Atlanta Business Chronicle Reports Large Scale Calloway Project


It’s no secret that there has long been an interest in turning the Calloway Building site (home of the Maloof Auditorium, a huge sloping parking lot, and some quality barbwire fencing) into a high-density, mixed use development.  And in the past year or so, there have been rumblings on and off that the County was finally willing to sell.

Now, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the County could vote on the project as early as next month.  The full article is behind a paywall, but the key points include…

  • Cousins Properties, who didn’t comment for the article, would be the developer of the mixed-used project
  • DeKalb could vote as early as February 12th to sell the site to the city and then the city would potentially work with Cousins to redevelop the site

I don’t think it’s too dramatic a statement to say that such a development would go far and redefining Trinity Avenue as the city’s second Main Street, something the city continues to strive towards with the redevelopment of Allen Wilson Terrace and Beacon Hill, along with the longer-term idea of extending Fairview Ave through from Ponce to Trinity.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

44 thoughts on “Atlanta Business Chronicle Reports Large Scale Calloway Project”

  1. I happen to subscribe to ABC. The lengthy article describes a lot about how developers are very interested in developing downtown Decatur. With respect to the Calloway site, apparently there is an option to house a downtown supermarket there and another option for apartments. I assume that any downtown supermarket would not be a free-standing structure, but an urban type market (maybe a Trader Joes) on the ground floor of a larger structure. I would not be in favor of a supermarket there personally.

    Article also breifly covers a revised Trinity Triangle project being considered, the BOA project that fell through and how some other apartment developments may be in the works at Commerce and Clairmont.

    The rest of the front page article is a flattering homage to our fair city.

      1. I would LOVE to see a market there with a local focus. Think Auburn Curb, but aligned with the local farmer’s markets. Could have stalls for different Atlanta businesses (Storico Fresca Pasta, do you hear me?), a real fish monger, butcher, etc…

        Something along the lines of Suburban Square in Ardmore, PA would be awesome. It’s about the right size and scope.

      2. Traffic, parking requirements, short-term nature of visits, need for cars to haul groceries.

        We already have a corporate grocery downtown and several small grocers. A new mom and pop grocer is going up on College Ave. I support smaller, family owned groceries downtown rather than a supermarket. That’s why I live here, not in Johns Creek.

          1. I would be happy with a Trader Joes, but I would personally prefer it be in the building which the downtown Kroger currently occupies.

            I should say that the ABC article mentions “grocery store”, not supermarket. But it says the idea is that the grocery store would be the “linchpin” of the development. Because it is such a big parcel, I assumed that to mean a supermarket. Could be wrong.

  2. The development better not be taller than the parking deck, otherwise it would look like a monstrosity and sorely out of place.

    1. Given the slope of the land in that spot, it would probably have to be an awfully tall building to be taller than the parking deck.

    2. The City of Decatur has development controls that will limit the height to, I believe, 80 feet.

  3. The Callaway building does not contain the Maloof Auditorium. Callaway is north of the stadium. The site also includes large parking fields on Commerce and Trinity.

    The YMCA has been rumored as a potential tenant.

    Trinity has a long way to go to attract retailers. A grocery seems like a long-shot given the secondary nature of the street, traffic volumes, parking requirements and the Kroger.

  4. With the ongoing influx of students and a space-starved high school next door, I would be surprised if this wasn’t on our school system’s radar.

  5. It would be extremely helpful if the City would pay attention to the other mixed-use properties this developer has produced, including the “luxury” one in the heart of 30030, still under repair and reconstruction many years later. This developer officially originally denied their connection, going so far as to claim they didn’t know the names of the officers of the LLC they formed to create this development. Decatur can do *far* better than this.

    1. No developer is perfect, but Cousins has built up some goodwill from his work in East Lake and the Charter school. He is better than Fuqua/Sembler, and you need someone with deep pockets because that is a massive parcel,and it will require a lot of capital. He has ties to this area, is invested in it and knows what he’s doing.

      City officials are going to have to be tough and assert themselves to insure that it is not a cheap-looking project. Please no stucco. If the city is forceful and tough about what the developer must do, then it will be a good project. If not, any developer will try to maximize profit by putting up a cheap structure.

  6. Do you think the development should have to preserve “The Wall” where everybody who doesn’t want to pay sits to watch games in the stadium?

  7. I think this is great news for Decatur. It will add much needed rental housing to our market – not one new rental unit has gone on line in downtown Decatur since 1999. It will add housing density to our downtown core helping our restaurants and small businesses thrive and add amenities – such as a grocery store to make Decatur a much more walkable, livable place without having to have a car. How about a movie theater? Not to mention its proximity to Marta.

    This is great news!

  8. There is another article in this week’s ABC that names the Avondale Marta station as one of the 5 stations most likely to see TAD development in the next 2 years. I know Decatur has been trying to make something out of that MARTA parking lot. Maybe the Trinity rennasiance will follow up College Avenue.

    1. I wouldn’t be excited about OD. But I would do a moderately sexy dance for a place like Paper Source in the Highlands. (Paper obviously, printed invitations, cards, pens.)

  9. This seems like it could be very promising. Surface parking lots are probably the worst use of urban land, so almost anything would probably be an improvement. It’s very nice to be in a city where most of the leaders understand how urban spaces work.

    1. Never underestimate The Magic Of Marketing. It’s like global warming — growing exponentially more powerful with each passing generation until some cataclysmic event interrupts the cycle. Possibly the same cascade of calamities will put paid to all of it.
      Yes, I’m well into the Fri nite martini pitcher. Also, finally read ‘The Hnger Games”
      last week.
      Also, we don’t need no stinkin’ edit function, we know wht we mean. heh

    2. I don’t get Trader Joes, either. We lived in ViHi until 2 years ago. Limited selection other than some prepared foods and the quality of the produce was terrible on Monroe Dr. We bought milk 3 times that was spoiled upon opening. 2 buck chuck tasted like a bottle of $2 wine to me.

      1. Don’t worry. Trader Joe’s won’t go downtown. They want to move into Suburban Plaza and will help us oust Walmart. Right??? Right????

  10. This could either make decatur slightly better or a whole lot worse. I think we’d be smart to remember that cousins or any other developer is looking for profits, not the long term
    success of Decatur.

    1. Of course, Cousins will be looking for profits with this development or they wouldn’t do it.

      Brick Store was also looking for profits when it opened up and I’m sure they will be looking for profits when they open their new venture in the old train depot. But the fact that they are looking for profits doesn’t mean they don’t have the community in mind. In fact, furthering the goals of the community is probably good for business and will enhance their profits. You are not going to be very profitable in business if you do not do something that the community supports.

      In fact, Decatur would be sort of an urban wasteland today (with government offices and the courthouse being the only “businesses”) if there were not businessmen and developers (oh, the horror) risking their capital looking to make profits.

      None of this guarantees that what Cousins develops here will be beneficial to the community. But I am sure that the planners with the City of Decatur will work to make sure that good urban design practices are put into place. Cousins is also from Atlanta and has a history (East Lake Meadows the most prominent example) of using development to help communities.

  11. Am I the only smart*** to drop the name Walmart into the conversation?? Point is: There is no room for the additional traffic that these otherwise good ideas would bring. As such, there is no means of conveyance for sufficient clientele to make such stores profitable. A government facility may be the only appropriate use. I would love to see a Trader Joes kind of place! Any ideas??

        1. In my defense, I only called Cubagratis what Cubagratis called Cubagratis. But your point is taken and from now on I will only call Cubagratis “Cubagratis”. Esta bien?

  12. Wow. Let’s clarify something here. I have not been “stealing” or attempting to hijack anything. It is a simple play on words; one that if anything is a COMPLIMENT to the person to whom you are referring. In Spanish, libre means free, as in freedom. In Spanish, gratis means free of cost.

  13. Sorry, mistakenly hit publish too soon… Gratis means free of cost. Each translates into “free”. Do you get it now? Many people recognize puns; but apparently one fewer than I thought. The other person’s screenname suggests a desire for the Cuban people’s liberty. How right she is!! I was simply using a pun to allude to the cost and painful suffering endured by those under the Castro(s). I have never corresponded with this other person, but I like her posts. If either she, or a consensus of the group wishes me to desist from using this screenname, then that is what I will do. I intended neither disrespect, nor to conjoin myself to the identity of another. I welcome opinions.

    1. Liberty shmiberty. I always thought the other person’s screen name suggested a desire to drink rum and Coke.

    2. Well, I appreciate that, ‘Gratis. I’m taking you at your word that you meant your moniker as a compliment. “Freedom” and “free of cost” meaning very different things, I also have to say that I hope you can understand why other folk here-me included– might wonder about your choice of a pseudonym. That being said, most of the long-time commenters here know that my name’s a double entendre (not especially clever, but there we are). All this aside, I’m not claiming to own a patent on user names using whatever permutations of “Cuba” & “libre”, so feel free (see what I did there?).

      But this discussion has been useful, not the least because it lets everyone else know that you & I are definitely not affiliated with each other, so neither of us can be held responsible for the other’s posts! 😉

      1. I had gathered that you were female, but believe it or not, I JUST realized another possible interpretation of my pseudonym: My girlfriend waited until now to point out the implication of saying a women was free. How could she be so dumb as to not realize how stupid I am?? Nothing disrespectful was intended. I was appending a concept, NOT suggesting a thing about its author. Damn, at this point I would not want to be confused with me either =;)

  14. Libre, I have to confess that the impulse for “my” screen name arose while indulging in some margaritas. While awaiting friends, I perused DM, and rather oddly chose the name in responding to something. Sans margarita, it seems rather bizarre to me too. I kept using it because frankly, I was curious as to why no one said anything. There are good reasons to respect what I interpret as the appropriate and soft political statement of your moniker. For one, I am half Cuban. I can not think of any negative Cuban stereotypes at the moment and I did not think I was implying anything. I was wrong in thinking so–very sorry. I explained my thinking: at that moment I thought people would get my point; but later…
    I will therefore not use Cubagratis (come on, it was it at least somewhat clever) anymore. One poster’s initial (I can not stop) insult is of no concern to me, but your wishes are completely valid. I apologize for the intrusion.

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