Sunday, August 6, 2017

Georgia Square Mall, Athens, GA

     While some cities with malls are closer to larger ones in larger cities, there are still cities with malls and needs for ones. One of those cities is Athens, GA, with the Georgia Square Mall leading the city's retail hotspot. The mall is located on US 78, which developed around the mall after the construction, and Georgia Square needs the surrounding retail to survive. If this didn't happen, Georgia Square would have died already. Anyways, Georgia Square is a case of a mall that serves well despite the apparent unknown hate from UGA students.

Nice wide mallways are always nice in smaller towns. It's nearly a privilege for Athens to have a 2-story mall, especially one built in 1981.

Sears court still shows its age. The stairs, ramps, seating area, and wide court scream 80's. I don't hate it, but it would look better if there were stores to the left. That is a State of Georgia Revenue Office.
     What really helps the mall is what is in Athens. In the center is the University of Georgia, the nation's oldest public university. This provides the area with thousands of jobs and well paying ones at that. To maintain the area, more workers are hired which causes a huge ripple in business. These workers and faculty need somewhere to eat, shop, and live, driving area business. The workers at the businesses need somewhere to do the same, making everything go around. And let's not talk about the 40,000 students who drive the city.  Visit in the summertime, and the city is nearly deserted, giving an idea of the impact of the students. All this requires the need of a mall.

Here's the center court at a weird angle. To the right is the old Macy's, which closed in 2017, leaving the MoG location closest to Athens.

This is looking back from the JCPenney area. This is easily the most alive section of the mall with the largest store sizes being over here.

     One common thing pretty well received about the mall is the architecture. This would mean the mall was known as "Disco Mall" due to the overwhelmingly 80's design. The mall has seen two renovations ever since its opening, but the latest restored this image if anything. While this is very obvious, the mall is still pretty attractive. I believe that a new main entrance was constructed since the last renovation, which peels off the image a little bit. The old entrance featured earthtones and the logo, and is visible in a Sky City post of the mall.
It's not a SkyMall post without the directory photos. Or really any blog post, come to think of it....

Entrance by the JCPenney. Stuff like this shows the terrain the mall is on, as this is on the second floor. On the left is a possible restaurant location, being that 60's and 70's malls commonly had that feature. This would probably have been a Piccadilly or Garfield's if there was something there.

Belk court with another exit on the bottom.

Aside from the Sears court, the mall is very bright and wide, which is rarely seen in small town malls. Or should I say smaller.
     The history is one that was thought to give Athens Atlanta shopping. The mall had Atlanta's Davison's, Belk, Sears, and JCPenney. This meant that Davison's was taken from downtown Athens for the mall. While the last three still exist and never changed, plenty happened with the Davison's spot. Five years later, Davison's was Macy's, which lasted 12 years, before Rich's came in. Rich's lasted until 2003, when Cincinnati-based Federated made the awful decision to consolidate it into Rich's-Macy's. This hurt the mall a bit, with Rich's entrance reestablishing the "Atlanta" shopping experience. When R-M became the full-fledged Macy's, all vestiges of Atlanta stores disappeared. The only novelty was Belk, being a Southeastern store.

All UGA fans, one being me, will wonder if this is where football coach Kirby Smart does his Belk commercials. There are no other Belk's in town, and driving to Atlanta would be a pain during the busy fall.

A traditional JCPenney is down there. This is sorta the "upscale" section of the mall.

The plainness is killing me here. A fountain or planter here would spruce things up. Even a new Sears look would do something, as even the tiles are common. This looks awfully plain, and it's even ugly in a certain light.

If there was no roof shape or steps up, I may have vomited from the plain-as-paper look.
     I can imagine that if the old Macy's gets a replacement, the mall will stay in favor. Mall of Georgia took some business, and bringing a Dillard's or Kohl's is a possibility. This would win back some business, and wouldn't kill MoG. Kohl's is unique to both, but would probably have to move from a nearby location. Dillard's seems fitting for Athens, giving the city a slightly more upscale option. It's no Nordstrom or Lord & Taylor, but both would die quickly in Athens. GSM has the locals favor, and sometimes that's all you need to win an anchor.

     Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the architecture and description of Georgia Square. This is the first Southern mall in a while, and more are to come. The Southern malls tend to do well, but the Minnesota ones aren't, so go check them out. You'll be happy. ;) [insert blog advertisement]

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