The Inception and Growth of The Mall at Stonecrest
The Mall at Stonecrest opened on October 24, 2001, becoming an instant landmark near Lithonia, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.
The mall was a much-anticipated project developed by Forest City Enterprises and managed by Urban Retail Properties.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had been reporting on its projected opening dates since the late 1980s, creating a buzz in the community.
Over the years, the mall has seen several changes in its tenant lineup. Initially, it featured anchor stores like JCPenney, Dillard’s, Rich’s, Parisian, and Sears. Parisian, Sears, and Rich’s have since left, but the mall has adapted by adding new stores and services to meet the evolving demands of consumers.
The mall has also undergone several renovations to maintain modern aesthetics and amenities. These updates have included new flooring, lighting, and more seating areas, making the shopping experience more comfortable and enjoyable for visitors.
2017, the mall gained a new neighbor when the City of Stonecrest was incorporated. This development has brought about new opportunities for growth and collaboration, as the city and the mall share a vision for economic development and community engagement.
Anchors: JCPenney, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Lisa Young
JCPenney, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Lisa Young are the anchor stores of The Mall at Stonecrest, each offering a unique shopping experience.
JCPenney has been a staple in American retail for over a century and continues to provide a wide range of products, from clothing and home goods to beauty products. The store has undergone several renovations to keep up with modern retail trends, ensuring a fresh and updated shopping environment.
Macy’s is another retail giant that has made its mark at the mall. Known for its upscale fashion offerings and home goods, Macy’s also hosts annual events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast on screens during the holiday season. The store is a go-to destination for quality and variety, attracting shoppers looking for everyday items and luxury products.
Dillard’s offers a slightly different flavor, focusing on fashion apparel, cosmetics, and home furnishings. The store is known for its semi-annual sales, where shoppers can find great deals on high-end brands. Dillard’s has a loyal customer base and is often the first stop for those looking for the latest fashion trends.
Although not as nationally recognized as the other anchors, Lisa Young has a unique offering of health and beauty. The store has a local charm that appeals to the community, making it a popular choice for those looking for something a little different. With these four anchors, The Mall at Stonecrest provides a well-rounded shopping experience catering to various consumer needs.
The Current Tenants: A Diverse Retail Mix
The Mall at Stonecrest is home to various stores catering to different tastes and needs. Fashion enthusiasts can find brands like Forever 21, H&M, and American Deli. For those interested in accessories and jewelry, stores like Kay Jewelers, Elegant Jewelers, and Luxe Jewelers offer a range of options.
When it comes to dining, the mall doesn’t disappoint. From fast-food favorites like Chick-fil-A and Auntie Anne’s to sit-down options like Bourbon Street Cafe, there’s something for every palate. Sweet tooth? Don’t miss the Great American Cookie Co. and Candy Scoops for delightful treats.
For tech-savvy shoppers, stores like CPR Cell Phone Repair and Cellairis offer services for your gadgets. And let’s not forget the kids; The Children’s Place and Kids Foot Locker are just a few stores where you can find adorable outfits and footwear for the little ones.
If you’re looking for things to do in Atlanta, Georgia, the mall also features SeaQuest Interactive Aquariums. This adds an educational and entertainment dimension to the mall, making it a complete family destination.
Privi Stonecrest: A New Dimension to The Mall at Stonecrest
Privi Stonecrest is an adaptive reuse project that has transformed a 144,000-square-foot former Sears building into a unique food hall and cultural commune.
Acquired by Stonecrest Resorts in October 2021, the first development phase included a 25,000-square-foot SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium that opened in November 2021. This addition brought the mall an educational and entertainment aspect, making it a complete family destination.
Phase II of Privi Stonecrest focuses on wellness and relaxation, featuring tenants like Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, 3 Degrees Infrared Sauna, and Garden Life Juice Bar. These establishments offer services to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul, adding another layer to the mall’s offerings.
The third phase, planned to open by spring 2024, will include a 50,000-square-foot chef-driven food hall. Managed by the Good Food & Company Hospitality Group, the food hall is set to showcase 13 distinct culinary experiences, such as Atlanta Breakfast Club, The Original Hot Dog Factory, and Dope Coffee. This phase aims to provide a diverse and healthy dining experience, making the mall a gastronomic destination.
The pinnacle of the Privi initiative is the forthcoming TRYP by Wyndham Hotel, complete with 110 guest accommodations, an all-inclusive cafe, and a bar on the rooftop.
This will be the first full-service hotel in Stonecrest and is part of Wyndham’s new Black Ownership & Lodging Development (BOLD) Initiative. With these additions, Privi Stonecrest is set to become a significant attraction, enhancing the overall experience at The Mall at Stonecrest.
Events and Community Engagement
Seasonal celebrations like Halloween and Christmas are a big hit, drawing crowds from all over Lithonia and neighboring areas.
In addition to seasonal events, the mall often collaborates with local organizations for special promotions and charity drives. These initiatives provide a vibrant shopping experience and give back to the community.
Weekend entertainment is another aspect where the mall shines. Live music performances, fashion shows, and kids’ activities are frequently organized, making weekends at the mall lively.
The mall’s event calendar is usually packed, especially during holidays and occasions like Back to School and Black Friday. These events often feature special discounts, giveaways, and contests, adding extra excitement to the shopping experience.
Financial Struggles and Future Prospects
Recent news has highlighted the mall’s financial struggles, including a looming threat of foreclosure. The mall has faced financial difficulties, requiring exceptional financial management since 2013, and experienced intermittent economic instability in 2019. Despite these challenges, there’s a silver lining.
The mayor has expressed optimism about the mall’s future. The city has plans for economic development around the mall, which are expected to help it thrive in the long run. The city also has a financial investment in the Sears building, adding a personal touch to these development plans.
Interestingly, most malls don’t close after foreclosure, and consumers often continue shopping without knowledge of any financial strain. Anchor stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s own their properties and are not subject to the mall’s economic woes. These stores continue to draw customers, adding a layer of stability to the mall’s operations.
In summary, while the mall faces financial challenges, plans are in place to ensure its sustainability. The City of Stonecrest’s economic development plan, combined with the goals of Allen Family Investments LLC., owners of most of the vacant land adjacent to the mall, will add to the city’s residential and commercial density.
Safety Concerns and Incidents
Safety has been a concern at the mall, with incidents like a stabbing and shooting over a parking space in April 2010 and a disturbance related to releasing a new Air Jordan shoe in December 2011. These incidents have increased security measures, including surveillance cameras and additional personnel.
In response to these concerns, the mall instituted a Parental Involvement Program. This program requires anyone under 18 to accompany an adult after 4 pm on weekends. The initiative aims to provide a safer and more family-friendly environment.
Despite these measures, safety remains a priority for the mall management. Security staff drills and training sessions are conducted to ensure preparedness for any situation.
While no place can guarantee absolute safety, the mall’s efforts in this direction are commendable. The Parental Involvement Program and increased security measures have made a noticeable difference, and the mall continues to work on improving safety protocols.
The Mall in the Context of Stonecrest City
The Mall at Stonecrest is more than just a shopping destination; it’s an integral part of the community. The city, incorporated in 2017, plans to enhance residential and commercial density around the mall, ensuring its long-term viability.
The mall’s importance to the city is evident in the economic development plans that are currently in the works. These plans aim to attract more businesses and residents to the area, creating a symbiotic relationship between the mall and the city.
Moreover, the mall serves as a social hub for the community. It’s a place where people come to shop, socialize, dine, and participate in community events. This makes it a key player in the city’s social fabric.
In conclusion, the mall and the city are intertwined in their growth and development. As Stonecrest City continues to evolve, the mall is expected to adapt and grow, remaining a community cornerstone.
The Mall at Stonecrest has been a cornerstone of the Lithonia and Stonecrest community for over two decades. Even with economic challenges and issues related to safety, the mall remains a popular spot for retail therapy, culinary delights, and various forms of amusement.
The mall is well-positioned for the future, with diverse tenants and a solid commitment to community engagement. Plans are in place to ensure its sustainability, making it a key player in the growth and development of Stonecrest City.