Thursday, January 21, 2021

Where is Starcourt Mall from 'Stranger Things' located?


"Stranger Things" inhabits an exciting alternate world. Young viewers tune in for a whiff of anemoia to a time when analog gadgets ruled the day and shopping malls trumped Amazon.com.



One brick-and-mortar shopping centre is central to the "Stranger Things" universe as its plot moves further into the greedy, glorious 1980s: Starcourt Mall. 



Gwinnett Place in Atlanta stood in for the fictional Indiana mall, a key battleground for the third season of the Netflix series. Although many regard malls as dying specimens of 80s consumerism in America, this shopping centre has been, for better or worse, up and running since 1984. 



Gwinnett Place was developed by Simon Properties in the early 1980s and sold to Moonbeam Capital in 2013. Credit: Thomson200


Today the mall is largely untenanted, so empty that a corpse lay undiscovered in a deserted Subway for weeks in 2017.



Gwinnett Place started to fall out of favour with locals after Mall of Georgia and Sugarloaf Mills opened while online shopping further exacerbated its losses. Credit: MikeKalasnik


When "Stranger Things" production designer Chris Trujillo first happened on the mall, the structure had been in a state of disrepair. Netflix set out to contract more than 50 carpenters and painters to bring the mall back to its 80s glory, if only for a while. 



"Stranger Things" mostly filmed in an abandoned atrium section of the mall. The set came complete with a 3,000-square-foot recreation of The Gap, interspersed with 80s retail favourites like Time Out Arcade, Waldenbooks, J.C. Penney, Sam Goody, Orange Julius, and Radio Shack as well as fictional stores like Scoops Ahoy! In total, the team faked around 40 establishments, complete with painstakingly recreated signages and storefronts.  



Gwinnett Place in 2018 after Netflix transformed a section of the mall into the 'Stranger Things' set. Credit: Ace's Adventures


Unfortunately for "Stranger Things" fans, the set has long since been dismantled. For a few months after shooting wrapped in 2019, however, curious fans were able to pin down the filming location and snap some remnants of the set. 





In December 2020, Gwinnett County officials took it upon themselves to buy the property from then-owners Moonbeam Capital. The property is now due for redevelopment, with the county government mulling offices and housing in place of the mall.  



Gwinnett Place is due to close to the public in a few months for the project. Until then, you still have time to soundtrack your Atlanta shopping to “Material Girl”. 


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