The Mall at Stonecrest

The Mall at Stonecrest (often known as Stonecrest Mall) is an American shopping mall along Interstate 20 in eastern Metro Atlanta. It is off exit 75[1] in Stonecrest, Georgia, which separated from the city of Lithonia in 2017, and opened in October 2001 on the growing I-20 corridor.[2]

The Mall at Stonecrest
Stoney.jpg
LocationLithonia, Georgia, U.S. 30038
Opening dateOctober 2001
ManagementUrban Retail Properties
No. of stores and services120+
No. of anchor tenants4 (3 open, 1 vacant)
Total retail floor area1,162,000 sq ft (108,000 m2)
No. of floors2
WebsiteThe Mall at Stonecrest

The mall's anchors are Dillard's, JCPenney, and Macy's; there was previously a Sears. Attached to the mall on the second floor is a movie theater located in the outdoor plaza near the pavilion food court. Across from the theater on the opposite side of the plaza is Round One Entertainment. Other stores and restaurants surround the mall. As of 2014 new restaurants are opening in the plaza as old ones close. Apartments and condos are also slowly increasing in the area, making Stonecrest a mixed-use community.[3]

The mall serves a diverse clientele including blacks and Hispanics, and provides both black and white Santas in the period running up to Christmas.[3][4]

HistoryEdit

The mall opened in 2001, but was envisioned and planned in the last quarter of the 20th century, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting projected opening dates in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Originally proposed names included Turner Hill Mall, Interstate East Mall, and Metro East. Several times the project stalled because of developer issues. One land developer had problems getting retailers to commit (at the time, South DeKalb Mall was still thriving). The land was cleared several times, and local residents often questioned whether the mall would be built. DeKalb County planners at various times envisioned other things for the area, including a convention center, an outdoor theatre, mid-rise to high-rise apartment units, a MARTA rail station (proposed terminus for the east line), and a satellite college campus. While the county did construct a library (Stonecrest Library), in the mid-first decade of the 21st century MARTA was still reviewing plans for the east line rail extension to the mall with a proposed new sales tax, and economic development officials were still studying the viability of a convention center in the area is still viable. The goal would be to attract private investment with incentives rather than use public dollars to build.

In 2014, the Mayor of Lithonia, Deborah Jackson, proposed three successive plans to annex parts of what are now the City of Stonecrest. The earliest proposal included much of Lithonia Industrial Park, north of I-20. The final, and largest, proposal would have included much of what is now the City of Stonecrest, including Stonecrest Mall; much of the Stonecrest Regional Activity Center; and Lithonia Industrial Park. Numerous business owners in the Industrial Park banded together to fight the proposals. The City Council of Lithonia created a task force of stakeholders to study annexation. Members of the task force demanded that the mayor, at a minimum, obtain a feasibility study for annexation, as well as demonstrate to owners' satisfaction that annexation would not increase their property taxes. Mayor Jackson could not overcome the stakeholders' objections, and plans for annexation were dropped, thereby making possible creation of the new City of Stonecrest. The cityhood bill went through various legislative hurdles at the Georgia General Assembly and in November 2016 was approved by 59% of voters in a public [[referendum], with elections and official municipal incorporation in spring 2017.

The mall and business corridor were previously served by the South Dekalb Business Association. In 2011, the Stonecrest Business Alliance Incorporated was formed to focus on the Stonecrest Overlay District. With the advent of the new City of Stonecrest, the Business Alliance has extended its membership to all businesses in the city. The sprawling East Metro DeKalb Community Improvement District was created by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in 2014. That CID is chronically underfunded, and has undertaken no projects within the City of Stonecrest other than limited off-duty police patrols in the western fringe of the city. It is proposed to be replaced within the City of Stonecrest by the future Stonecrest CID.

In 2006 much of what is now the City of Stonecrest was included in the designation of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area by Act of Congress. The mall is accessible via the Arabia Mountain PATH, which runs throughout the 40,000-acre (160 km2) area.[5] Stonecrest Mall is one example of how businesses and residences can be included in a national heritage area unlike a national park.[6]

In May 2009, in response to sometimes violent disruption, the management instituted its Parental Involvement Program (derisively known in the community as the "anti-teenager policy"), whereby anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult after a 4pm "curfew" on weekends, or be forced to leave by mall security.[7]

In April 2010, an argument over a parking space led to a stabbing and a shooting.[8]

In December 2011, police had to quell a disturbance at the mall on the day of the release of a new Air Jordan limited edition shoe. The mall was to open at 8 AM but at about 7 AM already 200 people were waiting outside. The mall door was pried open and the crowd rushed inside to the door of the store selling the shoes.[9]

In January 2013, it was reported that that mall was "beset by debt issues that could leave it vulnerable to foreclosure".[10]

On November 2, 2017, Sears announced that their location at The Mall at Stonecrest would also be closing as part of a plan to close 63 stores nationwide. The store closed in January 2018, while the former Parisian and Kohl's building that closed on November 1, 2016 became offices for Atlanta Sports City on October 5, 2017.

On March 4, 2017, the mall opened Round One Entertainment, a bowling and amusement center featuring the latest Japanese arcade games, billiards, karaoke, ping pong, darts, and a restaurant with a full service bar.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Forest City. "Directions Map". Forest City.
  2. ^ Urban Land, Volume 61, Issues 1-6, p. 45
  3. ^ a b "STONECREST: 4 YEARS OLD AND GROWING: Offices, houses join mix at mall", October 20, 2005, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  4. ^ "DIVERSITY CLAUSE: Mall at Stonecrest offers black and white Santas (beards are both white)", December 23, 2002, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  5. ^ http://biscuitstudios.com, Biscuit Studios-. "Keystone Bridge Connects 30 Miles of PATH Trails - Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area". arabiaalliance.org.
  6. ^ "National Heritage Areas (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov.
  7. ^ Jennifer Ffrench Parker, "Stonecrest placing limits on unaccompanied youth", Cross Roads News, April 2009, archived on November 23, 2010.
  8. ^ "Dispute over parking space leads to violence" The Augusta Chronicle, April 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "Ugly scene at Stonecrest Mall as people stampede for Air Jordan sneakers", WXIA-TV - 11 Alive news (Atlanta), December 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Mall at Stonecrest facing debt woes", Greg Bluestein and J. Scott Trubey, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 4, 2013.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°42′00″N 84°05′42″W / 33.700°N 84.095°W / 33.700; -84.095