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The Mall at Stonecrest

10th Anniversary Celebration September 24, 2011

www.crossroadsnews.com

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The mall’s location off I-20 makes it convenient to shoppers from neighboring Rockdale, Newton, Clayton and Gwinnett counties as well as from Augusta and South Carolina.

Lithonia shopping destination remains big draw in southeast DeKalb

At left, an aerial shot of the mall taken in 2008 shows the development that has sprung up around the Mall at Stonecrest. Above, a crowd gathers for one of the many star-studded events and expos hosted by the mall.

Although bankruptcy has claimed Borders, which closed for good earlier this month, the mall boasts an 87 percent occupancy rate, which equals the current national occupancy rate for malls.


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Stonecrest

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Bella, the 2008 recipient of the best supporting young actor award, has had roles in “Big Love” and “My Own Worst Enemy.”

‘Shake It Up’ star will greet fans at anniversary Disney Channel’s Bella Thorne will meet and greet fans starting at noon on Oct. 15 at the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia.

“East Metro Atlanta’s Weekly Newspaper” 2346 Candler Road Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007 www.crossroadsnews.com editor@crossroadsnews.com

This Mall at Stonecrest 10th Anniversary Special Section is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc., East Metro Atlanta’s awardwinning weekly newspaper. Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphics Editor Curtis Parker Reporters Donna Williams Lewis Jennifer Ffrench Parker Carla Parker © 2011 CrossRoadsNews, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without written permission of the publisher.

Bella Thorne, star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” will appear at the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 15 to help celebrate the mall’s 10th anniversary. Bella, who portrays CeCe Jones, will meet and greet fans on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon. There will be no posed photography, but she will give one autograph per person. “Shake It Up,” which premiered to 6.2 mil-

lion viewers, earning it the title of Disney Channel’s second highest-rated series premiere, made Bella an undeniable rising young star. Bella also has had roles in “Big Love,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” and “In the Motherhood.” She is a three-time nominee and 2008 recipient of the best supporting young actor award for past starring roles in “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Entourage,” “In the Motherhood,” “October

Road,” and the popular “Little Monk.” She was a spokeswoman for Texas Instruments and loaned her face to major brands and designers like Ralph Lauren, H&M, Guess, Limited’s Justice, GAP and ALDO Kids. She is the youngest of four in a family of talented actors. The Mall at Stonecrest is off I-20 at Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest.com.

Congratulations to the Mall at Stonecrest on Your 10th Anniversary

Best Wishes for Continued Success! 2346 Candler Road • Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 • Fax: 404-284-5007 • www.crossroadsnews.com


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

The mall quickly distinguished itself as a destination for celebrities and over the years has hosted many famous and infamous people.

Fall carnival, parade of stars to help Lithonia mall celebrate By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Human and animated stars of Disney Channel, Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon will descend on the Mall at Stonecrest in October for the monthlong celebration of its 10th anniversary. The 1.3 million square-foot mall, which opened its doors on Oct. 22, 2001 – just six weeks after 9/11 – is celebrating its milestone with a parade of stars beginning Oct. 8. “This is a big one for us,” said mall marketing manager Donald Bieler. The Lithonia mall last celebrated its anniversary in 2006, and Bieler said it has been awaiting the big one. On tap are appearances by Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego on Oct. 8; Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” star Bella Thorne on Oct. 15; the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba from the hit Nick Jr. television show of the same name on Oct. 22; and the return of the hugely popular North American Midway Entertainment carnival, Oct. 27 to Nov. 6. Bieler said the lineup is a fitting tribute for a major anniversary. It builds on a mall tradition of hosting celebrities of music, television and publishing. In 2001, the mall, which was first proposed in 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, was on schedule to open when the terrorist attacks on the Donald Bieler World Trade Center and the Pentagon claimed nearly 3,000 lives and put the country on edge. Still, over the next five years, the areas around the mall saw expansive growth, with big-box stores like Sam’s Club, Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Staples, and a host of discount

They said it ... “It’s difficult to believe it’s been 10 years, but oh, how well I remember the excitement. “It was something we had waited 20 years for. It was just a jubilant time. “It was a long time coming. We had reached a point when we thought it would never happen, and it finally came to fruition and we were happy it had happened. “I don’t get out there much anymore, but I am still so thrilled it is there.” Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Mall at Stonecrest patrons often have the opportunity to interact with their favorite stars.

retailers, including Marshall’s, Ross, DSW, Rooms 2 Go, Pier 1 Imports, World Market, and fast-food restaurants flocking to the area. “The amount of investment and development that have taken place around Stonecrest was above anyone’s expectations,” Bieler said this week. “Within a short time, the live-work community was realized.” The mall quickly distinguished itself as a destination for celebrities, and over the years it has hosted many famous and infamous people, among them, stars of gospel, pop, hip-hop and country music and television and reality shows. Many famous and aspiring authors and political luminaries also have visited the mall, among them, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Hilary Duff, Dog the Bounty Hunter,

Corbin Bleu, Ann Nesby, Keke Palmer, Tavis Smiley and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Bieler said that they have been lucky to be able to offer customers the opportunity to meet and interact with their favorite stars with great success. When Duff came to the mall in December 2003, so many young girls showed up, management closed Stonecrest as a precaution. And in August 2007, hundreds of fans swamped the mall for a book signing by reality television star Dog the Bounty Hunter. “We believe there is a value in bringing family-friendly entertainment and celebrities to the mall,” Bieler said. “We stand head and shoulders above any other mall in doing this.” But the mall has not stopped at enter-

– Barbara Lester, former Lithonia City Council member and lifelong resident of the city.

tainment. Bieler said it also has provided education for the community through its partnership with the CrossRoadsNews Community Expos. Since 2006, the newspaper has hosted four annual expos – Health & Wellness in January, Summer Camp in March, Personal Finance/Home Buyers/Best of Small Business, and Family & Adoption/Back-to-School Expos at the mall. “These events help to educate our community by providing information they can use,” he said. For the next decade, Bieler said they envision continuous growth. “We are remaining very optimistic as we continue to serve our community and welcome new tenants as the economy rebounds,” he said.

THE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF DEKALB COUNTY Congratulates The Mall at Stonecrest on its 10th Anniversary

The Development Authority of DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Office of Economic Development are all about the business of recruitment, retention and redevelopment. Together, these groups work to create quality jobs and investments to expand the tax base and support balanced growth. address: 330 West Ponce de Leon Avenue 6th Floor Decatur, GA 30030 phone: 404.687.2370 web: www.decidedekalb.com


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Stonecrest

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

“It’s always good to have something new and fresh. It was the most upscale mall we had. That was nice.”

After 10 years, employees still love Stonecrest

“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are reminded once again of the loyalty of so many of our shoppers. We appreciate the patronage throughout the years and look forward to an even better and brighter future ahead.”

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

In the decade that Pixie Vaughn and Benjamin Gray have worked at the Mall at Stonecrest, both have seen their customers grow up – literally – in the stores. Vaughn is the manager of Stride Rite, and Gray is the manager of First Class Barber Shop, both on the lower level of the Lithonia mall. They are among a handful of employees who have worked continuously at the 1.3 million square-foot mall since its opening on Oct. 22, 2001. Ten years later, they are still on the job. Vaughn remembers how excited she was when she found out in 1998 that ground had been broken on a new mall in Lithonia. She was then a six-year manager at Stride Rite, rotating between stores it had inside Macy’s at Lenox Square and at Southlake Mall, and had just bought a house off Panola Road, a mere 10 minutes from the new mall. She immediately saw the possibilities. “I made sure my company knew about the mall, and I told them if they were putting a store there I would be interested,” she said. They did and she got the nod. Gray had joined First Class Barber Shop’s location on Panola Road in July 2001 and volunteered to relocate to the company’s new store at Stonecrest. He too loved the newness of the beautiful five-anchor mall. “It’s always good to have something new and fresh,” he said. “It was the most upscale mall we had. That was nice.” Stride Rite sells children’s shoes, and Vaughn said customers she fitted as infants are now grown. Gray, too, has seen many of his shop’s clients through the transition from children to adults. “The middle school kids I had are now grown,” he said. “Ten years is a long time. I have done many graduation cuts and wedding cuts. Some are even bringing in their kids now for haircuts.” Vaughn remembers working on the build-out of the Stride Rite store even as the mall itself was being completed, and she can’t forget how shiny new everything was. “It was like a new beginning,” she

They said it ...

– Patricia Elmore Edge, general manager.

Stonecrest by the Numbers

10 Stride Rite manager Pixie Vaughn (above) and First Class Barber Shop manager Benjamin Gray have worked at Stonecrest for 10 years and have seen many of their clients grow up.

dollar amount, in millions, of tax concessions given to get the mall built

22 the date in October 2001 that the mall opened

440,000 number of residents in Stonecrest trade area in 1999

7 million said. Over the years, Vaughn said the store has developed a loyal customer base that is far-flung. “We have customers from Augusta, Macon and from overseas. We get people from the Bahamas and a lot of travelers from England and Africa, just a lot of different countries. How about that.” Gray also sees customers from Augusta and from South Carolina as well as Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties. He said some are regular customers and some

are just passing through. “Being on the interstate, people stop in to get something to eat or to shop and they say, ‘A barbershop in the mall, let me get a haircut,’ ” he said. “We meet a lot of new people.” Vaughn also loves the many events that the mall hosts. “There is always something going on,” she said. “I love the health expos and the celebrities who come through. And once we had a band marching through the mall playing music. I like the excitement.”

dollars spent on infrastructure development for the mall

120 number of specialty stores at the mall

4,500 number of jobs created in mall’s first year

1,500 number of job applicants at the mall’s first job fair on Sept. 1, 2001

1,100 acreage of the Master Plan Community of which Stonecrest is a part

1.5 million dollars spent on Evanswood Shopping Center improvements within a month of mall’s opening


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

“It made good sense to give an incentive to an area that needed it. A couple of commissioners felt it was corporate welfare.”

Mall’s opening left its champion with wonderful feeling We worked on it for a long time and I am grateful for the people who helped. The mall has done a tremendous thing for the community. I look at it as a regional shopping center. It brings jobs, it brings property taxes, and it brings sales taxes. It has pulled business from Rockdale County. It has attracted a great deal of bigbox stores. It brought in a variety of different stores that made the area flourish.

Editor’s note: When Liane Levetan became CEO of DeKalb County in 1993, the area now known as Stonecrest comprised acres of vacant land w ith Mall Parkway running through it. The 1,100 acres on which the mall now sits was a popular playground for operators of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikers. Levetan immediately became a champion of the area and fought for incentives to get the mall built. Here she reminisces about helping to make the Mall at Stonecrest a reality. Former DeKalb CEO Liane Levetan has photographic memoirs taken at the ground breaking and during construction on the Mall at Stonecrest. Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

W

hen I took office in 1993, a lot of infrastructure had been put in out there. There were water lines and roads, but it had just laid dormant for 18 years. We got a lot of complaints from the people in the area about there being no good places to shop, no restaurants and so on. It appeared to me this was something that just made sense to do. I made up my mind that something was going to happen while I was there.

To do a development like this, you have to get your anchors. If we could just get the five anchors, the rest would fall into place. They started with five anchors – J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, Sears, Parisian and Macy’s – which was unheard of. It was the first Dillard’s in DeKalb County. It made good sense to give an incentive to an area that needed it. A couple of commissioners felt it was corporate welfare. Today, the Kia plant wouldn’t have opened without incentives, but back then it wasn’t

Congratulations to The Mall at Stonecrest on your10th Anniversary! Lithonia looks forward to strengthening its relationship to bring more economic development and benefits to the community in the coming years!

Deborah A. Jackson, J.D., Ph.D. Candidate for Mayor of Lithonia

PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT DEBORAH A. JACKSON MAYOR

very common. When you have developable land that had languished for 18 years, you have to give it something, a boost, a shot in the arm. Business people always look at the bottom line. It has to make sense. The mall really and truly brought a lot of good stores there. Gosh, who knows when that would have happened without the incentives. Sometimes you have to give to receive.

‘It is still a viable area’ I was there when it opened, and it was such a wonderful feeling to see the look on people’s faces. It was a well-thought-out plan that was done very nicely. I was so pleased that it was providing service to people who deserve it and who no longer had to drive miles for shopping and restaurants. I believe the land would still be vacant if we hadn’t done what we did. I know there is still a lot of land to develop, but it is still a viable area. There still is room for good commercial development. With the economy the way it is, it will take a few more years, but I am the proverbial optimist. With the city of Dunwoody having possession of Perimeter Center, I shudder to think what the county’s tax base would be without Stonecrest and the businesses there. We all have to be patient and we have to realize that it is the center for a vibrant area of southeast DeKalb County. A few years ago, I talked to the county Economic Development Office and they told me prices for land had gone up in the area. The initial investment was minuscule compared to what we have there now. – Liane Levetan, DeKalb CEO, 1993-1998

SEE 400 MILLION

YEARS

FROM HERE.

10 Great Years

of serving the community

Congratulations to the Mall at Stonecrest. You are a true asset to the 4th District. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson Office of Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) 5700 Hillandale Drive, Ste 120 Lithonia, GA., 30058 770-987-2291 WWW.HANKJOHNSON.HOUSE.GOV

There have been a lot of changes around here over the millenia and Arabia Mountain has witnessed every one them. One of the biggest in recent memory is the construction of The Mall at Stonecrest just 10 years ago. Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area wishes Stonecrest a Happy 10th Anniversary and and invites all Stonecrest shoppers to visit the other wonders of the heritage area. Challenge yourself on more than 20-miles of uninterrupted biking & walking PATHs—a trailhead leaves right from the mall. Feed your soul at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit or visit historic Flat Rock Archive to learn about the lives of Arabia’s earlier settlers. www.arabiaalliance.org


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CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

“We are hoping and praying we can stay there forever, but the economy has to change because of the monthly cost to be here.”

After roller-coaster decade, mall looks for more development By Donna Williams Lewis

Ten years ago, something that seemed just short of a miracle happened in southeast DeKalb County. The Mall at Stonecrest opened to huge fanfare in Lithonia on Oct. 22, 2001 – a full 18 years after the first announcement that a mall would go up on Turner Hill Road and I-20. Many thought the huge swath of land cleared for a 1,100-acre planned community would never be developed. But the $131 million mall today is surrounded by four hotels, a medical facility, office buildings, big-box retail, popular restaurants, a car dealership, and thousands of residents in homes and apartments. The mall will celebrate its 10th anniversary with events that “will delight children of all ages,” said Donald Bieler, the mall’s marketing director. Stars from hit Disney and Nickelodeon television shows will appear on three consecutive weekends starting Oct. 8, and a fall fair with rides and games is scheduled for Oct. 27 through Nov. 6. Former Lithonia Mayor Marcia GlennHunter vividly remembers the mall’s opening day. “It’s just unbelievable that 10 years have passed,” she said. “I was convinced that the people would be there to support that development. It just took so long to convince other people of that possibility.” Ground was broken for the Mall at Stonecrest in October 1999 by Torontobased commercial real estate investor Cadillac Fairview and its partner on the mall, Cleveland-based real estate developer Forest City Enterprises. County CEO Burrell Ellis said he was vice chair of the DeKalb Development Authority when the authority drew up the tax incentive that helped bring the mall to fruition. Under the arrangement, the mall’s developers paid taxes on only 5 percent of the value of the property the first year, increasing that by 5 percent each successive year up to 100 percent. “I feel that we were very proactive to do this to spur economic development,” said Ellis, who calls Stonecrest “DeKalb’s next growth engine.” By 2006, the value of the 1,100 acres had grown from $4 million to $425 million, according to the latest available property tax comparison performed by the county Tax Assessor’s Office. Ellis said that figure is now in excess of $470 million. Population within a three-mile radius of the Mall at Stonecrest swelled by 54 percent from 16,915 in 2000 to an estimated 26,035 in 2010, according to a report prepared for Wheeler/Kolb, which sells land around the mall. The area is expected to grow to 28,183

Astronaut Sally Ride, at mike, was among luminaries attending the opening of the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia in October 2001.

by 2015. Despite the 2008 downturn market, the Stonecrest community has proved to be resilient, said Alan Carlisle, senior vice president of the U.S. Portfolio at Cadillac Fairview. “Immediately adjacent the Mall at Stonecrest, Strayer University recently expanded its footprint and class offerings in the office building on Stonecrest Parkway to provide continuing education opportunities for the community,” Carlisle said. The Office Park at Stonecrest, a 55,000-square-foot building anchored by the college, is now 65 percent leased. “Other recent additions to the Stonecrest community are Stonecrest Toyota [2009],” Carlisle said, “and Ruby Tuesday’s is reopening this fall with a new seafood restaurant concept, Marlin and Ray’s.” Within a mile of the mall, the DeKalb County Library opened its $7.7 million Stonecrest branch in June. About five miles away, Arabia Mountain High School opened on Browns Mill Road in 2009. The school was recently connected to Panola Mountain State Park and the Mall at Stonecrest by a spur of the PATH Foundation’s 20-mile Arabia Mountain/South River Trail. But Stonecrest has not escaped the economy’s dark cloud. First Class Barber Shop was among a handful of locally owned businesses that was there when the mall opened 10 years ago. Ronald McKenzie, who co-owns the

The Mall at Stonecrest brought new shopping opportunities to an area starved for retail and restaurants.

shop with Stanley Powell, said Stonecrest is a beautiful mall with a safe environment. But he said the mall is suffering because of the economy. “People just don’t have the extra money to patronize businesses such as mine. They’re spending money on necessities,” he said. McKenzie credited mall management with helping his business stay afloat. “By the grace of God, we’re still there,” he said. “We are hoping and praying we can stay

there forever, but the economy has to change because of the monthly cost to be here.” Glaring examples of failed business ventures dot Stonecrest’s landscape. n The former Malcolm Cunningham Mazda dealership on Mall Parkway has been vacant since the business shut down in 2010, after 14 months in operation. n A hotel that was to open in 2009 is still a concrete shell for lack of financing to complete the project.

Educating and Empowering Our Community

Community Expos

at the Mall at Stonecrest Health, Wellness & Beauty Expo January 28, 2012

Dance & Summer Camp Expo March 31, 2012

Healthcare providers, insurance companies, fitness instructors, spas, haircare & natural product providers, and others bring messages of good health and help empower residents to live more active lives. Exhibitors also offer health screenings, fitness & product demos.

Dance & karate schools, cheerleaders, churches, tutors, YMCAs, and other summer activity providers offer options for parents seeking innovative and interesting programs for their children. Organizations offering services and resources to families are also invited.

Best of East Metro/Small Business Expo April 28, 2012

Businesses and entrepreneurs – from landscapers to lawyers, Realtors, florists, insurance and travel agents – showcase their goods and services at this expo, which also celebrates the winners of CrossRoadsNews’ “Best of East Metro” Readers Choice Awards.

Family & Back to School Expo August 4, 2012

Businesses and organizations serving families will showcase goods and services to help students have a successful school year. The expo highlights services from afterschool to private schools and options for adults looking to retool and sharpen their skills for new careers.

Limited Signature Sponsorship Opportunities. Only 50 exhibitor spaces available. Book yours today. Call 404-284-1888 for more information. CrossRoadsNews • 2346 Candler Road • Decatur, GA 30032 • 404-284-1888 • Fax: 404-284-5007 • expos@crossroadsnews.com


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September 24, 2011

Stonecrest

Lithonia residents had hoped to rise with Stonecrest’s star and turn the sleepy town into a sparkling gateway.

New alliance forming to seek grants for area improvements The economy has taken its toll with the bankruptcy of Borders, and stalled commercial development and some empty storefronts.

They said it ... “Ten years already. You got to be kidding. It seems like it’s been open only a few years. “I remember standing over there with Liane Levetan saying, ‘Is this going to happen?’ She assured me that it would and it did. “People over here love it. They don’t have to go far to shop and to restaurants. “I did a lot of talking back then. … It was well worth sitting in all those meetings. “I admire the way it’s operated. It’s just an ideal situation and one that we wanted for so long.

“It has well-served this area. The elderly just enjoy walking there and shopping while they are there, or going back later to shop for things they saw while they were walking. “It just kinda work up the community. “We had nothing here before; it’s just a divine place. We really appreciate it. “We don’t want nothing to happen to it, but some people say, ‘Why don’t they expand it more?’ and I say ‘How?’ They say maybe bring more restaurants.” – Rosemarie Pickett, past president of the Klondike Civic Association.

Residential development around the mall grew at a fast clip in its first year but has slowed in recent years. These signs at McDaniel Mill Road and Rockland Road announce new subdivisions.

n A 30-acre field originally marketed as an removed the big black letters over the door

“entertainment village” and later remarketed as a retail/residential area awaits a new concept and a developer. n With 87 percent of its space occupied, Stonecrest equals the current national occupancy rate for malls. Its shuttered spaces are on the plaza outside the AMC 16-screen movie theater and on the mall’s upper level near Kohl’s. On the opposite near Dillard’s, a worker

of the Borders bookstore on Tuesday. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain declared bankruptcy this year and is closing all of its retail outlets. At the Lithonia mall, it leaves an 18,000-square-foot vacancy, which is now being marketed to national tenants. While she is grateful for the mall, GlennHunter is unhappy with the shopping choices. “I would like to see the same quality of

Thanks for Bringing Us 10 Years of Shopping Excellence

ATLANTA SWEEPING SERVICES

BDW Corporation Jimmy Wettlaufer, President

P.O. Box 870892 • Morrow, GA 30287-0892 770-960-1464 • Fax: 770-968-8663 jimmy@atlantasweeping.com

merchandise that you would see at Macy’s at Lenox or Perimeter at the Macy’s at Stonecrest,” she said, expressing a common sentiment. Chad Belinfanti who bought a home in nearby Parks of Stonecrest in 2005 says he feels “a bit bittersweet” about Stonecrest’s progress. “I think the mall itself and mall management have done a pretty good job of maintaining the standards of the mall,” he said. But he was disappointed to see the departure of some of the area’s restaurants and “nicer shops.” He also hopes to see more schools built closer into the area and that more businesses will come. “I would really like to see more whitecollar jobs to make this a true live-work community,” Belinfanti said. “And we definitely need a grocery store. That has been one of the biggest complaints about this area.” The push continues for a full-scale grocery store at Stonecrest. In the meantime, Cadillac Fairview and co-sponsors including Wesley Apartments Homes, host the seasonal East Metro Farmers Market on Saturdays in the parking lot outside Borders. Residents can watch chef demonstrations and buy fresh food from farmers who come from as close as seven miles away. Less than two miles away from the mall is the one-square-mile city of Lithonia, which has a population of 2,100.

Residents there had hoped to rise with Stonecrest’s star and turn their sleepy downtown into a sparkling gateway to the development with attractive shops and eateries. “It is a disappointment that we, being the city of Lithonia, were not in a position when the mall was built to really take advantage of some of that traffic,” said Glenn-Hunter, who now lives in Ellenwood. Deborah Jackson, who chairs the city of Lithonia’s Redevelopment Committee and is a candidate for mayor, said the city and Stonecrest have had a “cordial” relationship since it opened. She hopes to see it become more tangible over the next decade. “The designation of a national heritage area at Arabia Mountain and the extension of PATH trails from Lithonia to the mall create a dynamic that did not exist before,” Jackson said. “As a cultural gateway to the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Lithonia has a rich history to share.”

Stonecrest Growth Initiative A group of residents, business owners and county staff concerned with the area’s quality and continued growth has been meeting under the name of the Stonecrest Growth Initiative. Jetha Wagner, vice president of Euramex Management Group, which has 1,700 housing units in Stonecrest’s Wesley Apartments, said the area needs advocates who will make sure that it is clean, appealing and safe. She said 90 percent of her company’s units at Stonecrest are occupied. The Stonecrest Growth Initiative grew out of an effort by Wagner and Sarah Kendall, director of development for Cadillac Fairview, to work with community leaders to develop a Stonecrest brand, similar to Perimeter. The group plans to form a Stonecrest Business Alliance and apply for grants for community improvements. People who responded to a recent survey sent to about 400 property owners listed crime, litter and transportation as their top concerns. Police recently reported to the group that crime is down at Stonecrest in all categories over the past year. Meanwhile, Commissioner Lee May and other county leaders continue to advocate for rail service from Indian Creek to Stonecrest to be included in a list of projects for a 2012 statewide transportation referendum. May said Stonecrest mall is critical for the future of DeKalb County. “It really is an asset for the entire county and for the region as well,” he said. “The mall’s 10-year milestone really allows us to take a self-evaluation to think about what can be done to move forward, to grow it, to enhance it.”


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September 24, 2011

Dora is the 7-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative tropical world.

Family-friendly Fall Fair offers fun, thrills, food and more

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The Ferris wheel is a perennial favorite at the fair along with carnival games and treats. Children and adults can enjoy a ride on the merrygo-round, a carnival staple.

Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

The Fall Fair by North American Midway Entertainment will be at the Mall at Stonecrest from Oct. 27 through Nov. 6.

Thrill-seekers and families will find more than 30 rides to give them adrenaline rushes at the Fall Fair coming to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 27. Rides include everything from YoYo, Matterhorn (Himalaya), Cliff Hanger, Fireball, Sizzler, Family Swing, Raiders, Tilt, Gravitron, Inverter, Power Surge, Mini-Indy, Ferris wheel, Kiddie Land, and Slide and Train to bumper cars and merry-go-round. The fair by North American Midway Entertainment boasts a spectacular inventory of more than 200 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed

concessions and family-oriented games. More than 21 million fairgoers in 20 states and four Canadian provinces annually attend the fair since North American Midway’s launch in 2004. The fun takes flight at 4 p.m. on Oct. 27 and continues daily through Nov. 6. The Fall Fair is part of the mall’s celebration of its 10th anniversary. It opens 4 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. on Saturdays, and noon on Sundays. The Mall at Stonecrest is at Turner Hill Road and I-20 in Lithonia. For more information, visit Jennifer Ffrench Parker / CrossRoadsNews www.mallatstonecrest.com or its Facebook page Attractions include fun midway at www.facebook.com/mallatstonecrest. rides for the little ones.

The cartoonish costumed characters of “Yo Gabba Gabba!” – Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex – will bring music and dancing to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 22. DJ Lance Rock is host for the program for kids ages 1 and up.

Live-action show to entertain tots The zany cast of “Yo Gabba Gabba!” is coming to the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 22, and kid-toting families are encouraged to bring the camera to capture the moments. The stars of the show are cartoonish costumed characters – Muno, the red cyclops; Foofa, the pink flower bubble; Brobee, a little green monster; Toodee, the blue cat-dragon; and Plex, the yellow robot. Oct. 22 is the actual anniversary of the mall, which opened in 2001. It will celebrate throughout October, and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” stars will be in town to pump up the volume on the celebration. Donald Bieler, the mall’s marketing manager, said

families will get up close and personal with the colorful stars. DJ Lance Rock hosts the fun, live-action program for young children ages 1 and up. He will introduce spectators to the friendly toy monsters who reside in a magical land full of music, dance and colorful cartoons and learn simple life lessons through short animated sketches. Of course, dancing is involved to the magic words “Yo Gabba Gabba!” The popular children’s TV show, which premiered in 2007, airs on the Nick Jr. and Noggin cable networks. It gets its title from the chant “Gabba Gabba Hey,” first coined by punk rock band the Ramones. The Mall at Stonecrest is at I-20 and Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest.com.

Dora, Diego return for big Block Party Animated television stars Dora the Explorer and Diego will be at the Mall at Stonecrest on Oct. 8 for the mall’s 10th Anniversary Block Party. The popular Nickelodeon stars are no strangers to Stonecrest. They have entertained at the mall numerous times before and are expected to draw huge crowds of kids and their parents. Both characters star in the preschool play-along, animated adventure series “Go Diego! Go.” Dora is the 7-year-old Latina heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative tropical world filled with jungles, beaches and rain forests, and she can even make animal noises and talk to the wild animals. Diego, her cousin, helps his parents at the Animal Rescue Center in his hit show, “Go Diego! Go.” Dora and Diego were a hit the other two times they visited the mall and are expected to draw large crowds again this year. They will appear onstage on the mall’s lower level at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Mall at Stonecrest is at Turner Hill Road and I-20. For more information, visit www.mallatstonecrest. com.


September 24, 2011

CrossRoadsNews

Burrell Ellis

DeKalb County CEO

Congratulations 10 years of success DeKalb County into a regional retail marketplace. On behalf of DeKalb County, we wish you continued prosperity and look forward to many more years of growth and success.

B11


B12

CrossRoadsNews

September 24, 2011

CrossRoadsNews, September 24, 2011, Section B  

CrossRoadsNews, September 24, 2011, Mall at Stonecrest 10th Anniversary Special Section

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