Town Center manager says it’s business as usual at Cobb mall

02/17/2021 —Kennesaw, Georgia — Shoppers wearing face masks walk past a storefront with signs advertising a store “coming soon” at the Town Center at Cobb Shopping Mall in Kennesaw ,Wednesday, February 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
02/17/2021 —Kennesaw, Georgia — Shoppers wearing face masks walk past a storefront with signs advertising a store “coming soon” at the Town Center at Cobb Shopping Mall in Kennesaw ,Wednesday, February 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Town Center mall’s manager has a message for local shoppers: The Easter Bunny is returning for photos in April.

That’s noteworthy because it means the mall and its stores will be open for business, just as they are now, said mall manager Marie Moore.

Town Center went into foreclosure this month when its mortgage holder, Deutsche Bank, unsuccessfully tried to auction off the Kennesaw mall’s $200 million in outstanding loans. The bank took possession of the property.

That could be viewed as a positive development, said Moore. Deutsche Bank hired CBRE Group to handle the mall’s management and leasing, and the national real estate company can breathe new life into Town Center, she said.

“We now have a new vision and a dynamic company behind us,” Moore said Wednesday.

It won’t be easy. The pandemic has pummeled shopping malls, as shoppers stay home and buy goods online.

North Point Mall in Alpharetta was taken over by its lender this year. The owner of Mall at Stonecrest near Lithonia fell behind on loan payments last year.

Town Center’s Sears, one of its original tenants from 1986, closed last year. Its three remaining anchor tenants — Macy’s, JCPenney and Belk — have either closed stores in other parts of the country or filed for bankruptcy. Town Center reduced its operating hours last year, though that was partly to help tenants cut expenses, Moore said.

02/17/2021 —Kennesaw, Georgia — The exterior of the Town Center at Cobb Shopping Mall in Kennesaw ,Wednesday, February 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
02/17/2021 —Kennesaw, Georgia — The exterior of the Town Center at Cobb Shopping Mall in Kennesaw ,Wednesday, February 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Moore said she and CBRE are trying to turn things around. She said she’s talking to potential tenants.

A Taco Bell will open soon at the mall’s food court, and Kokee Tea will move into the former Teavana location. Moore said she’s accepting suggestions for other new stores.

Moore declined to provide figures on the mall’s revenue or average daily foot traffic, but she said foot traffic has been improving steadily.

A COVID-19 testing facility in the mall’s parking lot helps drive foot traffic, and a coronavirus vaccine center may open inside the mall this year, she added.

Moore plans to schedule more events like an upcoming car show and the Center for Family Resources’ Parade of Playhouses, which raises money for homeless families.

There’s also the Easter Bunny, whose 2020 appearance was canceled due to COVID-19. Moore hopes this year’s visit will show the community that Town Center is still alive and kicking.

“We are working to move forward and elevate the property as quickly as we can,” she said.

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