Buckhead shopping, with a past and a future: Lenox Square and Buckhead Atlanta
By H. M. Cauley
When it comes to shopping, Buckhead boasts the best destinations in the city. One of them is already a landmark: Lenox Square put its mark on the city’s shopping scene 55 years ago when it debuted as an open-air center anchored by Rich’s and Davison’s, the area’s two leading department stores. In the mix were another 60 shops and the Colonial Store grocery. In the intervening years, Lenox morphed into the 1.5 million-square-foot indoor mecca it is today—one of the Southeast’s largest shopping centers with more than 250 stores. Under its roof are many shops unique to the region (think Nike and Diesel), as well as designer boutiques such as Prada, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. Even locals who aren’t fashionistas head to Lenox for the annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza and the lighting of the Macy’s Christmas tree. Its latest renovation, begun in January 2013, is set to finish this summer with the addition of a flashy new entrance as well as traffic and landscape improvements. The project has brought several new stores as well, including UGG Australia and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Not far from Lenox, another shopping landmark is in the works. The Buckhead Atlanta project broke ground in 2006, but hampered by the economic turndown, it changed hands in 2011. San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan firm took over construction and has been hard at work putting the project back on track to create one of the city’s premier retail neighborhoods. Spread out along six city blocks off Peachtree Road, the district is expected to begin opening in July. Once complete it will include more than 100,000 square feet of office space, 370 apartments and 300,000 square feet of retail space. Among the most famous names already signed on to have shops there are Hermès, luxury Italian cashmere maker Brunello Cucinelli and the homegrown Spanx. Hunter Richardson, OliverMcMillan’s managing director of development, says the company revamped the original design to make it more pedestrian-friendly. “It now allows better pedestrian connectivity to Peachtree Road,” he says. “That was very much a priority. A lot of what we do is geared toward the customer and pedestrian experience.”
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.