Emory Healthcare May Take Over Part Of Northlake Mall

Emory Healthcare will occupy the former Sears building and an added portion of the 1 million-square-foot mall, with an option for more space in the future. Employees will begin moving into the renovated and designed space in late 2021, with a second wave coming in late 2022, Emory said.

Gulbenk / wikimedia commons

Struggling Northlake Mall in Atlanta may get some much-needed vitality from a deep-pocketed new tenant: Emory Healthcare.

Emory is considering investing at least $20 million in an administrative offices project that would take over about one-third of the mall, along I-285 near Tucker, according to a recent report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Administrative offices, a training and conference center and a new centralized medical lab are possible uses of the space, the Business Chronicle reported.

Emory Healthcare told GHN last week that it’s considering Northlake Mall “as a potential location for consolidating administrative functions currently spread across the city.”

If the idea goes forward, it would continue the trend of large medical providers filling empty spaces in malls nationwide.

Malls are struggling because the growth of e-commerce has diverted revenue from the retailers that traditionally rent space in the huge shopping complexes.

But malls actually offer some advantages to medical tenants, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2017. The ground floor of a converted mall offers a larger footprint than is typically available in a traditional medical office building, the Journal reported.

Some landlords are adding medical centers to complement the existing retail tenant mix, while others are marketing their properties as specializing in health care.

Like other major health care systems in Georgia, Emory Healthcare has pursued a growth strategy. It took over DeKalb Medical Center last year and has expanded its primary care locations, as well as its orthopedic and sports medicine services. (See related GHN article.)

The Northlake possibility comes three years after Dallas-based ATR Corinth Partners bought the mall, which was developed in 1971.

Corinth Partners’ Tony Ruggeri told the Business Chronicle that his company doesn’t make announcements about tenants until leases are signed.

Health care systems can be a tenant that mall owners turn to when seeking to reinvigorate struggling properties, Ruggeri said.

Northlake has lost major tenants Sears and Kohl’s recently, while smaller shops have also closed. The Macy’s and J.C. Penney stores at the mall remain open.

Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News