Proposed Walmart at Suburban Plaza Info Pours Out of Neighborhood Meeting

Jonathan Cribbs of North Druid Hills Patch live-blogged the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association discussing the proposed Walmart at Suburban Plaza earlier tonight.  And with both Steve Selig and Walmart representatives in attendance, there’s a heck of a lot of info in there if you’re willing to dig.  Among the highlights…

  • Selig says that the development is in-line with the DeKalb’s LCI plan for the area
  • Lots of bike racks
  • “LA Fitness is “extremely interested” in coming as well. So is Home Goods, Dick’s, Michael’s, hhgregg. Old Pizza Hut will be a new restaurant. Bowling alley is staying. Big Lots is going to stay “temporarily.” “The question Big Lots has is can they compete with the big anchor.”
  • Code is 5.5 per 1,000 parking ratio. Walmart is asking for 3.5 per 1,000.
  • No Walmart Supercenter has ever been shut down – and this will be a Walmart Supercenter
  • Plans are for this to be a 24-hour store
  • Not many metro Walmarts sell guns, but they do sell ammo
  • Trader Joe’s told Selig to “take a hike”

Lots more in the live blog, so check ‘er out!

56 thoughts on “Proposed Walmart at Suburban Plaza Info Pours Out of Neighborhood Meeting”

  1. Wouldn’t mind having a Dick’s sporting goods nearby. “Lots of bike racks” is kind of funny — how many people really bike to Wal-Marts? Even the people going to LA Fitness are likely to drive there to take their spinning classes, no?

    1. I bike to many places within two miles of home to shop. I chuckled at this, though, since this area is so very bikeable.

      Now, if they just remove that pesky 278/Stone Mountain Connector, they might have a chance of success.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a Decatur resident could very easily bike up Medlock Rd to this proposed Walmart, couldn’t they? Especially if Church gets a ped/bike makeover in the next few years…

        1. Yes, and I bike through that area daily on the way to work on the way from Avondale to midtown. My question was more along the lines of people tend to buy large quantities of things at Wal-Mart that aren’t suitable to biking home. I realize that a few people will do it, but not many at all. Look how many people bike to YDFM, for example, and they don’t even sell TVs and furniture there.

    2. hey

      i ride my bike everywhere
      if i go to any other walmart i just lock it to a rail or sign in front

      it;s actually not hard to get to that location, at least from decatur
      i mean on a bike
      sycamore to forkner to medlock
      all quiet streets, sycamore even has some bike lanes or sharrows or something
      it;s longer than church st, but quiet and mostly even flat, except medlock


  2. H.H. Gregg would be a nice addition. Doubt I’d ever frequent any of the other proposed retailers. Does “Old Pizza Hut will be a new restaurant” mean a new Pizza Hut? If it means a new chain., and assuming it will be a strip mall-type franchise, I’d like a 24 hour IHOP, please.

    1. HHGregg? Not so appealing to me. Each time I comparison shop for appliances and electronics I decide to buy elsewhere because brands are more limited here and prices are generally higher.

    2. The old Pizza Hut at Briarcliff Village is being converted into a Chipotle. Perhaps they’d do the same at Suburban Plaza.

  3. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting.

    I’d be interested to understand what demographic studies Walmart used in assessing this location. I probably have a participant bias, but it seems to me this location has a higher average income than areas where ‘supercenters’ are typically located. Granted the retail location itself is severely depressed, along with other nearby commercial spaces (empty auto lots), so I wholly agree if it ain’t there yet, it will be soon if nothing changes.

    However, I don’t believe that WalMart stores form improving ecosystems of retailers. I typically see fast food/quick service restaurants around them and very few competitive retail outlets. I would be gobsmacked to see a Dick’s or HomeGoods next to a WalMart. Likewise, studies have shown that WalMart stores drive established local competing businesses out– not that I’m anti-capitalism, I’m just skeptical of ancillary growth projections.

    As for parking variances, off the cuff, I’d prefer as few spaces as possible– the more difficult it is to park, the fewer cars and the least unused expanse of asphalt.

    1. >>>”I would be gobsmacked to see a…HomeGoods next to a WalMart.”<<<

      There is a Home Goods next door to the Tucker Wal Mart.

    2. The traffic counts at the intersection are probably unreal. People coming from L’Ville, Tucker, Stone Mountain and Gwinnett, I would imagine they could pick their mix rather carefully. Suburban is on the “going home” side for Scott Blvd and N. Decatur Rd. It a great underdeveloped site.

      1. I think the “going home” side location means that the demographic analysis probably focused on points east of Decatur – think Medlock to Stone Mountain. Which would be much more favorable to a Wal-Mart than the demographics to the west.

        1. I think that’s probably right. Those inside of I285 in Tucker/N. Decatur/Clarkston who go to the Tucker location now will probably switch to the Suburban Plaza store. The big Kroger shopping center will probably some business too.

    3. While the economics of 30030 is very impressive, other than East Atlanta and the Emory/CDC area… the surrounding Zips are not so well off. As I understand it, that is one of the major reasons that Decatur is not attractive to Traders.

  4. Hmmmm…maybe if Big Lots leaves Suburban Plaza, it can go into part of the empty H-Mart in Oakhurst! Problem solved!

    I’m only half-joking…

      1. I do, too, Wally– but surely there’d be an Oakhurstian hue and cry just as loud as the one about Dollar General if Big Lots even sniffed in that direction…

    1. I think Big Lots will be fine unless there are rent or other costs I don’t know about that would hurt BL. There is a Big Lots right by a Wal-Mart near my Mom’s house in PA and both have been there for many years.

      I can say that I’m living just off of Scott Blvd in Decatur and there is a LOT of traffic that I have to cross when I try to make a left onto it. I don’t know what the proposed train will do and I don’t know what the Wal-Mart effect will be but I’m hoping for the best. Maybe I’ll be able to take the train to Wal-Mart. 🙂

  5. SUPER Walmart — isn’t that an oxymoron? plus I was hoping for a mini-Walmart. No Walmart would be even nicer.

  6. I would love to see an ULTA in that center. And as for restaurant maybe a sweet tomatoes something with a really good salad bar.

    1. Agree that Michael’s would be awesome, just hope that Hancock’s can stay too. Glad Suburban Lanes can stay. Son will love Dick’s. There goes the budget.

    2. Hancock Fabrics carries many craft items but certainly far less inventory and variety than Michaels. Could both survive in the same plaza?

      1. Hancock’s is primarily a sewing store. I would guess the overlap with Michael’s is less than 20% of the inventory.

        1. Potential conflict could be the combination of a Micheals with Walmart also selling craft items & sewing notions and bringing back fabric cut by an employee (

      2. Michael’s and Joann’s both sit in the same plaza (right next to each other) in Lindbergh… I think they’d go great together here as well. They both pull the same clientele, but carry enough diverse products to where they would not compete.

  7. Wasn’t this supposed to be one of the urban centers? Am I having a brain fade? Hmmm…

  8. Interesting mix. Wal-Mart tends to pull in other low cost reatilers (think Payless) although the mix they have at their “Urban” Howell Mill store is more traditional but it does include Payless. I think if people are really concerned about the presence of Wal-Mart at that location, then they need to pressure Selig to recreate a reatil mix similar to Howell Mill.

    Stores in the Howell Mill Urban Wal-Mart Development – TJ Maxx, Ross, Payless, ULTA, Office Depot, PetSmart Massage Envy, School Box, Starbucks Coffee and Kaysons Grille.

    The Howell Mill store closes at midnight. Even the Memorial Drive store is only open 24 hours on Friday. Their closest 24 hour stores are in Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Morrow and Rockbridge.

    Question – Given the incredible proximity to the COD, does Selig have any planned public meetings w/ the COD leadership and/or residents.

    1. The Howell Mill complex is nice, but it’s also a massive complex with multi-level parking for all those things.

      I’ll throw in my vote for an Ulta, but I don’t see how a store like that could thrive in this area, compared to something like Payless.

        1. I would also love to have an Ulta over this way and would definitely be a customer. I was just saying I don’t know if a cosmetics focused store could make it with the revenue necessary to keep it open over here. Maybe. Who knows…

    2. School Box would be nice. But I do wonder if all these chains will really come and, if they come, will they survive. Party City did not do well across from Emory Commons.

    3. I was thinking the same thing, Howell Mill is an example of a Wal-Mart with a good mix of acceptable retail in it’s vicinity. I think Suburban presents a greater challenge however, as low end retail is already established. I like Big Lots, Family Dollar etc… but they are definitely low end retail… with the store rental income to match. I am sure that Selig will raise store rents considerably which will change the mix of stores automatically over time. His challenge is to make SP attractive enough to draw the higher end type of retail outlets that will justify the higher rents.

  9. Did they say anything about traffic? What directions people will come from? North Decatur can get bad enough at certain times of day. I know they have a planned study, but I’m curious how deep their study will be.

  10. What will Wallie World do to the local businesses in the area? We will have more closed stores and the traffic issues in neighbors will only increase. then there is the Transportation plan that seems to link up to the WalMart/DeKalb Hospital station. How convenient?

    Certain streets should be shut to cut-through traffic

  11. I’d love to have a Dick’s Sporting Goods that close. Decatur is severely lacking in that department.

  12. You can buy your gun at Dick’s, and if the ammo is too expensive, just run over to WalMart and get some there.

    1. Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of all the kids who live and play baseball in Medlock Park having a decent place near by to get cleats and gloves and bats…although I suppose you were making a feeble attempt at “anti-big box store” humor.

      1. I wasn’t responding to your comment, just to the fact that Dick’s actually sells *real* guns and nobody says anything, but WalMart starts sniffing around our neighborhood and everybody is all “They better not sell GUNS!!!” I could be wrong, but I think the only guns I’ve seen in the WalMarts around here have been airsoft guns.

  13. What happened to Trader Joe’s? Why aren’t they interested in being in Decatur? Whole Foods would be great. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we could get a Chipotle!!!!

    1. RE: Trader Joe’s – from the meeting blog sounds like TJ isn’t going gangbusters in all of Atlanta. Says better in the northeast. My take on that is the company is not ready to expand in Atlanta rather than just a problem with the Suburban site.

    2. Not in the neighborhood, but they’re building a Chipotle over by Northlake Mall where the Pizza Hut was.

  14. I hope this is true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would LOVE to see Michaels and Home Goods! I think they would be a GREAT addition!!!

  15. I find it depressing that in the many comments to this story no one has raised the objection to how Wal-Mart treats its employees. WM is known to underpay employees relative to its competition, crush unions, and has just escaped having to face a class-action lawsuit brought by its women employees by the Supreme Court. I never shop Wal-Mart because they are like a blight on our economy! They lower everyone’s standard of living so their share holders can benefit. I’m surprised the Decatur community has not protested WM moving in for just that reason.

  16. Decatur-ites- please do everything possible to protest a WM so close to the nice neighborhoods near S. Plaza. If you want to drive down the values of Decatur, no better way than to opt for WM. If you doubt this, drive over to the WM in Tucker and sit in the parking lot for about 30-40 minutes. Note of the type of people these stores attract. Be careful not to inadvertently take someone’s parking space…they’ll curse you out while holding their three year old…better yet, stroll into the store (watch out for all the used diapers, chicken bones and auto oil cans littering the parking lot, …if you carry a purse, hang onto it…(lock your car doors…)…go inside…ahhh…listen to the sounds of low prices: children wailing in every nook and cranny of the store as parents hunt for “roll backs…” Why so much noise? These “parents” don’t believe in babysitters, naps or discipline.. hours….what a pleasant shopping experience. Read the crime stats for Tucker since WM opened its doors….trust me this is not something you want. Peace Be With YOU.

  17. I think this idea is HORRID! I’m afraid we’d lose our fabric store, which is the only one anywhere near here. There’s already enough traffic there, I don’t want a WalMart!

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