Friday, February 10, 2012

North Point Mall to Welcome New Retailers LEGO and Michael Kors

In the coming months, North Point Mall will welcome two new retailers and a downsized and relocated third.  LEGO and Michael Kors will each open stores within the General Growth owned mall in
Alpharetta and Mayor's Jewelers, already in the mall, is relocating and downsizing.

LEGO once considered North Point (and Atlantic Station) for its LEGOLAND Discovery Center, but eventually decided to open the highly anticipated children's attraction on the third floor of Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.  While I don't know of the exact space that was being considered either in or around the mall for the attraction, I think it would have a made far more sense there, complementing the American Girl Boutique and Bistro, than at Phipps Plaza.

LEGO already has one retail store in Georgia at Discover Mills in Lawrenceville.  I'm told the new retail store should open in April, preceded by the LEGOLAND Discovery Center opening, which is currently planned for March 17th.  The new store will be located nearest to Macy's in a portion of what will soon be the former Mayor's.  It's worth noting that while the two openings are around the same time, the two businesses have little to do with each other.  The retail stores are operated by LEGO itself, whereas the Discovery Centers are operated by Merlin Entertainments Group, which also includes Madame Tussaud's and a variety of other attractions both domestically and abroad.  Additionally, LEGO operates over 60 retail stores in 27 states in addition to a handful internationally.  LEGOLAND Discovery Center is far larger, with fewer locations.  The Phipps Plaza location cost a reported $15 million and will be 35,000-square-feet. There are only two other Discovery Centers in the U.S., in Schaumburg, Illinois and Dallas, Texas.  Merlin also operates three locations internationally, two in Germany and one in Manchester, England.  

Michael Kors will open what will be its fifth location when it opens in North Point later this year.  Kors first opened in the state in Lenox Square in 2008, and followed up with a location at the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville and another at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody.  Scheduled to open before the North Point location is a Michael Kors "Collection" store that will open in the former Theory at Phipps Plaza.  The store in Phipps will be higher end than any of his other area stores and will carry the designer's couture offerings.  Personally, I think the store makes very little sense at Phipps or in Atlanta in general, but Phipps, especially, given the aforementioned LEGOLAND.  The North Point store makes far more sense and should do well, as North Point and the surrounding area is underserved in designer retail such as Michael Kors.

Mayor's Jewelers, currently located near Macy's on the the first level, will relocate to a corner space near Dillard's on the first level.  The new store will have a fresher, newer look, more in line with the chain's redesigned and relocated Lenox Square store.  The North Point store will be smaller in size, but will actually carry more designer collections.  The new store is scheduled to open by the second week in April.

All these changes at North Point make me wonder what retailers, or restaurants, for that matter, have committed to or would be interested in Avalon, formerly known as Prospect Park.  Avalon is an 80 acre mixed use project underway once again in Alpharetta off Georgia 400.  Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties, the current owner of the project, claims to have LOI (letters of intent) for a significant portion of the spaces in the complex though I'm skeptical.  North American Properties is, after all, also the owner of Atlantic Station, but I still hope Avalon is not just Atlantic Station 2.0.  The area could definitely use a new center such as Avalon, but with Toro already hinting at Five Star accommodations and a great retail lineup, he may be promising too much, too soon.  One thing you should never do in business, or in hospitality and retail especially, is over promise and under deliver.  With luck, things come together, and Avalon turns out to be a successful and welcome addition to the residents of Alpharetta.

What are your thoughts on the additions to North Point Mall?  Do you think North Point will suffer or prosper when Avalon opens next fall?  What retailers would you like to see open at either North Point or Avalon?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Anonymous said...

Good article. The Mall needs to fill up space that has been empty for years. There is a huge block of emptyness near Von Maur has has been there for years. Maybe when the theater comes in(which you forgot to mention), that will fill up. What Northpoint needs is a few more stores like Kors to entice customers to come in and not drive down to Lenox or Phipps. Also a few good food options would help. The food court has several empty spots and no real choices. No options to dine in the middle range. Its the food court or Cheesecake Factory. I had alway thought that it would be great to build a "restaurant row" connected to the Mall similar to Preimeter and Cumberland. That would draw people in for dinner and then to shop.

Anonymous said...

I think with Von Maur, American Girl, and one of the metro area's best Macys stores, North Point Mall will continue to be strong.

Anonymous said...

They're also adding a Rainbow store. Go figure.

What are they thinking..."hmmm Michael Kors is coming in...what should we do with that other vacant space?...OHHH I know, let's let Rainbow in!"

Might as well have turned the old Parisian into a Burlington Coat Factory. That is a horrible decision for North Point's leasing staff. If people want to shop at Rainbow, they can go to Stonecrest or Cumberland or any other of their numerous locations around town.

Lee at said...

North Point may also get a movie theater in the old Parisian location. Alpharetta's planning commission gave the green light to the idea last week but the council still has to sign off. I had hoped the mall would have revealed the name of the theater by now, but no such luck.

As far as Avalon goes... they are hosting an open house at Alpharett'a city hall on Monday. This morning Toro was tweeting that some of the retailers would be named at that time. Looking forward to hearing that.

I share your concern about Avalon taking shops from the mall (or other parts of Alpharetta including downtown). For example, Avalon's got a theater in the site plan.

Anonymous said...

Kors is becoming the new Coach: a brand that used to have a whiff of exclusivity but chosen to chase the suburban wannabe trendy mom crowd and in turn became meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Rainbow has been in the Mall since November? Probably before Kors signed on. I also forgot to mention(I'm the 1st Anon poster) that a "high end" bean bag store is opening up on the upper level next to Godivia.Also Personal Touch, a jewelry repair/shop, moved upstairs by Dillards to make room for the new Mayors.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that think that Michael Kors opening a signature boutique in Atlanta is a bad idea. I think it's a bad idea that he has 5. Atlanta isn't big enough to support that many, especially with two being right across the street from each other.

Anonymous said...

About time lego gets here!

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