Phipps Plaza Mall: The Jewel of Buckhead District in Atlanta, GA

The Historical Significance of Phipps Plaza

Phipps Plaza Mall opened in 1969, marking a significant milestone as Atlanta’s first multi-level mall. The grand vision was to set a new standard for shopping in the South.

Financier Ogden Phipps purchased the development in 1966 for less than $600,000, a modest investment that would later prove incredibly lucrative.

In 1992, the property was sold to Simon Properties for $488 million, indicating the mall’s growing prominence.

That same year, the mall underwent a $140 million renovation and expansion, adding a third anchor store, Parisian, to its original anchors, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.

This expansion also included a 14-screen AMC theatre and a new food court, enhancing the mall’s appeal.

The mall has seen several transformations over the years, each aimed at keeping it at the forefront of retail innovation. For instance, the food court was renovated into a Legoland Discovery Center in 2010.

These changes have expanded the mall’s offerings and made it a dynamic space that adapts to consumer needs.

Lord & Taylor, one of the original anchors, closed its doors in 2004 after 35 years. The space underwent a complete renovation to welcome Atlanta’s third Nordstrom in March 2005. This constant evolution has helped Phipps Plaza remain a premier shopping destination.

The Architectural Elegance

The mall’s interior is a spectacle designed to offer a luxurious shopping experience. Mahogany walls and marble floors greet visitors as they step in, setting the tone for what lies ahead. Glass elevators add a modern touch, while chandeliers hanging from the ceiling add a sense of grandeur.

A massive, carpeted staircase is a centerpiece, inviting shoppers to explore the upper levels. This architectural elegance is not just for show; it plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall customer experience, making each visit memorable.

The mall spans three floors, offering a total retail area of 823,000 square feet. This expansive space is thoughtfully designed, ensuring the mall’s architecture complements its diverse range of stores and services.

The attention to detail is evident in every corner, from the layout of the stores to the placement of seating areas. This commitment to excellence sets Phipps Plaza apart, making it a must-visit for anyone looking for things to do in Atlanta, Georgia.

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The Retail Landscape

Phipps Plaza is home to many retailers, ranging from high-end fashion brands to unique dining options. The mall currently features two anchor stores: Nordstrom, which opened in 2005, and Saks Fifth Avenue, which has been a part of the mall since its inception in 1969.

The tenant list reads like a who’s who of the fashion world. Brands like Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Gucci offer the latest high-end fashion, while stores like Build-A-Bear Workshop and LEGO Discovery Center entertain younger visitors. Dining options are equally diverse, with restaurants like Nobu Atlanta and Davio’s offering a range of culinary experiences.

Phipps Plaza
Phipps Plaza Choodcree, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the anchor stores, the mall has 105 stores and services catering to a wide range of consumer needs. There’s something for everyone, from luxury brands like Cartier and Louis Vuitton to specialty stores like Rigby & Peller Lingerie Stylists London.

The mall has also proactively added new tenants to keep the retail landscape fresh and exciting. Recent additions in 2023 include upscale brands like Balmain, Celine, and Fendi, further solidifying the mall’s reputation as a premier luxury shopping destination.

Recent Developments and Future Plans

The mall has never been one to rest on its laurels. In November 2017, Belk announced its closure, paving the way for significant changes. Simon Property Group seized this opportunity to promote a 150-room Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, a 300,000 square foot Class A office tower, and a 90,000 square foot Life Time Athletic facility.

These new additions were planned to open in phases, starting in late 2019 for the hotel and restaurant, with the other components following in 2020. This ambitious project aimed to transform the mall into a mixed-use development, adding more dimensions to its already diverse offerings.

By 2023, the mall had announced several new additions, including brands like Etro, Brunello Cucinelli, and Canada Goose. These new tenants are additions and strategic choices to elevate the mall’s status as a luxury shopping destination.

The mall has successfully navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic and government lockdowns, emerging stronger with a host of new retailers. It continues to evolve, promising an exciting future for regular and first-time visitors.

Safety Concerns and Incidents

While Phipps Plaza is generally considered a safe and upscale shopping destination, it is not entirely free from incidents. News reports have highlighted shootings near the mall, raising safety concerns.

In response to these incidents, mall management and local authorities have ramped up security measures. Enhanced security measures, including a more visible police force and state-of-the-art monitoring systems, are in place to safeguard those who visit.

Despite these challenges, Phipps Plaza remains a popular destination, drawing crowds for its retail offerings, events, and community activities. The prompt actions taken by the mall’s administration in addressing safety issues reveal a dedicated focus on ensuring a safe and pleasant environment for shopping.

Community and Events

Phipps Plaza is a retail center and a vibrant gathering place that organizes many events and activities year-round. From new store openings to special events, the mall ensures there’s always something happening to keep visitors engaged.

One of the latest additions to the mall’s community offerings is a 25,000-square-foot food market called Citizens Market, which opened in April 2023. This new space aims to offer a unique dining experience, adding another layer to the mall’s diverse offerings.

The mall also plays a significant role during the holiday season, transforming into a winter wonderland with decorations and special events. These festivities make it a popular destination not just for shopping but also for seasonal celebrations.

In summary, Phipps Plaza serves as a focal point for community activities, enriching the lives of those who visit. Its role extends beyond retail, making it a vibrant part of the local culture and a cornerstone of the Buckhead district.

Phipps Plaza
Phipps Plaza” by argusfoto is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Phipps Plaza has stood the test of time, evolving from a simple shopping mall into a multi-faceted destination. Its rich history, architectural elegance, and diverse retail landscape stand out in Atlanta’s retail scene.

The mall’s recent developments and plans indicate a commitment to innovation and growth, ensuring it remains a relevant and exciting place to visit. Its role in the community is equally noteworthy, serving as a hub for events and activities that enrich the local culture.

While it has faced challenges, including safety concerns, the mall has shown resilience and adaptability. Its proactive approach to safety and community engagement makes it a must-visit destination in Atlanta.

In the end, Phipps Plaza is not just a mall; it’s a symbol of Atlanta’s growth, diversity, and commitment to excellence. It is a testament to the city’s vibrant culture and ever-evolving retail landscape.

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