Walmart coming to Suburban Plaza?

From CHCA president Suzan Rowe: Earlier this month a blog posting reported that Selig Enterprises had reached a deal with Dekalb County to re-develop Suburban Plaza and build a Wal-Mart on the site. Upon hearing of the report, the CHCA board checked in with our District Commissioner, Jeff Rader. The board expressed concern that the developer had not sought comment from the surrounding neighborhoods regarding the nature and possible impacts of the development.

In his response, Commissioner Rader confirmed that he and Commissioner Gannon had met with Selig and listened to their redevelopment objectives. He also mentioned that a big box development is permissible under the existing C-2 zoning. Commissioner Rader’s impression was that the space requirements of their desired building program and the required parking would necessitate an “urban” store design with underground parking at the corner of Medlock and North Decatur where the thrift store and mattress outlet are currently located.

This design would cost more than a conventional layout and therefore Selig is suggesting public financing assistance for underground parking and the renovation of the façade of the remaining shopping center strip. For the present, Commissioners Rader and Gannon have taken no position on the project but are planning to gather additional information from future meetings with the developer. Although the current zoning of the site allows for a “big box” development, any action by the BOC or the Development Authority of DeKalb County to assist Selig with financing would require a public process.

We will be tracking and reporting any future developments so that area residents are kept informed and afforded the opportunity to become involved in the processs. The full text of the blog posting is available at http://www.tonetoatl.com/2011/06/wal-mart-plans-store-for-where-else.html and Mr. Rader’s complete response to the CHCA board inquiry here:

From: "Rader, Jeff" <Jeff.Rader@jacobs.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 5:01 pm
Subject: Walmart coming to Suburban Plaza?
To: <suzanrowe@comcast.net>
Cc: "jeff rader" <jrader@dekalbcountyga.gov>, <kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov>

Hi, Suzan

Selig has come in to vet their redevelopment objectives. A big box development is permissible under the existing C-2 zoning, but I got the impression that the space requirements of their desired building program and required parking would eat up a lot of space on their site if conventionally developed, so in order to retain shopping center strip that houses Big Lots, etc., they would like to do an "urban" store with underground parking at the corner of Medlock and N Decatur, where the thrift store and mattress outlet are currently.

This would cost them more than a conventional layout and they are therefore suggesting public financing assistance for underground parking and the renovation of the facade of the remaining shopping center strip.

Commissioner Gannon and I listened without making any pronouncement on the project, and will be interested in what they might propose when next we meet. Any action by us or the Development Authority of DeKalb County to assist them with financing would require a public process, but again, provided they meet the requirements of the current zoning, no discretionary decision is required to build a big box store.

Jeff Rader