Friday, March 8, 2013

QuikTrip's Next Quest? Howell Mill Road

New Gen III QuikTrip
Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip (QT) is eyeing another intown location.

The popular convenience store / gas station known for simple design, cheap prices and more recently, expanded food and drink options, wants to build a new "Gen     III" location at Chattahoochee Avenue and Howell Mill Road.  The new location would take the place of an existing Just Brakes, a car lot and two other adjacent lots, one of which is currently vacant.  Newer "Gen III" QuikTrips are about 1000 square feet larger than older stores and offer expanded varieties of ready made food as well as assorted bottled and freshly made beverages.   

Recent Gen III openings have included new locations at Clairmont and Briarcliff Roads on the site of a former grocery store as well as another on Buford Highway that replaced another gas station.  A new location also opened in Suwanee at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Satellite Boulevard.  Another is currently underway on Chamblee Tucker Road in Chamblee that will replace an older location across the street.  

Not all neighborhoods are in favor.  

In 2011, QuikTrip faced community opposition in its attempt  to open a new location on Moreland Avenue in Southeast Atlanta.  Community concerns there related to both the station's proximity to residential neighbors, as well as a likely increase in traffic.  The neighborhood even started a Facebook page "No QuikTrip Here" to help spread their message.  They were careful not to say they were anti QuikTrip, just anti them developing a location so close to residential neighbors.  

The Howell Mill site is no different in that while community members would like to see development, most feel that a QT would bring too much additional traffic to an already congested intersection.

There are a number of issues still to be worked out, but (as I understand it) thus far QuikTrip has failed achieve necessary approvals as their proposed site is within the Beltline Overlay (District).   A presentation last fall before Neighborhood Planning Unit-D (NPU-D) was met with more negative and harsh comments from neighbors than positive.  Some reports claim that QT is already paying on the property and that a ground lease is already in place.  Neighbors I spoke with doubt this is the case, but admit the station may still be built, even without their blessing.   As one community member put it, "A deal is not done, but it ain't dead either."  

In related news, a BP / Circle K recently opened at the corner of Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard and Chattahoochee Avenue.  

Last year the neighborhood unsuccessfully pushed for the developer of a planned Advance Auto Parts to abandon his plans for a new store on Howell Mill Road.  The neighbors said there was already an abundance of auto related businesses along Howell Mill, and that the site's entry / exit point on Holmes Street was a safety hazard.  Despite email bombing AAP executives as well as developer Trinity & Associates to try to persuade them to build elsewhere, the location opened late last year.  The auto parts store displaced Bell Street Burritos, a local burrito joint that had just opened their restaurant a few months earlier.  

RaceTrac, QT's chief competitor, also faced issues at Powers Ferry Road and Windy Ridge Parkway in East Cobb.  The Cobb County based business sought to build one of its new gas stations and convenience stores on a parcel currently home to a shuttered T.G.I. Friday's restaurant. The neighborhood has been vocal in expressing their anger with and disapproval of the proposal.

RaceTrac also faced community obstacles in their failed attempt to open a location on Lawrenceville Highway near North DeKalb Mall.  The new RaceTrac would have been built on a large vacant parcel of land currently home to trees and shrubs, and adjacent to nearby single family homes.  The parcel is across the street from a QT.    

What are your thoughts on QT's planned opening on Howell Mill?  What type of business would you like to see opened on the site(s) if not a QT?  If you have visited new locations of both RaceTrac and QuikTrip, which do you like more? Why? 


mindspringyahoo said...

From what I've seen near the new QT on BuHi (just ITP) and the one on Clairmont, I'm not convinced at all that they increase traffic.

AJ said...

Traffic on Howell Mill @ Chattahoochee is horrible. I used to live over there. While I love QT, I think it's a horrible location. If Howell Mill were 2 lanes with a turning lane the entire length of it, sure. But as it is now, traffic would be horrible. As for that RaceTrac on Powers Ferry - I think it's utterly ridiculous that people are fighting it. It's better than an empty TGIFridays and Famous Daves next door. There needs to be development there. And there would be no traffic issues as Powers Ferry is 3 lanes in each direction.

Lisa said...

' RaceTrac also faced community obstacles in their failed attempt to open a location on Lawrenceville Highway near North DeKalb Mall. The new RaceTrac would have been built on a large vacant parcel of land currently home to trees and shrubs, and adjacent to nearby single family homes. The parcel is across the street from a QT.'

Uhm - this wasn't a failed attempt. The location is in fact open for business.

LisaH said...

And as far as Powers Ferry goes, I agree with AJ. That is a great location for a gas station. I used to work in Wildwood and traffic is not that bad there. It isn't even that much of a residential neighborhood - more of an office park.

Atlantan99 said...

Hi Lisa,

A RaceTrac did open on Lawrenceville Hwy near Northlake Pkwy. A second location was proposed on Lawrenceville Hwy near North DeKalb Mall. This location is not open and from what I understand it won't.

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

The new McDonald's is open at Howell Mill and Collier. In my humble opinion, it looks like a fortress and doesn't fit with the neighborhood. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

You should have said "UGLY" fortress! The new McDonalds is an eyesore.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that new McDonalds is terrible looking. And apparently it's drive thru only, no indoor seating, yet there's a walkup window. Not sure who's walking to that McDonalds, but hey. Howell Mill is getting choked, QT wouldn't help there at all. New BP is nice though on Chat& Ellsworth

Anonymous said...

How about a QT on that redeveloping section on Ponce? That would be so awesome!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely welcome QT to the neighbborhood!

And yeah, that BP is nice, but their f*cking premium unleaded is FIFTY CENTS A GALLON HIGHER than Racetrac! Really!

While pretty much every gas station in the metro charges 15c extra for mid-grade and 30c extra for premium over the Regular Unleaded price, that shiny new BP on Chattahoochee Ave charges 30c/60c more for mid-grade/premium, respectively.

Ridiculous! I don't expect a price match with Racetrac, but 50c/gal extra is just beyond insane.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? We don't need more gas stations. Period.

Anonymous said...

There's a new RaceTrac going up by the Avalon project in Alpharetta, as well as a big construction project on Haynes Bridge by NorthPoint Mall.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually in favor of this gas station. While it's not my first choice of project (we already have 2 Shell's on Howell Mill just down the road) it will combine 3 small/junky lots into 1 cohesive place.

My hope is that the new construction will add a turning lane and convert the current turning lane to a straight-away. That would help relieve some of the congestion and lane switching at that intersection.

Anonymous said...

A realignment of those lanes would be great. I wonder though if that would work very well with the short distance between Defoors Ferry and Chattahoochee and the fact that a lot of semi trucks need to make that right turn.

QT or not, I would be glad to get rid of those junk lots too. I still am baffled as to why they tore down the old sub shop, left the lot empty for years and now it houses nothing but a rickety shed for washing cars.

Anonymous said...

Before anything else is built on this section of Howell Mill there needs to be a traffic study done and steps taken to improve the traffic flow. This section of road has to be one of the most congested streets in the city. Does Atlanta really have any traffic engineers? Building a QT or anything else in this location is crazy until the road is improved.

Anonymous said...

QT is the best gas convenience store and it is cleaner with more selection, fresher food and lower gas prices than anywhere around. They would raise the bar for the area , plus they have good coffee. We will all pay less for gas. I don't believe it will make traffic any worse than it already is and it will be a great improvement over what is there. Go visit one !