Phipps expansion paves way for mall’s luxury transformation

Simon Properties Group caused a stir in 2018 when Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper joined Phipps Plaza and Simon executives to usher in the mall’s most ambitious expansion since Simon bought the property in 1992 A new Nobu restaurant and hotel, the Lifetime Athletic complex with a new food hall and a 12-story office tower, known as One Phipps Plaza, have been announced to replace the Belk department store.

Construction was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but the project was back on track in early 2021. We toured the new facility in October with Phipps Plaza manager Eric Howard. We couldn’t access the Nobu or Lifetime buildings since the Simon group has already handed over the keys to the new owners. Nobu and Lifetime are scheduled to open to some extent in November 2022, and Novelis, the main tenant of One Phipps Plaza, will begin occupying its offices around the same time. The 46,000 square foot food hall that will occupy the base of the Lifetime Tower will open in early 2023.

The connection between the shopping center and the new buildings will be opened as new tenants open. The second floor of the mall will connect directly to the second floor of the Lifetime Tower, and the first floor connection will remain closed until the food hall opens next year. Shoppers and diners will access the green space between Lifetime and One Phipps Plaza through a 2-story section of the mall that branches off from the main hallway. This section will also house a new Hermès boutique. The green space will be the main artery between the shopping center and the restaurant and the Nobu hotel.

Luxury brands line up

The Nobu property and the state-of-the-art Lifetime resort are big news for Buckhead, and they’re big draws for luxury retailers. Mr. Howard told me that plans for two stores were to be added to the One Phipps Plaza tower to meet the demand for retail space. Brands like Hermès, Dior, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen will soon join mall staples like Sacks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and Prada. Mr Howard said the entire first floor of the mall will be occupied by luxury brands within the next 12 to 18 months.

Phipps Plaza had a record year of sales in 2020 and improved on those numbers in 2021. High sales numbers are obviously attractive to potential tenants, but the opportunity to be associated with unique properties like a restaurant and Nobu Hotel (one of only 5 Nobu hotels in the United States) has made Phipps Plaza Atlanta’s most desirable property for luxury retailers. Check out our photo gallery and be sure to check out the new additions in person in November.

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