As metro Atlanta mall redevelopments go, the third time, in this case, was not a charm.

For the third time in as many years, splashy development plans to convert The Mall West End’s suburban-style shopping center block into a denser mix of uses near both MARTA transit and the Atlanta BeltLine have fallen apart.

WABE reports New York-based The Prusik Group recently supplied mall ownership with a letter terminating a contract for a deal that could have seen the 1970s mall and its 12 acres remade into more active uses, with fresh retail space, an influx of new jobs, and hundreds of housing options.

Charles Taylor—a WABE Foundation board member and head of the mall’s ownership group, H.T. West End—told the news station an arrangement The Prusik Group was trying to work out with the City of Atlanta failed to come to fruition, prompting yet another outside investment group to back away from the Southwest Atlanta property.

The mall, according to Taylor, has been taken off the market. Plans now call for pivoting toward creating a shopping hub that’s more “community-focused” and injected with small business owners that Taylor hopes can “reenergize and refocus” the property.

Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard today, with the mall property at right. Prusik Group & BRP

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

According to the mall’s website, more than 50 tenants continue to operate at the property. But Taylor told WABE’s Rose Scott several stores have closed, opting not to renew leases at a mall they assumed would soon be razed. That’s left the mall in a weaker position, Taylor said.

The Prusik Group and BRP Companies went under contract on the mall last year and brought ideas before West End Neighborhood Development, an organization of businesses and neighbors, that called for a much smaller redevelopment than previous visions. The plans would have nonetheless added vitality to the community in a strategic location, reconnecting blocks separated by walls and parking lots in the process, the development team said. As we reported in August, however, WEND leadership hadn’t heard much from the development group since last year.

Another Mall West End redevelopment deal involving BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel and venture capitalist Donray Von, a West End native, fell apart in 2021. New York-based real estate giant Tishman Speyer later backed out of another mall contract.

The $400-million vision for Mall West End put forward in 2020 by Elevator City Partners, a firm founded by Atlanta BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel and venture capitalist Donray Von.Elevator City Partners; design by Gensler

Mall West End’s ownership group has been exploring options to offload the property for several years. The mall counts Planet Fitness, Foot Locker, Journey’s, and eateries such as American Deli as primary attractions today.

With its location near MARTA’s West End station, the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, and Atlanta University Center, the mall property has had no trouble attracting developer interest.

Prusik Group’s tentative plans 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 have seen up to 1.5-million square feet of new construction, per the developers, with between 650 and 900 mixed-income apartments and up to 250,000 square feet of “necessity-based retail.”

Another option presented by Prusik Group in 2022 called for building a hotel with roughly 200 rooms, geared toward accommodating AUC visitors and people wanting a downtown alternative. 

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

One historic West End representative at the city level, Atlanta District 4 City Councilmember Jason Dozier, told Rough Draft Atlanta the news of Prusik Group’s departure is “a setback” in a tough environment for real estate, despite the mall’s location in a federal opportunity zone with tax incentives meant to entice development and increase opportunities in lower-income neighborhoods.

Dozier told the publication he’s hopeful a project can come to fruition that boosts the neighborhood for generations, and that his office will “put the weight of the city behind the community” to help make that happen.


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