By now, it’s a familiar refrain: Splashy redevelopment plans for The Mall West End and its parking lots pop up. Excitement ensues. Cautious optimism starts leaning toward skepticism. Crickets. Developers back away or go quiet. Status quo prevails.

A year after New York-based developers unveiled preliminary plans for turning the mall’s 1970s retail block into a mixed-use hub with hundreds of new jobs, more food options, and housing, the crickets phase appears to be upon us.

The Prusik Group and BRP Companies brought ideas in July last year to West End Neighborhood Development, an organization of businesses and neighbors, that called for a much smaller redevelopment of the neighborhood mall than previous visions. The plans would nonetheless add vitality to the community in a strategic location, reconnecting blocks separated by walls and parking lots in the process, the development team said.

Prusik went under contract on the 12-acre mall property last summer—the third potential suitor in as many years.

The most recent proposed redevelopment of parking lots at Oak and Dunn streets, according to 2022 renderings. Prusik Group, BRP

WEND president Marquise “Tony” McNeal told Urbanize Atlanta this week his group remains largely in the dark. “Since the last we talked [about the mall],” said McNeal, “there hasn’t been much movement that we are aware of.”

Email inquiries to Prusik Group executives this week were not returned.

Fulton County property records show no recent sales for the mall property, and city permitting records indicate no redevelopment plans have been filed.

The mall’s owner, HT Group, has been exploring options to offload the property for several years. We’ve reached out to that company for updates and will add any additional information to this story that comes. 

Mall West End's most recent redevelopment concepts called for a mix of retail and residential uses at a much smaller scale than previous proposals. Prusik Group & BRP

With its location near MARTA rail, the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, and Atlanta University Center, the mall property has had no trouble attracting developer interest. It counts Planet Fitness, Foot Locker, Journey’s, and eateries such as American Deli as primary attractions today. According to the mall’s website, more than 50 tenants continue to operate at the property.

Prusik Group officials said last year they planned to retain existing tenants at the mall who are running successful businesses.

As is, the mall’s mega-block separates sections of the historic neighborhood, has no connection to the MARTA station across the street, and lacks a pedestrian or “front door" experience, per the latest development team.

According to a 2022 presentation, Prusik and BRP’s concept calls/called for splitting the property into four blocks and creating two new streets, allowing for better access and flow to buildings with a maximum height of a few stories—unlike the glassy towers in previous proposals. The site could potentially see up to 1.5-million square feet of new construction, per the developers.

Prusik Group & BRP

Prusik and BRP officials said the block has capacity for up to 250,000 square feet of “necessity-based retail,” with a mix of national names and local boutiques. Between 650 and 900 mixed-income apartments could materialize, too, with up to 25 percent of those being reserved as affordable housing. Developers said the finished project could create more than 500 new jobs.

Another option called for building a hotel with roughly 200 rooms, geared toward accommodating AUC visitors and people wanting a downtown alternative. Other spaces could be used for small parks, medical offices, and a police substation, per the concepts.

At last check, Prusik Group’s contract to buy the mall property was pending engineering and environmental studies.

The group has experience developing projects in low-income areas of New York, including the South Bronx and Harlem. One official told the AJC that respecting “the history and importance” of The Mall West End and gathering community input would be paramount, but only after due diligence is conducted at the site.

The firm’s portfolio indicates the Atlanta venture would be its first outside of the New York area. The West End property is still not listed among that portfolio.

Another Mall West End redevelopment deal involving BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel fell apart in 2021, and real estate giant Tishman Speyer later backed out of another contract.

The Prusik Group and BRP Companies' vision for Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard revealed last year. Prusik Group & BRP; via West End Neighborhood Development Inc./FB


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