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Emory claims former Sears store at ailing Northlake Mall as part of planned revival

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Addition of 1,600 Emory employees is first step in remaking Northlake as a destination, owners say

An interior rendering of a mall with seating and a blue art installation above.
Noticeably absent: teens sipping Orange Julius.
Renderings courtesy of Emory Healthcare/ATR Corinth Partners

A lease recently inked with Emory Healthcare is a significant step in remaking one of Atlanta’s former star-attraction malls, Northlake, into a destination again, according to the property’s owners.

Emory is leasing 224,000 square feet of what used to be a Sears store and other sections of Northlake, where the healthcare provider plans to centralize more than 1,600 employees.

Now considered a mall anchor, Emory’s initial plans call for corporate administrative services to be housed at 1-million-square-foot Northlake, where future Emory expansions are possible, according to mall owner ATR Corinth Partners.

It’s the beginning of what ATR Corinth Partners officials hope will be a comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment—incorporating medical and office uses—of the underutilized Northlake property. The company bought Northlake in 2016 and has promised a rebirth of the property since.

Located off Interstate 285 just south of Spaghetti Junction, the mall debuted in the early 1970s and—like other malls of the era—has seen retailers die off in recent years.

A rendering of a mall exterior.
Exterior plans for Emory’s portion.

Sears shuttered in May 2018, following the departure of another anchor, Kohl’s, in 2016. The property still counts more than 40 stores, include Kay Jewelers, Champs Sports, and Finish Line, alongside electronics and cell phone providers and a “Food Garden” with various eateries, per the property’s website.

Two remaining anchors—JCPenney and Macy’s—will remain in place and won’t shutter during forthcoming construction, officials noted this week.

The mall’s “central location combined with easy highway and MARTA bus access,” coupled with plentiful parking and onsite restaurants and retail helped persuade Emory Healthcare to make a deal, Mike Mason, Emory Healthcare vice president of operations, said in a press release.

Tony Ruggeri, a partner with Texas-based ATR Corinth Partners, noted that Emory’s presence will quickly inject the area with more life. “It’s a winning formula to support retail and restaurants,” he said, in a statement, “which has worked for us in previous mall redevelopments.”

Ruggeri and company wouldn’t divulge specifics, but they say more office space, retail, and restaurant concepts are on the way.

A remake of the mall’s retail portion is expected to launch construction early next year.