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               ATLAS PARK MALL / THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK: GLENDALE (NEAR NEW YORK), NY

Steven Resch's Commentary

User submitted July 7, 2010

The Shops at Atlas Park, a.k.a Atlas Park Mall, is quite possibly the youngest dead mall to be submitted to Deadmalls. While this place is a quasi-lifestyle enter, personally I feel it was never really alive at all.

The Atlas Park Mall was built upon the site of the former Atlas Terminals Industrial Park, which at one time housed brands like GE and Westinghouse. The long dormant buildings of the center, located in the middle of Queens, the most populous borough of New York City, were extensively renovated into an indoor/outdoor retail and entertainment center by Atco Properties. At it's opening in April 2006, the center consisted of four retail buildings, one office building, and two parking garages. The center was loaded with an odd array of stores, most high end, some not, and also features several restaurants along with a brand new Regal Cinemas. Stores/restaurants included Coldwater Creek, Chico's, California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rockets, Chili's, Borders, Stein Mart, Amish Market, New York Sports Clubs, White House Black Market, and a few other local, privately owned entries. The “anchors,” or rather the only successfully attractive stores of the center, are Borders, Stein Mart, and Regal Cinemas.

There are several reasons as to why I say this place never started well at all. First off is the location. Atlas Park Mall is located in the midst of a low-density residential neighborhood, to the southwest of a large cemetery. It's area is at best middle class (recall that this place is particularly more upscale), and it not really located near any major highway. Woodhaven Boulevard is the nearest road that fits such a description, but is nearly always bogged down with traffic. Queens Boulevard is nowhere nearby, as well as any interstate or expressway. The NYC Subway System has no stops within reasonable distance; only local bus routes serve the mall. With such a terrible location and not really any opportunity for local shoppers, this mall was strained from the start. I doubt the upscale suburbia of Long Island, which probably would have enjoyed shopping here had it been more accessible, hasn't even heard of this place. Even if they did, Roosevelt Field or even Queens Center are much better places for shopping, even on accessibility alone.

The other two reasons why Atlas Park didn't even start well are the high-end selection of stores the mall offers and the management's failure to mitigate that issue. Over the past four years a few of those boutiques have pulled out, including the Amish Market. Adding to this problem is the mall's vacancy rate, which was high from the very beginning. One whole two-floor section of the East (Border's) building was never tenanted, as well as the the basement and second floors of the North building. (For an outdoor “lifestyle center,” this place has a very weird layout ­ for example there's a basement tunnel out of the main garage into the North Building that has never been opened, creating an underground dead end there). In fact the only building that constantly receives foot traffic is the South building, which incidentally houses Regal Cinemas and Stein Mart. Even if the mall had a decent layout and store selection, competition is already high: Atlas Park has to draw shoppers away from the tremendously popular Queens Center and Queens Place malls. However, not once, except when the mall first opened, did I see any sort of advertizing for Atlas Park. Perhaps a billboard on Woodhaven could draw potential customers, but management has never yet tried such a thing.

Overall it seems that Atlas Park may never get off the ground. Every time I go here (for the movies, of course) I make sure to see if the place has finally hit 100% occupancy, and never once over the past four years has it been over even 75%. Sadly, I can see that the developers here really wanted to make something out of an old abandoned industrial grounds, but their idea is failing to hold it's head above the retail waters.

Links

http://www.flickr.com/photos/revo8778/sets/72157624438845024/ - Flickr Photos









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