Shannon Mall was one of the most bustling shopping venues in the metro Atlanta area for many years, but according to Union City Mayor Vince Williams, “That model of a mall, unfortunately, is a dying dinosaur”. With that death according to Williams, “It’s caused a lot of hardship in our area, in the local economy, and in a lot of households because there were a lot of folks who were employed and are now unemployed or had to rethink what they wanted to do to support their family.” It was built in 1980 as a shopping hub for south Fulton County. It was known as Union Station Mall when it closed in late 2010.
“Shannon Mall has a great place in many of our hearts as it will always”, says Mayor Williams, “but now it’s time for us to look towards the future.” Demolition is already underway.
The future, of which Williams speaks, includes redevelopment of the property located just southwest of downtown Atlanta. The first phase of the project will include a film studio by the firm 404 Studio Partners. The Union City Mayor calls it, “one of the hugest economic industries in this area.” What’s going to take place, according to Williams, “is going to spur economic development beyond belief for a lot of folks when they think about Union City.” He goes on to say, “It’s going to drive retail, restaurants, other job opportunities, other types of ancillary businesses to support what will be taking place over in Union City over the next couple of years.”
It will be a 25-acre film and TV studio. The 345-square-foot project will be developed by Rooker, the real estate company based in Atlanta. Rooker purchased Shannon Mall earlier this year.
Mayor Williams says it’s about how Union City rebuilds, rebrands and revitalizes. Ground has already been broken on a Walmart eCommerce development that’s expected to bring in approximately 600 jobs. A planned one million square foot Proctor and Gamble warehouse distribution development complex, according to Williams, will bring in close to 800 jobs. The latest development is expected to double the Walmart and Proctor and Gamble projects with Williams saying they’ll see, “close to 3500 jobs or so over the next 2 to 3 years, right here in Union City, right in the heart of the metro Atlanta area.”
According to Williams, it all “makes the bold statement that Union City is open for business and it demonstrates resoundingly the power of partnerships.” Along with the developers, Williams acknowledges having the support of Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reid, Governor Nathan Deal’s office, Congressman David Scott, the commissioners, along with other federal and locally elected officials. According to Williams, “It’s been a concoction of everybody sitting at the table and trying to come up with something that’s going to work, not only in Union City, but regionally.”
Like many cities, Union City has been stricken by the economy, which Williams says, caused some heartache, “but we pulled through it.”
The Mayor describes the growth over the last few years as “phenomenal” with at least 300 million dollars being pumped into the local economy right now. He says, “This has been Union City’s time for a long time. Now we get a chance to describe Union City and people get a chance to experience Union City.”