Monday, July 11, 2016

SunTrust Hoping "Anything Here But a Bank" Did Not Apply to Them

Bank planned for former restaurant parcel

Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank has submitted an application for a SLUP (Special Land Use Permit) to allow them to construct a new branch in Dunwoody.  The 3,700 square foot freestanding building would be constructed in place of the former Old Hickory House restaurant.  Old Hickory House closed its Dunwoody location on Chamblee Dunwoody Road near Dunwoody Village in late August 2014.  The popular barbecue restaurant had served the Dunwoody community for decades.

At the time of the closure one local resident took it upon himself to let everyone know what they did not want to have open in place of the restaurant.  "Anything here but a bank" read a sign planted in the yard beside the restaurant's street sign.

Soon after the closure, Texas-based Black Walnut Cafe announced it had secured the site and would open their restaurant in place of the Old Hickory House.  Attending a recent opening event at the now open Black Walnut Cafe in Alpharetta, I asked the chain's president Joe Brassard about the status of the Dunwoody location.  He indicated to me that it was "shelved for now," and that the restaurant was considering a smaller format for the site as they had determined it was not large enough to house their typical concept.  I subsequently confirmed that Black Walnut is in fact under contract to sell the property to SunTrust.  While they are not going to be able to open where they had hoped, Brassard indicated the chain would still love to be somewhere in Dunwoody.  Following the Alpharetta opening, another Black Walnut is slated to open in Peachtree Corners in February.  Brassard indicated that the chain sees the opportunity for as many as five Black Walnut Cafe locations in metro Atlanta.

As for SunTrust, the new branch would serve as a replacement to their current branch at Mount Vernon Highway & Dunwoody Village Parkway.  Sources indicate that the existing branch is leased by the bank whereas the new location would be bank owned.  No word on what, if any, immediate replacement  plans there are for the existing SunTrust, if the new branch comes to fruition.

SunTrust representatives recently presented their plans to the neighborhood at a preliminary informational meeting.  ToNeTo Atlanta readers in attendance said the crowd was mixed in their support of the redevelopment.  A SLUP (Special Land Use Permit) request by the bank to add parking to the site has been submitted to the city and will be heard on August 9th.  Following the results of the SLUP meeting, the request would move to the city council for a public meeting on September 12th followed by the private council vote on September 26th.

Are you in favor of the SunTrust opening?  If not SunTrust, what would you like to see open in place of the former Old Hickory House restaurant?  In an average month, how many times to you visit a physical bank branch?

Please share your thoughts below.

15 comments:

Ham said...

Although few of us visit physical bank locations very often occasionally it’s necessary and at those times it’s nice to have a local branch. Also, since the restaurant deal apparently fell through it seems a well maintained bank property would be preferred to a vacant rundown restaurant.

Anonymous said...

The number of banks in this immediate area is astounding. Hence the reason for the sign. Not that anyone was ecstatic about another Dallas chain restaurant, but it would have been better than yet another bank.

ImAndy said...

Black walnut will be killer in Peachtree Corners. The new Newks at forumn has a wait for seating at weekday lunch, Atlanta bread is even very very busy. I'm not a fan of Zoeys but I'm sure they are too. All those huge building that emptied in the recession at the Norcross technology park are all filling up again.

robert said...

I think it would be an excellent spot for a barbecue joint

Anonymous said...

Oh DAMN another bank!

Anonymous said...

Very disappointing. Aren't less and less people going to the branches?

jeff a. taylor said...

Someone is gonna to have to explain the economics of branch banking to me, because I do not get it.

Centralhs said...

Dunwoody us desperately in need of more restaurant options. Especially non-chain restaurants. The last thing we need is more banks. From what I have heard, SunTrust wants to build a large parking lot too. How many people are in a bank at any one time nowadays?

Anonymous said...

We have sidewalks, benches and bike paths. I just feel like we have no where to go on them. I rarely go to the bank and I doubt I would walk there if I did need something, I had hoped that Dunwoody would be a destination for food and shops not bank branch offices. I am happy with the shop and restaurant owners who have invested in our community I just wish there were more of them.

Anonymous said...

Banks build where they see a need. Probably a better location that can be built to suit them and their existing customers. News flash: people with money utilize banks. I actually go inside more often than using a drive thru window. We access our safety deposit box often. I understand the frustration and misconception of "another bank" when it is not the bank you use. The need is obviously exists.

For those that want more locally owned restaurants then why don't you open one yourself?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Is that the last Hickory House? Another Old Atlanta icon going, gone. :^( C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

No more banks. Period.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
No more banks. Period.

...said Anonymous that has no money, and has no bank!

Centralhs said...

To say "if you want more locally owned restaurant then why don't you open one yourself" is pretty silly. Most people (1) lack the money to open a restaurant and (2) don't have the business skills to open and run a (successful) restaurant. However, that doesn't mean that residents of Dunwoody wouldn't like some interesting places close by to eat that aren't part of national chains like Panera and Cheesecake Factory. Decatur, Roswell, Marietta, etc., have lots of unique restaurants nowadays. Dunwoody doesn't.

Anonymous said...

^^ DUH ^^