A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Peachtree Mall’s Roots
Nestled in Columbus, Georgia, Peachtree Mall has stood as a beacon of community and commerce since its doors first swung open on August 5, 1975. Working for the California Retirement Trust, Jim Wilson and Associates poured their creative prowess into the mall’s design.
The original single-level layout featured Gayfers and Montgomery Ward anchor stores, bookending the primary corridor.
1985 brought notable additions to the mall, a bustling food court and a third anchor store, Parisian, elevating the mall’s status as a go-to destination for local shoppers.
The mall continued to transform over the years. In 1994, JCPenney joined the mall, replacing its previous location at Columbus Square Mall. This expansion introduced a unique quirk: patrons had to walk through Dillard’s, formerly Gayfers, to reach the new section.
The turn of the century was a period of transition for the mall. Montgomery Ward closed its doors in 2000 following a bankruptcy filing. Two years later, Rich’s filled the void left behind, but not for long. The store changed its name to Macy’s in 2005, reflecting shifts in the retail landscape.
Parisian, an anchor store since 1985, closed in 2007 following a merger with Belk. Although initial plans were to convert the Parisian space into a Belk, financial issues led to a change of plans. After uncertainty, a new tenant, At Home, opened in the former Parisian area on February 2, 2017.
Peachtree Mall Today: More Than Just a Shopping Center
Brookfield Properties holds the reins as the mall’s manager and owner today. The mall has blossomed over time, boasting 95 stores and services, four anchor tenants, and ample parking with 4,200 spaces. In terms of size, Peachtree Mall is a retail giant with a total retail floor area of 810,000 square feet.
Its main competitor in Columbus is Columbus Park Crossing. Yet, despite the competition, Peachtree Mall maintains its status as a prominent shopping center and a vital part of the community.
The rhythm of life at Peachtree Mall is punctuated by moments of drama and excitement. This year, the mall was the backdrop for two incidents that kept Columbus residents on their toes.
On May 2, 2023, SB Jewelry Company inside the mall became the scene of an armed robbery. Shots were fired, ringing through the corridors of the mall. Thankfully, there were no injuries, but the culprits escaped, leaving a trail of unanswered questions in their wake.
Later in the month, on May 25, 2023, Peachtree Mall‘s parking lot was the endpoint of a high-speed chase. Three suspects led authorities on a wild ride that ended near the At Home section of the parking lot.
The suspects attempted a daring escape on foot but were apprehended after a brief chase inside the mall. One of the suspects, a validated and wanted gang member, faced several charges, including reckless driving and possessing a firearm while committing a crime. The other two suspects faced similar charges.
A Community Cornerstone
Peachtree Mall is more than just a shopping center—it’s a hub of community activity. Over the years, countless community events have occurred here, from holiday celebrations to charity fundraisers.
Even if no specific events are on the calendar, the mall remains a meeting place for friends, families, and locals looking to spend a leisurely day.
The mall has evolved significantly over the years, reflecting the changing trends and tastes of the times. Each new store, each closing, and each renovation is a page in the story of Peachtree Mall—a story that continues to unfold.
Despite the rise of online shopping, Peachtree Mall is a testament to the appeal of in-person shopping and the sense of community that a local mall can provide. Shoppers stroll through its corridors, kids laugh in the food court, and friends meet for coffee or a movie.
Looking Forward: The Future of Peachtree Mall
With its rich history and deep community roots, Peachtree Mall is poised for a future filled with possibilities. While the retail industry continues to evolve, the mall’s commitment to serving the Columbus, Georgia, community remains steadfast.
As we look to the future, we can expect that Peachtree Mall will continue to adapt and innovate, just as it has in the past. New stores may open, and others may close, but the spirit of Peachtree Mall—a spirit of community, resilience, and innovation—will remain.
From its humble beginnings as a single-level mall with two anchor stores to its current status as a retail giant, Peachtree Mall has proven time and time again that it can stand the test of time.
As the residents of Columbus move forward, Peachtree Mall will undoubtedly continue to be a familiar, comforting presence—a place where memories are made and the community is forged. The story of Columbus continues to be written.