Decaturish: Dairy Queen’s Future “Uncertain”

Many of you have asked for more info on Dairy Queen’s impending closing.  Decaturish just posted a new report from the restaurant.  Here’s the intro…

The word got out that the Decatur Dairy Queen will close soon. Loyal customers stormed the store on Monday to pay their respects.

Dairy Queen closes on Feb. 22 after 30 years in business. It will be razed as part of a plan to develop apartments on Trinity Place. But the DQ will be back in the new development. Right?

Maybe not, the owners say. They put a sign on the store that said “We will be back in new development.” The sign doesn’t say that the message is more of a hope than a promise.

Photo courtesy of Decaturish

38 thoughts on “Decaturish: Dairy Queen’s Future “Uncertain””

  1. This is all very confusing to this non-real estate expert. They say they wanted to “buy the building” but the city talked them out of it, but would the owner even sell part of a property if doing so might impede the development of the rest of the property? Also, if DQ has a non-expired lease, how is that being handled?
    BTW, does the “30 years in business” refer to the current franchisees?

    1. RE: “BTW, does the “30 years in business” refer to the current franchisees?”
      It must, since we went to the DQ regularly as students at Agnes Scott in the 70s – that and P by C (Pizza by Candlelight, at the corner of College and Candler).

      Maybe they could use the Hola space? I would think the building owners would like to get some rent from somebody!

      1. Or how about where Sammiches n Stuff was or the formerly proposed second Candler Park Market near the Imperial? The latter would require complete construction, but it could be all theirs…

  2. when we moved to Decatur in1993 there was Mick’s and the Diary Queen. My kids have grown up going there! So sad. I will want some answers if they cannot remain in Decatur.

  3. Wow! What I want to know is, what can WE do to help the owners and help keep this valued, long-time & locally-owned business in our city? Can we start a petition, contact the developers, anything?

    Obviously, we’d have some pull, as this excerpt from the article suggests:
    “City officials and the developer are both aware that any misstep with the DQ could set off a firestorm. People in Decatur love the Momins and their Dairy Queen.”

  4. We need to flood the property owner/developer and DQ Corporate with emails expressing our position of support for this business!

    Someone who is more tech saavy than me needs to find the email addresses and then let the grass roots campaign begin!!

    The power of the people can accomplish!

  5. Sounds like the city owns the adjacent property and bought it from the motels that were there before. DQ was a lessor but the lease expired and they were month to month with the owner of the DQ parcel (perhaps the franchisor). Franchisor sold property to Trinity Triangle developer who was assembling property for its development. Developer bought former motel property from city to go along with DQ property.

    Franchisee of DQ has no legal recourse because they have no lease and do not own property, but the new developer and city are trying to get them to stay on after the new property is developed, but the logistics are difficult because it’s hard to shut down a going concern for 1.5 years and re-open.

    This is just a case of a land migrating to its highest and best use. It’s life. DQ owners probably couldn’t get new lease because the parcel owner wanted to sell for more money.

    1. All correct, I think, except I don’t believe the city ever owned the Relax Inn. The DDA bought the parcel next door to the motel, which was a Dekalb County public works building. The motel site, I’m pretty sure, was sold directly to the developer.

      The Triangle parcel includes the DQ site, the Relax Inn site and the Dekalb public works building site.

      1. To clarify the ownership issue and the Ciy’s position, you need to go over to Decaturish and read Lyn Menne’s explanation.

      1. The highest and best use is a market concept, not an aesthetic or emotional one. You may not like it, but you should get used to it because the surface parking lots in this town are going away one by one to be apartments and retail. The city wants it that way, as do the landowners.

  6. Sounds to me like they are at least trying to be accommodating when they have no legal obligation to do so.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. Unfortunately all this long and detailed statement really confirms is that it’s about the money. It’s sad that this family’s loyalty to the City and the people in it means less than a bunch of entries on a balance sheet. We are all kidding ourselves if a development group out of Texas – TEXAS – has the best interests of this City and it’s culture in mind.

        1. Truthfully, I don’t have an answer for you right now. But see my comments below and I think you may see where I am coming from.

        2. I wish we could have converted the Relax Inn property to a park, with swings and benches. It would have been wonderful, and the DQ right next door would have been perfect. Yeah, that’s one less parcel paying property taxes, but it would have been beautiful and, I think, heavily used.

  7. I would love to see them have some place close by, and still be a part of Decatur. I have lived in Decatur all of my life and remember going over to the DQ After getting out from both Renfroe Middle and Decatur High after school was over for the day. They are and will remain a part of Decatur’s fabric of history, and should stay within a close radius of their current location. It’s a crying shame that they have to close their business down and move out of that building after 30 years! =~[

  8. All this for more apartments we don’t need. I always liked the fact that you could stand at the depot and see the stadium.

    1. Hey, I am a fan of that DQ myself, but to say “all of this for more apartments we don’t need” is some pretty skewed logic. To use an expression I learned in construction scheduling, this would be a case of “ten cents holding up a dollar.” That’s harsh, but true. And who is this “we” that doesn’t need apartments? Certainly there is a demand for them in Decatur, a demand that I can’t see being ignored in favor of a lone fast-food restaurant, as fine an establishment as it may be.

      1. Just don’t want to see this city get too big for its britches, that’s all. If we keep this up with all the development, will we really know our neighbors? Will we be able to have festivals on the square? Will our high school be a small college like those high schools in Cobb? All reasonable questions, if you ask me. Our city is 4 square miles. We shouldn’t feel the need to pack as many people as we can.

    2. On the Multiple Listing Service Monday there were 11 rentals available in all of Decatur 30030. One was an apartment in Town Square. Several were townhomes. The rest were houses. This city would become more vibrant and walkable with more apartments as close as possible to downtown. We need smart growth.

  9. The City has determined that more people without children and businesses are needed to balance the tax digest, which is too skewed towards single family residential. Except for maybe the part about knowing your neighbors, I don’t see any of the things you mentioned changing if that balance is shifted some.

  10. This is very sad news. Adding more and more developments (specifically those high rise buildings) is transforming the Decatur I grew up in and the Decatur I love. Obviously this is a money issue, and I understand that, but imagine if the large, empty lot that currently sits between DQ and Twains could be turned into green space. With some measures taken to ensure safety from the street, a grassy area with many trees, benches, and walking paths could have no better home.

    The owners of DQ are a prime example of the people that made Decatur the place that I yearn to come back to. And like so many others, are now going to be driven out of the city.

  11. Please. It’s a fast food fry pit, drive-thru paying minimum wage, selling junk food and bad ‘ice cream’. The building is ugly too. It needs to go the path the Relax Inn. Decatur is upside down financially. If it adds families (even those buying $400k plus homes) it needs to raise taxes. This is insane. The city must intensively develop downtown to pay for schools. By adding rooftops the market grows and allows more small business entrepreneurs to open businesses. Of course the best economic development strategy is more office buildings, which require little government service and pay high taxes. More affordable housing for millennials and more funky small business could help attract larger employers. So if Decatur is going to sustain itself and not raise taxes, DQ must go.

    1. The ice cream was delicious. The service was wonderful. The door was always open to help a community group with cups or plates or other support for anything going on. Folks can and should be able to do what they want with their property (for the most part), but I don’t think eliminating the wonderful presence in our community that DQ has been for 30 years is the only path to financial salvation for our wonderful municipality.

  12. This news is saddening. My husband and I visited this Dairy Queen as part of our first date in November, 1969. It may not have been the same family that operated the business, but Dairy Queen has been a fixture in Decatur there by the railroad tracks for decades.

    It’s regrettable that a longterm neighborhood business is forced out all in the name of “development”. The city of Decatur will never be the same. Where else inside the city limits can you take your family for a reasonable priced treat?

  13. “Where else inside the city limits can you take your family for a reasonable priced treat?”

    The Yogurt Tap (also a family owned business), the New Orleans snow cone place, Taqueria Del Sol ( I consider their tacos a reasonably priced treat), McDonalds if it has to be really cheap, probably others I’m forgetting.

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