Simon executives, District 7 City Councilmember Howard Shook and other officials use sledgehammers to break ground on the Phipps Plaza expansion at an Oct. 18 ceremony. (Ben Rose Photography)

Simon broke ground on the major Phipps Plaza expansion Oct. 18, joined by actor Robert De Niro and Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell.

Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell stands with actor Robert De Niro at the Phipps Plaza Oct. 18 groundbreaking. (Special)

De Niro is a co-owner of Nobu, the restaurant and hotel chain that is part of the expansion. The plans also include an office tower, fitness center, outdoor event venue and public green space.

Executives at Simon, which owns Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls, and District 7 City Councilmember Howard Shook were also present at the groundbreaking, according to a press release.

The officials used sledgehammers to smash a wall at the ceremony.

The expansion is expected to open in phases starting in 2021, according to the release.

“The Simon credential is highly respected throughout the national real estate industry and today’s event perfectly illustrates its commitment to maintaining a first-class presence in Buckhead,” Massell said in a press release about the groundbreaking.