Can Greenbriar Rise as Chamblee Did??

In 1965, Greenbriar Mall opened as the first enclosed mall in the Atlanta area.  It is located on Greenbriar Parkway, just off the S.R. 166 and one block from Campbellton Road. Rich’s, now Macy’s, and J.C. Penney, now Burlington were the mall anchors.  It had movie theaters located on the lower level.  Later those theaters closed and Magic Johnson built the 12 screen theater complex and TGI Friday’s on the back side of the mall, just as he did in Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities.  A few year later, the Magic Theaters and Friday’s closed.  Later, another company reopened the theaters.  By that time Camp Creek movie theaters had opened with digital movie technology.  Still using the old reel-to-reel  technology, the newly re-opened Greenbriar theaters never had a chance against the new digital technology.  No one seems to know why Greenbriar’s new owners did not convert to digital to save the business.

Meanwhile, in the 1970’s and 1980’s Cumberland, South Lake, Shannon, Perimeter and other malls began opening around the metro area.  Lenox Square Mall decided to enclose its’ open air mall more than doubled in size.

The Chik Fil-A was the first inside a mall. It also had one of the first Black Santa’s in the area (and probably the state and southeast).  People still bring their children and grand children from neighboring states to visit its’ very popular Santa.  Circuit City was added in a new building beside Picadilly Restaurant and Cub Foods (now a nursing school) opened on the property.  Over the years the Greenbriar area continued to grow.  As the recession hit the U.S. and local communities, Cub Foods, Circuit City and several other national chains closed.  Across Atlanta, Ford, GM, Scripto, and other manufacturing facilities closed, people lost jobs and homes. The Greenbriar community as many others have faced numerous challenges.  Yet, it seems to be somewhat resilient. Most are grateful that Macy’s is still open and the main mall anchor.  According to mall officials, Burlington will relocate to Camp Creek leaving an opening for retail or mixed use options.

With the MARTA Board recent approval of a Light Rail system to run from Greenbriar/Campbellton Road connecting across town to Emory, Greenbriar’s future is brighter than ever.

Earlier this year, The Atlanta Regional Commission, ARC, funded an update of the 2001 Greenbriar Livable Centers Initiative, LCI. Conducting community meetings at Greenbriar Mall and at the Southside YMCA, the Sizemore Group Planning team has received lots of feedback.  It includes what the community wants and what they do not want in this 2018 plan.  This time, the goal is to move forward and actually implement the plan.  The  question is:  How successful will the Greenbriar LCI be?   Many are committed to staying engaged to make sure the 2018 Plan gets its’ wings.  It is quite exciting!

Upon reading this recent article, I wanted to share it with you because the successful plan in Chamblee can be customized for Greenbriar.  Everyone needs to know what is possible and stay engaged.  So, now it appears the timing is right.  Greenbriar has the perfect opportunity to rise again and sustain itself.  Yay!!

Here is the article from the Atlanta Regional Commission:

While the crowd waited to set foot in the hip, new eatery and check out the festive back patio, Clarkson recalls thinking, “This is crazy: people are lined up along Peachtree Road. When was the last time you saw something like this, in the 1950s?”

Two decades ago, the same Chamblee strip was mostly a concrete desert, defined by vacant buildings and empty parking lots. That describes much of the city at the time, as Chamblee struggled after generations of factory jobs relocated.

Sparking a Renaissance

The turnaround began in 2000 with a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission that helped the city craft a revitalization plan focused on 300 acres near the Chamblee MARTA Station. While some communities fought to keep rail out, Chamblee made a long-term bet that embracing transit would spark a renaissance.


To read the full article, copy and paste the link below.  Or click on it:


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