For much of suburbia's history, consumers were content driving to shopping centers to spend money at a conglomeration of shops, but that model is now disrupted.
The rise in online shopping, plus a change in attitudes toward moseying through a sea of stores, has pushed traditional malls and retail centers into decline. To corral potential customers to a property, some developers are creating "public realms" with plazas and robust event schedules.
That's how North American Properties plans to reinvigorate Avenue East Cobb, a lifestyle center built along Roswell Road in the late 1990s. The developer, best known for Alpharetta's successful Avalon project, is working with property owner PGIM Real Estate to create an 8,000-square-foot plaza and add two standalone retail and restaurant buildings known as "jewel boxes" in the middle of the development.