ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- The Mall West End was built in 1971 and was once the place to shop for Atlanta's African American middle class.
The mall is now often overlooked as a shopping destination. Donray Von and Ryan Gravel want to change that.
“I remember Peppermint Records, I remember the ice cream store, I remember Cherry's…” said Investor and developer Donray Von.
Von also added, “I grew up in the West End Mall so the opportunity of a lifetime, which brought me back from Los Angeles, is to buy the mall I grew up in.”
Ryan Gravel is the visionary behind the city's beltline, which he said will eventually connect to the 12.5-acre project. Redevelopment will include retail, office space, residential units and hotels.
Invest Atlanta is now partnering with Von and Gravel’s development firm, Elevator City Partners. Invest Atlanta has approved a $2 million pre-development loan for the project.
While the plans look great, what about concerns of displacement?
“We think there's a way to create 20 black millionaires by insisting black and brown participate in the service contracts, in the retail contracts, in the housing and residential,” Von said. “We talk less about cultural displacement,” said Gravel. “We also want to be investing in the arts and cultural opportunities.”
Some who visit the mall say it needs an overhaul.
“At the end of the day, if we're just going to hold on to these building because of a historic value it's not really benefiting anybody,” said Wilson.