Belk has a two level store with plentiful back parking, but no mall attached to it. This would be the mall entrance in a mall. The design looks kinda nice, but it is another stucco creation.
One thing for sure is the yuppie crowd of Macon digs this place. On my visit, it was crowded as it could be, but I could see right away what makes these places a disaster. The lifestyle center is precisely why downtown was replaced by the mall to start with. Parking is impossible with pedestrians and children darting out in front of you at every turn. The pedestrian-unfriendly design makes traffic like musical chairs with cars circling constantly fighting for the parking place in front of their store of choice. The only decent parking to be found is at the department stores, but unlike the malls if you leave that store you are out in the cars, traffic and elements if you wish to actually browse the stores. Places like this also lack the history, architecture or charm of downtown as well. Why was this done to us?
I think Dillard's invented stucco, though, considering how nearly every store they have has it. At least this newer design looks classy compared to the hideous design on the Macon Mall store.
Peering around a corner of the "mall". I can't sunbathe here? You're serious? Well it's too hot to do anything else here!
In my personal opinion, the success of River Crossing is that it is the anti-Macon Mall in a better side of town. It is new, fresh and you are far less likely to get mugged. If Macon Mall had been built in this side of town, this place would never have existed. Design wise, however, I cannot say much for it. To me, it just looks likes like a typical upscale strip mall, but unlike another lifestyle center I am yet to cover, there is no focal point such as a gazebo, elaborate fountain or outdoor plaza. It is all so very plain, really. The high points, though, are the department stores. Dillard's was nice and so was Belk. Both stores are two levels, which shows that they are definitely serious for the long term. However, Belk maintains its store at Macon Mall while Dillard's did not hesitate to abandon its store there. Other anchor tenants include Dick's Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble and your obligatory chain restaurants.
A view along the "mall". Yay, let's go for a stroll so we can get run over today and struck by lightning mid-June! Oh, never mind...I've circled three @%#!ing times trying to get a parking place in front of Chico's!
Just drop me off here at Barnes & Noble while you keep fighting for a parking place. At least in here I have air-conditioning and something to see since I have no mall to browse in.
In all, instead of building this place they could have just fixed downtown. It would be nice if Belk had reclaimed its original location, a new Dillard's opened in an old building and upscale shops lined up on Broadway. If people want downtown back, then bring downtown back. If people want a strip mall, then just build a strip mall. Downtown has character, this place has faux-traditional architecture mixed with stucco. Even five years ago, this place would have been an enclosed mall. I might cut them some slack if they at least built a small open-air mall wing in a future expansion. Nevertheless, I can definitely say that those looking for a complete mall-like shopping experience have found it. It has nice stores, and it looks fresh and clean but I must say it is pretty boring and will be less than pleasant when the August sauna arrives.