A new Whole Foods Market is slated to anchor a new center in Chamblee
|Artists rendering of the proposed Peachtree Crossing development (click image to enlarge)|
A new 9+/- acre center called "Peachtree Crossing" is being proposed by Fairburn, Georgia-based S. J. Collins Enterprises. The new center would be located on the former Oxford Chemical Corporation property (5001 Peachtree Boulevard), located between Peachtree Boulevard and Peachtree Road, at Johnson Ferry Road. Given the parcel's past use as a chemical plant (for nearly 50 years), this project has been in the works for a while as officials at various agencies work to confirm the successful remediation of the property.
In addition to to the former Oxford plant, a number of adjacent parcels will also likely be part of the redevelopment.
|The current home of Ashe-Simpson Garden Center|
Ashe-Simpson Garden Center and a former Krystal are among those other buildings likely destined for demolition and inclusion in the project. A Hertz rental office (in a former Taco Bell) and a Texaco gas station are not currently included in the project, but sources say negotiations are underway to include those parcels in the redevelopment.
|The former Krystal and former Taco Bell in background|
According to a site plan of the property I've obtained, Peachtree Crossing will be anchored by a 45,000 square foot "Major Tenant A" in addition to a nearly 13,000 square foot adjacent junior anchor labeled "Major Tenant B". Over 64,000 square feet of additional space is also listed including a roughly 4,000 square foot freestanding restaurant and a nearly 3,000 square foot bank.
|Proposed Peachtree Crossing site plan (click image to enlarge)|
I won't speculate as to what restaurants or banks might be interested in space in the proposed center. I do believe, however, that the writing is on the wall that the "Major Anchor A." aka "National, Upscale Organic Grocer" is Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market.
S.J. Collins lists eleven shopping centers on their website which they've either developed or redeveloped. Of those, seven were anchored by Whole Foods Market, one more by The Fresh Market, with the remaining three as yet unannounced. The firm's most recent Whole Foods Market-anchored center was the redevelopment of Washington Crossing in Augusta last summer.
|An aerial shot of the proposed property (click image to enlarge)|
With the nearly 45,000 square foot former Harris Teeter on Peachtree Road in Brookhaven Plaza still controlled by Kroger, this new center would be be the second best option for a grocer such as Whole Foods to reach Chamblee/Brookhaven, "Cham/Haven" consumers.
Local civic leaders and real estate sources are all tight-lipped on details of the development. After speaking with multiple real estate contacts, it became clear to me that the "major anchor" no one wanted to refer to by name was in fact, Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb detailed the chain's plan to triple their store count "to 1,000 and boost sales by opening locations in underserved areas and smaller markets" in a 2012 Bloomberg article.
The recently opened Whole Foods Market in Alpharetta at Avalon is 48,000 square feet, while the new Whole Foods slated for Kennesaw in 2016 will be "approximately 45,000 square feet." Both of these locations, as well as their approximate sizes, would seem to be in line with the chain's growth goals and the size of the "major anchor" at Peachtree Crossing.
Well placed sources indicate that while discussions are ongoing with the aforementioned "National, Upscale Organic Grocer," a lease is not yet signed. Additionally, those same sources indicate that the project is very much dependent upon an executed lease with Whole Foods Market. One source went as far as to say, "without Whole Foods, the project would be dead."
Whole Foods, the industry leader in the "organic grocery" market, has seen increased competition in its segment as new players enter the market and existing players expand.
Greensboro, North Carolina-based The Fresh Market plans to open a new store at Brighten Park (fya Loehmann's Plaza) in May. Asheville, North Carolina-based Earth Fare opened their first metro Atlanta store earlier this month in Peachtree Corners, and will add another in Phase 2 of Emory Point later this spring. Another Earth Fare is planned for Forsyth later this year. Last, but certainly not least, is Phoenix, Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Market who entered the Atlanta market last year with a store in Snellville. Since then, new stores have opened in Dunwoody, Norcross, Johns Creek and Cumming. Later this year, Sprouts stores are slated to open in Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Midtown and Roswell with other locations "in the works."
The site plan indicates that in addition to the retail and restaurant components, a number of other "amenities" will also be part of Peachtree Crossing. Several "Pocket Parks," a kids play area, public art area, pedestrian trail connection to the Chamblee Multi-Use Trail (a.k.a. Keswick Trail), and EV charging stations are all planned for the project.
I contacted Jeff DeHart ("Partner / Development") at S.J. Collins and was furnished the following response on January 15th:
"We are working on a prospective project in that area but have a long way to go. We are in the very early stages of seeing if something is viable. There are numerous hurdles including land entitlements that must be cleared."
"There are no announcements to make at this point regarding potential anchor retailers because of the very early stage of the process. We have seen keen interest from many retailers but need to complete our due diligence."
These comments seem innocent on their own, but when you consider an entire marketing brochure, site plan, and demographic study are available online describing the property in seemingly precise detail, it looks further along.
If all goes according to plan, Peachtree Crossing is currently projected for completion "Spring 2016" with some already calling it the most exciting development to happen in Chamblee in decades.
Chamblee's City Council changed the name of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to Peachtree Boulevard in 2008 in an effort to rid the city of their "industrial" reputation.
The city has welcomed a number of new projects over the past decade, most notably a Lowe's Home Improvement store and a Walmart Supercenter.
Lowe's Home Improvement opened a new store on the site of a former 15 acre Frito-Lay plant in 2001. A Discount Tire Co. was built in an outparcel of the center followed by a freestanding Zaxby's in an outparcel of the property years later.
The Walmart-anchored Chamblee Village opened in 2006 and represented the redevelopment of a 13.5 acre former BellSouth facility. The center is located at the corner of Chamblee-Tucker Road and Peachtree Boulevard and is also home to assorted smaller stores.
Last year, a number of new projects were announced in Chamblee that could be bring even more growth and opportunity.
|The Blee on Peachtree seemingly being used as storage for excess Audi vehicles|
The Blee on
Broad Peachtree, a redevelopment of Chamblee Plaza, is slowly progressing, just north of Peachtree Crossing. Once anchored by a Winn-Dixie, the center had more recently fallen on hard times. Thus far, the only noticeable change is the addition of Adrenaline GX. The workout facility was known as Adrenaline Fitness when in their previous home at Peachtree Boulevard & Malone Drive. The Blee on Peachtree's developer, Trinity Development, has apparently run into some financing issues, causing development delays.
Parkview on Peachtree is also in the works on Peachtree Boulevard in Chamblee. The mixed use project would be built in place of the shuttered Great Gatsby's collectibles & antiques shop, about a block north of Peachtree Crossing. (Great Gatsby's relocated to a new space not far away at Peachtree Boulevard & Sexton Woods Drive.)
The Olmstead is a 283-unit apartment complex planned for the former International Farmers Market property at Chamblee-Tucker Road and Peachtree Boulevard. The property sits across the street from Chamblee Village and held a groundbreaking this past fall. In addition to the residential component, there will reportedly be both retail and restaurant options at street level.
|Site of the former International Farmers Market where The Olmstead will be built|
A little further away, but worth mentioning, is Coro Realty Advisors' Brookleigh Market project on Johnson Ferry Road in Brookhaven. The project already includes hundreds of apartments and was recently joined by a Primrose Schools early learning center. A two-story Pure Taqueria, originally planned for the former gas station at the corner of Johnson Ferry Road and Peachtree Boulevard, is currently under construction.
|The two-level Pure Taqueria under construction in the background|
Having grown up not far from Chamblee, it's great to see such interest in the area, especially from such a respected company as Whole Foods. I'm hopeful that everything will fall into place and that Peachtree Crossing will come to fruition.
The first of many planned public hearings on the proposal is set for February 12th at 6pm at the Chamblee Civic Center on Broad Street. Developers plans to go in front of the City’s Architectural Review Board on February 3rd, then to the City Council on February 17th.
What are your thoughts?
What additional shops or restaurants would you like to see open in Peachtree Crossing? Is there a different Chamblee area development you are more excited about? Have you grown up nearby? If so, what are your earliest memories of the area?
Please share your thoughts below.
The Chamblee Post contributed to this article.