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Old 03-04-2015, 07:02 PM
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,442 posts, read 2,817,865 times
Reputation: 2148


Could we tear down the mall and start over with a live/ work play center?

New York City-based Thor Equities is an international real estate development and investment company that owns the 800,000 square foot The Gallery at South DeKalb.
From Thor Equities' page describing The Gallery at South DeKalb:

The Gallery at South DeKalb is located in the southeastern section of Atlanta, known as Decatur, Georgia. Situated minutes away from I-285, and directly off I-20 on Candler Road, the Gallery has tremendous exposure and visibility from the street. The daily traffic count of cars passing the Property is estimated to be about 136,000.

The Gallery at South DeKalb tailors itself to a close-knit community of African-American consumers with more than 600,000 potential customers in the primary and secondary market area. This trade area has the nationís second-most affluent African-American base with an average household income at more than $60,000 for more than 257,000 people within a five-mile radius. There is also a deep relationship between the Gallery and their local religious partners. In their trade area, the 10 largest churches have more than 125,000 members, which support the Gallery at South DeKalb in many ways.

Just imagine for a moment that The Gallery at South Dekalb disappeared. When you drive up Candler Road, you don't see the 46 year-old mall, but you see something different. You see shops lining the street level at Candler Road, where you were able to look down into the valley that once held The Gallery at South DeKalb. When driving down into the valley, you see what looks like a small city center. You find buildings of differing heights and designs with retail names that are not within 20 miles of this location, but names that residents in the area seek out, drive to and shop at...20 plus miles away.

In your mind, you've seen this type of development, with names such as Atlantic Station, Glenwood Park, and Avalon. Residents of the actual city of Decatur and Atlanta come out to this location, to shop at stores that they used to have to travel much further to shop at. Traffic has gotten so much worse that the Georgia DOT is going to construct a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at the Candler Road- Interstate 20 interchange.

This is something that could happen. With I-20 being one of the busiest freeways in the south, south DeKalb residents shouldn't sleep on The Gallery at South DeKalb, or should I say, the potential of The Gallery at South DeKalb. There will be the usual, "this won't fly in south DeKalb, because of the income issues" crowd. It's all about providing a desirable destination. There's a solid middle class in the south DeKalb market area.

The issue is not that most residents don't want to or can't support the retail, they like most consumers want the whole shopping experience to be something that they feel great about shopping at. Atlantic Station does a great job in this area. It's offerings are nothing out of the ordinary, it has a Publix, movie theater, mall-type retail, a huge confusing parking garage and enough events happening year-round. Atlantic Station is basic mall-type stores in a nice wrapping. They've also upgraded Atlantic Station once in the past nine years since it's opening. Retail center upgrades are important. This is why in other parts of the metro with similar economic demographics, retail centers and stores are upgraded, renovated and refashioned often. The retail stores and shopping center owners know that doing a upgrade every 20 years won't fly with the consumers in those areas. Why should it fly in south DeKalb?

Imagine having a Christmas tree lighting at the new South DeKalb. Imagine a weekend flea market. Imagine an amphitheater with events almost year-round. This is doable and we should explore this further. We should ask Thor Equities, "what are your plans for this property?" With the city of Greenhaven looking to be a more of a possibility, a repurposing of The Gallery of South Dekalb would be an amazing asset.

If you're into planning and development, I came across a Livable Centers Initiative study commissioned by Dekalb County for the Panthersville/ Flat Shoals Parkway/ Candler Road area back in 2007. This is a great start, but the conversation needs to keep going. Maybe this is something a future city of Greenhaven may incorporate in its planning schedule.
Found this on the Greenhaven Blog and thought it was interesting. So is there a chance of this happening. What steps would have to be taken?
City of Greenhaven Now!: Atlantic Station-Style Development Is Possible In South DeKalb
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:17 PM
Location: Georgia
1,450 posts, read 1,344,434 times
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I think this would be overly-ambitious.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:30 PM
1,584 posts, read 1,653,989 times
Reputation: 1197
Possible, but very unlikely.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:31 PM
28,109 posts, read 24,639,595 times
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The market can easily support this.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:41 PM
Location: O4W
3,744 posts, read 3,531,523 times
Reputation: 2045
Possible. ..yeah.

it's also possible that the National Health Museum will start construction next month
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:58 PM
1,309 posts, read 696,121 times
Reputation: 592
Can the demographics of that area support this kind of ambitious project?
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:51 PM
Location: Decatur, GA
4,908 posts, read 3,705,971 times
Reputation: 2460
I wouldn't think so, nor the transit. As much as we want high capacity transit to reach Atlantic Station one day, it's not badly setup, especially with those dedicated bus lanes for the shuttle and the short-hop over to Arts Center station. South Dekalb Mall wouldn't have anywhere near that kind of opportunity, even the BRT component of I-20 East won't really be sufficient, not until the Wesley Chapel road station is built as part of the I-20 East HRT which will be years.
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:31 AM
Location: Kirkwood
22,147 posts, read 16,147,338 times
Reputation: 4894
The reason retail like this does not get built is because of race. There are enough people with high enough earnings to support a scaled down version of this lifestyle center. I can see this area supporting a retail area the size of the Forums on Peachtree.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:20 AM
1,584 posts, read 1,653,989 times
Reputation: 1197
I think it's more likely that money is the deciding factor. I can't see a developer coming to the conclusion that a project would be profitable, then deciding against it due to racial demographics. I could be wrong, but my guess is that enough money would override prejudice.

I don't know the area very well, so I'm curious about a couple things. What happened to the mall? Has the area been able to support other retail?
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:24 AM
Location: City of Trees
1,061 posts, read 878,782 times
Reputation: 581
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
The reason retail like this does not get built is because of race. There are enough people with high enough earnings to support a scaled down version of this lifestyle center. I can see this area supporting a retail area the size of the Forums on Peachtree.
Bingo. Everyone underestimates the income of people in this area. A development like this would be a great success, and people that normally just zip into the city or Stonecrest (or, until recently, North DeKalb Mall) could shop here. As far as access, there's no rail, but it's right beside I-20. As an aside, there should have been a MARTA station right behind this mall decades ago, and even with the church that was build on Lloyd, there's still plenty of room for a rail station there.
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