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*UPDATED: Scroll for updates.*

Congratulations to McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland and his team for their efforts to entice more retailers to South Point Mall.

Located on Highway 20 just west of I-75 at exit 218, JC Penney’s, Kohl’s, and Academy Sporting Goods will soon be joined by retailers Toys R Us, TJ Maxx, Ulta, Haverty’s Furniture and others.

Finally.

Since I live directly behind South Point Mall I’ve kept very close tabs on it since development first began back in 2005. The City of McDonough website still boasts the original plans:

South Point is a multiuse village retail development hosting 10 Anchor Stores, dining, and architecture compatible with the historic McDonough Square. The development will contain a Kiosk providing information on McDonough, and a trolley to and from the McDonough Square. Also on-site will be a 100 unit 7 story residential facility. South Point will not be a mall, it will be an Experience.

Clearly, none of that ever happened and it’s been sitting mostly undeveloped for more than five years now.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, you can thank none other than Henry County Board of Commissioner Chairman B.J. Mathis who convinced the main anchor store, Dillard’s Department Store, to NOT build there.

During the initial development of South Point Mall in 2005 the City of McDonough annexed all the property between I-75 westward to Nail Dr. just past South Point Apartments. This included the South Point Mall development.

The annexation meant that ALL tax revenue from the mall would now go into the city coffers instead of to the county. As made clear by the City’s announcement this week, that has worked out really well for them.

Well, then-District 2 County Commissioner B.J. Mathis wasn’t about to let the City get away with that. So, she convinced Dillard’s to move from South Point Mall into HER district on Jonesboro Rd. across from the Target shopping center which was still being heavily developed at that time. (UPDATE: Documentation shows Dillard’s had planned on moving to “The Summit” development on Jodeco Rd. at I-75*) Apparently, Dillard’s was still in a position to change their building site and agreed to do so. But, between initial delays of the project and the eventual collapse of the economy in 2008, they pulled out.

So now you know why South Point Mall has sat empty for years. Without Dillard’s, other retailers also either pulled out or never came. All because of one greedy woman who chose to play politics.

Thank you again, Mayor Copeland.

****”The Summit” development property on Jodeco Rd. was the failed attempt by the Shailendra Group with whom Bayer Properties was partnering with at the time. Shailendra has had multiple lawsuits filed against him related to this property for allegedly committing fraud by duping investors in a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

Shailendra also received a waiver in 2009 from Henry County Tax Commissioner, David Curry, in the amount of $26,896.61 (.xls Row#1631) for interest and penalties owed on delinquent taxes for this property.

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