Phipps expansion leads the way for mall’s luxury transformation

The Simon Properties Group made a big splash in 2018 when chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, and Meir Teper joined Phipps Plaza and Simon executives to break ground on the most ambitious expansion of the mall since Simon purchased the property in 1992. A new Nobu restaurant and hotel, Life Time Athletic complex with a new lifestyle food hall, and a 12 story office tower, known as One Phipps Plaza,  were announced to replace the Belk’s department store.

Construction was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but the project was back on track by early 2021. We toured the new facilities in October with Phipps Plaza manager Eric Howard. We were not able to access the Nobu or Life Time buildings since the Simon group has already turned over the keys to the new owners. Nobu and Life Time are scheduled to open in some capacity in November 2022, and Novelis, the main tenant at One Phipps Plaza, will begin occupying their offices around the same time. The 46,000 square foot lifestyle food hall that will occupy the base of the Life Time tower, known as the Citizens Culinary Market, will open in early 2023. Be sure to read our previous coverage for complete details about the Citizens Culinary Market, Life Time Work, and more.

The connection between the mall and the new buildings will be opened as the new tenants are opened for business. The second floor of the mall will connect directly to the second floor of the Life Time 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 Life Time and One Phipps Plaza through a 2-story section of the mall that branches off of the main hallway. This section will also be home to a new Hermès store. The green space will be the main artery between the mall and the Nobu restaurant and hotel.

Luxury brands line up

The Nobu property and state-of-the-art Life Time complex are big news for Buckhead, and they are big draws for luxury retailers. Mr. Howard told me that plans for two stores had to be added to the One Phipps Plaza tower to accommodate 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 there are 14 new retailers coming in total, and that the entire first floor of the mall will be occupied by luxury retail brands within the next 12-18 months. 

Phipps Plaza enjoyed a record setting sales year in 2019, and improved upon those numbers in 2021 by 50%. Strong sales numbers are obviously attractive to prospective tenants, but the chance to be associated with unique properties like a Nobu restaurant and hotel (one of only 5 Nobu hotels in the US) has made Phipps Plaza the hottest property in Atlanta for luxury retailers. Check out our photo gallery, and be sure to check out the new additions in person this November.

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