Gwinnett Place Mall owner responds to criticism

Shoppers and retailers are in short supply at Gwinnett Place mall in Duluth. Once a center of commerce, the mall has struggled and plans for a major redevelopment have yet to be finalized. MATT KEMPNER / AJC

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Shoppers and retailers are in short supply at Gwinnett Place mall in Duluth. Once a center of commerce, the mall has struggled and plans for a major redevelopment have yet to be finalized. MATT KEMPNER / AJC

On Thursday morning, Gwinnett County's top economic recruiter publicly called for the owner of struggling Gwinnett Place Mall to be replaced.

On Thursday evening, that owner, Moonbeam Capital Investments, responded to the criticism — and suggested that a “sports/entertainment component” may now be part of redevelopment plans for the shopping center.

In a lengthy statement released by marketing and leasing director Anna Khavulya, Moonbeam said it has worked to create a redevelopment plan for the mall since purchasing it in late 2013.

“Unfortunately, the retail aspect of the redevelopment had to be re-designed several times since the consumer retail needs have changed drastically over the last 5 years,” the emailed statement said. “Fortunately, Gwinnett Place Mall is well suited for a mixed use redevelopment (retail and office) with a large sports/entertainment component. A multi-family development is also in the cards.

“In addition,” the statement continued, “a number of national-caliber real estate development teams have proposed joint-venture opportunities to us. Finally, our local team has been in constant contact with the officials at Gwinnett County who have been very helpful and supportive of our redevelopment efforts.”

Moonbeam officials suggested in January, that they had plans for a grand makeover, one that included demolishing one department store to build apartments and converting two other wings into office space. The company said at the time it would submit redevelopment plans to the county in March.

That never happened and, last month, Moonbeam CEO Steve Maksin declined to offer a new timetable.

At a Thursday morning panel discussion, Nick Masino — the senior vice president of Partnership Gwinnett, the economic development arm of the county’s chamber of commerce  — openly called for Moonbeam to be replaced.

"We have to replace Moonbeam development, they talk and talk and talk and do nothing,” he said, in part, after a question about efforts to revive the mall.

Masino isn’t the only one calling for someone else to take over Gwinnett Place Mall. Read more exclusive coverage at myAJC.com. 

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