Shannon Mall

Shannon Mall opened its doors on August 7, 1980, south of downtown Atlanta. Originally named after the developer’s daughter, the anchor stores consisted of Sears, Davison’s, and Rich’s. In 1986, they added another wing with Mervyn’s department store as the anchor. When it opened, Morrison’s Cafeteria was the only sit-down restaurant. A year later, the shopping center was renamed Shannon Southpark Mall. Shannon Southpark Mall remained a prosperous mall throughout the 1980s.

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New management took over in the early 1990s, and the mall slowly began to decline. Developers built on the premise: if you build it, they will come. Unfortunately, that was not the result. Developers situated the mall in front of a large wooded area bordering a declining neighborhood. Initially, plans included building an office tower behind the shopping mall to increase foot traffic. However, those plans never materialized, and the foot traffic never came.

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Skylights provided natural lighting inside the mall with a large glass sun window in the food court.
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Dead plants hang under the skylight in the food court atrium.

As the suburbs of Atlanta began to grow in the early 1990s, shoppers went elsewhere. New open-air strip malls and competing malls became effortless to access. The decrease in traffic and advertising severely affected the shopping mall. Toys-R-Us left in 1996 and Mervyn’s closed their doors the following year. JCPenney took over the old Mervyn’s wing in 1998. Management looked to find new startup type businesses to take up space in Union Station. However, with the lack of traffic, the companies could never get off the ground. Three years later, the mall was down to only 32 stores.

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Unfortunately, the decline continued into the 2000s. The Mervyn’s wing lost so many tenants that the remaining ones were forced to move to another part of the mall. JCPenney left in 2000, and the Mervyn’s wing was blocked off entirely in 2004. By 2006, hardly any of the original retail stores remained. The owners again changed the name to Union Station in an attempt to attract new business.

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After closing, the anchor stores were pitch black.

The owners decided to build a family fun center in the Mervyn’s wing called Maxx-Fun. The fun center would include arcades, a bowling alley and an entertainment venue where the other storefronts used to be. After construction began, one of the developers suddenly passed away. Management assured the project was still moving forward. Although, over the next few months, no construction resumed. Soon, the mall’s website was shut down, and signage was removed.

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Tire tracks through one of the stores, evidence that vandals have been inside.

In 2010, the last original tenant, Chik-Fil-A, closed its doors. The remaining tenants knew the end was near. The owners were unable to pay the power bill in November 2010, so the lights were turned off by Georgia Power. Tenants had a 5-hour notice the power would be cut off and that they had to vacate the building. Macy’s and Sears remained opened since they were on separate electric meters. With a lack of security and maintenance, Union Station fell into a state of disrepair.

Shannon Mall

In January 2011, both stores vacated Union Station as it went into foreclosure. The property was auctioned off on the courthouse steps the next day. Unable to find a committed buyer, the mall sat abandoned. An investment group from Alabama purchased the property in 2014. They planned to build a film and television studio on the site. In October 2014, the mall was demolished to make way for the studio.

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8 Replies to “Shannon Mall”

  1. Oh dear – this does not bode well for the two shopping centres in Ipswich UK! This sounds like their story unfolding. Since being built in the 90s they have both struggled and been through revamps including renaming one of them. One of them is just coming through another huge expensive revamp to be turned into a leisure complex with a cinema, restaurants and bowling alley I believe. But reading this, it seems as if spending huge amounts of money to revive a failing mall may be pointless – only time will tell. Another very interesting post with excellent images!

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  2. what we need to do with dying malls are change them. senior living centers, apartments, grocery store, drug store and medical facilities. seniors love to walk the mall and if they live there it would be better. they would sell their homes so they don’t have the upkeep charges. think about it a new life for dying malls.

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  3. Thank-you for this. I worked in the area from 1998-2005 and would go to that Mall at least once a week. In the winter I would use the Mall to walk in. I went back to the area in 2016 not realizing it was gone and I was so shocked. Thanks for the last pictures of my Mall. Just awesome!

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  4. I used to do security in that mall, i dated a lady by the name of stephanie at hong kong express she was such lead on.. memories there i enjoyed it while there even me growing up .. i wonder are the 2 abandoned movies theaters cinemas and shannon 7 movie theater which are no longer working still stands

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