The North Dekalb mall was opened in 1965.  It was the first enclosed mall to be built in metro Atlanta.  Located near downtown Decatur and Emory University,  it became a convenient place to shop.   The mall originally opened fifty-four stores, a food court and a multi-plex movie theater.  Throughout the years, many anchor stores closed and the amount of visitors dropped dramatically.  In 2020 the COVID-19 put the nail in the coffin and North Dekalb mall officially closed its doors.  Demolition started in early 2024 to begin the transformation. Only the AMC theater will remain and be completely remodeled.   Currently the space is being used as a parking lot for trucks and Emory University employees.

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North Dekalb Mall


A new beginning…

EDENS, a national real estate developer, purchased the Mall in 2021.   They plan to transform the desolate mall into a $843 million mixed-use development.  The project, which will give North DeKalb Mall the new name of Lulah Hills,  is planning to have the  first phase finished by 2025.  Phase 1 will prioritize the addition and enhancement of streets to bolster the advancement of the early $86 million investment in site infrastructure.  Other essential infrastructure upgrades, including utility relocation, storm water quality improvements, and mall demolition, are underway.  Also a parking deck will be built during this first phase.   This initial infrastructure spending is likely essential to facilitate the progress of all remaining development phases.

The transformation of the 76-acre property into retail, office, and restaurant space will bring new business and job opportunities to the area.  EDENS also has plans to build 1,700 multifamily units, 100 town homes and a 150 room hotel.   Being close to Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the CDC offers the chance to benefit from the expanding healthcare sector, potentially providing partial sustenance to the businesses.  Designated workforce housing will comprise 10% of the residential units, allowing those who work in Lulah Hills to also reside there.

The first retail spaces are expected to open in 2025, followed by the debut of the first mixed-use buildings in 2026. Subsequent stages will see the gradual addition of additional retail and residential space, continuing until approximately 2033.

Economic Growth and Job Creation

The Lulah Hills development anticipates significant economic growth and job opportunities. These jobs will start at ground zero employing approximately 3,000 construction workers, contractors, and clean-up crews.  It aims to  potentially  generate 1,500 full-time and 1,500 part-time positions.  These positions will last throughout all the phases of the project.

Retail stores, restaurants, a new 150 room hotel  and office space will bring more jobs to the area spurring the economy to grow.  It is estimated that 1400 permanent jobs will be created within this development.  EDENS intends to add pedestrian trails and additional access points to boost foot traffic within the new project.  The goal is to create easy access and  increase a customers’ stay on the premises.  Some statistics suggest if customers extend their visit by an hour more than initially planned, they tend to spend 17% more money.

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Future Apartments


Apartments and Town homes will accommodate people working in the area and the goal is to provide convenient access to shopping and entertainment right at home for the residents.  The property’s location offers excellent accessibility for future residents, with Midtown situated just 10 miles to the west and Emory University a mere 4 miles away.

Green Spaces

Throughout development there will be green spaces for everyone to enjoy.  New pedestrian trails and small parks between apartments, restaurants and townhouses will  enhance accessibility and connectivity within the Mall area.   Once finished, Lulah Hills will serve as a direct link to the South Peachtree Creek Trail, extending seamlessly to Emory University, Medlock Park, and the surrounding neighborhoods. There are also plans for an onsite community garden and a dog park.

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Future Green Space

Who Foots the Bill?

A Tax Allocation District (TAD) is created to expedite investment by funding specific redevelopment endeavors in underdeveloped or blighted areas with public funds. The costs of redevelopment are covered by the rise in property taxes resulting from new developments. Generally, upon establishment, TADs encompass vacant commercial and residential properties, exhibit blighted conditions, or require substantial environmental remediation.

EDENS will cover the initial expenses upfront, drawing funds from a “pay-as-you-go” initiative under the Market Square Tax Allocation District, aimed at fostering economic development in underdeveloped or dormant areas.

Under this arrangement, EDENS will receive reimbursement for taxes paid based on the increase in property value resulting from completed development stages, up to $70 million. Given the current property valuation of $6 million, and EDENS’ projected creation of taxable value between $250 million and $300 million, this discrepancy is expected to be significant.

Moreover, an estimated $12 million in annual sales tax revenue is anticipated from the site.

The proposed infrastructure enhancements are pivotal for driving economic progress and growth. With the $70 million Pay-as-you-go financing, EDENS can gradually recoup eligible project expenses over a 15-year period. This project stands as a victory for both DeKalb County and the broader region.

Lulah Hills represents a new chapter in Decatur’s development, one that respects the past while boldly stepping into the future. It promises a lifestyle enriched with modern amenities, green living, and a sense of community that are hard to find in today’s fast-paced world. Whether you’re looking to move to Decatur or  already working there, Lulah Hills is a place worth considering. After all, finding a home isn’t just about the right house—it’s about the right community.

Keep an eye on this development as it continues to unfold. Lulah Hills might just be the place you come to call home. For more updates, stay tuned, and consider visiting the site to experience first-hand the charm and potential of Lulah Hills.

Thinking about moving this year? Wondering where to start? Give me a call Vanessa 404-556-1733

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