will be having or an exact closure date.

Legoland Discovery Center is scheduled to open in March on the third level of Phipps Plaza, taking the place of basically the entire food court. Moe's Southwest Grill, one of many eateries displaced,  recently re-opened along the side of the third floor, close to the Belk entrance.  Moe's will be joined by Subway and Johnny Rockets in what a mall representative called the "fast casual/quick service restaurant zone."

Johnny Rockets was not originally going to be a part of the zone, but its decision to remain in the mall may have been related to the closure of their West Paces Ferry location and them wanting to maintain a presence in Buckhead.  Later this spring, their West Paces Ferry  location  will reopen as Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, a Florida-based fast casual Mexican eatery that will also open in midtown in Bakeshop's former space.

Juicy Couture and Tiffany & Co. have both been mentioned as possibly being interested in leaving Phipps as well.  Juicy, at least at one point, was in talks to move to the higher traffic Lenox Square while Tiffany may have sought to relocate from Phipps Plaza to Buckhead Atlanta.  Pampolina, a kids' apparel company whose opening at Phipps would have actually made the most sense, announced their opening at Phipps in the fall of 2010, but they never opened.

Jedal, a store I had on DeathWatch almost since opening, closed this past fall.  Vince, Valentino, Versace and Barney's CoOp are all likely closure candidates in addition to Bally.  Vince and Valentino's closures both seem especially imminent while Barney's has managed to hang on as long as it has, on what seems like borrowed time.

Bottega Veneta, a high-end accessories and apparel retailer, was one of the original tenants announced for The Streets of Buckhead, now Buckhead Atlanta.  BV opted out of that project and instead opened at Phipps Plaza this past summer.

Personally, I think the Legoland may do more harm than good in the mall.  In the end, it may work against SIMON, as long standing designer retailers opt to leave the mall in favor of Buckhead Atlanta or there becomes a waiting list to make the move to Lenox.  There is no doubt that Legoland will attract people to the mall, but for some, the appeal of the mall is the slow pace and calm environment.  As I said in an earlier post, this is the third Legoland Discovery Center in the country.  Legoland's other domestic centers are within Grapevine Mills, a single level outlet mall in suburban Dallas and at The Streets of Woodfield, a lifestyle shopping center in Schaumburg, Illinois, in suburban Chicago.

Do you think luxury retailers will suffer at Phipps when Legoland opens or will it instead be positive for them?  What store do you think has the worst chance of making it in the mall in the months to come?  What store should open at the mall? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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21 comments:

John Stoj said...

Agree completely that Legoland will hurt Phipps. The reason we go to Phipps is that it isn't Lenox. Legoland, if successful, has the potential to make it "worse" than Lenox in terms of craziness. As it is (and apparently, so far, we're in the minority), we won't go to Lenox unless we absolutely have to - because it's too crowded most times.

ginzuknives said...

they shot themselves in the foot with legoland. it's just not that kind of mall. legoland should have been at atlantic station. more visibility and better access from the highway. closer to the aquarium and downtown. lego should have looked into the numbers from dialogue in the dark, bodies and various other attractions that have been at atlantic station.

TheJohnP said...

Considering Phipps has the AMC Theatres, having Legoland does make some sense. I don't believe anyone had a problem with a theatre being in a mall with high end retailers, considering Lenox got rid of their theatre decades ago, why shouldn't Phipps have another family destination in Buckhead?

Granted Legoland at Discover Mills where the Lego store is currently would have been more ideal, but having it closer to center of town will appeal to more people.

I don't see Legoland being an AS destination either, even with the other attractions to be found there.

Anonymous said...

I've been livid about this since I first heard - and I have legoland age children and live in Buckhead! Incredibly stupid move for Phipps. Umm, 35,000sq ft of the ESPN Zone sit empty down the street??!!!! Glad to hear Johnny Rockets will be back however, for a quick bite before a movie, as was our tradition. Otherwise, they've completely ruined Phipps.

JonC said...

Tiffany & Co. at Buckhead Atlanta would be interesting. I know the luxury level of BA has been lowered a few notches, but I'm sure they would still like a few high caliber stores for bragging rights. If Tiffany were to move, I wonder if it would prompt other biggies at Phipps to follow suit?

Anonymous said...

Yikes, this is not good... what's going to happen when all these retailers leave??? Buckhead Atlanta would probably make more sense for some of them, but how is Phipps going to be able to recover?? And how are Saks and Nordstrom going to react?

You know, it amazes me that with over 5 million people now, Atlanta can no longer support some of these high end stores... seems like when we were smaller we could... doesn't make sense?? Any explanations??

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

I could come up with a long explanation citing percentages and failures but instead, please read the following ...

http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/blogs/atlanta-is-the-most-frugal-city

Thanks for reading and for the comments!

Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable that both Lenox and Phipps are managed by the same company. You have a luxury wing in Lenox, and then a great cluster of specialty boutiques in Phipps. Instead of treating the two malls as competitors, there should have been a better allocation or separation of stores based on clientele from the beginning. Instead, there are stores peppered in both locations. Where would you see a global Louis Vuitton in the same mall as a massive 27k sq/ft Forever 21??? Where is the common sense?? Who, and when did the very basic principle of business not apply in this city - LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. I learned that in the 4th grade.

Anonymous said...

Ever since I heard about it, I thought LEGOland at Phipps was an odd idea. Phipps is known for it's upscale nature and slower pace. There are rarely large crowds and you can always have an enjoyable shopping experience there because you aren't being jostled by a bunch of people. That being said, I was surprised by the decision to essentially turn the third floor of the mall into a theme park. I can't say I'm surprised about Williams-Sonoma or Brookstone closing since, as you said, they have locations at Lenox (that I personally think are bigger and nicer). I'm also somewhat surprised that Mori Luggage is still at Phipps, given that they also have a store at Lenox that was redone a couple of years ago. It'll be interesting to see what happens if all those stores you named pull out of Phipps though.

Dantonio said...

Anon # 1 has a good point, the old ESPN Zone would have made a much better fit than Phipps, and its right across from Buckhead Atlanta which would have been a nice draw for them. Even though I still would have preferred a location closer to the Aquarium and World of Coke.

Anon #3 I agree the two malls could have definitely been planned better. Though I will say that Lenox isn't the only mall that has a Louis Vitton and Forever 21 in the same place. The Beverly Center in LA has both as well.

Anonymous said...

Only time will tell whether Legoland works out at Phipps. Personally I think they ruined Phipps. I'm not surprised retailers are leaving. I'm sure they have lost a lot of lunch time business with no food court. Can't shop and have lunch at the same time.

If they are going to have Legoland there they should also have other family/children type stores.

I really miss the old Phipps.

Anonymous said...

Who thinks luxury boutique shopping in Atlanta will shift from Phipps to Lenox Square and Buckhead Atlanta???

How many "children" stores can be added to replace all the luxury stores? Build A Bear? Disney? Delia's? Pampolina? Move Janie and Jack from Lenox to Phipps? I can't imagine Saks and Nordstrom being happy about all of that...

Anonymous said...

I could see another American Girl store opening up in Phipps now...

Maybe this is part of their strategy now with Buckhead Atlanta as competition?? I'm pretty sure this project will move forward this year.

Eric said...

My wife and I were at Phipps the other day and are still quite amazed at what Simon is doing here. We've visited the Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago and it's quite an entertaining place for children and I'd certainly suggest going, however, it's one of the most bizarre matches for a high-end mall that you'll ever see.

My own take is that Simon has seen the writing on the wall that many of the designer and high-end retailers will be fleeing for Buckhead Atlanta and they're ahead of the game in the eventual change in the make-up of the mall.

We'll see, it's odd, to say the least. Endless kids trampling all over one of the most quiet and relaxing shopping establishments in Metro Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

With all do respect to the blogger, the blogger has no way of knowing how much business Vince, Valentino, and Versace do. Those are not the types of stores that you can assess their performance visually. Too many people that can afford those stores call and place orders or have a personal shopper periodically place an order for them.

For all we know the stores might be doing just fine.

Barney's Co-Op is a different story.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, the Legoland people wanted a site that drivers could see while driving a major thoroughfare -- GA400, Connector, etc. The ESPN Zone site doesn't fit the bill.

Anonymous said...

If Phipps did a reboot I wouldn't shed a tear. I think it's so stupid to have two enclosed malls catty-corner from each other with so much overlap. It's not so much that the stores are exactly replicated (although there are a couple of those) but the customer focus. Phipps is supposed to be super-luxury, but Prada, LV, Burberry, etc are over at Lenox. I like the idea of Lenox and Buckhead Atlanta competing over the luxury brands because at least there would be variety in the shopping experience.

Anonymous said...

Just a question - several commenters have referenced Buckhead Atlanta. I must be living under a rock because I have no idea what this is or where it is! Insights please?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon, RE: Buckhead Atlanta.

Buckhead Atlanta is the new (and uber creative) name of the project previously known as The Streets of Buckhead. Atlanta-based developer Ben Cater is no longer involved in the massive retail and residential project in the heart of Buckhead. California-based OliverMcMillan took over the project last year and renamed it Buckhead Atlanta. Thus far Hermes is the only retailer I know for a fact is still on board to open at the project.

Hope this answers your questions. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

ESPN zone probably wouldn't have afforded them enough parking either

Tres said...

As odd as I find the legoland in Phipps thing, I feel like that old ESPN Zone would be a nice fit for a full-line Barney's. Alas, I wonder if Atlanta can support yet another luxury department store...