North DeKalb Mall, still half-empty, loses more tenants

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North DeKalb Mall has recently made additional revenue as a location for filming movies and TV shows. Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

By J.D. Capelouto

If you’re looking for an eyewear shop at North DeKalb Mall and can’t find it, it’s not just because you might need glasses.

America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, which had a location in the mall, recently moved out — and set up shop across the street.

It’s another example of the slow bleeding that has continued at the storied retail center. Records suggest that over the last four months, seven tenants have left North DeKalb, including America’s Best.

The eyewear store, which performs eye exams and sells eyeglasses and contacts, relocated earlier this summer to Shamrock Plaza, a representative for the company confirmed Monday. That strip mall is effectively located across the street from North DeKalb Mall, at the corner of North Druid Hills Road and Lawrenceville Highway. Shamrock Plaza also includes a Publix and a mix of other small and large businesses.

“We are always evaluating the best ways to serve customers in every community that we are in, and this relocation was based on the ability to bring our services to more people in need of them,” America’s Best said in a statement. The representative did not have an estimate on how long it had been at North DeKalb.

The mall has been known for seeming desolate, though some anchor tenants like the AMC movie theater remain busy.

According to a July 2019 report compiled by its owner, Sterling Organization, 37 of the mall’s 74 stores are vacant, making up about half of the mall’s 622,300 square feet. In March, 30 of the storefronts were vacant, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported at the time.


A pedestrian walks past an empty exterior at North DeKalb Mall earlier this month. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Representatives for the mall did not respond to an inquiry about what other businesses have moved out over the last four months.

But the emptiness of the mall has its perks. North DeKalb has become a hot filming location, where vacant stores can become fictional businesses, the AJC reported.

“It’s such a large space and it has a lot of open space in it, with some of the storefronts being empty,” Shelbia Jackson, executive director of the DeKalb Entertainment Commission, previously said. “The productions like to have that. … They can have the space all to themselves.”

In April, a production believed to be an adaptation of the R.L. Stine book series “Fear Street” turned several vacant stores and outdoor signage into a fictional mall.

Read the original story at AJC.com.