Thursday, December 28, 2006

Northlake Mall: Tucker, GA


One of the six known fully-enclosed malls of DeKalb, Northlake opened in 1971 and was the first three-anchor mall in DeKalb County. Its original anchors were Davison's, Sears and JCPenney, and Northlake was distinct in being one of only two malls to have no Rich's. I believe this happened because North DeKalb down the road was not that old at the time, and its sole survival has always depended on the Rich's there, which is still fully operational today. Northlake was also a typical two-level 70's mall with the brown tiles, fountains, skylights, a Piccadilly Cafeteria, McCrory's and an exterior design that is typical brutalist 70's modern. Northlake was also responsible for the decline and eventual closure of Columbia/Avondale Mall.


Northlake held its own in the 1970's when DeKalb County was still a prosperous and growing suburb, but it began to stagnate in the 1980's and the growth pretty much shifted to south Gwinnett. It was still the major mall for that area, however, until a major blow came with the opening of Gwinnett Place Mall in 1984. A mirror image of Town Center at Cobb Mall in Kennesaw, Gwinnett Place featured Rich's, Davison's, Sears and Mervyn's...pretty much everything Northlake had except Penney's. While there was the population to continue supporting it, Northlake fell into a time warp that it never really has escaped ever since.



The 1990's did bring some changes to the mall. New flooring, removal of some fountains and a new exterior entrance all came with the 1993 renovation.  A Parisian department was also added where the Piccadilly and McCrory's once stood, and a food court that created a second mall entrance to JCPenney was added off of the lower level.


The "dated" appearance that remained after the 1993 renovation I'm not complaining about, though. I really miss a lot of the 70's decor elements in malls these days including plants, fountains, darker interiors and the more muted skylights. Northlake has much of this, and it's refreshing. The problem is, the reason its there is because the mall is not exactly a top-tier mall, and this is evidenced by the slow departure of national stores and the previously very threadbare condition of the Davison's/Macy's at the mall, which looked to have not received a renovation in 30 years.  I had heard it was an outlet now, and there was no doubt about it that something was up.  However, the renovation around 2007 or 2008 cleaned up the store, suggesting it will eventually supplant North Dekalb's store.  Only two of three levels are currently used in the store, however.  What is also interesting and vintage is next to the entrance there is a huge lighted ball behind dark glass: high design for the early 70's. The Penney's, however, has seen extensive renovations and looked practically new inside except for the cool very 70's escalators that featured one rubber strip that was pink and the other brown. While not 70's, the former Parisian is also quite odd featuring one of the narrowest department store interiors ever encountered with part of the space filling former inline tenants and part of it extending out from the mall..  Kohl's replaced the Parisian at the mall in 2008 after it closed in 2007 due to the Belk buyout.




It will be interesting to see how Northlake fares in the long run, though. The area near the mall is not what it was, and the mall suffers a lot of competition from Stonecrest, Perimeter and to a degree Gwinnett Place, though Gwinnett Place has earned a ghetto reputation in recent years. With Parisian going to Belk, Sears on the brink in general and a glut of Macy's stores in the area, it is very iffish what will ultimately happen. It is a toss up who is more likely to close first: the Davison's/Macy's at Northlake or the Rich's-Macy's at North Dekalb, though current patterns suggest the latter. The mall is a timepiece and while it will be a big loss for the area, but it is one of five (formerly six) malls in a county that has long been overmalled.

50 comments:

  1. This has to be one of the most interesting mall interiors in Atlanta. It's like they stopped time or something. Facinating.

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  2. It's been a while since I've set foot in Northlake, Cumberland, Lenox and Town Center were always the ones I frequented. I've probably been to Gwinnett Place more often than Northlake. It never had anything the aforementioned, along with Perimeter, that couldn't be found elsewhere. If had lived in DeKalb, I guess it would have been my mall of choice, I never really liked Perimeter, but can't really put a finger on why. It's cool to see the preserved 70's decor, which I wish Cumberland still had

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  3. Two of the best stores for buying hippie-style clothes in the late 60's and early 70's were in Northlake Mall - Airport and Merry Go Round. I remember the Airport store had these very strange rubbery floor tiles that sank with every step!

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  4. Does anyone remember the county seat for jeans,Oshamns sporting goods,record bar for music,the game room near the food court and Ferrell's ice cream parlor from Northlake in the 70's-80's? Those were the days!

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  5. I grew up in Dekalb county in the 70's and 80's.Does anyone remember these at northlake?: Oshmans,Ferrell's ice cream,record bar,spencers,Mccorys,Gentry shop,Picadilly,the County Seat,etc?

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  6. I grew up in Dekalb County.Who remembers these at Northlake Mall-
    Ferrell's ice cream parlor,the county seat,the record bar,Mccrorys,Spencers,the Gentry shop,the arcade near the food court, the movie theater accross the street,Oshman's, and Picadilly?

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  7. I had the same sentiments in regard to Northlake upon visiting...it really reminded me of Cumberland before it was uglified in 1989. I remember how empty and depressing Cumberland felt after that renovation. The mall literally seemed void of shoppers like all the excitement was gone that year. I was told about the McCrory's and Piccadilly and I'm guessing those were where the Parisian is now: am I wrong?

    All in all, though, I agree that there is nothing truly special about Northlake except that it is a living timepiece. It is truly a nice little mall, but its store offerings are weak now and the main reason it survives is that it is largely a community mall. I still hear talk from time to time that it's dying, but time will tell.

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  8. Love the fountain in front of Macy's. You don't see those anymore.
    Scott

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  9. The Wandering GentileFebruary 19, 2007 at 12:35 AM

    God, I bought my wedding ring for my first marriage in there, and I worked as a market research interviewer in front of Penneys in '85. I haven't been back much in the last 15 years. I see it hasn't changed.

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  10. In response to "Does anyone remember the:"

    County Seat for jeans, "Just direct your feet to the County Seat" (I think that was the jingle anyway)

    Oshman's sporting goods, I loved going through Oshman's and looking at all the great sporting goods merchandise. I can still recall the layout of the store, wow!

    Record Bar for music, I remember purchasing AC/DC -Back in Black (LP) here back before I could drive a car.

    The game room near the food court, I recall it, but don't remember that much about it.

    Ferrell's ice cream parlor, this was the coolest ice cream parlor, I remember going to a couple of birthday parties there as a kid.

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  11. This is the kind of mall that argues for demalling and for building "lifestyle centers" outside of "super-regional" locations.

    To varying degrees, the anchors do okay. The Macy's needs a remodel and would benefit from the closing of the North DeKalb store, while the Parisian just seems absurd--too small. The national chains that came with the last remodel of the mall have slowly disappeared and their lower end replacements seem to have variable lives. The food court has had a fair amount of turnover but does a huge lunch business (that doesn't spillover into the mall) and is a decent draw in the evening and weekend times. In the end, keeping the stronger anchors and the food court and getting more big boxes and some well placed local stores would make more sense than trying to run this as a national brand mall. The two level design would make it awkward, but not impossible as a lifestyle center.

    The big boxes in the area seem to have mixed performance, but chains still aredrawn to locate there. Much of the area is going through semi-gentrification: it never really declined, but a new generation of people is buying homes and guaranteeing the viablity of places like Tucker, Oak Grove, etc. With the decline of Gwinett Place, Northlake may be able to pick up more customers from better off, inner areas of Gwinett County.

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  12. Is Parisian becoming Belk??

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  13. I have not been in that mall in over 25 years; I think it opened in conjunction with Perimeter Mall. The feature I liked best about it as a kid was the use of fountains. My favorite was the floor to ceiling sheets of glass with water cascading down the surface. It created a nice sound curtain.

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  14. This was another mall that was one of THE malls to shop at when I was a kid. Honestly, as a baby, I would cry everytime we were on 285 and rode past the LaVista Road exit.

    Now it's just sad to look at now. The only store I like at the mall now (that still exists, at least) is the JCPenney because it's one of their larger stores in the area and I go there when I need one. But then again, I'm not a huge JCP shopper, which quells my visits to Northlake. On top of that, I've been to better Old Navys and everything else is just outside my taste. (I'm a AE and Hollister kind of guy)

    Maybe now that Parisian is on the way out, they can convert it into extra mall space (it would be perfect for that thanks to it's thin size), which will also open the door for NL to renovate. I'm sorry, but it's 2007 and anytime a mall looks the same as it did in 1976, it's badly in need of a do-over.

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  15. Last week a saleswoman at Parisian said that Belk's would not be in that space at Northlake after Parisian closes. She said there will be a Belk store at Phipps (and that should be quite interesting).

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  16. "Does anyone remember..."

    Don't forget Hickory Farms for free samples of cheese, and Spencer's for all your blacklight needs.

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  17. I worked at Northlake mall (1990-99) both at Wolf Camera (1yr) and Macy's 8Yrs.
    I like it alot. It is truly a slice out of time and was a "Happining" place in its day. Gwinett and Dekalb both are over malled---

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  18. I've been in Northlake quite a few times and remember it being OK, but not super. I have a funny memory of trying to leave a record store there in the early 90s and walking into the glass instead of going out the door into the mall. I literally didn't see it.

    Your article mentions Sears being "on the brink" in general. Just last night (2007/07/23) here in Huntsville at Madison Square Mall, I noticed that in nearly all the Sears light fixtures, the outside 2 fluorescent lights (F32T8's) had been loosened and were sitting in the fixture loose, with just the middle 2 bulbs burning. Is this happening in other Sears stores at other malls? That's a bad sign for a store.

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  19. I grew up in Stone Mountain and I have alot of memories of Northlake since it was the only mall close to our house. I remember Piccadilly's, the Gold Mine arcade, Merry-Go-Round, and when it didn't have much of a food court. (I think the "Food Garden" was built in the early '90s).

    Northlake has seen better days.

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  20. More "do you remember..." At the entrance where the Gold Mine (arcade) was, there also was the "Orange Bowl" where you could get a slice of pizza for less than buck. Also, there was a Stamp and Coin shop right across from the Orange Bowl. The fascinating thing is, I visited the mall for the first time in maybe 20 years last November, and while the Stamp and Coin shop has changed locations, it *still has the same guy working there!* BTW, I think the mall opened around 1972, not 1976.

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  21. Actually, Northlake Mall was already open by 1970. I remember seeing price scanner guns for the first time in Sears that year, and specifically thinking "wow, it's 1970 and the future's here!" (I was an impressionable eleven year old at the time.)

    The B.Dalton's at Northlake became the first bookstore I browsed regularly. A lifelong interest in photography started with a developing kit purchased at the J.C. Penney camera counter, which used to be right at the bottom of the "down" escalator (I read the other day how the guy who sold it to me ended up being a fairly prominent Atlanta area photographer). I also recall both the Orange Julius and the coin shop, as well as McCrory's.

    My family and I moved away in 1972. Subsequently, I visited Northlake a few times while attending Tech several years later. Then over 25 years went by before I finally saw the place again, last December. Except for the food court, it still has the same general appearance as before. Alas, with the exception of Sears and Penney's, the old landmarks I was looking for had all disappeared (even the photo counter in Penneys).

    Nevertheless, my visit to Northlake was still more satisfying than visits I also made to Briarcliff Village, or North DeKalb, or Lenox Square during that same trip.

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  22. J.T. and everybody here is yet another commercial for richway!
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=oYBz2PQh0aA

    Thou you may want to edit the commercial(s) that follow after it

    Enjoy~

    J~

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  23. Well now I need to pop in Northlake to see something that has somewhat preserved in Atlanta since I was a kid. I drove right past Perimeter Mall the other day and didn't recognize a thing about it (I left with my family in '85).

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  24. I went to Northlake a lot as a teen from 1983-1989. I personally thought they changed the appearance of Northlake quite a bit until reading all this. But compared to some other malls, Northlake does look largely the same. I remember a few major renovations. Around 1985 or so the entrance had a major renovation, colors were changed and they took out the payphones and places to sit. I never took any pictures, which would be pretty cool to compare. I remember also Record Bar which was there for quite a while and even moved locations within the mall itself. Since the 1990s, I have only gone to Northlake a few times, but it still has the similar feel of the old days, just all the smaller stores are different nowadays.

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  25. Gee, thanks a lot (NOT) for posting my comments regarding Northlake Mall from a Realtor's point of view highlighting the interesting demographic changes in mall areas. Did it ever occur to you that people might be interested in seeing how a retail area evolves or devolves? I happen to have all that information being an Atlanta native who is in real estate now, and formally in retail. Or do you just determine all by your (uninformed) self that - oh well, people don't need to know what's happened beyond my last visit - 5 YEARS AGO. Many close-in malls in cities around the country do rebound from years of neglect. Do you feel your readers are too ignorant to grasp the concepts of revitalization and regentrification, or do you just choose not to give them that option? I'm so glad I never referred your outdated blog to my friends - I would have looked like a fool. When you start updating it with relevant posts that might pique some people's interests, I will mention this site to them. Until then, this site is years old and of no use to anybody. It could be good...but at this rate, it won't.

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  26. Fancycat, I take it you did not read my latest blog...I have not had time to do much of anything with this site in over a year. I have stated before I plan to rewrite all of these blogs based on information provided in the comments and to update it. I know it is out of date; I know its not getting updated. I'm hardly ever home and am forced to live an hour and a half from my full-time stressful job. I have to exercise in the afternoons to keep my weight down after staring at a computer all day, and in six weeks will not be home except to sleep all week long. I have a relationship with someone that complains that I never spend enough time with them, and when I have time off I try to stay away from the computer as much as possible trying to rediscover life pre-internet. With that, I keep not having time to update it like I should, but there's no reason to go berserk about it...it is a BLOG...I have dates on the post and yes, they are starting to grow weeds. I have had to make a lot of difficult changes in my life, so your post doesn't help and makes me actually want to just give this up. In fact, I was hoping to revisit that area around Northlake here in the near future but as usual I have to spend my time doing things I don't want to do all the time, so there is your reason for few to no updates. I struggled just to get to one mall recently that I'm planning to use what few photos I got for a new post. Hopefully soon I can find that balance I need but so far I'm getting really irritated over my lack of time, lack of sleep and uncontrollable weight gain that seems to accompany it. Do you get it now?

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  27. 'fancycat' sounds like (s)he could use one of the margaritas they used to sell at the old El Chico's (with "The Saints Come Marching In" wafting from the organ store as a soundtrack)! As a teen, I spent probably the majority of my waking hours at Northlake and fondly remember the greasy pizza at Orange Bowl, the gigantic sundae served on a gurney at Ferrell's, and the deeply strange window displays at Frederick's of Hollywood.

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  28. I am only 16, but i remember a while back when macy's (I dont remember if it was riches or not..) had an extra 3rd floor. It was the rug/children's section and i used to get my children's clothes from there, NOW it's closed off, and it creeps me out seeing it abandoned like that...

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  29. Sorry, I completely get it. I thought it was obsolete because I kept checking back and never saw my original post. But that's no excuse to be upset. The other guy is right - I think I could use a margarita, or two. Please excuse me - of course, you shouldn't have to keep babysitting this blog. It IS a fascinating blog, though, and thank you for making it. I hope things ease up in your life soon, and I apologize for being a complete jerk! Geez, where's El Chico's when you need it??

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  30. fancycat, thanks for understanding. it makes me so miserable that i never have the time to update this blog. i keep saying to myself every week that i'll take a few minutes to do it, and it never comes. it makes me really miss my free spirited undergrad days, because that is when i started this AND had time to do it. next week i will have no time at all probably until Christmas...trust me i'm very eager to get content up, and i promise to everyone i will have something cool this weekend. the people in my life wonder when i'll ever have time to spend with them, and quite frankly i'm the one needing the margarita LOL.

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  31. uncool: are you talking about the macy's there at northlake? it was *sorta* rich's as the photos showed for about two years, but rich's never made its way to northlake. there was a rich's down the road at north dekalb and a three-story macy's up at gwinnett place that opened as davison's. as far as i know, northlake never had three stories but i could be wrong.

    the department store merger saga is indeed very depressing: i caught the tail end of the good old days and watched as they all disappeared. i remember back in 1992 (around when you were born) being in florida at a mall outside jacksonville seeing four department stores i'd never heard of before and how interesting i thought that was. if i recall correctly, they had jordan marsh, maison blanche and possibly a burdine's and maas brothers. every one of those are gone now, all consolidated down the lone survivor: macy's.

    lol: at 17 i was the mall geek all depressed when i saw them tearing down cobb center.

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  32. Uncool is correct that there is/was a 3rd floor to Macy's/Davison's. Rugs, mattresses, TVs and children's clothes were up there. I used to shop there for my kids who both liked the TV and rugs better than being begged to try on something. I was in Northlake Friday a week ago and there were a number of closed stores. Kohls is now where Parisians used to be (which used to be Piccadilly). The Stride Rite store where I bought so many children's shoes is gone too. Seems to me that many many years ago there was a Turtles Records there too - another long gone store. Sadly, Northlake Mall mirrors the area. So many restaurants have closed around there have closed as well.

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  33. I do remember Farrell's (I thought it was with an "A" not "E" but could be wrong), as well as the Gold Mine and Record Bar. Lord, how I miss those places. I grew up here and still find myself longing for Farrell's famouns mountain of fries. It happened to be right next door to the piano and organ center, so it was nothing for my sister, mom, piano teacher, and myself to jaunt across to the restuarant and get a plate of fries after the lesson was over.

    The Gold Mine also provided countless hours of fun. The interior shaped like the interior of - a gold mine, you guessed it, and all those whirring machines. I spent hours playing games like Killer Shark initially, then moving on to Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, etc.

    The Record Bar was yet another great hangout and a great place to meet up and coming new artists. We met a young woman named Marsha Thornton through the Record Bar just before it closed, and stayed friends with her for several years.

    When Waldenbooks was still downstairs, I also had the priviledge of meeting the late Lewis Grizzard. I miss these stores, and of course McCrory's, the dime store in the mall at that time.

    Since that time, my music teacher has passed away, Grizzard has died, and the great stores of the mall are gone for one reason or another.

    Yet still...like the song says...."Precious memories, how they linger"

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  34. Hi J.T.,
    Sorry you've been so busy. I hope you can continue this blog - it's like a peek into the past. I found my way back here because I was reading something about the Record Bar. Then I was thinking of Turtle's Records & Tapes. And Peaches on Peachtree Street - I wonder what happened to all of those autographs?

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  35. I've been curious how long Northlake will hold out as viable mall. The quality of the place has declined though it still hangs on and people do shop there albeit in fewer numbers. More interesting to me is how a possible loss of an anchor store would impact the surrounding area. Having grown up in areas where malls have declined, one cannot discount the influence that it has on the surrounding neighborhoods.

    Over time I've noticed that places have closed near northlake (the Olive Garden, O'charleys), though the Best Buy and other stores still keep going so maybe this could offset any possible decline with Northlake itself. I've considered buying property near Northlake but this variable has me concerned.

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  36. Oh my gosh, I just stumbled across this message board about Northlake Mall. I grew up in the area and remember when the mall was built. We were always at mall as kids. My family used to eat at Picadilly all the time for supper! My friends and I use to hang out at McCrorys grill and order french fries and then have our pictures taken at the automatic picture booth.....does anyone remember Pickle Barrel restaurant that was upstairs next door to Record Bar? OMG - awesome memories!!!! I also remember walking by the Gold Mind - game room and seeing the guys all standing around outside with their "long hippy hair"!! We thought we were so cool just to be seen walking inside there - LOL

    I am 44 now and have moved away but my Northlake Mall days will always be with me....the list could go on and on. I loved that mall.

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  37. Someone earlier mentioned that O'Charley's is closed. That is incorrect. O'Charley's is still open and does good business. The closed restaurants are:

    Chili's
    Olive Garden
    Steak and Ale
    Crescent Moon
    and probably a couple others.

    On the plus side, the long-abandoned AMC movie theater is now the Movie Tavern. Marlow's Tavern is open at the newly refurbished Doubletree Hotel at 285 and LaVista. The excellent Eduardo's Mexican restaurant has taken over the Philly Connection location next to Kroger.

    The mall itself is struggling, but there is a lot of improvement going on around the mall, including the streetscape beautification project, the library expansion/renovation, the new businesses I mentioned, etc.

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  38. The closed Chili's on Northlake Parkway is going to be reopening as a Twisted Taco.

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  39. Steak and Ale had good lunch traffic but the parent company was in trouble financially so this location closed when they all closed.

    The Chili's in Northlake was the oldest standing Chili's in the United States and the first location outside of Texas. The building was fully depreciated and the owners now live in California. The owners did not want to spend the money update the building's facade so the building was put up for sale. However Chili's sales were still very strong.

    Wolf Camera moved out of Northlake Mall because the rent was too much and they now doing well in their own bulding in the same area. Simon, which owns the mall, really does not try to get stores that there are a demand for in this area. In community meetings discussing such matters, invited Simon reps are no-shows.

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  40. Does anyone remember the restaurants on the back side of the mall (across the street, near the theater)? I can recall a few: Victoria Station, Pelican's Landing . . .any more?

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  41. I remember Benigan's, Quinn's Mill and Victoria Station were on the back side of the mall. Pelican's Landing was diagonally across the street from Chili's on Northlake Parkway. I worked at another restaurant in that area across from Chili's, Mother Tucker's Food Experience; also there was also a Cork and Cleaver over there. That Pelican's Landing was several different places over the years, it is now a Piccadilly.

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  42. J.T., I live very close to Northlake so if you need some updated photos, I think I could help you out. Let me know!

    I have a unique perspective on Northlake. Although I grew up on the Southside, I did visit a few times in 1980 to compete in a local kids' talent competition. I won for my age group and my prize was a $50 shopping spree (yeah, that tells you how much inflation has gone up!) to spend in any store I wanted. I thought it was a very cool mall then, it had a lot of great stores.

    Skip forward to 1995 when I'm working nearby. I went over once in a while to shop but wow, things had changed. Very sad looking and nothing exciting about the place at all.

    Skip forward to 2004 to now. I live nearby as a wife and mother. The place looks pretty much the same as it did in 1995. But it is even sadder. Even in the short time we've lived here, more stores have gone out (Disney, Hallmark, Parisian and Lane Bryant). They've been replaced by an odd mishmash of stores that are not chains, like a Korean massage place and a barber shop.

    The staple stores left are Sears, JCPenny's, Macy's and Kohl's (in the former Parisian's). I think Kohl's has brought back some shoppers, it is a nicely-run store. Penny's is actually the best one in the area that I've been to. Their employees go out of their way to help you. I found out from one of their managers that they consistently earn best customer service status in the region for the chain. You can tell when you shop there. They may not have the amount of merchandise as other Penny's but I like what they do have.

    At Macy's, the management has decided it is going to aim predominantly at African-American customers. They heavily push their Baby Phatt and Apple Bottoms brands. It makes sense in some ways because the demographics of the area have changed. This is not true of the other anchor stores, who have a wide variety of options for all groups. Their home/linens/dishes area is pretty much a joke.

    Someone mentioned the third floor and I had to laugh. I call it the ghost floor. My son is a toddler so we often use the elevator in Macy's. One time we somehow ended up going up to the third floor and two gentleman got on from that floor (which was swathed in plastic sheeting and black curtains). They had big professional cameras and they were discussing a shoot they had just finished up there.

    Also, when you are standing in front of the second-floor escalators and you look up to the non-working third-floor escalators, all you see is darkness. Spooky!

    The diner-style Crescent Moon was a very popular restaurant at Northlake that we loved to eat at. Unfortunately, it closed a few years ago. It re-opened under new management this year as The Seasons at Northlake but doesn't seem to draw nearly the crowds that CM did. The menu is much the same.

    Also, there have been a few robberies in the mall and some shootings in the parking lot. I don't like to shop there at night but have no problem going during the day. I see security cruising the parking lots frequently. Inside it doesn't seem as vigilant. During the day, you can see a lot of elderly people there walking or just browsing.

    I do know that those of us who live around Northlake would love to see it come to life again but Simons doesn't seem very interested at all. The area is in a state of change so it's uncertain what will happen in the next few years.

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  43. Northlake Mall needs to be replaced with a power center mall where all the stores are accessible from the outside only. I'll take a Bed Bath and Beyond, Lowes, Borders and an Outback Steakhouse for starters. And bring back Chili's. But Simon needs to sell it first and be no part of it.

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  44. I agree. It's a time warp in need of renovation. This mall opened when I was in 9th grade, and it was a really nice place then. I remember the family would often go to El Chico's on Fridays; as well as the nearby overpriced and overrated Quinn's Mill for occasions. I worked a couple of Christmases at the McCrory's. Fast forward to 2008, and I opened a business across from the mall, thinking it was a good mix of residential and commercial. The mall would be convenient since I would be working long hours, and the restaurants around the area would be convenient for entertaining clients.
    Gee, was I wrong. The demographics had changed, many restaurants had gone out of business, and there was really nothing at the mall I wanted to buy. I closed my business and moved out of state.

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  45. Does anybody know the name of the store next to Ferrell's ice cream parlor? Mom took us kids there to buy Star Wars Figure - 3 for $10. Fond memories of this Mall from back in the day.

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  46. Most people who live in the area no longer shop at Northlake. Instead the drive to Perimeter Mall, Lenox Square, North Point Mall, etc. Just because Northlake Mall has nothing to offer does not mean there are not people in the area that would support better retail options. Wake up Simon.

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  47. Around 1986, my brother and I used to buy little plastic parachute men at KB Toys in the mall, and then one of us would throw them off the top level, and they would float down to the second level where the other one of us would catch them. I also remember one time at the mall, I was walking under one of those underpasses, and I saw the fake plants up there rustle, then an aluminum bat fell down and clanged right on the ground in front of some people that were walking in front of us. Someone must have been fooling around up there and dropped it. Our dad used to work part time at a real estate office in the mall (go figure), and he would bring us with him and give us some money for the arcade to keep us busy. It was called "The Gold Mine", and the front was decorated with fake boulders. We would also use some of the money at the candy store, I'm trying to remember the name of it, maybe "Happy Howie's"? My other favorite memory at the mall is one time we went to the KB Toys to get some of these parachute men, and they were out. We were disappointed, but still had a few bucks to spend. They had these packs of cards in wax wrappers, and on the front it said "Garbage Pail Kids". And so it began. My first obsession.

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  48. I don't understand why the Northlake area doesn't seem to support better retail and restaurants. There are so many people in the area. I live 1/2 mile from Northlake...continue to shop at the mall and the surrounding stores as much as possible. Even North Dekalb. Don't like Perimeter or Lenox.

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  49. neat blog. I was born in 1971 in the area, and now live nearby as a parent. The Kohls has been a good addition, my family and my parents have bought a variety of things (mostly kids clothes) over here. I was never a big fan of the Parisian (expensive and not as much good stuff as other Parisians). I mostly just take the kids over here on a rainy day so we can go for a nice walk. Many of the stores are pretty bad: Korean massage, eyebrow threading, 'bathfitter' shower inserts, etc. I can remember buying some kids stuff at the Disney store, and I think there was an Eddie Bauer store here for a bit long ago. Growing up, I liked the B Dalton, Waldenbooks, KB toys, Games n' gadgets. Now (late 2013) I think there are fewer vacancies than there were a couple years ago, but the new stores are not that good and they come and go. The clientele is a rainbow of black, Latino, white.

    I actually think the decor is pretty good, not a huge fan of the mauve floor tiles on the 2nd floor.

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  50. Discussion of the future of the mall, who will own it and how re-development will be underwritten with public dollars will track with the latest debate on the area becoming part of a new city. The emphasis on the mall's future should focus on the property, not its role as a retail center. It is 60 acres of prime property in a location that begs for mixed-use town-center density--complete with new "street-blocks" and public uses (center green, meeting facitlites, government offices, post office and possibly schools and healthcare--to go with more traditional commercial use (including restaurants and entertainment). Discussion of "improving the mall" is virtually beside the point and focuses solely on propping up a 20th century construct of where "retail" fits in a new economy--and more importantly what the "middle class" will be like (it is disappearing and getting poorer). The previous post mentions a "rainbow" of ethnicity that shop here. Having three clear cut markets (Latino, black and white) not only has household income impact, but so does "neighborhood" residents that have aged and retained their homes for 50 years. It is time to consider that the area's prime customer base should be "built in" with 5,000 to 10,000 new residents in more dense conditions (live-work-play).

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