Peachtree Mall upgrading food court, adding retailers

Step inside the food court at Peachtree Mall and you'll see a number of boarded-up spaces that makes one wonder where did all the food go?

But there is a plan in the works and it includes moving longtime tenant Classic Cookie from one side to the other of the shopping center's main dining area.

That's to make way for a Best Buy Mobile store that will take up the former cookie space as well as the former Coffee Beanery shop that closed several months ago. Work should begin the first week of February.

"I think they are expanding or plan to do maybe 300 Best Buy Mobile stores in their portfolio," said Peachtree Mall general manager Chris McCoy of the 1,000-square-foot outlet that will sell phones and other electronic gadgets. It will open by April 1, he said.

In fact, much of the revamp of the food court will be completed by that date, with Mandarin Express, which classifies its fare as "gourmet Chinese," opening in space that most recently was Wolf Bakery, but once was home to Arby's.

"They're actually in the space now and are working to do their build-out," McCoy said. "It should be a very nice looking store there."

For those keeping track, Master Wok and Bourbon Street both are gone from the food court, as is the Dairy Queen and Orange Julius combination -- Classic Cookie is headed for that space.

Eating establishments remaining include Chick-fil-A, Sbarro, Sarku, A&D Buffalo's and Subway.

The sit-down restaurants at the mall are Ruby Tuesday and Carino's Italian Grill. Piccadilly Cafeteria closed last year.

McCoy said another eatery is in contract negotiations for the food court. Although he could not disclose the name, it will serve up more traditional American food such as chicken, barbecue, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn.

"The main thing is with permanent tenants, every so often, we want them to do new build-outs and get a fresher look, and normally it helps their business," McCoy said of the move made by Classic Cookie.

"The food court is very important," he added. "But we don't just want to fill space. We want to bring a quality tenant that customers can enjoy."

As for the rest of the indoor shopping center, McCoy said a contract has been signed with Zumiez, a Washington state-based retail chain that carries sports-oriented apparel geared toward younger men and women.

Similar to PacSun, it will open by this fall in a 2,500-square-foot space, near center court.

"We should definitely have a couple of more announcements later this year, probably more apparel retail," the general manager said. "There are some good opportunities out there for us."

Beyond that, McCoy said General Growth Properties, which owns Peachtree Mall, will try to plug the 3,000-square-foot hole left by a seasonal Toys R Us store that left after the holidays.

A $500,000 roof maintenance project also is scheduled this year, he said. That follows the replacement of the Peachtree Mall sign fronting Manchester Expressway at the end of 2012.

There also are plans to remove the fountain and planter bed in the center court area to make way for some other possible use, he said.