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Top 10 Retail Center Experiences: No. 3 Avalon

Daybreaker continues its countdown of the Top 10 Retail Center Experiences named in the July-August edition of Chain Store Age.

The newer developments on this year’s list have something in common: Their developers meticulously researched the communities they aimed to serve.

“Before the first shovel was in the ground, we were listening to what the people wanted to be sure we were designing an environment that the community craved,” said Liz Gillespie, VP of marketing for Avalon’s developer, North American Partners “Whether you worked there, lived there, or were a visitor there, you had to feel welcome.”

Avalon opened in 2014 as what NAP calls Georgia’s first “urbanurb” — a walkable urban experience in suburban setting offering up luxury residential, a boutique hotel, and more than 345,000 sq. ft. of retail. It’s as if a trendy chunk of downtown Atlanta was plucked out and plopped down in Alpharetta. Avalon draws 12 million visitors a year — some of them Atlantans drawn to Avalon’s 24 food and beverage establishments such as Colletta, Marlow’s Tavern, and Kona Grill.

Avalon’s retail curation blends the trendy (Bonobos, Kendra Scott, Arhaus) with the tried-and-true (Pottery Barn, Urban Outfitters, Brooks Brothers) with the needs-based (Whole Foods, Drybar, PNC Bank). A dozen or so of the center’s 80-plus shops — among them Apple and Williams Sonoma — relocated there from a nearby mall.

A model for 21st Century development, Avalon is Georgia’s first “fiberhood,’ equipped with an ultra-high-speed fiber-to-the-premises broadband network. Developers and representatives of municipalities from across the country are regular visitors to Avalon, whose success they hope to replicate.

Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next seven centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed:

No. 1 Easton Town Center
No. 2 Northpark Center
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