Grocery Store Now “Unlikely” at Callaway Site


We had high hopes that we might get another grocery store in Downtown Decatur with the mixed-use development at the Callaway property, across from City Hall along Trinity Place.

But the recent disagreement between the city – who acquired the site a couple of years ago from DeKalb County – and the developer, Cousins, about what the market can support and what’s physically possible on the slanted site seems to have resulted in begrudging agreement that a grocery store isn’t possible at that location, according to a new blurb on

Decatur wants more ground-floor retail, though a grocery—or at least a full-sized grocery—seems unlikely given the topography and layout makes it difficult for large delivery trucks.

Le sigh.  The blurb also notes that the city would like some upper-floor office space in the development, since the last time an office building was constructed in Decatur was back before the Olympics in 1991.

Seems the development appetite is still mostly in luxury rentals, which is the case all over Atlanta. A recent GA Tech study found that a large majority of the 11,000 apartments being built and the 9,000 planned are these “luxury rentals”.  At the same time, low-cost rentals are disappearing.

Rendering for old plan courtesy of Smith Dalia

10 thoughts on “Grocery Store Now “Unlikely” at Callaway Site”

  1. Has the City or the developer contacted the Candler Market folks? They had wanted to put in a store on College near the Imperial… A spot on Trinity with easy parking would be great for them, if rents aren’t prohibitive. They need less space but would seem to be a great fit for downtown residents.

    1. Yes to Candler Market at Callaway. This would be even better than their almost location over by the Imperial.

  2. Seems like downtown Decatur is missing out on some significant strategic opportunities. Now it is the opportunity for the Calloway site to be more impactful. Previously there was the missed opportunity to rebuild the grid with the Gateway housing site on Trinity this would have connected Ponce and Trinity to improve walkability. In mho, the City also missed a tax revenue opportunity with the revitalization of Ebster Park and the school/police facilities. Why wasn’t housing built above them? Usually cities are in the cajoling and regulatory posture. In these cases, Decatur actually had ownership rights to exert. Opportunities like these come along once every 50 years or longer.

  3. The grocery store needs to go on the corner of Commerce Drive and East College, and extend all the way over into the Ace Hardware site. We don’t need Weeks Street, do we? Great site for a grocery store if the parcels of land could be combined.

  4. The land is “too slanty”? That is the biggest BS excuse I’ve ever heard. This would mark the first time topography wins over development….Walmart didn’t let topography win at suburban plaza, the high school didn’t let topography win in their ongoing renovations, and Grindhouse didn’t let topography win with theirs. Apparently the Callaway parcel must be the topographical Mordor. Besides, the Sheriffs office brings in bus loads of prisoners to the jail and a bus is the same size as a tractor trailer. Moreover, it seems as though not a day goes by when one lane of trinity by the courthouse isn’t blocked with some truck or another.
    Complete BS….no one needs a sprawling block wide Target but another grocery store is ideal.

  5. I agree about the topography BS excuse. My choice for a grocery store would be Trader Joe’s.
    A wonderful specialty grocery store without huge trucks, I am sure. But the topography excuse is pure BS.
    We need a grocery store for sure and my vote goes to Trader Joe’s. Has the city contacted them?

    1. You’re a little late to the party. Ever since the whole Walmart thing came up, several entities have approached TJ about a location in or near Decatur and they have repeatedly said they weren’t interested. There’s even a Facebook page.

      1. Thanks Steve for the info on TJ. I didn’t know that and never checked their FB page.
        It’s too bad they are not interested…..Decatur and surrounding areas are their customers and they would be successful I am sure.

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