Owner intends to sell North DeKalb Mall for potential mixed-use development

The now-closed Macy's North DeKalb Mall store on January 7, 2015.

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC file photo

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC file photo

The now-closed Macy's North DeKalb Mall store on January 7, 2015.

A struggling mall in DeKalb County is up for sale, and county leaders say a transformative mixed-use development is the most likely use for the massive site.

Two DeKalb commissioners told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Sterling Organization, an investment company that owns North DeKalb Mall, is actively taking bids. The mall, which has several vacant storefronts, has become more well-known as a filming location than as a thriving retail center.

Sterling, which didn’t respond to multiple request for comment, announced plans in 2018 to redesign the mall around a Costco, hotel and new housing units. The company filed paperwork to try to rezone the 78-acre property, but that vision has apparently been abandoned, according to commissioners Jeff Rader and Ted Terry.

“They’re getting to the end of their investment cycle, so our understanding is that it’s up for sale and it’s actively taking bids,” Terry said.

Rader added that he’s spoken to three or four developers who have shown interest in the site. However, he wasn’t sure how many offers Sterling has received so far for the property or when a potential deal could become finalized.

“Primarily, (the developers) wanted to discuss with me concepts that would require discretionary rezoning of the property,” Rader said of the commercially zoned land. “... So the indication would be that they were looking at a more mixed-use type of development.”

Both commissioners said they expect the large property to include a hearty residential component, while attempting to reinvigorate retail interest in the area, which is just west of Clarkston’s city limits. Rader said it’s a rare opportunity for a developer to completely transform an area.

“We consider it to be a very important site in DeKalb,” he said. “It’s a very large tract of land that you don’t usually get for development in an urban area like this.”

Terry added that he wants the county commissioners to be proactive with this project and involved throughout the developer’s planning phases. He said connectivity to nearby neighborhoods and existing communities should be a key focus.

“This is an opportunity for us to create a community — not just a bunch of high-priced condos and mixed-use sort of thing. That’s not what we’re trying to get out of this,” Terry said.

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