The following is a list of eateries, retailers and in some cases hotels, that are either good as dead or should quit while they’re still solvent and stop construction now! Have someone in mind you think should be added or have an opinion on my predictions? Leave a comment and let me know.
Its under construction location in Buckhead will be the fist franchise location for this established Greenville, SC based restaurant. While it may have done well in Greenville, the concept seems too much of a leap of faith to succeed in Buckhead aside from the fact that the space they have chosen seems to have it in for any restaurant open or planned. The space was originally built out for AFC’s “Tib’s Grill”, a full-service Cajun themed restaurant that never opened. Later Spondivits would open, and close less than a year later amidst an e coli scare. The space sat empty for years until late last fall when Harry Bissett’s opened its first location outside of Athens. Bissett’s lasted a mere five months before closing. Now, local franchisees think they can create a success in the space and to them I say… GOOD LUCK!
After coming to Atlanta from their home base of Las Vegas, eBrands has had less than a hit on their hands. Driving by their prime second level Terminus location, it’s rare to see this eatery crowded and you’d think with such a great view, it would be. Judging from the cold calls from staff to neighboring hotels requesting that they send them customers, one might conclude they’re having trouble filling tables. As I previously said, eBrands will not let this location continue to drain capital and will have to give up on this in the first quarter of 2010.
~The Dolce Group (Ten Pin Alley, Geisha House. Dolce)
This set of “destination” attractions is anything but! While the food is OK at Dolce, the price does not justify either the quantity or the quality of the food. Perhaps this concept could do well in a place like Miami or maybe Toronto, but certainly not in Atlantic Station surrounded by Old Navy and American Eagle Outfitters.
Like Straits, it had celebrity backers, maybe too proud to declare failure. If the partners want to save cash, they should save what dignity they have left and admit that they set their sights too high opening three concepts in an unproven and ill-suited development. I have heard they are currently trying to get out of their multi-year leases but are running into problems in finding another sucker to take their leases.
~Emerald Coast Coffee & Grille
With Terminus already in trouble, the last thing it needed was this. With the far superior F2o not far away in the Sovereign building and Chick-Fil-A in Terminus, Emerald Coast does not stack up against other nearby offerings. Not only that, its main beverage, coffee, is readily available at Caribou and Starbucks to the left and right of their front door. I went in myself and had one of their “signature” smoothies and was amazed at the fact that the smoothie tasted more like sugar water than blended fruit. Yogurberry, around the corner, makes far better tasting smoothies with seemingly fresher ingredients. Having been by since my initial visits to see what business was like, I have never seen more than a handful of patrons in at any time, lunch or dinner. I see Emerald Coast closing sometime in the second quarter of 2010.
~Ixtlan Ultra Lounge
Piebar, from established restaurateur Bob Amick, could not make it, nor could Eros, and now Ixtlan wants to tempt fate. How about saving yourself some headaches and money and closing now? Great space, turn an old bank into a chic bar / restaurant, kudos to Ammick on the space. The major problems are A., parking, and B., insufficient indoor dining for cold or inclement weather. I doubt this new concept will last till summer.
~Martin + Osa
This brand from American Eagle is destined for closure. Similar to the failures of new concepts from other clothing specialty stores, Martin + Osa has never made the numbers necessary to justify keeping it open. Martin + Osa has an interesting concept, it caters to an older crowd than its sibling retailer American Eagle Outfitters and competes more with J. Crew and Banana Republic. Just as GAP experienced with its Forth and Towne brand and Abercrombie & Fitch with its Ruehl No. 925, these new concepts were only popular with a very small niche of the consumer public. Appealing to such a small market made it difficult to expand and even more difficult to keep existing stores open. The announcement that this chain will be discontinued will probably come before this coming summer.
Launched by local music producer Dallas Austin, Rowdy is a clothing label to which there is no comparison. Basically all the apparel is flashy and might be anyone’s designs. You can’t just enter the clothing business and set your prices at such an elevated level. Just as Andre 3000 found out with his Benjamin Bixby line, the fact that you are a famous musician does not necessarily translate into a successful career in fashion. While exceptions such as P. Diddy’s “Sean Jean” label and Jay Z’s “Rocawear” do exist, most forays by musicians into clothing end in failure. Both Benjamin Bixby and Rowdy entered the market at higher price points than either Sean Jean or Rocawear and that may be a factor in their sluggish sales. Rowdy and Benjamin Bixby were both carried by Neiman Marcus but were both discontinued from most locations after just two seasons. Wisely, Bixby never set up its own boutique; Rowdy on the other hand did, in the “Luxury Wing” of Lenox Square. Merchandising at the store is basically non-existent as the windows have remained the same since opening. Never busy and seemingly out of place amongst the more understated Cartier and Ferragamo, it’s only a matter of time before this store closes. While I understand that mall management is looking to fill empty space with local retailers, perhaps they will be a little more selective. Not knowing how long a lease was signed, or if simply a "short-term" lease was signed, I can't really give a closure prediction, but the sooner, the better.
Not much to say here other than to question why it’s made it this far. Bow Wow’s mother opened Taste in Atlantic Station and should have stuck to just being Bow Wow’s mom, not a retail failure. Similar to what happened to Jazzy Pha's "Knitch" in Atlantic Station, the store stocked high-end designer merchandise, but soon found the clients it catered to do not and would not shop at Atlantic Station, as a result, the store closed. It's doubtful this store will make it to spring.
~The Mansion on Peachtree, A Rosewood Hotel and Residences
As anyone will say, great location, beautiful interior and spacious rooms but you need more than that to be successful. Whereas the Intercontinental is marginally further away from Lenox Square, it does have a far more welcoming lobby. Though the Mansion was blessed with a great address, it had to build up, rather than out, a clear factor in their stuffy lobby. Many visitors have described the lobby, and much of the hotel for that matter, as “sterile” not the word you want used to describe the first thing guests experience upon their arrival. With the hotel facing foreclosure, its unknown what will happen to the hotel and or if a name change will occur. Personally, I would not put it past Horst Schulze to put his West Paces Hotel Group in the running to either operate or acquire the property. Schulze, best known for his leadership at Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group, founded the West Paces Hotel Group and their two luxury brands Capella and Solis. It’s likely something will happen to the hotel within the next 90 days, but it’s doubtful the Mansion will be the same this time next year.
Already 'Watched by ToNeTo Atlanta