Bank of America Property Redevelopment Moving Forward

This almost happened back in 2012.  Now it sounds like it’s finally going to get off the ground.

From the latest issue of the Decatur Focus

Plans are moving forward for the redevelopment of the Bank of America site in Decatur. This critical gateway to downtown will include a new, smaller building for Bank of America, and residential and retail uses fronting Clairemont, Commerce and Church Street. Parking for the project will be underground and the developer is contributing property along Commerce Drive to allow for the extension of the planned bicycle track and wider sidewalks.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

18 thoughts on “Bank of America Property Redevelopment Moving Forward”

  1. I suppose for better or worse this will be an appropriate new, “Gateway” for The City. i.e. Welcome to the new Decatur; A cityscape of indistinguishable mid-rise mixed-use developments.

    1. Would you prefer a single purpose residential or commercial space. Perhaps a bank in an island of asphalt. I don’t understand the hate for “mixed use” developments. It seems to me that mixed use is not really a new concept. Last time I was in a large old city such as NYC I was surrounded by residential units above commercial space built long before I (and likely my parents) was born.

      1. I think the hate for mixed-use has to do with the ugliness and uniformity of the current style of mixed-use developments.

  2. The article in Decatur Focus said the parking will be underground. That’ll help distinguish it from the others…

    1. Thanks ‘Just Me’ for pointing that out,
      That is an improvement and important, “Distiguishing” feature that could potentially afford a better, more practical use and more gracious aesthetic and quality of life for both occupants of the complex and city residents.

  3. The gateway should have been wooden beam & rod bridges at the train crossings… with a continuation of the gravel roads. That is the proper vision of Decatur’s future.

    However, I hope it is remembered that this is a bicycle crosspath. [referring to the various roads that cut through the parking lots in the area]

    In the end, it is questionable that the new development at Commerce & Clairemont, based on previous examples, will be in any way a safer bicycle way. As well as bicycle road design being done by people unaware of how bicyclists, actually, ride bikes.

    Bicyclists ride to be safe & that means as many options as possible.

    “Take the lane!”

    Also, with all the imposing higher rise buildings, & loss of trees, Decatur will become more imposingly grim.

    Unfortunately, it seems doubtful that the revisiting of plans will lead to any greater enlightenment.

    “Bicyclists be damned!?!” will remain the byword…

  4. This is outstanding. Placing the parking underground will allow all of the land to be used wisely. And I’m very glad that this also include space for the cycle track!

  5. Decatur planners best watch for the volume of retail they approve…retail in general is suffering due to internet purchase patterns. There’s nothing wrong with having some ground floor residential “mixed” in as all great cities have. There can only be so many restaurants/bars, coffee shops, salons, and yoga studios. Banks, cell phone stores, and other sectorscommon to US streets may be all but dead in a few years. We need to house more non-drivers in the city center.

    1. I agree with you somewhat, but I also think the market will shake out and stuff with staying power — be it restaurants or innovative retail and services — will fill those spots.

      The equation seems to be that each of these mixed use developments brings with it the additional residents to justify/support the additional retail space. Part of me believes that. But part of me sees all of the retail vacancy in the Arlo (and apparently DQ experiencing some uphill sledding — though I always see a healthy number of people in there both when I stop in and when I drive by so I’m not sure what their situation is). With the BOA and Beacon Hill mixed use developments inbound, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve perhaps reached a tipping point where the model is no longer sustainable in CoD (not even going to bring schools into this).

    2. I would love some retail where you could actually buy something you need. Where in the city limits can you buy underwear, socks, art supplies…etc? I would love to not have to order online or leave Decatur. And I hate Walmart. Wish we had some more choices.

    3. I would love if I could buy what I need in town. The complete lack of practical retail is why I buy almost everything online. Where in the city of Decatur can you buy socks? underwear? plus size clothing? men’s dress shirts? art supplies? There is a lot of room for retail improvement. We have 2 fancy running shoe stores and lots of outlets for art and jewelry but not a lot of everyday items.

      1. I agree but with the departure of Cook’s Warehouse and countless other retail stores over the years, I’ve come to realize that City of Decatur residents are just not sufficient in number and buying power to support most basic retail establishments, especially small, independent ones. City businesses need shoppers from outside the City and those folks tend to come for food and drink. For retail purchases, they go instead to local shopping centers with easy parking. I don’t think this will change until the City figures out how to provide centralized convenient and cheap parking for shoppers. I like the pedestrian friendly atmosphere of our Downtown but we need a place for everyone to park before they get out and walk.

  6. I am happy that this space is going to be developed, as almost anything new would be a vast improvement over the current situation. I’m also pleased that parking will be below ground, though I wonder if the size of the lot would even have allowed an interior parking garage such as the Fidelity residential allowed.

    If I had my druthers, the above-ground level space would be commercial office space rather than retail. We’ve already added a significant number of apartments in the past two years, with the new one at Avondale on its way. There is only one new commercial building coming up, and that’s just 30,000 sq ft of office space. Also, my unscientific review of the apartments leads me to believe that they’ve had a more significant than expected affect on the schools.

    1. We always knew that additional apartments would increase school enrollment. The percentage of children in them is low but the absolute number of extra seats needed in schools is not. They may be a win from the City’s point of view but they’ve definitely caused our school system to grow.

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