Twenty miles east of downtown Atlanta, stakeholders gathered last week at The Mall at Stonecrest as new permanent signage was hoisted into place on a formerly vacant Sears building, signaling what development officials call the next phase of a mall rebirth that’s "gaining momentum."

Stonecrest Resorts, developer of the Sears adaptive-reuse component at the ailing DeKalb County mall, also announced 12 new tenants signed for a second phase of redevelopment set to open later this fall. 

Called Priví—a play on “privilege” and “privy”—the $17-million venture will span two levels of the former Sears. Upstairs will be a food hall with a mix of entertainment concepts; downstairs will see coworking space, a 5,000-square-foot event facility, art gallery, and health and wellness center (aka, the “Priví Healthplex”) with nine different businesses. The latter portion is scheduled to open first, in a matter of weeks, per development officials.

Overall, the project is envisioned as a regional tourism destination and jobs hub for Atlanta’s eastern suburbs. Stonecrest Resorts bought the 15-acre mall parcel—with two buildings totaling 143,000 square feet—from Stonecrest’s Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2020 for $2.1 million. It’s expected to eventually create 560 jobs.

The project’s first phase, with anchor tenant SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium, opened in November.

Exterior plans for the Priví concept east of downtown Atlanta. Courtesy of Stonecrest Resorts

The dozen tenants signed for the second, 35,000-square-foot phase include: Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa; Baldwin’s Literary Social Bookstore & Coffee Bar; 3 Degrees Infrared Sauna Suites; The Lions Cage MMA Fight & Fitness Gym; Garden Life Juice Bar & Café; The Original Hot Dog Factory; Picasso’s Splat Room; Naturally Gifted Treasures & Finds; and Bricks 4 Kidz. (See below for descriptions of each concept).

Also in development is a TRYP by Wyndham hotel, described as the “capstone achievement” of the Priví project and the only full-service hotel in Stonecrest. As part of Wyndham’s new Black Ownership & Lodging Development (BOLD) initiative, the hotel is expected to include 100 rooms, a bistro, meeting space, and rooftop bar at the edge of former mall parking lots.

The TRYP by Wyndham hotel is scheduled to open at the edge of a Stonecrest parking lot in 2024.Courtesy of Stonecrest Resorts

According to Stonecrest Resorts, development of phases three and four will continue through the winter and spring, with the 50,000-square-foot food hall now planned to open next summer. It’ll be operated by Good Food & Company Hospitality Group, known in Atlanta for concepts such as Atlanta Breakfast Club, Phoenix Roasters, ABC Chicken & Waffles, and now Le Petit Marche in Kirkwood.

The TRYP by Wyndham hotel is slated to be finished sometime in 2024.

Positioning of the forthcoming hotel and repurposed Sears building at Stonecrest. Courtesy of Stonecrest Resorts

Stonecrest joins a growing slate of metro Atlanta malls with tall ambitions for adaptive-reuse conversions.

Mixed-use additions or alterations are planned at Alpharetta’s North Point MallSouth DeKalb Mall, and North DeKalb Mall, among others. Meanwhile, the most maligned, ghostly mall in the metro, Gwinnett Place, is also showing signs of redevelopment life. Gwinnett County purchased the 39-acre property for $23 million last year and selected planning firm VHB to come up with a revitalization strategy. Following community input, a concept called “Global Villages” was selected in July.

A mural and bar-top table seating planned for the Priví food hall component. Courtesy of Stonecrest Resorts

In Stonecrest, health and wellness, creative, and food concepts bound for Priví’s second phase are described by development officials as follows:

  • Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa: With over 500 locations across the United States and Canada, Hand & Stone will offer a full complement of specialty massages, facials, and enhancements while providing each customer with a resort spa experience.
  • 3 Degrees Infrared Sauna: Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 3 Degrees is the original infrared sauna studio offering private suites and saunas.  Delivering therapeutic infrared heat to relieve stress and improve health, this location will be the company’s first in the Southeast.
  • The Lion's Cage MMA Fitness Club: A mixed martial arts (MMA) training and fitness gym that offers Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, wrestling, self-defense, and MMA training classes to members and visitors of all ages.
  • Garden Life Juice Bar & Café: A healthy juice bar concept offering fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Naturally Gifted: A gift shop featuring holistic and personal care products as well as unique finds and mementos. 
  • Baldwin's Literary Social: A full-service bookstore and coffee bar where you can buy, trade, or sell books, attend literary events, join book clubs, and explore independent publishing. 
  • The Exposure Hub Creative Coworking & Studios: A space for creatives, small businesses, freelancers, and other professionals to work, network, train, and have access to event space, incubator programs, and studio space. 
  • Priví Event Center: Various meeting spaces including a 5,000 square-foot conference facility, pre-function area, and training rooms for banquets, executive meetings, weddings, fundraisers, receptions, and corporate events.
  • Priví Art Gallery: An exhibit space for original works of art showcasing modern artists whose portfolios explore the connections between history, culture, and the zeitgeist.
  • Picasso's Splat Room: A multimedia art center that offers splatter paint classes for date nights as well as kids' parties.
  • Bricks 4Kidz® Creativity Center: A youth enrichment business providing an environment where children and adolescents can play, study, and build with LEGO® Bricks. Classes, camps, and events are structured courses developed by engineers and other experts promoting the principles of S.T.E.M. education.
  • The Original Hot Dog Factory: The Atlanta-based Original Hot Dog Factory has more than 20 different hot dog options as well as hamburgers, wings, shakes, and desserts on the menu. There are 30 locations nationwide and another 12 in development. 

Fly-through video brings Alpharetta mall's proposed redo to life (Urbanize Atlanta)