|Two views of the infamous sign. Inviting, huh? Original, too.|
|Looking down the mall. Looked pretty busy on the outside, which is always a good sign.|
|The Penney head is original according to prior knowledge.|
|~swervy~ . Second time I've said that on this blog.|
|Main entrance to the mall with Penney head behind. Nothing worth going insane about here.|
Northlake Mall joined the scene as the final mall built in DeKalb until 2001. It was located on I-285 at the LaVista Road exit, completed only two years earlier. JCPenney, Davison's, and Sears were the original anchors, without a Rich's. This was due to the nearby North DeKalb location. If Rich's opened a store at Northlake, the NDM location would suffer and probably close by 1975. NDM would be dead by 1990, being that all replacements were in the area already. Rich's would eventually join the merchandisers at Northlake in 2003, in a way probably taken more as offensive and half-minded.
Northlake opened up to a grand start, all 97 stores open with then-governor Jimmy Carter officiating. The three-level Davison's and two-level Penney's opened on the same day as the mall, October 6th, 1971. Immediate competition came with Perimeter Mall and the North DeKalb Mall. What carried Northlake over the others was how much more it had. Three anchors, a McCrory's, Piccadilly, and all of the 70's architectural bits made it just a tad more special. A hidden piece is that Northlake killed off the Avondale/Columbia Mall and gave what else the area had a push. If Northlake wasn't built, A/C would have still been dead for about eighty other reasons.
|...this fridge has not disappointed.|
As DeKalb continued to grow and succeed, so did Northlake. The first huge problem came with newer ventures up I-85, forming Gwinnett Place Mall, a massive superregional mall bringing in shoppers from as far as Chattanooga, Greenville-Spartanburg, and Macon as early as 1984. This was the mark of the growth of Gwinnett, now a county of over 1 million residents. Only Penney's wasn't a duplicate, and well, that's called speaking too soon.
|This Penney's would look good with the "new look."|
To deal with the greater forces against it, Northlake underwent a large-scale renovation adding the Food Garden and Birmingham-based Parisian to the mall. This pushed the mall over the one million mark of square footage. This would be successful, and improve fortunes. In 2001, Discover Mills and Mall of Georgia were completed, and were very successful with numerous anchors. This would almost help the mall indirectly, hurting the much closer Gwinnett Place Mall and essentially killing off North DeKalb. In 2007, Parisian closed as part of the Belk purchase. This would be occupied by Kohl's, which closed in 2016.
|Kohl's is.....still there?|
|The dollar store to the right has been there for a loooong time. Pranks were done with their supplies.|
|Dead Best Buy Mobile looks fairly recent. Down that hallway is the food court.|
|Food court detail. I like the glass atrium at the end. Another JCPenney entrance is down there. Memories of eating at CFA and Wendy's come up here, before shopping for wares.|
Being completely honest, I seriously hope Northlake doesn't die. I have trust in ATR Corinth to rehab this mall like the others they have helped. Filling in Kohl's and other vacancies will go a long way, and while I love the look, a renovation would do something. Atlanta shoppers are simply too picky and ignore Northlake like NDM, Gwinnett Place, and South DeKalb. Don't let Northlake join those ranks, save it. I grew up here, and let those like me do the same.
|Second floor planter detail.|
|Macy's fountain/planter detail.|
|Sears court on first floor. Payless is dead.|
|I love this fountain in the middle. Not wacky, but practical.|
Photos from June 2017: