Saturday, July 2, 2016

North DeKalb Mall Continues to Lose National Names, Costco Still "In The Works"

Dated mall continues to deteriorate.

ROSS Dress For Less and Rack Room Shoes, both longtime tenants of North DeKalb Mall, will close for good tomorrow, Sunday July 3rd.

ROSS, which occupies a 30,000 square foot space, is "moving" to Suburban Plaza, where they will reopen July 16th in a roughly 25,000 square foot space.  Many area residents imagined the Suburban store might replace the North DeKalb store, as less than two miles separates them, but that decision was not made public until recently. Interestingly, the current store is not offering any discounts to liquidate in-stock merchandise as they seemingly plan to just transport it to Suburban Plaza.  ROSS opened at North DeKalb in the early 2000s in a former Old Navy store.  
Rack Room Shoes, which has been a tenant of North DeKalb Mall for as long as I can remember (at least 25 years I'd guess), is directing customers to their "nearby" location in Stone Mountain Square.  Stone Mountain Square is a large shopping center just off Highway 78 near Rockbridge Road, just over ten miles east of the North DeKalb store.  Rack Room's approximately 5,400 square foot location at North DeKalb looks out on ROSS and has been a mainstay in the mall, even as the mall went through many changes in direction.  A Rack Room store associate with whom I spoke indicated that the retailer would "consider returning to North DeKalb if and when previously promised changes and upgrades are completed at the mall."  Unlike ROSS, most in-stock merchandise is at least 50% off the lowest marked price at Rack Room Shoes.  

Despite the closures, some tenants at North DeKalb seemed to be doing robust business when I visited on Friday afternoon.  Marshalls, which has entrances and registers at both its front and back doors, had long lines at both and the store was full of customers.  Nearby, AMC Theatres seemed busy too, with moviegoers waiting in line at the box office and many more for concessions.  In the food court, the only remaining national tenant is Wendy's, where many were getting food.  
Other national names like Bath & Body Works and Foot Locker (both of which sport rather recent store formats) remain open, but seemed to have little foot traffic.  

Burlington Coat Factory, the mall's last remaining anchor, remains open with reportedly no intention of going anywhere.  Dollar Tree, a relatively recent addition to the mall but without an interior mall entrance seems to do fine as well, likely due to its location near Marshalls and AMC.  

Countless national names have left the mall over the years including Applebee's, Buffalo's Cafe, Freshens, Dippin' Dots GAP, Subway, Chick-fil-A,  Wolf Camera, KB Toys, The Children's Place, Stein-Mart, Hallmark and most recently Macy's (in the former Rich's.) 

Others like Woolworth's, Radio Shack, B.Dalton, Little Bucks, Camelot Music (later FYE) Uptons, Mervyn's, Lechmere and Phar-Mor closed due to overall corporate issues not directly related to their presence in North DeKalb.  
At least one local business, The Barber Shop Atlanta, located near AMC and Marshalls appears to be doing well. Challenges, previously a popular arcade that had been closed for a number of years, has been reborn as a trading card and pop culture enthusiasts' emporium.  
As for the future of North DeKalb, there is conflicting information about the status of the would-be Costco.  The popular wholesale club has been linked to the mall for nearly a decade with the recent closure of longtime anchor Macy's said to have been the match that would reignite their interest. I contacted Costco's corporate offices in Washington and was told that while there is no deal in place, it it is a store the company is "actively looking at."  There was talk from well placed real estate sources that the deal to bring Costco to the mall was "dead," but that thankfully seems to be untrue.
North DeKalb Mall, which originally opened in 1965, has definitely had its share of ups and downs.  With luck, the Costco will happen and the mall, or lifestyle center as its slated to become, will once again be a magnet for shoppers and retailers alike. 
What would you like to see happen at North DeKalb Mall?  What is your favorite memory at North DeKalb Mall?  Do you think Costco will end up coming to North DeKalb Mall?

Please share your thoughts below.    

18 comments:

Ham said...

With the Suburban Plaza remodel, closing of Macy’s and other development in that area I fear North DeKalb has missed whatever window they might have had. Will Costco come? Maybe, but if they do will it help the overall mall? I suspect they’ll replace the Macy’s building with a standalone box that has no formal connection to the actual mall.

With a decent movie theater and an overall excellent location there is potential for this property. However, someone has got to make something happen and stop talking about what might happen.

Birdhouse Books said...

I loved going to North DeKalb when I was growing up, shopping at Rich's, Milton Bradley toys, and Woolworth.

The mall has gone way downhill in the last decade or two. I never shop there now that Macy's is gone. If they want to attract customers, they need to get rid of the junky "fly by night" shops and attract more solid national stores ... as well as good chains for the food court again.

Anonymous said...

The demographics near this place and all of the upcoming changes at and near Suburban Plaza would seem an ideal time to remodel this place. There is a ton of traffic coming off 285 & Lawrenceville Hwy & of people living in the Decatur area including City of Decatur and the unincorporated going down N. Druid Hills,

Anonymous said...

I loved North DeKalb Mall. It's been there since I was a kid in the 70s. But it is time for it to go. It is time for most "malls" to go. That business model is done. Tear it down completely, along with the fast food places along NDH. Replace it with light industry, multi-story shop/business/living/theater The stores there are garbage and they attract other garbage stores that simply can't stay in business. It could be a very classy area, but the junk has got to go. It's time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, malls are dead. That's why Cumberland, Phipps, Lenox, Perimeter are all on the verge of closing right now.

Patrick said...

North DeKalb was where I first encountered the "everything is a dollar" format. I don't recall the name of the store. It was very small. But I'd never heard of such a thing and proceeded to spend a lot. Back home, nobody believed my story even though I had purchases in hand. Went back to that store several times -and living on the other side of town as I did and not having a car, going to that mall involved about hours each way on the bus. But I went anyway. I liked the calmness. It is difficult to explain.

Later on, I used to meet up with a group of friends and we'd all carpool to Phar-Mor to rent movies and buy stuff like snacks and blank video tape. For some reason, Phar-Mor was the only place to get Fuji-branded tape and we had all found it to be very cheap and very good. We spent a lot of time there, just marvelling at the place.

Costco would be a good addition to that area. Hope they get it sorted out. Peachtree City could use one too.

Linda said...

I loved shopping at North DeKalb, it was so convenient. I am sad to see what's happened to the Mall. Hopefully with the transition of new stores at North Decatur Road and Church Street, development will progress at the old Mall. I love this area, just hope it keeps thriving.

Anonymous said...

I agree malls are not dead. With a 100 degree weather outside who wants to shop outside? Not me. I would shop/eat/browse more if I was in a climate controlled environment. Not to mention the rain and snow. Malls just need to keep it fresh and up to date. Gwinnett place mall and North DeKalb mall just let themselves die.

Anonymous said...

Gwinnett place mall and North DeKalb mall just let themselves die ...
... Changing Demographics killed these malls

Anonymous said...

Yup...soon as a mall goes predominantly black or Latino clientele, white folks (and their discretionary income) stay away.

Anonymous said...

Consider a mixed use development with some much needed green space added back in. It has become an absolute eyesore. The interior currently sports a rundown flea market feel.

Dee said...

Seriously, a Costco inside an already failing mall won't bring it back to life. Like many have said, North Deklab Mall lost it's golden chance to upgrade and rejuvenate. Wouldn't be suprised if Burlington and Marshalls eyeball the upper and lower level of Khols once they leave Northlake Mall. Is there room for Rack Room at the new Best Buy plaza in Tucker?

Anonymous said...

Northlake is not far behind North Dekalb. Neither one can be saved in their current format.

I didn't realize how much the Suburban Plaza renovation would hurt North Dekalb. Then the Ross, Hobby Lobby and Dick Sporting Goods Shopping Center will open by Northlake and probably will hurt the mall even more.



Anonymous said...

It's Prime real estate...current owners will either sell it or renovate it.

Thomas Reed said...

I was at Valley View Mall in Dallas in April. It was a ghost town, but if you want to see what Northlake and North Dekalb as well as other under achieving malls could potentially look like in the future watch this...

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Valley-View-Mall-Closer-to-Wrecking-Ball-383709991.html

Unknown said...

Relax kid. African Americans spend more money at malls...now the Lationos spend a lot of money on sales just imo. I believe the economy in general is to blame. Malls are closing everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Online shopping is so easy ... but if we don't support our local stores - even the national ones, we will lose them all - and drown in a sea of cardboard boxes that don't seem to get reused nearly enough

Anonymous said...

The suburban mall concept is dying nationwide due to e-commerce. North Dekalb, Northlake Mall, Northlake Festival all saturate this particular area with disused retail space that is neither attractive for new retailers nor conducive for revitalization into a Costco, etc. in their current footprints.

The costs of renovating and re-planning the footprints would outweigh that of razing it and building anew. The asbestos mitigation alone would send renovation costs soaring.

Smart thing to do is raze these properties and incorporate more green space, compact retail space, and more dining.