Lenox Square: Atlanta's Oldest Indoor Mall

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Lenox Square is located in the heart of Buckhead, one of Atlanta's most luxurious shopping, commercial and residential areas, between Peachtree Road, the city's legendary main artery; Interstate 85, the major highway heading to the northeast suburbs; and Georgia 400, Atlanta's main route to the suburbs directly north of the city. MARTA, the light-rail rapid transit system, has a station at Lenox. The Lenox Square primary trade area covers the northern and northeastern areas of the city and includes nearly 1.2 million people. Atlanta, ranked third in the nation in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered there, provides an affluent base of shoppers for Lenox.

The mall, now covering over 1.5 million square feet, opened in 1959 as an open air mall with two classic Atlanta department stores, Rich's and Davison's, acting as bookends for a plaza that was flanked by 60 specialty stores. The mall included a grocery store, bowling alley and gas station. Designed by Atlanta's most prominent proponent of modernist architecture, Joseph Amisano, Lenox featured flying concrete arches and wings, giving it a "space-age'' air. All the original architecture is now lost.

The outdoor shopping plaza was enclosed in 1972, and Lenox has continued to expand ever since. During the most recent renovation, an 80,000-square-foot "luxury'' wing was added. The mall now comprises four levels. It is anchored by Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Neiman Marcus, and offers many of the most exclusive specialty shops in the Southeast. A partial list of the fine shopping at Lenox Square includes: BVLGARI, Coach, Kate Spade, Cartier, Michael Kors, L'Occitane, Kiehl's Since 1851, Swarovski Crystal, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Salvatore Ferragamo, Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, Calvin Klein, and Lacoste. According to the Arbitron Company, of the 33 shopping malls in the Atlanta direct marketing area, Lenox Square is the second-most shopped.

In addition to being the shopping mecca of the city, Lenox Square plays a large part in the traditions of the community. Fourth-of-July fireworks began at the mall in 1960. The show is now the largest in the Southeast and is accompanied by a diverse selection of live musical performances throughout the afternoon. Also on the Fourth is the Peachtree Road Race, the largest 10K race in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The race begins at Lenox Square.

Two other annual events at Lenox have their history in one of Atlanta's storied department stores, Rich's, which no longer exists. The Rich's downtown store had two Christmas traditions - the Great Tree and the Pink Pig - which are carried on by the Macy's at Lenox Square. Every Thanksgiving, the Great Tree, which serves as Atlanta's official Christmas tree, is lit. The Pink Pig is a children's ride - a pink train shaped like a pig that really has to be seen to be believed - that has entertained generations of Atlanta children during the Christmas holiday season.

Lenox Square continues to evolve as the premier shopping destination of in-town Atlanta. With Buckhead one of the country's "top affluent communities,'' according to the Robb Report, Lenox Square will continue to draw tourists and local shoppers alike.

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