North Point Mall in Alpharetta was completed in the fall of 1993. The mall was built by Homart Development Company, a subsidiary of Sears, and one of the largest builders of shopping centers and malls in the late 50's through the mid- 90's. When the mall opened, it had space for six anchor stores (the most in one mall in Georgia at that time). Only five of these spaces were originally occupied: Rich's, Lord & Taylor, Mervyn's, JCPenney, and Sears.
The former Mervyn's is today a 12 screen AMC Theatres with IMAX. (The space was occupied by Parisian in between.) The Lord & Taylor space became a Belk, but only lasted a short time before closing. Today, that space is home to Von Maur, a new-to-market department store based in Davenport, Iowa. Rich's became Macy's while J.C. Penney and Sears remain in business in their original locations.
Today, North Point Mall is owned and managed by General Growth Properties, the same firm behind other metro malls such as Cumberland Mall in Smyrna and Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. North Point Mall consists of 1.3 million square feet of GLA (Gross Leasable Space), of which there is reportedly only 6% vacant.
Avalon, a new center located a few miles north of North Point Mall on Old Milton Parkway, is slated to open October 30th. Many have said the opening of Avalon will mean the end of North Point Mall.
Many things have changed in the 20+ years since the mall first opened. Chains have come and gone, and in some cases, entire industries have ceased to exist. Waldenbooks, Store of Knowledge, KB Toys, Atlanta Braves Clubhouse store, Field of Dreams, The Mole Hole, Challenges and Mick's, just to name a few, have all closed over the years at the mall.
Amazingly, North Point Mall is still home to the Disney store. If memory serves, this may be the only local example of Disney never having left the mall. During the 90's, Disney had stores at Lenox Square, Gwinnett Place, Northlake, Cumberland and elsewhere but all have since closed. The company did open a new concept store at Perimeter Mall in 2011.
That's not to say the mall is in trouble. In 2007, North Point Mall landed Atlanta's first, and currently only, American Girl Boutique & Bistro. This attraction, still one of just a few in the country, draws young girls from not only Georgia but other surrounding states as well. North Point is also home to one of the only LEGO stores in metro Atlanta, as well as Michael Kors, G by Guess and H&M, among others. Gap and Banana Republic announced that they would relocate to Avalon, and already a portion of the former, a rather large Gap store, has been replaced by a Sur la Table retail store and cooking studio. This past June, North Point Mall also welcomed metro Atlanta's first Flip Flop Shops franchise.
|North Point Mall location of Flip Flop Shops|
Pottery Barn will close its large second level store as of January 31, 2015. At Pottery Barn's closure, H&M will assume their space and connect it to their existing space below for a combined nearly 25,000 "flagship" size store. (The current H&M is in the 11-12,000 sq. foot neighborhood.)
Forever 21 is expanding their store within North Point Mall to create a 15,000 square foot space, more than doubling their current space. An existing location of Express will downsize and relocate within the mall to accommodate the Forever 21 expansion.
Apple is reportedly interested in relocating and expanding at North Point. The potential location is the remaining former Gap space, roughly 7000 square feet. Apple's new SVP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts is reportedly looking at putting her stamp on Apple's retail stores and may be looking at an overall retail refresh. In addition to a possible new look, selected malls are being targeted for relocation/expansion to accommodate new products/lines. Apple has relocated and or enlarged stores in a number of malls in recent years, among them, South Park Mall in Charlotte, Aventura Mall in Aventura, Florida and Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, New York. Apple's new 7300+ square foot store is currently under construction at Cumberland Mall.
|Would-be location of enlarged and relocated Apple store at North Point Mal|
Victoria's Secret will renovate their existing space and will add their younger, "Pink" store. The combo store is reportedly going to sport a first-to-market "prototype" storefront.
American Eagle Outfitters will expand in their existing space and will bring back their Aerie lingerie brand. The brand previously had a stand alone store where Vans is now on the second floor, but it closed over a year ago. Sources say that American Eagle Outfitters sees better sales when locating an Aerie store adjacent to the flagship brand rather than separate from it. (Victoria's Secret does a similar thing with their "Pink" line)
As I previously announced, Bath & Body Works will downsize slightly to allow for its sister brand, White Barn, to join the mall. The White Barn candle concept was phased out by Bath & Body Works, but is now being reintroduced. Flip Flop Shops opened in June.
There are also rumors that Williams-Sonoma may close, given that their outlet at North Georgia Premium Outlets continues to eat away at their business. Also, the opening of Sur la Table and commoditization of many of their products has made operating an extensive retail network less feasible. (Williams-Sonoma has previously closed locations at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, and before that at Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth)
Nearby, but not within the mall, popular eateries Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pollo Tropical, Corner Bakery and Zoës Kitchen have all opened stand alone restaurants. TopGolf, a giant golf and entertainment complex, opened in May about a mile away from North Point Mall. (A second Top Golf is slated to open next year on Atlanta's Westside.) Main Event, a family entertainment destination similar to Dave & Busters opened in the former Home Depot EXPO off Mansell Road in late June. Popular outdoors retailer REI plans to open a new location on North Point Parkway, just its fifth store in the state.
What do you think will happen to North Point Mall and the surrounding retail once Avalon opens? What is your favorite retailer or restaurant at North Point? Do you have any favorites gone but from the mall but not mentioned in this article?
Please share your thoughts.