Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chick-fil-A and Chase Banking on Brookhaven

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A and Chicago-based Chase Bank plan to open new locations on the former Hastings property on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven.  Hastings closed last summer and has since reopened in Peachtree Corners.   The parcel is sandwiched between the former Harris Teeter shopping center and Kauffman Tire.   This is the second time Hastings has relocated: the first was from their original store at the intersection of LaVista and Cheshire Bridge Roads, which is now home to a shopping center that includes CVS Pharmacy, McDonald's, Kauffman Tire and Chase Bank among other tenants. 

Chick-fil-A has wanted a presence in the Brookhaven area for some time, and it seems they have been working on this space for months.  I first heard they had interest in it this past fall, but progress has been slow with Brookhaven's new overlay zoning requirements  making new commercial construction difficult, especially along Peachtree Road.  Across the street from the Hastings site, the former Keller Williams offices were supposed to be razed for a Walgreens, but issues with a store design in compliance with all the strict city ordinances have brought progress to a halt. 

Chick-fil-A has gone through a number of personnel changes in Buckhead in recent months including the closure of the Phipps Plaza location and relocation of its owner / operator Tim Toms to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Additionally, Phil Nichols, the former operator of the Lenox Square location, left the store to take a job at Chick-fil-A corporate.  Most recently, Daniel Lomax, the opening operator at the "In-Line" Chick-fil-A Terminus location, received the promotion he'd been waiting for in being awarded an actual full-service location in Smyrna. 

For its part, Chase Bank is looking to continue to grow locally after it entered the market in 2008 with its purchase of failed bank Washington Mutual (WaMu).  Chase already has two Buckhead locations, one, a converted WaMu in the Disco Kroger shopping center, and the other, a new branch that opened in a portion of the shuttered Linens n Things in The Peach Shopping Center

Having recently been to the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Gwinnett, I'd like to see a Dwarf House built somewhere closer in and think this would make a great location.  Early intel suggests this is not the case but I still feel the need to mention it. 

Also, it's worth noting that the Zaxby's in the outparcel of Lowe's, a few miles north, is still not open.  Though Zaxby's corporate claims it will open June 26, that seems highly unlikely given it current sits about half done and has not been touched in over two months.  Decatur First bank was the original lender on construction and the loan was later taken over by Fidelity Bank but apparently there are issues with the franchisee as well.  

Do you agree with all the new Brookhaven overlay district requirements?  Do you think Chick-fil-A and Chase are good uses for the land? What retail or restaurant business would you like most to see open in the former Harris Teeter?

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has this been confirmed? Chase has been fighting to get some variances passed and CFA has pulled back because of that. If you have confirmation it would be great if you would share that.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

No, neither deal is confirmed but sources say it is close. A direct CFA contact says progress has been, and that the chain still plans to open on the site.

When I get more concrete info, I will e sure to share.

Thanks for reading and for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Go to abetterbrookhaven.org for the info on the fight between chase/chickfila and Brookhaven

Cory said...

I'm 99% positive the Chick-fil-a has backed out due to the fight in the variances. The Chase Bank is still pushing for it, Dekalb county has approved the variances but the Brookhaven Overlay Ordinance is fighting for it to be compliant. It's a tough fight for the neighborhood - push for compliance, leave an empty lot and scare away developers like Chamblee OR... let the variances slide but sacrifice the walkability and attractive streetfronted developments. Ahhh... the debate.

Atlantan99 said...

Hi Cory,

I have a contact within CFA who indicates thas as of mid May, they still had the store on the books for next year. It's not on the "First 100" page of the CFA website yet but that's not surprising given it's not yet official. I'll be sure and update if I hear any news.

Do you know if the (planned) Walgreens across the street is dead?

Thanks for reading!

Eli

Anonymous said...

It would be tragic to see either of these projects done in violation of the Brookhaven zoning overlay. The community has worked long and hard to move Peachtree in the direction of a more urban, walkable area. Allowing a typical suburban drive through, surrounded by an asphalt parking lot, does NOT move Brookhaven forward.

Anonymous said...

I think the Brookhaven Zoning Overlay people need to get a life. Brookhaven is not, and never will be, Midtown Manhattan. And who anointed them arbiter of how Brookhaven should move "forward"?

Anonymous said...

Walgreens is going to court to waive the variances. The neighborhood is lawyering up to fight the fight.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard anyone claim Brookhaven should be like midtown Manhattan. That doesn't mean the only alternative is for Brookhaven to be like Buford Highway. Countless upscale neighborhoods around the country have a main street that's attractive and friendly to walkers and cyclists. There's no reason a gorgeous area like Brookhaven has to settle for less.

Anonymous said...

As a parent who frequently visits the drive thru (and play area) at the Chick-fil-A on Roswell Road, I'd love to have one closer to home in Brookhaven. I hope that there is a way to reach a compromise as Chick-fil-A is a great dining choice. It's not too far to go to Chastain Square or Chamblee, but it'd be so nice to have them in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, Brookhaven already has a car-centric, suburban-style layout, with buildings set back from the street and parking in front. Unless you want to buldoze everything and start over from scratch, any redevelopment under the new guidelines is going to visually clash with what's already there.

And while "walkability" may be an admirable goal, how practical would it really be to try to walk home from Kroger with a gallon of milk, a gallon of orance juice, a five pound bag of apples, and a few other items?

Anonymous said...

There's no reason a gorgeous area like Brookhaven has to settle for less.

I think if they keep pushing it they will wind up with a barren stretch of Peachtree Road with the stores on the fringe, outside the overlay.

Anonymous said...

Brookhaven should concentrate on Dresden being their "Main Street". They have a good start there. Peachtree, in that area, will never be a great walkable area. More power to you folks in your attempt to make it walkable (any success is good). I do agree we need another Chase, Chick-Fil-A, and Walgreens like we all need another hole in our head!!

Anonymous said...

There is always a need for another Chick-fi-la. Hope that gets approved. I think trying to reconfigure the whole area is a little much. The Kroger shopping center is already established. Plus the Dresden area is supposed to be walkable but that development has really increased traffic and then there is not enough parking. I do wish they could do something with the old Harris Teeter.....that is such a waste.

BrookhavenMom said...

Many businesses have received variance approvals such as Savi Market. I don't believe Broohaven is trying to be Midtown. I think what is left out of the discussion above from some of the dissenters is that there are plans for a big mixed-use development attached to the MARTA. The idea is for that to become the central hub, if you will, of this part of Brookhaven. Given that context, it makes more sense to me that the businesses on Peachtree right around there "fit in."

Personally, I hope Chick Fil-A can find a way to conform to the overlay. I don't see any reason why they couldn't.

Walgreens is an example of a business that could conform but has chosen not to; the overlay folks have shown them photos of Walgreens in other markets that conform. So it's not like they aren't capable.

I'm very sensitive to the need to balance being attractive for businesses and maintaining some community live/walk standards. For example, I supported the variance for Savi even though many of the Brookhaven overlay folks did not.

I just wanted to weigh in and let you all know that a lot of this is related to the planned MARTA development. Here's a link if you want to see it: http://abetterbrookhaven.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Marta-Scan-11.14.08.jpg

Also, the Better Brookhaven site reports that the Chase variance was denied yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any news about the sale of Chamblee Plaza to Trinity Development? I've heard they've got great plans to redevelop it and as a resident of the neighborhood directly behind it, I'm excited. It seems like a great spot for a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon RE: Chamblee Plaza sale,

I heard the finally ( finally) happened but have little else to go on thus far. Personally I doubt either Whole Foods or Trader Joes takes space in any redevelopment there but who knows? The outparcel IHOP and recently renovated Chick-fil-A continue to do well so I think its safe to say they would both be unaffected.

Thanks for the question and for reading the blog.