Remaking a mall: The new life planned for Georgia’s North Point
Just a little over a year ago, Brookfield Properties handed what once was one of the largest malls in the country and the highest-trafficked mall in the Atlanta metro back to its lender, The New York Life Insurance Company.
Now, North Point Mall in Alpharetta is poised to be transformed by the Trademark Property Company—hired by New York Life—into North Point, what Trademark CEO Terry Montesi describes as a “a radical reimagining of a once-dominant mall into a vibrant mixed-use community bursting with energy and people.”
About half of what was a 1.2 million-sq.-ft. enclosed mall will be coming down. In its place, according to Trademark’s plan, will rise a walkable mixed-use village with greenspace for outdoor dining, a sustainable park that collects and redistributes storm water, gardens, bike lanes, and a 10,500-sq.-ft. event plaza able to accommodate 2,500-plus concertgoers.
“People who used to shop regularly at North Point won’t recognize it. It won’t be anything like a mall. About half the original mall is coming down,” said Montesi.
“We took the temperature of the market before we did the plan,” the Trademark chief continued. “We learned want the community needed and wanted and what the tenants and brokers wanted, and what we’ve ended up with is more entertainment, more regional food and beverage, and more interesting modern retail that desires more amenitized outdoor spaces and a lot less indoor mall space.”
On the current 100-acre site, more than 83 acres will be rezoned to accommodate mixed-use redevelopment. The first phase of the redevelopment will include about 100,000 sq. ft. of new retail, restaurant, and service space; a 50,000- sq. ft. retail/entertainment anchor space; a 15,000- sq. ft. food hall; 25,000 sq. ft. of entertainment space; 25,000 sq. ft. of creative office/coworking space and 320 multifamily residential units.
At full buildout, the master plan will introduce up to 315,700 sq. ft. of new retail, restaurant, and creative office space; 120,000 sq. ft. of office space; a 150-key hotel; 17 acres of civic and amenity space, 36 townhomes and 900 multifamily residential units that will be phased in over the coming decade.
All this complements 874,000 sq. ft. of legacy retail space. Construction is expected to start as soon as 2023 and Trademark is looking forward to an opening in 2024 or 2025.
A number of traditional enclosed malls in North Atlanta were hamstrung by the arrival of North American Properties Avalon Center in Alpharetta, which succeeded in extending the active hours of the center with a hotel, apartments, more relevant brands like Altar’d State and Lululemon, and an expansive and varied restaurant row. Avalon stages 200 events a year to keep traffic flowing, but Montesi feels that the greater size of the remade North Point will not only be able to stage more events and contain more capacity, but also extend to a wider range demographic scope than Avalon.
“At North Point there will be something there for everyone in North Fulton County. It will sustain a more hip and youthful vibe than Avalon, which is very formal in some regards,” Montesi said. “Our wider selection of tenants will make us a more useful shopping experience,”
The remade North Point will be made up of three distinct districts. The area where part of the original mall will be demolished will be turned into The Village, a social zone with patios and covered outdoor space. Eventual residents will live in The Neighborhood, connected to the property through a network of sidewalks and trails. The Station will be the largest district and will serve as the site for big events. On Trademark’s list are seasonal festivals, farmers markets, and art fairs.
“We’re going to be a little more fun,” promised Montesi. “Avalon’s a little more serious.”